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Whiskeytown Kokanee bite still very good

Article and photos By Jeff Goodwin
08/31/16 -- After a fairly disappointing trip to the coast for some salmon and steelhead fishing trips, I have found myself back in the Sacramento River valley a bit perplexed by the absence of any appreciable numbers of king salmon in the Sacramento River. I plan my trips carefully every season and try to offer fishing trips to my clients during the very best periods of time for finding the fish I'm pursuing. Typically, I can count on salmon being available in the Sacramento River at the beginning of September and feel comfortable booking salmon fishing trips during that timeframe. Now, while there are some salmon in the Sacramento River system, there are clearly fewer salmon around than we are accustomed to at this time of year.

Jaynie Goodwin holds a Whiskeytown Lake Kokanee salmon
Jaynie Goodwin holds a Whiskeytown Lake Kokanee salmon she caught recently while trolling a Kokanee fly, made by Jeff Goodwin, behind a Dick Nite dodger.

With the numbers of salmon that are still milling around and feeding in the ocean off the California coast, there is still some optimism living amongst the salmon fishing guides, and it would appear that at some point in the near future, these schools of salmon will soon make their way up into the Sacramento River. Water temps will be coming down with our cooler weather this week and as the moon phase moves toward a bigger, brighter moon, salmon will surely be triggered to make their move up river towards the hatcheries and spawning grounds where they got their start.

Fortunately, I spend a significant amount of time on NorCal waters pursuing other fish species besides ocean run salmon. Its quite easy for me to transition to other fisheries that are still providing some excellent fishing opportunities because I fish them most of the year anyway. I have found that many of my clients are equally flexible and have made a choice to fish for something other than salmon with me this year. As an example, I have next week booked solid with Sacramento River rainbow trout and Whiskeytown Lake Kokanee salmon fishing trips. Fishing for trout and Kokanee is very good still and its awesome to be able to share this great fishing with my clients. When the salmon do come, I will be back on the Sac chasing them and hopefully providing my clients another great fishing experience.

kokanee salmon by jeff goodwin
Limit of Whiskeytown Lake Kokanee salmon from 8/30/16 which were caught by Jaynie Goodwin.

This week will yield some great fishing for Kokanee salmon on Whiskeytown lake. I will be trolling deep to 70' at 1.1-1.5 mph and will likely be running Dick Nite UV dodgers in front of pink or orange micro hoochies or my hand-tied Kokanee flies. Don't forget to tip your hooks with shoe peg corn marinated in garlic scent for maximum effectiveness.

For Sac River rainbow trout fishing, I highly recommend drifting Dick Nite spoons! This is a technique I've perfected and when the trout bite for these spoons is on, catching numerous rainbows on the Sac just isn't a problem. When the spoon bite slows, and it does at times, I will back troll 3.0 Mag Lip plugs in areas I know hold big trout. Look for the larger trout in the system to be holding along current seams and drop offs into deeper water. Once you start catching these big rainbows on plugs, you will find that fishing the same water over and over again will continue to yield some of the largest rainbow trout you'll likely ever catch. Oh, don't forget to apply some scent to your plugs, it really does help make a difference sometimes.

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 You can also find him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or please feel free to call him anytime at (707) 616-1905.

Fishing Reports

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Let’s check out the Upper Sac
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09/06/15 -- The Upper Sacramento River – The Upper Sac – begins at Lake Siskiyou’s Box Canyon Dam and continues ~37 miles downstream to Lake Shasta. It is a classic freestone river born from the Mt. Shasta and Mt. Eddy... Full Story
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german brown trout in Modoc creek.
By Lea Huetteman
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Throw the kitchen sink at them
Indian Paintbrush is a favorite wildflower that carpets wilderness landscapes. Phil Flip Akers,
Article and photos by Phil Akers
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03/06/04 -- Humboldt Bay, a busy commercial harbor and home port to many charter and private offshore fishing boats, is also popular with shore-based anglers and small boaters seeking bottomfish, sharks, crabs and clams...Full Story
Pulled into the pipes: Green Sturgeon
green sturgeon
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
03/04/14 -- [Posted with permission of FISHBIO] Living in the Sacramento River can be a risky business for juvenile green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris). The young fish must swim through a gauntlet of water... Full Story
Not Just Any Fish
California Golden Trout, California Heritage Trout Challenge, Not Just Any Fish, Phil
By Phil "Flip" Akers
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