Description - Located 10 miles north of Redding, California, the Shasta Unit of the Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area holds the largest manmade lake in California, which was the result of creating a dam across the Sacramento River. Shasta Lake has a surface area of 30,000 acres sprawling an impressive 35 miles with a shoreline of 365 miles. The unrestrained shoreline is home to 60 osprey nests and 18 bald eagle nests, California's largest population of these species on a single reservoir. The spillway dam height is 602 feet with a spillway elevation (when the lake is full) attaining 1,067 feet above sea level. Shasta Lake includes three arms - the rivers that feed the reservoir: Sacramento, McCloud, Squaw and Pit rivers.
Copyright: USDA Forest Service
View from Dekkas Rock, Shasta Lake - McCloud Arm
- Shasta Lake, a multi-armed area, attracts enormous crowds to its striking landscape for land and water sports. Recreation opportunities at both private and public facilities are abundant. From modern marinas and campgrounds to primitive tent sites and four-wheel exploration, you are invited to discover California's largest reservoir. A good way to acquaint oneself with the massive lake region and all its offerings is by stopping at the U.S. Forest Service visitor center in the small town of Mountain Gate located 8 miles north of Redding off Interstate 5.
One of the lake's most popular attractions is the fact that it provides excellent year-round fishing, whether from a boat or from shore. The lake is home to 16 varieties of fish, including sturgeon. Trout species include rainbow, German brown, kamaloops, and kokanee salmon. Bass species include largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass. Catfish species include channel cats, white cats, and brown bullheads. Smaller species include crappie and bluegill. During the early spring shoreline anglers can catch trout. During the summer the trout seek cooler temperatures with the most effective trolling at depths of 30 to 70 feet. Almost any rocky area on the lake may produce bass. Best catfish taking is in the spring and summer months at night. Although there is white sturgeon in the lake, few anglers fish for these giant bottom-feeders. The record sturgeon catch was in 1977, 190 pounds and 8 feet, 2 inches long.
Recreation - The McCloud Arm of Shasta Lake offers nine campgrounds (eight family - one group), three boat ramps, four privately owned marinas, two watchable wildlife areas, eight scenic trails, and a day use area at Bailey's Cove.
Climate - Summer is hot and dry in northern California with temperatures ranging from 85 - 100+ degrees F. Lows range from 60 - 70 degrees F. Autumn days are usually mild and warm, with cool nights. Winter is when most of the precipitation falls, averaging over 55 inches per year. Highs during this season range from 40 - 60 degrees F and lows from 30 - 40 degrees F. Spring weather is variable with many pleasant days and high temperatures reaching 60 - 80 degrees F and lows in the 40s.
Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area sites lie in northern California surrounding the community of Redding. Shasta Lake is approximately 10 miles north of Redding off Interstate 5.