Shasta Lake, CA
Shasta Lake’s many arms and inlets make it a paradise for explorers and boaters alike. The four major arms of the lake offer spectacular scenery. Shasta Lake is formed by four rivers. The Sacramento, McCloud, Squaw, and Pit Rivers, held back by the enormous Shasta Dam, which is the second-largest Dam in the United States after the Grand Coulee. Shasta Lake is thirty-five miles long with nearly 370 miles of shoreline. It holds enough water when it is full to provide about 5,000 gallons of water to each person in the United States. Much of Shasta Lake’s 29,500 acre surface area is accessible only by boat. Maps of the lake are available at the Shasta Lake Visitor Information Center.
Shasta Lake is within an easy drive of Sacramento, San Francisco, and Portland for a weekend getaway.
Shasta Lake's River ArmsThe three rivers flowing into the lake create three "arms," each named for the river that forms it.
- McCloud Arm: The grey rocks that tower above this waterway were formed from ocean sediments. Stop at the Holiday Harbor Marina to get a tour of Shasta Caverns.
- Sacramento Arm: The busiest and most developed, it ends at Riverview, an old resort site with the lake's only sandy beach. You can get great views of Mount Lassen as you cruise upstream here.
- Pit Arm: The lake's longest arm stretches almost 30 miles. Standing snags of dead trees make the upper Pit hazardous for boating.
Things to Do on or Around Shasta LakeLake Shasta is very popular for all kinds of water sports. It's also a good place for a quiet getaway.
- Houseboat Rentals : This is a great way to see the lake and spend a great vacation with your family and friends.
- Shasta Dam : Shasta Lake offers daily tours through and under the country's second-largest concrete dam. There is a maximum of 40 people that can be allowed on each tour. You should get there early to get in with less waiting times. There are no phones, cameras, or bags of any kind that are allowed on the tour. To get there you will exit I-5 at Shasta Dam Road.
- Lake Shasta Caverns : You can take a catamaran ride and a bus trip up the mountain before visiting this bit of underground geology. To get there you will take the I-5 exit 395, or if you're boating, go up the McCloud Arm of the lake and go to the Holiday Harbor Marina.
- Lake Shasta Dinner Cruises : You can take a Lake Shasta Dinner Cruise. The cruises depart from the gift shop at Lake Shasta Caverns and run on Saturdays beginning on Memorial Day and they run through Labor Day, except holiday weekends.
Shasta Lake Water Sports
- Boating: Boating is by far the most popular activity at Lake Shasta. Boating gives you a chance to see the lake and enjoy the scenery. Bring your own boat, or you can also rent a boat at many of the lakeside marinas on Lake Shasta.
- Swimming: There are no dedicated swimming areas on Lake Shasta, but you can swim from the shoreline, or you can swim from your boat.
- Water skiing: Water skiing is popular on Lake Shasta, especially on the Sacramento Arm and Jones Valley areas. Be careful to avoid the Pit River because there is a lot of submerged debris.
- Fishing: There are a lot of trophy-size bass and three- to ten-pound trout on Lake Shasta, along with other species such as bluegills, salmon, bass, crappie, catfish and sturgeon. You can buy a fishing license at most of the lakeside resorts, and some of them also sell fishing tackle and rent fishing boats.
Shasta Lake Public Boat Ramps
*Antlers Exit I-5 at Lakeshore Dr./Antlers Rd., Exit # 702. Go east, 1/2 mile.
Open until the lake level drops 75'
Bailey Cove Exit I-5 at O'Brien, exit # 695. Take Shasta Caverns Rd., 1 mile to Bailey Cove Rd.
Open until the lake level drops 50'
*Centimudi Exit I-5 at Shasta Dam Blvd., exit # 685. Take Lake or Shasta Dam Blvd. towards Shasta Dam.
The Centimudi Boat Ramp is paved. It has three (3) ramps for varying lake levels; a four lane ramp with a courtesy dock is available when lake draw down is between 0 and 75 feet, a three lane ramp is available when lake draw down is between 76 and 95 feet, and two lanes are available up to 210 feet of draw down. The launch ramp has an upper and lower paved and lighted parking lot with 105 spaces.
Hirz Bay Exit I-5 at Gilman Rd., exit # 698, 10 miles to Hirz Bay. Closed during severe weather conditions.
The Hirz Bay boat ramp is paved and has three (3) ramps for varying lake levels. A three lane ramp is in service until 75 feet draw down, a two lane ramp until 95 feet draw down, and one lane until 115 foot draw down. The launch ramp parking lot has 61 paved spaces with lighting and a courtesy dock.
Jones Valley Exit I-5 at Oasis Rd., exit # 682, or Mountain Gate, exit # 687, then east to Bear Mountain Rd., 9 miles.
Description: The Jones Valley Boat Ramp is paved and has four (4) ramps for varying lake levels. A four lane ramp is available until 50 feet of lake draw down, a two lane ramp is available until 140 feet of drawdown, and a one lane ramp is in service until 210 feet of draw down.
*Packers Bay Exit northbound I-5 at O'Brien, exit # 695 and join southbound I-5 traffic. Exit at Packers Bay Rd.
Description: The Packers Bay boat ramp is paved. It has four lanes available until 50 feet of draw down, and then has two lanes available until 115 feet of draw down.
There is a lighted parking lot with 188 spaces and a courtesy doc and offers an accessible loading platform in addition to the ramp.
Sugarloaf Exit I-5 at Lakeshore Dr./Antlers Rd., exit # 702. Left 2 miles
Description: On the Upper Sacramento River Arm in the Sugarloaf area of Lakehead. Services nearby. This ramp has 2 launching lanes available once the lake level drops past the 75' level. It is no longer available once the lake level drops below 160'.
Shasta Lake Fishing Techniques
Troll the buoy line in front of the dam and you will slay the rainbows on silver/blue Humdingers behind a blue Sling Blade, as well as Flea Bittys and Paddle Tails. For bass from the shoreline use worms, crawdads or minnows with either a split-shot about 3 feet above the hook and let the line float freely or use a sliding bobber and adjust it according to the depths.
Shasta Lake Fishing ReportsAugust 22, 2008
Shasta Lake Landlocked Salmon and Trout - Shasta Lake salmon and trout fishing has slowed with the low water and onslaught of wakeboarders and alcohol fueled power boats. The constant agitation of the water has washed in clay from the banks, seriously degrading water clarity. We are still picking up trout and salmon, but it's not the gimmee that it was for the last 8 weeks. Post Labor Day, the lake will calm down and the salmon and trout fishing should return to normal. The lake has stratified and the the salmon and larger trout have moved into deeper water. Seps #3 and #4 watermelon or glow dodgers followed by Seps Secret lures or slow rolled shad are producing fish. Small planter trout are scattered along the surface while larger hold over trout and king salmon are holding 80 - 120 feet deep. Take advantage of our summer specials and fish Shasta's prolific fishery at a price that will make you forget about gas prices.
Current Shasta Conditions - The lake is at 128 ft. below full pool and dropping. The main Centimudi launch ramp is closed and the dock is out of the water. We are launching off of the low water launch on the island next to the ramp. Dirt road to paved launch ramp, but no dock available. New islands and structures are appearing every day, so keep a sharp eye on the water especially if you are running a prop. Antlers and Bailey Cove launch ramps are closed. There is limited access at all of the ramps.
August 9th 2008
Shasta Lake Landlocked Salmon and Trout 9 Aug 2008 -Shasta Lake continues to pump out quality trout and salmon. Dry Creek cove, our favorite landlocked salmon spot is open again. We are catching lots of landlocked King Salmon and rainbow trout to 22". Average day with 4 downriggers in the water is 20 - 25 downrigger releases, 14 - 20 solid hook ups and 7-16 to the boat. Average size fish is 15" - 18". The lake has stratified and the salmon and larger trout have moved into deeper water. Seps #3 and #4 Gold Starlite, UV Fruit Salad or glow dodgers followed by Seps Secret lures or slow rolled shad are producing fish. Small planter trout are scattered along the surface while larger hold over trout and king salmon are holding 80 - 120 feet deep.
Current Shasta Conditions - The lake is dropping fast and will continue to draining quickly until Reclamation drops the river flows in Sept and Oct. The Centimudi launch ramp is just above the falling water line, and the dock will probably be removed next week. We will soon be launching off of the low water launch on the island. New islands and structures are appearing every day, so keep a sharp eye on the water especially if you are running a prop. There is limited access at all of the ramps