West Coast Hot Spots
Kokanee and chinook salmon; brook trout; spotted, largemouth, and smallmouth bass; crappie; catfish
Kokanee salmon anglers are known for keeping secrets, but they couldn’t hide the size of the silvers they were hauling out of 3,220-acre Whiskeytown Reservoir last year. Just 15 minutes off Interstate 5 at Redding, the lake is stocked with brook trout, and the fishing can also be good for spotted, largemouth, and smallmouth bass, especially on summer evenings after recreational boating has subsided. Bass hang around underwater islands that are conveniently marked with buoys. Whiskeytown isn’t as big or productive year after year as nearby Shasta Lake, but this season, with another year class of kokanees reaching lunker status, it should be worth a road trip.
Sweet Spots: The dam area and along the main-lake side of the State Highway 299 bridge for summer kokanees
What’s Hot: Scorpion Spinner rigged behind a Sling Blade Dodger, both made by Shasta Tackle Co.
Local Advice: “The only problem with Whiskeytown is that it can get windy. You’ve got to get up early and get it done,” says Tom Stienstra, local angler and outdoor correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle.
Prime Time: June through early September for kokanees, February through March for big spotted bass up to 5 pounds
More Info: Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association, 800-474-2782; www.shastacascade.org.