Lake Shasta Spotted Bass Tips

Gary Dobyns Strategies for Cold Weather Spotted Bass by David A. Brown

Winter 2021


“I’m fishing steep stuff and they just go up and down (with weather conditions). No matter how bad the cold front is, no matter how bad the wind is, if you fish 40- 60 feet for spotted bass in those conditions, you’re going to catch them.”

The key here, is maintaining bottom contact while covering water at a good pace. That’s why Dobyns uses the heavy football jig.

“All I want to do is keep touching the bottom,” he said. “Also, that 1-ounce jig hits the bottom, and it stirs up a lot of sediment.

“So, on those banks with that red mud, every time that jig hits the bottom, I know that stirs up sediment. If you’ve ever watched a crawfish fleeing from something, they’ll flip their tale and it’s like dust cloud, dust cloud, dust cloud as they’re going away.”

This time of year, the fish tend to group up and Dobyns knows the value of milking a good bank. Often, a simple change in direction can squeeze more out of a busy stretch.

“If get a good bank that’s hot, I’ll fish it numerous times because I’ll get a bunch of bites going down it and, truthfully, there have been many times when I’ve fished (a productive bank) both ways,” Dobyns said. “I’ll pick up a couple fish going one way and coming back I’ll pick up four or five more, or vice versa.

“You won’t get the numbers like would when you’re fishing a nail-weighted Senko shallow, but the quality can be really, really good. It will save your day.”


Noting that he’s always looking for winter jerkbait fish, Dobyns said his preference on Shasta is a 1/2-ounce

Smithwick Rattling Rogue

in black back/silver or a

Megabass Vison 110 ONETEN

in natural baitfish colors.

Dobyns throw his jerkbaits

on a Dobyns Champion 704CB

with 10-pound P-Line CXX.

It’s not uncommon to find a

jerkbait bite throughout a winter

day, but Dobyns especially likes

daybreak opportunities.

“I catch a lot of big ones

on that bait, especially first

thing in the morning,” he said.

“Many times, the first hour of

a day, I will stay on that Rogue

because I have the chance to

catch my kicker of the day.

Once the sun gets up, with that

winter clarity, the just don’t

bite it as well unless I have a

good warm wind.

“I fish a lot of points and I like

rock on them; I just like a spot where

they can ambush bait. I like the

steeper stuff, but I’ll fish down the

sides of points too. It’s a run-and-

gun technique. I’ll come around that

point, down the side a little way and

I’m off to the next one.”

That being said, Dobyns will often revisit points where he got the jerkbait bites. The key, he said, is to give each hot point time to resettle before hitting it again.

“I may only let it wait 10-15 minutes, but if I catch a big one there, I’m coming back,” Dobyns said. “I’m convinced that those big spots are rarely by themselves.”

Noting that his preferences are just that — preferences, Dobyns said one of Shasta’s most endearing attributes is its diversity. It’s definitely wise to dial in shallow and deep patterns, but this is truly an accommodating lake; and one that rewards diligence with phenomenal results.

“It’s an absolutely awesome fishery; there are so many different ways to fish it,” Dobyns said. “It’s literally a lake where you can have a 100-fish day.” •