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Rain for NorCal fish!

Jeff Goodwin author photo,

By Jeff Goodwin
12/19/15 -- It seems like its been a long time since I've been able to report that we are currently experiencing very cold, and wet conditions across the north state. Its another wet system, like it or not, that we really do need. Our most important body of water, Shasta Lake, has yet to see any real change in its levels this fall. We still have a lot of winter ahead of us, but we are off to a really slow start again for this time of year. With the forecast calling for several inches of rain this week and next, we will most certainly see our first real rise in water levels.

The Sacramento River will see flows at Bend Bridge reach 15,000 cfs this weekend, and the river below Anderson will likely be un fishable for some time to come. With the river closed to salmon fishing, there won't be many anglers fishing down there anyways. The storm run off from heavy rains will also undoubtedly color up Shasta Lake, which will in turn create visibility problems for the water in Keswick Reservoir and the Sacramento river from Redding on down. This will slow down the trout fishing here in Redding as well. In my mind, fishing opportunities here in Shasta County will be slim for a spell, but getting some good amounts of rain will be worth it in the long run.

Brown Trout, Jeff Goodwin
A 26-inch brown trout was caught trolling a #11 black/gold Rapala jerk bait while fishing with Jeff Goodwin's Guide Service. Photo Courtesy of Jeff Goodwin's Guide

If you're not a bass fisherman, now might be the time to give it a try. Shasta Lake has been providing some pretty great fishing this past week, and all this rain shouldn't hurt things all that much. The last day of salmon season in the Barge Hole was very good to most anglers who fished it, but its closed now so who cares, right? It was good to see some salmon being caught even in the seasons last week. Lets hope the rain swollen Sacramento River and its tributaries provide an environment conducive to a successful spawn this fall and winter. The trout fishing in Redding has been pretty good, and the fly guys have been coming in with some pics of some real nice bow's in the 5 lb. range. The river here on town will still fish with some dirty water, but the time between bites will definitely increase. Keswick Reservoir will will color up and the debris breaking loose with all this water will render it a lost cause for sure. Whiskeytown Lake should hold up pretty well through this storm, but its always a tough nut to crack when the water is in the low 50's.

 A picture this week of Shasta Dam exposed during the lakes low point before the winter storms begin.
A picture this week of Shasta Dam exposed during the lakes low point before the winter storms begin. Photo Courtesy of Jeff Goodwin's Guide

It may sound like theres not much going on as far as fishing goes in the Redding area, and it should. Like I said previously, its gonna be tough out on the water for a bit, but we need this rain! This is the time of year I take to catch up on things around the house, maybe some boat maintenance, possibly taking care of some of my fishing gear, making lures or pouring lead. You have to do it sometime, it might just as well be during the slow times. In summary, and in my opinion, Shasta bass fishing will be your best choice this next week. When we get a break with the rain, and if you like to steelhead fish, I'd look at the upper Trinity River to drop into shape first. When it does, the steelhead fishing should be very good, especially above Junction City. Bust out your bobber rods, and go catch some beautiful Trinity River steelhead. Tight lines everyone!

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 primarily on the Sacramento River, but also spends many days of the year fishing on The Klamath/Trinty River systems. Jeff also guides on Keswick Reservoir, Shasta Lake, and Whiskeytown Lake during certain periods of the year. To learn more about the fishing trips Jeff offers, please visit Facebook, Instagram,, or feel free to call him at (707) 616-1905.

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