Each spring, as temperatures rise among 2.2 million acres of evergreens and manzanita trees, the Shasta-Trinity National Forest begins to awaken from a long winter of hibernation.
Beneath the nearly solid forest canopy, more than 6,000 swelling streams and rivers propel melting mountain snow toward hundreds of lakes lying in wait at the feet of Mt. Shasta, the Trinity Alps, and the Klamath Mountains.
Melting through springtime.
Surrounded by 365 miles of wooded shoreline, Shasta Lake becomes a lively spring habitat as four major rivers carry in the winter snowmelt, quickly filling it to capacity.
The fresh, crystal-clear waters found within the small coves dotting the lakeshore protect new fish hatches and support wildlife, such as squirrels, osprey, and bald eagles.
At the same time, seasoned anglers know exactly where to look when searching for dinner or their next “fish tale”. Arriving in vessels ranging from small kayaks to grand houseboats, fishermen take the first plunge into a months-long season of recreation.
Soaking up the sunshine
As daily sunshine warms the surface, many will still find the lake much too cold for swimming. However, the number of boats on the lake rises every weekend.
Campers begin to arrive hoping to take advantage of the cool temperatures. For now, the fishing remains quite good as large-mouth bass grow in size and numbers. In addition, although a permit may be required, it’s often still cool enough for lakeside campfires once evening falls.
All week long, visitors come to enjoy hiking, bird watching, or sunbathing. With any excuse to escape the confines of their homes, classrooms, and offices in search of sunshine, some folks simply relax aimlessly on the decks of houseboats.
Kicking off with Memorial Day.
Each year, one particular weekend marks the official start to summer on the lake. In reality, Memorial Day in this area begins about one week prior and lasting well into the week following the popular 3-day holiday.
The extra day off, in conjunction with rapidly rising temperatures and the approaching end to the school year, brings visitors from regions near and far. Some bring a tent and a floaty while others load up the RV with towables, personal watercraft, and small boats.
Luckily, many items, such as houseboats, can be rented at nearby marinas and provide shelter as well as fun. Other amenities including tackle shops, restaurants, and campground facilities, draw in families hoping to not worry about the little things while celebrating the holiday.
Escaping the heat of summer.
So begins the summer season on a lake named one of the top 10 houseboating destinations in the country.
After Memorial Day and lasting well into September, soaring, often record-breaking, temperatures drive folks into the lake’s waters en masse.
Swimming, boating, water sports, fishing, and cave exploration provide enough activity to keep everyone entertained until which time the cooling temperatures of fall return and the area slips into hibernation once again.
In order to understand the popularity of Shasta Lake, one only needs to see the area first-hand. Fortunately, this vast body of water is easily found and accessed.
Just be sure to reserve any campgrounds, houseboats, or other items well ahead of time to ensure their availability and plan on successfully beating the heat during your next family vacation.