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CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Northern CA Freshwater

Whiskeytown Lake kokanee still elusive as lake fills

By BILL RICE/WON Staff WriterPublished: May 10, 2018

WHISKEYTOWN — Whiskeytown Lake is almost to full pool, but has a foot or so to go. It’s fishing okay some days, said guide Jeffrey Goodwin of Goodwin Guide Service, but it’s far from the lights-out kokanee fishing that he has often seen this time of the year.

whiskeytownkokaneeWHISKEYTOWN KOKANEE ARE big, bright and hungry, and Nicole Ross, wife of guide Alex Ross, shows off a pair of nice kokanee caught at the lake while trolling standard kokanee gear.


The water is 63 degrees on the surface and after it settles down during its fill stage, the kokanee fishing should really pick up. Goodwin expects great fishing to begin around June after the thermocline in the lake develops.


Goodwin is still catching fish every trip, but if the hook to loss ratio is lopsided, some days fall short of limits. Right now most kokanee are being caught around 20 to 25 feet deep, because those kokanee tend to be the biters. The kokes are still scattered, but will be schooling up as the water temps increase, making them easier to catch.


“The good bite went away as the lake filled,” said guide Keith Kerrigan. “It looks like the lake is real close to being at full pool. Right now the bite is slow. The kokanee are all over the lake and down deep 50 feet. The surface temp went from 55 to 64 as they filled the lake, so the fish went down to the water that is the right temp for them. It took a little time to figure it out today.”


Kerrigan caught fish in the deep water between Brandy Creek and where the old buoy 7 was located. He also got into a nice late morning bite out in front of the dam, over the channel fishing at 48 to 50 feet. His best lure was his sunrise Hoochie with a Forsman tackle blade behind a gold dodger. The Old Goat did a good job on them also, in pink and purple.


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