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Shasta bass bite improves

Article and photos byJeff Goodwin
02/18/16 -- Wow! What a difference a little bit of nice weather makes on the Shasta Lake bass bite. With clear skies and temps in the mid 70's, a day on Shasta Lake has suddenly gone from cold and wet, to sunny and warm.

The bass seem to be enjoying the great weather as well because the bite has really turned on for me this past week. Seeing double digit catches and bag limits of 5 bass to 3 lbs on every trip has been a welcomed experience. Now its not like the fishing has been tough all winter, but with all the bad weather and the rapidly rising water levels, finding fish and finding biters has been a bit more challenging than the past several years.

Recent trips have been very productive and it's just as simple as finding the fish. I'm finding that spending a lot of time in one spot just hasn't been the way to get bass in the live well. Moving around, working the major points, especially long points, starting shallow then moving out, is my best approach right now. Thats not to say other fish finding methods won't work, this is just what's working for me.

Jason Vallotton of Redding with a nice Shasta Lake Spotted bass he caught while fishing with Jeff Goodwin Guide Service.

The finesse jig bite has been tough, but on my last day out, a Yamamoto hula grub in green pumpkin put a lot of fish in the bag. A drop shot rig, or even a double drop shot rig, has been a main stay for me lately. I've been working water with a drop shot rig with a 3.5" worm, if that doesn't get bit, I'm switching to a 2"3" swim bait to find a bite. Fishing a 1/4 oz. ball jig in front of a 2.5" swim bait can be deadly, especially if you bounce it off the bottom on a slow retrieve. A few fish have been coming on a white on white spinner bait, and one or two on a crank bait close to the shore line.

Anthony cox with shasta lake Bass Photo by Jeff Goodwin guide Service
Anthony cox caught this nice Shasta Lake bass while tossing a hula grub

If bass fishing isn't your thing, and you are a trout fisherman, the water in Shasta has turned a nice shade of green and the trout fishing has picked up as well. I haven't spent very much time in open water, but I have been finding success along the shore line trolling and casting to the bank. The trout seem to be abundant in the larger coves and can be seen rolling on the surface often. Like I said, look for the trout to be in the top 10' of the lake and close to the shore. I have caught several trout this past week casting to the shore for bass. These trout will readily take a plastic worm when it drops in front of them.

Jeff Goodwin with is spotted bass, author by Jeff Goodwin Guide Service
The author and his spotted bass she caught on a recent daddy/daughter trip

All in all, a trip out to Shasta Lake is definitely worth the effort right now. Take advantage of this amazing weather and look for the bass bite to steadily improve as spring approaches. Look for my weekly reports for up to date, honest, information here on I will be spending several days a week on the lake through the spring season. 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/Trinity River systems. Jeff also guides on local lakes during certain periods of the year. To learn more about the fishing trips Jeff offers, please visit Jeff Goodwin's Guide Service at Facebook, Instagram, or feel free to call him anytime at (707) 616-1905.

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