Shaver Lake Fishing Report: Taking advantage of the great Spring run of fish

Caleb Freeland (right) of Clovis celebrated his 10th birthday on a fishing trip with Dick Nichols Fishing Charters. He was joined by family, from L-R: Grandpa LeRoy Cook, brother Joshua (7-years-old), and Dad Rod Freeland. (Contributed by Dick’s Fishing Charters)

Oh my, what a fantastic start to my 2019 charter season. In the first six trips, beginning May 1, we caught and kept (or caught and released) 129 fish. I am so happy for those fishing with me. They caught five trophy trout, six nice browns, two near-trophy rainbows and the rest kokanee.

A lot of other fishermen are doing well, too. And, the fish, including kokanee, are from the surface to 15 feet deep. That means that if you get out in your boat with mono filament line, a Mountain Dodger, followed by a pink Koke Buster tipped with scented shoepeg corn, you can catch fish without the service of a downrigger. More than half of our fish are coming on that combination.

On the downriggers, we are using pink, champagne, and orange Mountain Hoochies behind a purple/silver Mountain Dodger. We are only going down to about 15 feet deep. Of course, by the time you read this, the depth may increase as the water is getting warmer everyday. When we began on May 1, the surface water temperature was 54, but on the sixth trip it was 57 degrees.

The kokanee are about 12 inches now with a few 13.5 inch fish in the mix. We started out with brothers Frank, from Fresno, and Don Hoffman, from Ohio. The brothers caught about 30 nice kokanee  and browns, and one trophy rainbow, releasing all but 10 fish. They even allowed me to catch five kokanee for dinner. The next day I fished with Tom Frudden, a former Clovis guy who now resides in Madera. Tom was so lucky to catch two trophies, a three-pounder and a five-pounder, releasing both. He also caught and released 16 kokanee. Tom came back on Saturday and caught another 16 kokanee, releasing all.

Friday, Art Carlson of Fresno and his son, Greg of Pasadena, went out on a father and son trip. They caught over 30 mixed fish with most being kokanee. The duo kept their 10 and again were so nice to let me catch my five kokanee. After two days off that I promised Diane I would take this year, I fished with Scotty Gray of San Leandro and his buddy Vince offrom Hayward. Vince picked up a trophy five-pound trout that was compliments of Department of Fish and Wildlife from their plant three weeks ago. The Bay area guys also bagged 17 kokanee, keeping nine.

I hear that bank fishermen are still picking up a few DFW -planted trophy-sized fish and the trophy trout that were planted a couple weeks ago by the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project.

The SLTTP , with planting chairman Bob Bernier, sneaked in one morning very early and released approximately 900 beautiful rainbow, all three to six pounds. The fish are raised in sandy bottom areas with fresh river water from the Tuolumne River and are available to all of you who can catch one by the efforts of the SLTTP and their sponsors. Before Memorial Day, DFW will have planted 2000 two-pounders, a great addition to the lake, but s. Sadly, this is most likely their last trout plant of the year. The lake will be loaded with trophies this year.

My forecast, GULP! I am going out on the limb, kokanee will stay strong through mid August and trout, other than trophy sized rainbows, will be scarce. My wish is for you to get onto the lake and take advantage of this great spring run of fish.

In closing, we paid tribute to our old buddy Captain Jack Yandell, last Saturday at the Shaver Lake Community Center. Folks from all around came to pay their respects to the kokanee legend of Shaver Lake. Peace be with you Captain Jack, I will fish the lake with you in heaven one day.

Dick Nichols
Dick Nichols has been with us since the beginning. With decades of experience, he writes and provide insights about the Shaver Lake fishing game.