“If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing poles.”
The recent cooler weather is helping to maintain spring-like fishing conditions. The water has not warmed enough to send fish to deeper and cooler water. This is good news for anglers even if the few windy days we have had did make for some tougher fishing conditions.
The last of our local streams opened this past weekend. Those are the tributaries to Almanor, Butt and Lake Davis. The late opener allows plenty of time for spring spawning rainbows to complete the cycle of regeneration without being interrupted by anglers. The other noteworthy opening this past week is the channel below the powerhouse on Butt Lake.
Surface temperatures are holding in the low 60-degree range. There is abundant insect activity and the fish are feeding actively. Spring conditions continue and the fishing is very good right now.
According to Doug Neal of Almanor Fishing Adventures (283-6732) most boats have been trolling while others are mooching and ripping baits closer to shore.
Early in the morning Doug has been running fast-action trolling lures at 2.6 to 2.8 mph. with Pro-Cure Trophy Trout scent. He has been catching fish from near the top all the way down to 35 feet. Doug says the hits have been hard and the fish are fighting hard. By late morning more fish go deeper, especially with the bright sunshine, no wind and a warming surface.
When the action slows down, Doug switches to a chartreuse and silver Sep’s Strike Master Dodger with a half crawler and runs deeper, stacking a naked crawler above.
King salmon are taking anchovy tails mooched deep. Try the fishing the Snag, Big Springs or the A-Frame for salmon. You can increase your odds by adding a scent like Pro-Cure Herring Gel to your bait.
The bass spawn has nearly run its course but patient anglers are still finding some on the beds. This is sight fishing, so Polaroid glasses and a careful approach are key.
The east shore seems to be the place to fish with lots of good reports. The west shore is still a bit slow north of Prattville, but look for that to turn around soon.
Speaking of Prattville, the best breakfast on the lake may be at Carol’s Camp Prattville Cafe. It’s a perfect spot to boat in for an excellent meal.
Trout continue feeding on hatching insects. Midges are the main attraction. The pond smelt have made their way down from Lake Almanor, providing another abundant food source for the cruising trout.
The bass are still on their beds but the big attraction may be the powerhouse. The channel in front of the powerhouse just opened to fishing this past weekend.
The powerhouse has been running intermittently. When it is running it provides a veritable chum line of feed flushed down from Lake Almanor, mostly pond smelt. This is a big attraction for both the fish and the anglers. Drifting white jigs in the current is an effective way to imitate the pond smelt.
Fishing at Frenchman Lake has been great this past week.
Bill and Stella McGuirk, from Cold Springs, Nev., limited out at Spring Creek last Monday evening using worms with a Pautske salmon egg. Their fish measured 14 to 16 inches each.
Jason, from Chester, age 11, caught his first fish at the Frenchman boat ramp using a Needlefish lure. The fish weighed 1-1/2 pounds and was 16 inches long.
Sakamoto and Yuki Paul recently each caught their limits at Crystal Point using rainbow PowerBait. Their biggest fish weighed about 2 pounds.
The fishing between Spring Creek and Big Cove has also been good. Some catch-and-release fishermen reported catching nine rainbows in that area.
Call Wiggin’s Trading Post for the most current fishing conditions at 993-4683.
The fishing at Davis is good and getting better. Trollers are hooking up using Dick Nite Copper Red Head spoons or Needlefish in Red Dot Frog or Fire Tiger. The best trolling is in the north end of the islands.
Fly anglers are finding feisty rainbows from Eagle Point to Jenkins. The trout are keying on blood midges and flying ants. Damselflies are just around the corner and are probably on the move now in anticipation of the hatch.
Assorted nymphs including blood midges, ice cream cones and orange woolly buggers are all catching fish. Another effective fly is the Jay Fair Wiggle Nymph. Try rusty orange or green.
Bank anglers using PowerBait or nightcrawlers are hooking up at Eagle Point.
The streams are all open and clear now, except for Mill Creek, which always runs a little off-color well into the summer.
The best fishing on Deer Creek is around Elam Campground where the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has planted lots of hatchery fish. Insect hatches are on the increase with the best dry fly action in the late afternoon and evenings.
Earlier in the day nymphs are producing for fly anglers. Try stoneflies and caddis flies. Be sure to carry some large salmon fly imitations. Deer Creek can produce some very impressive salmon fly hatches in the early season. Trout can throw caution to the wind when these giants of the insect world are on the water.
The North Fork Feather is fishing very well from High Bridge down to Chester. This stretch of the river has been planted recently and there are also plenty of hold-over fish.
Fishing is good on the Middle Fork Feather River. Insect hatches have been strong. Fish are starting to move downstream as the water warms. High stick nymphing with bead-head attractor patterns is the most productive method.
Look for the very large salmon flies in the afternoon. Drift a big dry salmon fly imitation near logs and overhanging brush. Caddis pupae and small stoneflies are also good bets. The best dry fly action is in the evening when the sun is off the water.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has planted trout in Deer Creek, Hamilton Branch and the North Fork Feather River above Lake Almanor. Hamilton Branch and the North Fork Feather will receive additional plants this week.