Houseboating, Part II

By Bruce Ajari · 


Tahoe City angler Fred Wickman hooks a nice King Salmon caught on Lake Shasta.

The fishing on our houseboating trip started out slowly for the first couple of days. As mentioned last week, we were on the west end of Lake Shasta targeting King Salmon.

The Kings were caught trolling with hardware on downriggers. I had not fished hardware since the 70s and 80s when I used to use my own boat and that of my late uncle’s.

A lure that caught my eye on our shopping spree in Redding proved to be the top-producing lure on the finicky Kings. I even lent it to one of my friends who was fishless the last morning. He managed to land two nice fish making him happy. The lure? A ¼-ounce chrome and blue Krocodile lure by Luhr and Jensen. It was probably a lure that the fish had not seen often. Most everyone fishes lures from the Shasta Tackle Company created by Gary Miralles that work well at Shasta and everywhere else.

Shasta also is known as a great bass fishing lake. We caught a few bass stripping minnow imitation flies at the west end of the lake, but I was anxious to try a technique that I use on our local smallmouth population that incorporates the use of a jig head crayfish fly that I tie and a strike indicator.

After moving the houseboat back to the east end of the lake we tried bass fishing during the middle of the day. It was so windy that we decided to anchor the boat and try fishing along a rock ledge. This was a perfect opportunity to try out my jig head crayfish fly. I sent a cast toward the bank and slowly moved the fly back toward the boat. It took all of about 30 seconds and the strike indicator rocketed down and I set the hook. A few minutes later the first of a number of bass was lipped. This one was a small smallmouth.

Using this technique, I caught a largemouth and a number of spotted bass. After a break, I walked along the shoreline and used the same technique from shore and caught about seven more nice bass; all spotted bass. My friends tell me that this is the predominant species of bass caught in this lake.

I had great times fishing for bass, but I didn’t get a chance to get a large one. These are typically caught during the low light conditions of morning and evening. We were typically out trolling for trout and salmon during these periods.

I have to say that house boating was everything that I anticipated that it would be. With a great group of friends and a lake loaded with willing fish, how could it not be wonderful? If you are ever considering a houseboat adventure, this is a great lake on which to do it. There are numerous resorts that rent houseboats on the lake. You just have to pick one and go for it. We went with Silverthorn at

(For water levels visit 

Boca | Inflow is at 183 cfs and the outflow is 161 cfs. Try powerbait or nightcrawlers. Throwing lures from shore has been working. Fly fishers have been catching some fish near the inlet, mostly nymphing and with streamers.

Donner | Fishing has been good. Nightcrawlers and Powerbait seem to be the bait of choice. Mackinaw and Kokanee fishing has been fair. Fly fishermen are catching some fish with streamers.

Lake Tahoe | (Lake Tahoe Tributaries are closed to all fishing until July 1. The Lake within 300 feet of a Tributary also is closed. Tributaries are only open July 1 to Sept. 30.) Fishing has been fair to good for mackinaw. A guide is highly recommended if you are fishing for mackinaw for the first time. Toplining and shore fishing is fair. Most shore fishermen use inflated nightcrawlers.

Little Truckee River | The flow is now at a 183 cfs. Fishing has been fair to good. Keep an eye on the flows here. At the higher level, the LT fishes best with a large and small nymph combination. Anglers have been using SJW, Stoneflies, BWO and PMD imitations. Green Drakes have begun to show.

Martis Lake | Zero kill. Catch and Release only with barbless artificial lures or flies. Some small cutthroats and an occasional large brown or rainbow can still be caught here. Smallmouth bass have been introduced in this water.

Prosser | The lake is fishing fair to good. Powerbait and nightcrawlers are the best bait. Lure and fly fishermen are taking some fish from shore and near the inlets. Smallmouth Bass fishing is fair with surface water temperatures in the 65-degree range.

Stampede | Stampede continues to drop. Fishing has been fair to good from shore. Kokanee fishing has been good. Mackinaw fishing has been good. Smallmouth bass fishing is fair.

Truckee River | Flowing out of the lake at 315 cfs. The flow through Truckee is at 327 cfs as of June 15. Fishing seems to be fluctuating like the flows in the river. It can be good or fair. It is all a matter of location. Fish have been caught on nymphs, emergers, dries and streamers. The water flows seem to be fluctuating a bit and staying on the high side. The water is still a little higher than I like for dry fly fishing. Craneflies, midges, caddisflies, PMD, BWO, Little Yellow Stones and Green Drakes have been observed. An occasional termite hatch has been observed, as well. Your best bet is to nymph or streamer fish at these flows unless you see an active surface feeding fish.

Other Waters | Davis and Frenchman have been fair to good. The damsel hatch is in full swing now. Fish are being caught on blood midge patterns and Callibaetis imitations. Streamers fished deep also can be productive.