Finishing up a fishing guide |

Finishing up a fishing guide

Submitted PhotoChris Shaffer's new book, "The Definitive Guide to Fishing Northern California" is in stores now

Its hard to believe that anyone but the most seasoned, well-traveled old-timer could have created The Definitive Guide to Fishing Northern California a book packed with first-hand knowledge of and insight to more than 525 lakes, rivers, ponds and streams in the northern half of the state.So when opening the book and setting eyes on a photo of Chris Shaffer the 27-year-old author and president of Shafdog Publications who spent the past five years on the road scouting out, fishing and reporting on nearly every fishable water hole imaginable the first glance may warrant a double take.In all, the book has more than 900 color photos on 768 glossy pages. Its coverage spans from the Pacific Ocean to the Nevada border and from the Oregon border to just south of the Stockton area.It was such an exhausting project, said Shaffer, who is from Southern California but based his operation out of friend Dan Lezaks house in Incline Village part of the time. Everybody said I couldnt do it, so that was a lot of motivation.Shaffer did it, and he made sure he did it right, he said. As opposed to sending others to fish waters while he fished another, or sitting behind a desk attaining information about a place miles away, Shaffer personally fished every water in the book. He often capitalized on the knowledge of local anglers, guides or tackle shop owners to target the fish, he said. If one place required more fishing time than another to get an accurate report, Shaffer put in the time. He spent a day fishing some spots while setting aside multiple days, sometimes weeks, for others. At times, if necessary, he even threw on the snorkel gear to conduct underwater research. Shaffer fished Lake Tahoe more than 80 times and Donner Lake about seven or eight, he said. He notes in the book the difference between the lakes mackinaw:The comparison between Tahoe and Donner is an endless debate, he writes in the Donner Lake entry. Tahoe has a greater quantity of large fish. However, Donners fish are more concentrated, making them easier to target (not necessarily to catch). Donners lake trout also have an easier time corralling their prey, thus requiring them to expend less energy feeding. Donners lake trout grow faster than Tahoes. Youll notice Donners have small heads and large bodies, a sign that they are growing fast. Asked what was his favorite place to fish, Shaffer put Tahoe near the top of his list. Its hard to say, but one of my favorite places is Tahoe, he said. You can troll and have a chance to get huge rainbow, or huge brown or huge mackinaw.Examples of some of those monsters are strewn about the nine pages devoted to Lake Tahoe.While it seems like quite a feat for a 27-year-old author to have spent five years of his life working on and completing a book, the fact that The Definitive Guide to Fishing Northern California is the third in a series of three guides on California freshwater fishing is hard to fathom. Shaffers Northern California fishing guide follows The Definitive Guide to Fishing Southern California and The Definitive Guide to Fishing Central California. He also wrote The definitive Guide of the Waterfalls of Southern and Central California and plans to follow that with a guide on Northern California Waterfalls.Ive stayed busy, said Shaffer, who also worked for three years as a sportswriter at the Los Angeles Times and said he now contributes 50 to 70 articles a month to different outdoors publications, including the Los Angeles Daily News. Youve got to do these types of things when youre young. Im not sure I could do it again.Listed on the back cover at $24.95, The Definitive Guide to Fishing Northern California is available at Mountain Hardware & Sports in Truckee as well as a number of book stores, including Borders and Barnes & Noble. It can also be purchased by calling (818) 368-6516 or visiting

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