Fishing Report for the week of 6/13/2013
Hunter Hedman displays a beautiful brown trout he caught at Bucks Lake. It took him only five minutes of fishing to hook the biggest fish of his life, he said. Hedman was trolling a silver-and-black Rapalla near the dam. Photo submitted
Heat brings an end to spring fishing patterns
“If all politicians fished instead of spoke publicly, we would be at peace with the world.” —Will Rogers
The spring bite has been excellent, but the recent heat wave has put us on notice that spring is about over.
It’s time to adjust to summertime fishing conditions.
Trout are cold-blooded creatures, so they are very sensitive to the temperature of the water around them. They also need plenty of oxygen and colder water generally holds more oxygen than warmer water.
When the water temperature climbs above 65 degrees, trout feed very little or not at all. They will seek out the cooler water and so should you.
Water cools with depth so the first key is to find the depth at which the fish are feeding. With a few exceptions (like a good fly hatch) trout will not be feeding near the surface like they were a few weeks ago.
For trollers a good sonar unit is the key to finding the depth the fish are feeding at. In addition to my sonar, I have an inexpensive digital temperature probe I can lower over the side of the boat to check the temperature at various depths.
So what is the optimal temperature? Well, that depends on who you ask and what species you are interested in.
I don’t get too caught up in finding the “perfect” temperature. I figure anywhere between the mid 50-degree and low 60-degree range will do. If it’s salmon or lake trout I am after, I will knock off a few more degrees.
Of course each lake varies so there is no set rule for the best depth right now. A good place to start is asking other anglers. If other anglers are finding fish at a particular depth, the chances are good that you will too.
Tributaries and springs are also good sources of cooler water. As the summer goes on, these will become increasingly important places to look for trout.
Free fishing days
If you or someone you know has never been fishing, and aren’t sure if you will enjoy it, a great opportunity awaits you. July 6 and Sept. 7 are free fishing days throughout California.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife offers two free fishing days each year. On these days, you can fish without a sport fishing license. Free fishing days provide a great low-cost way to give fishing a try.
While all fishing regulations, such as bag and size limits, gear restrictions, report card requirements, fishing hours and stream closures remain in effect, there are two days each year when anyone can fish without purchasing a fishing license.
This is a great chance to take a non-angler out with you and share the sport.
The smallmouth bite has certainly slowed down. The bass are finished spawning. They have moved off their nests and headed for deeper water. Try looking for smallies off the rocky drop-offs.
There has not been much change in the salmon bite. They are still feeding actively, mostly in the deeper holes like the Snag or Big Springs. The best bet seems to be mooching with anchovy tails. A little dab of herring gel will up the odds of hooking a feisty salmon.
There are plenty of healthy browns and rainbows being caught. You just might have to spend a little more time at it than you did a few weeks ago. Getting an early start in the morning, or staying on the water a bit longer at sunset will help.
Insect hatches have picked up a bit with the warmer weather.
It may be a little early for Almanor’s famed Hexagenia hatch, but it may not be too early to start fishing the Hex nymphs near those muddy bottom areas along the west shore. Bait anglers should try crickets and fly anglers should use weighted Hex nymph imitations on a full sink line.
Trophy Mackinaws are still the order of the day at Bucks Lake. Local guide Bryan Roccucci (Big Daddy’s Guide Service, 283-4103) continues to bring the big Macs. He has been working the open water in the middle of the lake and getting his clients to 10-pound-plus fish, including one recent monster that weighed 21 pounds.
Fishing has been good lately. Trollers are working the north end of the big island using Dick Nite Copper Red Head or Needlefish in Red Dot Frog or Fire Tiger.
Fly anglers are picking up fish with blood midge imitations. The recent warmer weather should bring on an increase in the damselfly hatch. The flying ants should be winding down.
Bank fishing at Eagle Point, nightcrawlers, PowerBait and salmon eggs have all worked well.
Frenchman Lake continues to produce some nice trout and satisfied anglers.
Trollers are getting good results using nightcrawlers and flashers trolling across from the Frenchman boat launch.
Bank anglers continue to score with PowerBait and inflated nightcrawlers.
Call Wiggin’s Trading Post for the latest updates: 993-4683.
There is excellent evening dry fly fishing on the Middle Fork Feather River, according to local fishing guide Jay Clark (414-1655).
A size 14 EC Caddis fished at the head of the riffles will produce lots of action on wild rainbows up to 15 inches.
During the day, high-stick nymphing with an iron sally and hare’s ear has been very good.
Water temperatures are holding steady in the low 60-degree range and water levels are starting to drop some.
Fishing is good from Graeagle to Sloat and should continue to get better.
There are no fish plants in Plumas or Tehama counties in the first half of June. What is up with that?