Whiskeytown Lake kokanee fishing report

Whiskeytown Lake Kokanee salmon
Photo Credit: Jeff Goodwin

by Jeff Goodwin

It's that time of year again to start thinking about California's finest Kokanee fishing opportunity which happens every year on Whiskeytown Lake.  Water levels and temp's have hit the mark and the Kokanee salmon bite is officially on.  Limits of Kokanee have been fairly easily attained and their size and quantity this year are once again exceptional.  Kokanee to 14-15" have been caught and it's very early in the season.  With this early indication of above average size Kokanee, we are in for one heck of a year.  This fishery will last well into fall and the size of these fish will only get better and better.

The best place to launch is currently at the Whiskey Creek boat launch.  Oak Bottom is still closed for the winter so save yourself the trip up there for now.  The Whiskey Creek arm is already producing Kokanee from the surface down to about 20'.  I drop my lines in as soon as I get into 25-30' of water and start trolling.  Use a 50'-100' setback for lines above 10' and pull them back to 25'-30' off the ball when fishing deeper.  Trolling speeds in the 1.2-1.5 mph range are always a safe bet on Whiskeytown Lake so keep an eye on your boat speed for the best results.  I like to run pink and orange baits on Whiskeytown, but other colors will work as well.  I have exceptional success running Dick Nite UV orange and pink dodgers during the Kokanee season.  I find that attaching a bait with a 12-14" leader works great unless you are trolling micro hoochies (10") or Dick Nite spoons (24+").  Don't forget to tip your hooks with garlic scented shoe peg corn kernels, it really makes a difference.

I will begin running guided Whiskeytown Lake Kokanee salmon fishing trips by the end of May after my Striped bass season comes to a close.  These trips are a lot of fun, especially for families or for that parent that wants to introduce their child to the sport of fishing.  The action is always steady and the kids absolutely love their day on Whiskeytown Lake fishing for Kokanee salmon.  It's also a great way to learn this Kokanee fishery without spending day after day trying to figure it out for yourself.  I live just 15 minutes from Whiskeytown Lake and can make these trips very affordable.  The limit is 5 per person with a possession limit of 10 per person.  As always, I include my 5 Kokanee limit for my clients to take home with them as well.  Come join us for a day of great Kokanee salmon fishing, you'll be surprised at just how much fun it really is.   

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.