UPCOMING EVENT: YETI College Fishing - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Shasta on the Rise

Takeoff at Shasta Lake.

The Costa FLW Series Western Division fires up this week at one of the West’s premier spotted bass fisheries: Shasta Lake in northern California. The tournament, presented by Minn Kota, runs Feb. 18-20, and the timing might be just right for a catchfest.

 

The layout

Shasta Lake

Situated on the Sacramento River in northern California below Mount Shasta of the snow-capped Cascade Range, Shasta Lake was built in the ’40s and is home to both coldwater and warmwater fish. For tournament anglers, the star of the lake isn’t the trout fishery (mostly supported by stocking), or the incredible scenery, but the plentiful spotted bass in the mountain impoundment.

Shasta will have upward of 270 miles of shoreline when the tournaments starts, almost all of which consists of various rocky bluffs, cuts, points and islands basically devoid of vegetation. Shasta also fluctuates tremendously depending on the rain and snowfall in the area, and is very much on the rise at the moment. Though the lake is coming up, there should still be plenty of clean water to be found in most places, with visibility to about 4 feet below the surface in many areas.

Historically, the average daily catch needed to win a multi-day winter tournament on Shasta ranges from about 12 to 13 pounds, and almost exclusively consists of spotted bass, though largemouths and smallmouths are both in the lake as well. One of the heaviest tournament stringers to come from Shasta was registered by Mark Meddock in a late-March romp in 2006. Meddock sacked up 64-13 over four days of competition – or better than a 16-pounds-per-day average.

Though the fishing should be good this time around, weights aren’t likely to match Meddock’s this week. More likely the winning catch of the Costa event will be in the range of the sack that won a big pro/am event held there at the end of January. It took just less than 24 pounds to win first place in the two-day competition. With any luck, some of the FLW Series anglers should be able to equal or surpass that average.

 

The current status

Co-angler Aaron Britt of Yuba City, Calif., parlayed a 9-pound, 11-ounce catch into a second-place finish on the first day of Shasta competition.

“I was out there for five days about a week and a half ago, and it was brutal the entire time, though it seems to be the complete opposite now,” says Aaron Britt, who finished second on Shasta as a co-angler before and has since stepped to the front of the boat. “I think it won’t be terrible during the tournament, but it’ll be wet.”

Britt’s confidence going forward stems from the forecast. Like the rest of the country, winter never really settled in at Shasta, but the water temperature is in the high 40s to low 50s nonetheless. The forecast promises to warm that water up at least a few more degrees this week, with air temperatures in the 60s and 70s on tap before the rain returns and lowers the water temperature down into the 50s and 60s for the tournament.

“It has actually cooled off a little since January,” says Walmart FLW Tour pro Jimmy Reese, who visited Shasta for some scouting at the beginning of the month. “You’d like to think that this week of really nice weather will make them transition into prespawn, but we’re going to find out a lot this week.”

While the water temperature is on the rise, the lake is too. Shasta has been coming up about a half-foot per day and has risen nearly 65 feet since early January. If the water had come up 65 feet on, say, Guntersville, that would be a problem; on Shasta, it doesn’t have quite as much impact.

“Since the fall, the lake has probably come up 100 feet,” explains Britt. “Depending on which arm you go to, it can be muddy, but it isn’t terrible out in the main body. The past month we got a whole bunch of rain, and it blew a lot of reservoirs out, but we haven’t had anything substantial in a few weeks.”

Because the spotted bass don’t have access to flooded bushes or similar cover to make it more difficult for anglers to reach them, almost all the typical Shasta patterns will be in play. That means that flats, humps, points and almost any other winter or prespawn-type rock imaginable could hold the winning fish.

 

Shasta staples

Good bite or bad, the baits in play to catch them are nothing fancy. 

“The umbrella rig works – it definitely works – but small swimbaits on ballheads and underspins are the name of the game sometimes,” says Britt. “They’ll eat that umbrella rig, but a lot of times they eat that finesse stuff better when it’s really high and bright and calm.

“I think it’s going to be won on a swimbait of some sort, and it might be 2 inches long or 10 inches long. That’s usually how it goes in California in the winter.”

Reese doesn’t argue with that summation, but notes that while a swimbait of some sort could play, there are other ways to catch Shasta bass.

Besides the whole range of swimbaits, from little Keitechs to Huddlestons, there could be a crankbait bite if the fish are pushing shallow, and a drop-shot, shaky head, tube or Yamamoto Senko can never be counted out for spotted bass in the winter.

 

Tournament Details

The Costa FLW Series Western Division event on Shasta Lake is a three-day matchup set for Feb. 18-20. All pros and co-anglers fish the first two days, and the top 10 anglers in each division based on cumulative two-day weight qualify to fish on day three. The heaviest three-day cumulative weight wins.

Anglers will take off from Bridge Bay Resort, 10300 Bridge Bay Road, Redding, Calif., at 7:00 a.m. PT each morning. Weigh-ins take place at the resort beginning at 3 p.m. on days one and two and 3:30 p.m. on day three.

Fans at home can tune in to the weigh-ins via FLW Live at FLWFishing.com.

Click here for complete details.

 

Follow FLW

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Periscope

Tags: shasta-lake  jody-white  pre-tournament  2016-02-18-shasta-lake 

/tips/2019-02-12-aoy-update-lake-toho

AOY Update: Lake Toho

 With the first two events of the 2019 FLW Tour season in the books, it’s time to take a look at how the Angler of the Year race is shaping up. At Sam Rayburn and Lake Toho the pros were tested with very different conditions, and the standings include anglers different specialties and skill sets than at this time last year, when the Tour’s first two events were both held in Florida. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-11-top-10-baits-from-toho

Top 10 Baits from Toho

The second stop of the 2019 FLW Tour landed right on the spawn on Lake Toho and the other lakes on the Kissimmee Chain. Top finishers caught bass in all phases of the spawn. Collectively, they used just about every bait you’ll ever need if you want to catch a bass this time of year in the Sunshine State. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-06-roaming-kissimmee-with-douglas

Roaming Kissimmee with Douglas

Hailing from Minnesota, Josh Douglas is in his third year on the FLW Tour and looking for his first FLW Cup qualification. Were it not for a disqualification in the final event of the year at St. Clair in 2018, Douglas would have sailed into the Cup. After a tough start to the year at Rayburn, he’s planning to get back on track at the FLW Tour event presented by Ranger on Lake Toho. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-05-burghoff-checks-out-toho-on-day-2

Burghoff Checks Out Toho on Day 2

FLW Tour rookie Miles “Sonar” Burghoff kicked off his freshman season with a strong performance on Sam Rayburn, where he just missed fishing the final day with a 12th-place finish. Now, the Tour is on a system he is more than familiar with, having spent countless hours on Lakes Toho and Kissimmee while attending college at the University of Central Florida. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-04-a-look-at-lake-toho

A Look at Lake Toho

Stop No. 2 of the 2019 FLW Tour takes us to Lake Toho and the several other lakes strung along the Kissimmee River. Presented by Ranger Boats, the tournament will take off from Big Toho Marina on the north end of the namesake lake, but competitors will be able to spread out down the Kissimmee River into Cypress Lake, Lake Hatchineha (Hatch), Lake Kissimmee, and perhaps even Tiger Lake and Lake Rosalie if they’re feeling adventurous. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-29-spawn-on-the-horizon-at-okeechobee

Spawn on the Horizon at Okeechobee

Florida is a familiar place for FLW competition, and Lake Okeechobee is probably the best-known fishery the Sunshine State has to offer. So there shouldn’t be many surprises when the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division kicks off the season Jan. 31–Feb. 2 on the Big O with an event presented by Power-Pole. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-29-by-the-numbers-lake-toho

By the Numbers: Lake Toho

The FLW Tour season opener on Sam Rayburn was a slugfest for sure. Fortunately for fans and anglers alike, the second stop of the season could be just as good, as the Tour heads to Central Florida and Lake Toho and the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes in Kissimmee, Fla., on February 7. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-25-2019-lake-toho-preview

2019 Lake Toho Preview

Lake Tohopekaliga (Toho for short) is the first of four lakes on the menu for pros in the second stop of the FLW Tour. At the south end of Toho, a lock and a series of canals leads to Cypress Lake, Lake Hatchineha (Hatch) and Lake Kissimmee, which are all fair game for the pros. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-15-top-10-baits-from-sam-rayburn

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Fishing deep-diving crankbait, dragging Carolina rigs and working finesse baits such as drop-shots were the keys to success at the FLW Tour opener at Sam Rayburn. Here are the bass-fishing baits that the top pros used. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-09-cecil-s-final-morning-of-practice

Cecil’s Final Morning of Practice

Russell Cecil is one of a number of standout Texas anglers fishing the FLW Tour opener this week on Sam Rayburn. After a lackluster rookie campaign in 2018, fishing near home is a great opportunity for the Willis, Texas, pro to get the year started off strong. Though the conditions are far from normal, a few hours on the final day of practice reveal that Cecil certainly has a read on the bass. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-08-flw-live-schedule-for-sam-rayburn

FLW Live Schedule for Sam Rayburn

The 2019 FLW Live seasons kicks off on the big bass factory of Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Brookeland, Texas. Watch your favorite stars such as Scott Martin and Bryan Thrift weigh-in at the FLW Tour season opener, and then follow the weekend action live with the top pros. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-07-figuring-out-rayburn-with-powell

Figuring Out Rayburn with Powell

Hensley Powell has quickly and quietly amassed quite a record with FLW. In just three years fishing the Costa FLW Series, he’s earned over $90,000, and he got a win at Table Rock in the Central Division in 2018. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-07-sam-rayburn-lake-tour

Sam Rayburn Lake Tour

This year, the FLW Tour kicks off in Texas with a showdown presented by Polaris on Sam Rayburn. Big Sam hasn’t hosted too many FLW Tour events in the past, but it’s loaded with bass and bass fishing history. The lake is much higher than normal right now, which will no doubt produce different fishing than is typical for winter on Rayburn. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-06-practice-starts-at-rayburn

Practice Starts at Rayburn

Day one of practice for the FLW Tour presented by Polaris on Sam Rayburn started this morning. We hung around takeoff to see friends we haven't seen in months and to get the season underway.  READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-05-childs-holds-on-for-co-angler-win

Childs Holds on for Co-angler Win

Jay Childs caught two giant largemouths on day one, along with a smaller keeper, to take the early lead at Lake Amistad. Then he survived today for the win with a pair of keepers that included one smallmouth. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-04-high-water-will-factor-at-rayburn

High Water will Factor at Rayburn

Typical winter fishing on Sam Rayburn would call for a lot of lipless crankbaits, Carolina rigs and a focus on offshore structure and submerged grass. However, for the FLW Tour opener January 10-13 a lot of that may be out the window – or at least a lot different than many of the Rayburn sticks in the field are used to. Sam Rayburn has risen steadily since December 10th, and as of January 3, the lake is at 171.43 feet, which is 7 feet over full pool of 164.4 feet. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-03-by-the-numbers-sam-rayburn

By the Numbers: Sam Rayburn

The 2019 FLW Tour takes to the waters of Sam Rayburn Reservoir Jan. 10-13 for the opening event of the new season. Rayburn can produce some absolute giants in January, and if the weather cooperates, there’s potential for an abundance of massive bags. READ MORE »

/tips/2019-01-02-2019-rookie-rundown

2019 Rookie Rundown

No matter how you get to the FLW Tour, you’re only a rookie once. This year, 34 pros are taking their talents on Tour for the first time. READ MORE »

/news/2018-12-28-big-bass-expected-at-opener-on-amistad

Big Bass Expected at Opener on Amistad

Lake Amistad might not kick out quite as many massive stringers of largemouth bass as it used to, but the legendary south Texas border reservoir is still a factory for big fish. According to local guide and always tournament favorite Ray “Hanselmania” Hanselman, there are some real giants to be caught at Amistad, but they’ll be at a premium when the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division rolls into Del Rio to kick off the 2019 season on Jan. 3 READ MORE »

/tips/2018-12-19-how-to-catch-winter-spotted-bass

How to Catch Winter Spotted Bass

Some of the best fishing of the year in the South occurs on the reservoirs with spotted bass in Georgia and the Carolinas. As a guide on Lake Lanier, FLW Tour pro Rob Jordan is adept at staying on the spots all winter. He knows when to fish deep or go shallow, and how to apply a jigging spoon, jig, underspin and crankbait to take full advantage of the opportunities. READ MORE »