Fishing in rainy conditions may make fishermen seem crazy to the great mass of unimaginative people, but then few fishermen care what they think.
For the past several weeks I have been patiently waiting for that first fall storm. Our lakes and streams were starting to cool slowly, but lingering summer-like weather was keeping that awesome fall fishing at bay.
Well, be careful what you wish for. That first “fall” storm came in with a vengeance. Not many early fall storms are accompanied by winter storm warnings and heavy snows.
I was camping with some friends at Gold Lake in Lakes Basin just before the storm. This fall camping trip has been a decades-long tradition. In recent years we traded backpacks for tent camping and kayaks. It remains about being outdoors with old friends, good food and a little fishing.
Gold Lake is known for strong afternoon winds. But when the wind howled all night long we knew some serious weather was on the way. We packed up and headed home a day early. Good call. Fortunately we did manage to catch some fish trolling flies and lures from the kayaks.
Gold Lake does not fish as well as it did in years past. I cannot recommend it as a great place if your sole objective is catching fish. But I don’t know of a more beautiful setting for camping and fishing that can be reached without miles of hiking or horse packing. Lakes Basin offers a true taste of the high Sierra … right off the road.
So last week we had a strong and cold storm. This week’s storm is projected to be warmer and weaker but will still bring some showers and cooler weather. What will this do to our fishing?
This change in the weather will increase the cooling in our local lakes and streams. Fish will be feeding more aggressively. The lower surface temperatures in the lakes will allow the fish to spend more time feeding near the surface.
There are two weeks left in the stream fishing season in the Sierra. Look for trout in the streams to feed actively at the surface in the afternoons and evenings.
Even though it is cold, look for grasshoppers along the streams. Grasshoppers often get blown into the water and provide a big delicious (so I am told) meal for the trout. Both bait and fly anglers should be prepared to take advantage of the remaining grasshoppers.
Fishing at Frenchman Lake was very hot prior to the storm.
Sharon Stapleton and Janice Zumpano caught limits of trout to 16 inches on the 16th. They also had seven nice catfish.
Bob Perry, of Chilcoot, caught 10 fish using worms with a bobber. He was fishing in the shallows at dusk.
Brett Watson and Rich Olsen, of Reno, caught nine rainbows 14 to 17 inches each. They were using red garlic PowerBait and worms while bank fishing at Turkey Point and Lunker Point.
Douglas Middleton, of Carson City, caught two nice rainbows at Turkey Point also. His fish measured between 17 and 22 inches each and were caught on rainbow PowerBait.
That sort of action should resume as the weather clears.
Call Wiggin’s Trading Post (993-4683) for the most current fishing and access information.
Bucks Lake is hot right now. I fished it a few days ago and did well trolling spinners from my kayak. Berkley Gulp smelt plastic baits are very hot now.
The water is very low. The boat ramps are out of the water so plan to fish from the shore unless you have a very small watercraft you can launch off the beach.
Most of the fish are being caught in the Mill Creek and Bucks Creek arms. Fishing in front of the dam can also be productive this time of year.
Fishing was slowly improving before the last storm. It is even better now. Water temperatures have dropped into the high 50-degree range according. Fifty-five is considered optimal for trout.
Lower surface temperatures have the fish closer to the top longer, and later into the morning.
The mouth of the Feather River continues to produce fish. Other hot spots are the mouth of Hamilton Branch, Big Springs, and both Rec 1 and Rec 2. Geritol Cove has been producing lots of nice fish from 1-1/2 up to 6 pounds.
Bait anglers are catching fish with crawlers, crickets and mealworms. Pond smelt are the primary feed source right now, so white jigs and smelt imitations are working well.
The roadis open and the fishing is good. The powerhousehas been running and some nice fish are being caught in front of the powerhouse. There are very few boats out on the lake.
The water at Lake Davis had cooled off and was fishing very well before the last storm. The fish were in shallow water cruising the shoreline in search of a meal.
Fly anglers are doing well with small midges and Callibaetis mayfly imitations. Woolly buggers and Wiggle Tails were also working very well before the storm. I have not heard any reports since the storm but I would expect the same patterns to be working now.
Bait anglers are scoring with PowerBait.
Call J&J Grizzly Store and Camping Resort (832-0270) for the latest fishing and access conditions.
(Stream fishing information courtesy Tom Maumoynier of Lake Almanor Fly Fishing Company of Chester, 258-3944.)
Warner Creek is fishing well in the evenings; fall colors are starting.
NorthFork Feather River above the lake is fishing well in the evenings. Try fishing nymphs in the afternoonsand dry flies in the evening. October caddisare starting to show. These big orange caddis flies are a favorite trout meal.
Deer Creek is low. The upper end has been fishing well with a good evening hatch.
Hamilton Branch: The lake mouth has been good; bigger fish are there.The upper stream bellow Clear Creekis fishing well with dry flies in the evening.
The Middle Fork Feather River is fishing best between Two Rivers and Nelson Creek. Try dry fly fishing with caddis and mayfly imitations in the evening. Swing mayfly nymphs through the tail-outs in the afternoon. Crickets are a good bet for bait anglers.