Jason Newman shows Maverick Coy how to cast his line in the water along Spanish Creek last Sunday. All across the county, there are plenty of fishing holes waiting to be discovered. Photo by James Wilson
We can count one more winter over and done with. The daylight is lasting longer and the afternoons warmer. The fish are biting. Spring is awakening. Trout season is here. So are the north winds and allergies … it’s a package deal.
Every year Caribou Crossroads on Highway 70 in the Feather River Canyon hosts a Big Fish Contest and barbecue, complete with live music, to celebrate the opening day of stream fishing season. My wife and I were there enjoying the music and some good food last Saturday. We couldn’t help but laugh and admire the cute little boy at the table next to us. He was clearly enjoying himself with all kinds of happy antics including literally dancing on the table.
Turns out he had good reason to be celebrating. When it was time for the awards ceremony, 4-year-old Jaden Seliz won the award for largest fish in the kids division with a 14.5-inch rainbow. Other derby winners were Anthony Sonalsky with a 24.5-inch first-place fish and Bob Newby with a 22-inch second-place fish. Peter Brott was third with a 21.5-inch fish and Amiya Rash won the award for the youngest angler to catch a fish. This was a repeat performance for Amiya, who won last year as a 3-year-old.
There is nothing like a big fish to bring joy to a child. I can’t wait until my granddaughter is old enough to go fishing.
Many of our local streams opened over the weekend. Fishing pressure for the most part was on the light side. Lower than normal stream flows made for better than average fishing.
Insect hatches in most streams are still a bit sporadic. There are few Skawala stoneflies and Callibaetis mayflies in the afternoons, but most feeding is subsurface so fly anglers will do best fishing nymphs. I would focus on size 18 midge patterns, size 14 and 16 mayfly nymphs and size 8 through 14 stonefly patterns. For bait anglers, the standby salmon egg or worms are always effective. Use just enough split shot to get your bait down so it drifts just off the bottom.
The water temperature has risen into the high 50s, triggering an increase in insect hatches.
Bryan Roccucci of Big Daddy’s Guide Service has been running trips along the east shore near Lake Cove and Dorado with excellent results on a mix of browns to 3 pounds and rainbows to 4.5 pounds. But the big stars have been the lake’s king salmon, mostly running a fat 19 to 22 inches and making up 90 percent of Bryan’s catch.
Limits on the boat have been the rule, as well as a number of fish released each day with most days seeing more than 20 fish and some days more than 30. Single, double and even a few triple hook-ups have made for some exciting fishing. Action is taking place from the surface to 55 feet with the bite moving deeper as the days go along. The best baits have been spoons in minnow patterns as well as some red and gold patterns loaded with Pro-Cure’s Trophy Trout Gel.
According to Doug Neal, of Almanor Fishing Adventures, aquatic insect hatches are attracting concentrations of feeding fish. These insect hatches occur at different times and in different places around the lake. Being in the right place at the right time is the key. Doug and his clients have seen some good action trolling fast-action lures like Speedy Shiners, Moose Looks, Needlefish and Rapalas at 2.6 to 2.8 mph. The other effective presentation is the chartreuse Sep’s “Strike Master Dodger” with a 14-inch leader, size 4 octopus hook and half of a threaded crawler trolled much more slowly. Doug says the fish are very strong right now so expect some exciting hook-ups with strong runs.
Bailey Springs is another hot area. The abundant springs and shallow water make this the ideal spot for fly anglers. Fly anglers will do well fishing midge patterns and small mayflies just below the surface.
The Almanor Fishing Association and Kokanee Power will hold the second annual Lake Almanor “Team Trout and Salmon Derby” on Saturday, June 15. Entry forms are available at kokaneepower.com.
Tom Maumoynier, of Lake Almanor Fly Fishing Co., says the bass are hitting at Butt Lake. Trout are cruising for midges. The powerhouse area remains closed until Memorial weekend.
Fishing remains very good a Frenchman Lake. There are reports of anglers catching limits of rainbows between 18 and 22 inches. Inflated worms and green PowerBait and inflated worms are the baits of choice. Chilcoot, Frenchman and Spring Creek campgrounds are all open now. Call Wiggins Trading Post for current conditions and updates at 993-4683.
Trout are holding around tributaries feeding on small midges on the surface and subsurface. The fishing is a little bit hit-and-miss, according to local guide Jon Baiocchi, as the trout are on the move. But once you find them, the action can really pick up.
Jon and his clients have been catching 16- to 18-inch fish. He said the best trolling is in the southwest area of the lake. For fly anglers the blood midges have started hatching and there are also Callibaetis mayflies showing. Water temperatures are in the mid 50-degree range. The bug hatches should increase as the water warms for the next week or so.