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Whiskeytown Kokanee still on fire

By Jeff Goodwin
05/31/16 -- Well, I've been fishing Whiskeytown for nearly a month now this year and there are no signs of this amazing fishery slowing down. We've been scoring easy limits every time out and the grade of fish this year is remarkable. There are certainly some hot spots on the lake, but I've caught Kokanee everywhere I've dropped the downriggers. It seems as though Whiskeytown Lake is stuffed with Kokanee this year in spite of four years of drought here in Nor Cal.

Lady with trout,
Jaynie Goodwin, Co Owner of Jeff Goodwin's Guide Service holds a 16" Kokanee salmon she caught as part of her limit over the Memorial Day weekend on Whiskeytown Lake. Photos submitted by author.

I think it is important to note that Whiskeytown Lake is also teeming with brook trout this year due to heavy plants since early spring. And, although they are somewhat elusive, there are also land locked King salmon in Whiskeytown as well and we are catching a few while trolling for Kokanee. This is one of the hottest fisheries right now in Nor Cal, and is definitely worthy of booking a guided fishing trip for! This is a great trip for anyone and everyone, and with our light tackle, rivals just about any fishery out there. Give me a call and I'll show your party an awesome day on Whiskeytown Lake fishing for Kokanee salmon.

Pan of Kokanee ready to cook, photo courtesy of Jeff Goodwin
Quick limits of delicious Kokanee salmon filleted and ready for the smoker or the grill!

For those of you who want to venture out on your own, Kokanee tactics have not changed for me so far this year, and the pattern of baits I'm using is holding strong. I've been using pink and orange baits as a primary color for my most successful baits. I'll occasionally mix things up a bit just to show the Kokanee something different, but never wander too far from what is working. Some of my favorite baits include Dick Nite Spoons (dicknite.com), Spin-N-Glo rigs, and PLine UV mini squid. Dick Nite UV dodgers are dynamite, but I have regular success with a Crystal Basin Wild Thing, and Mack's Double "D" dodgers as well.

Here are a few keys to my success on Whiskeytown Lake;

1). Keep your boat speed between 1.1 and 1.5 mph.

2). USE YOUR ELECTRONICS and pay attention to where you are marking fish.

3). Set your downriggers in the top 20' feet of the lake to start and drop down as necessary to find biters.

4). Keep a variety of baits out until you find what the Kokanee want that day.

5). Always run shoe peg Pro-Cure scented corn on all your baits unless it kills their action. I like to use Bloody Tuna, Garlic, and the Kokanee Special gel scents.

Following the above guidelines will help you have the best chance for success on Whiskeytown Lake this year and should keep everyone in the boat smiling! Good luck to you all and I look forward to seeing you out on the Kokanee grounds!

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 as far down as Colusa during certain seasons. Jeff can also be found on the Klamath River chasing ocean fresh King salmon and steelhead in August each year. To learn more about the fishing trips Jeff has to offer, please visit Jeff Goodwin's Guide Service at jeffgoodwinfishing.com./ You can also find him on Facebook, Instagram,and Twitter, or please feel free to call him anytime at (707) 616-1905.


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