Whiskeytown Summer Kokanee

Jaynie Goodwin with a nice Whiskeytown Lake Kokanee salmon she caught with a G.Loomis E6X 1012C Kokanee down rigger rod.
Photo Credit: Jeff Goodwin

by Jeff Goodwin

Its been a few weeks since my last report simply because not much has changed on the waters I'm fishing these days. There has been a bit of water fluctuation in the Sacramento River, and also at Whiskeytown Lake. According to Monty Currier at DF&W in Redding, there has been a water release into the Sac River for the spring salmon that are currently in the system. Currier says they are hoping this release will pull the Clear Creek spring salmon up into the spawning areas which are rich in habitat for adult and juvenile salmon.

In conjunction with a release of 9,000 cfs from Keswick Dam, there has also been an increase in water released from Whiskeytown Lake into Clear Creek. This early morning release into the Sac on Saturday picked up and sent a lot of debris down river affecting the trout fishing in a negative way. Chris Schertz of C&A Guide Service had a trout trip on Saturday and related that fishing was real good until about 9:00 am. The river filled with debris from the transients "garbage gardens" located along the banks of the Sacramento River and the fishing shut down in a hurry.

I fished Whiskeytown Lake for Kokanee on Thursday and Friday and although the lake level was down, the fishing was still very good. I was a bit surprised due to the fact that we had winter like conditions and a strong low pressure system that hung out for a few days. Friday brought some appreciable rain to the area, but run off was minimal.

Summer came back to Shasta County yesterday and I took the family out for a day on Whiskeytown Lake to test out the new G.Loomis E6X 1012C Kokanee/trout series rods. These rods are 8' 5", one piece, downrigger rods that have performed flawlessly every trip I've used them this past week. They perform like a high end rod, but the G.Loomis E6X rods are very affordable, even for the weekend angler. Match these rods with the Shimano Tekota 300LC reels, and you'll have the perfect set up for catching Kokanee and trout on any body of water that you can troll in. Needless to say, we had our 15 Kokanee limit in short order and spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying a bbq shore lunch and a bit of swimming to cool off. Tactics haven't changed on Whiskeytown, and the Kokanee come fairly easy if you follow the suggestions I've made in previous reports. I did find more fish in the 45-55' at the west end of the lake, but 30-40' did the trick down by the cold water curtain along 299. Orange baits and dodgers have still been my top producer, but pink has been a close second for sure. Maintain a boat speed between 1.1-1.5 mph and you should do well. Dick Nite dodgers in front of a Yakima Bait Co. Spin-N-Goo trailing 10" behind the dodger is a great bait, but I run a 50/50 Dick Nite spoon 24" behind a Dick Nite 50/50 dodger every trip out.

Jeff Goodwin is a full time Northern California fishing guide.  He guides year round for salmon, trout, steelhead, Kokanee, and bass on Northern California rivers and lakes. He fishes many bodies of water in the Redding area, but also guides the Sacramento River and Feather River during certain times of the year. Jeff can also be found on the California coast chasing ocean fresh King salmon and steelhead each year. To learn more about the fishing trips Jeff has to offer, please visit Jeff Goodwin's Guide Service.  You can also find him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or please feel free to call him anytime at (707) 616-1905.