Lake Shasta

Redding, California

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Short Take: 30,000 acres; unusual mountain lake with abundant shallow flats and flooded timber, four major river tributaries, no vegetation. Bass fishermen coming to northern California’s Lake Shasta will find a welcome change of pace, for it isn’t often that an extremely popular boating and skiing lake also happens to be such a prolific bass fishery. At 30,000-acre Lake Shasta, however, anglers will find a lake dominated by spotted bass that have topped 8 pounds, largemouths over 15 pounds, and even smallmouth bass in the 5-pound class. “The spotted bass totally dominate the lake,” notes veteran angler Gary Dobyns, who has fished Shasta for more than 20 years. “In the early 1980s before the California Department of Fish and Game stocked spotted bass here, the lake had an excellent smallmouth fishery, but now the spotted bass have taken over. “That’s not bad, by any means. The spotted bass here are extremely aggressive and provide plenty of excellent fishing all year long. And I personally believe there may be a world-record spotted bass in the lake” he adds. California’s largest impoundment, Lake Shasta is formed by four tributary rivers, the Pit, Squaw, McCloud, and Sacramento. Each of these has numerous smaller tributary creeks, as well as a wide variety of structure that includes an unusually high amount of shallow water. “This is certainly one of the main reasons Lake Shasta supports such a high fish population,” notes Dobyns. “The backs of a lot of coves are filled with standing timber or have a hard gravel bottom that provides excellent spawning habitat and high survival rates. Although the lake has plenty of big bass, Lake Shasta is not really a trophy fishery. It’s much better known for its sheer numbers of fish.” Primary Species: Spotted, smallmouth, and largemouth bass.

Lake Shasta Professional Review and Guide

"Short Take: 30,000 acres; unusual mountain lake with abundant shallow flats and flooded timber, four major river tributaries, no vegetation. Bass fishermen coming to northern California’s Lake Shasta will find a welcome change of pace, for it isn’t often that an extremely popular boating and skiing lake also happens to be such a prolific bass fishery. At 30,000-acre Lake Shasta, however, anglers will find a lake dominated by spotted bass that have topped 8 pounds, largemouths over 15 pounds, and even smallmouth bass in the 5-pound class. “The spotted bass totally dominate the lake,” notes veteran angler Gary Dobyns, who has fished Shasta for more than 20 years. “In the early 1980s before the California Department of Fish and Game stocked spotted bass here, the lake had an excellent smallmouth fishery, but now the spotted bass have taken over. “That’s not bad, by any means. The spotted bass here are extremely aggressive and provide plenty of excellent fishing all year long. And I personally believe there may be a world-record spotted bass in the lake” he adds. California’s largest impoundment, Lake Shasta is formed by four tributary rivers, the Pit, Squaw, McCloud, and Sacramento. Each of these has numerous smaller tributary creeks, as well as a wide variety of structure that includes an unusually high amount of shallow water. “This is certainly one of the main reasons Lake Shasta supports such a high fish population,” notes Dobyns. “The backs of a lot of coves are filled with standing timber or have a hard gravel bottom that provides excellent spawning habitat and high survival rates. Although the lake has plenty of big bass, Lake Shasta is not really a trophy fishery. It’s much better known for its sheer numbers of fish.” Primary Species: Spotted, smallmouth, and largemouth bass."

Activity Type: Fishing
Nearby City: Redding
Season & Limits: Best March through May, September, October
Driving Directions: Directions to Lake Shasta

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May 2018