Northern CA Freshwater

Plants of golden and brown trout added to the arsenal at Shaver Lake

By DAVE HURLEY/WON Staff Writer Published: Mar 06, 2019

SHAVER LAKE – For the first time in memory, a plant of the rare golden trout will be added to Shaver Lake through the Friant Hatchery on the San Joaquin River, but don’t head up there yet, since the lake was frozen over before the warmer rains.

ICE FISH ’BOW — Kevin Kata of Shaver Lake caught this 23-inch rainbow taken from the bank on dough bait at Shaver Lake while fishing through the ice.

The California golden trout are native to two stream systems on the eastern side of the Kern River – Golden Trout Creek and the South Fork Kern River in Tulare County, and they have been stocked extensively outside their native range into numerous high-elevation lakes and streams throughout the Sierra Nevada Mountains. They are considered one of the most beautiful of all trout species. With the upcoming plant at Shaver Lake, anglers will not have to climb above 8,000 feet to land one of these beauties.

Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters and president of the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project visited the Friant Hatchery this week, and he said, “I spoke with the hatchery manager, and I initially doubted it when he told me golden trout. I asked him to write it down to make sure I was hearing it correctly, and he reported 48,000 golden trout around 5 inches in length along with 10,000 brown trout of a similar size will be released into the lake this spring, in addition to 4,000 2-pound rainbow trout and 2,000 pounds of 4-pound plus rainbows.

“Due to the flooding of the Moccasin Hatchery on the Tuolumne River last year, Friant is sharing fish with other waters,” he said. “Our normal allotment under good condition years is 18,000 pounds of catchables, but we won’t see that this year. The bottom line is fewer, but larger, rainbow trout from the hatchery along with new species induced into the lake. The trophy plants from the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project will come in two different dumps this spring.”

Nichols held a seminar at the new Turner’s Outdoors in Fresno this past week along with Todd Wittwer of Guide Service and Tom Oliviera of Tom Oliviera Fishing, and it was standing room only with 125 participatns learning about the upcoming action at Shaver Lake.

The lake surface has been frozen, but the recent rains have started to melt the ice. The lake dropped to 47 percent.

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