2005 Headshot

Fishing Shasta Lake In The Fall

By Howard Hughes
Shasta Lake Fishing & Tournament Guide 2005

The fall is one of my favorite times to fish Shasta Lake, because of the lower lake levels. The bass that were scattered up the rivers and creeks are starting to concentrate in the river and creek channels, making them easier to find. Bass also start to feed more often to fatten up for the winter. They do this by schooling in large numbers to feed on shad by herding the shad to the backs of the coves and up on flats. On of the easiest ways to find bass this time of year is to watch the surface of the water, especially when it is calm. The bass will often push the shad to the surface and feed on the top. This is an excellent opportunity to throw top water baits, such as Zara Spooks or Poppers like the Berkley Frenzy, or Ricos.

If you don't have immediate success, try throwing Rodstrainer Zebra shad spinner baits, or Lucky Craft 100 pointers in shad patterns.

When the surface activity slows down, it means the shad have headed for deeper water and the bass will follow the bait down. Now you know where the bait and bass are concentrated. If you have depth finders you can usually locate the bait and bass in coves, creek and river channels. They can by anywhere from 30- to 100-feet deep. This is when you would use jigging spoons or drop shot techniques.

A jigging spoon is a flat, shiny metal lure shaped like a fish with a treble hook attached to the bottom. They come in many different weights. My personal favorite is a Perk Minnow in 1- to 2-oz weights with silver or chartreuse bodies. The way to fish the spoon is to vertical jig the spoon. Drop the spoon directly down to where the shad and bass are located and use a quick upward motion of your rod and follow the spoon back down with your rod. I usually use 12- or 15-lb test Berkley Big Game. This technique is a lot of fun. You can catch a fantastic number of bass in a very short time.

The other great technique is drop shotting for deeper bass. Drop shotting is when the hook - preferably a small one, such as a Gamakatsu #2 drop shot hook - is tied on the line using a palomar knot with the tag end having a weight tied to the end anywhere from a couple of inches to several feet. Attach a 4-inch worm or minnow imitation by hooking it through the nose. One of my favorites is the Berkley 3-inch bass minnow in pearl blue shad. Most 4-inch shad pattern worms will work. When drop shotting, I normally use 6-lb test line, Trilene 100% fluorocarbon.

The fall is a fatastic time of the year to enjoy Lake Shasta.

See you on the water!