In the heat, ‘jet-ski hatch’ takes over
"Nothing makes a fish bigger than almost being caught."
The Hex hatch is over and the jet-ski hatch is in full swing. Water temperatures are on the rise and the fish are headed for deeper water. The fish are turning their attention from insects to pond smelt.
Under these conditions the best fishing is early and deep.
Trollers will find the best action early in the morning before the sun is on the water. Some anglers are picking up fish in the evenings. The key is to stay out late. If you enjoy evening trolling, try fishing from 7 to about 9:30 p.m. Make sure you have the proper lights for night navigation.
The rainbows and browns that feed throughout the water column in the spring are now looking for that specific depth that meets their temperature and oxygen needs. A fish finder is key to finding the proper depth. Generally speaking, 30 to 45 feet deep is where you will find the fish this time of year.
Fish are switching their focus from the insect hatches to pond smelt. Any lure that imitates these 1-1/2-inch slender and light-colored inch bait fish is a good bet. The more action you can give your lure, the better. A little dab of one of the many fish scents won’t hurt.
There is one other trolling rig that has been a consistent fish-catcher: a threaded nightcrawler behind a dodger. A nightcrawler threading tool is key to setting up this rig. It is just a simple metal tube with a wood handle. If you are not familiar with these, stop by your local sporting goods store and pick one up. Be sure to have them explain how to use it.
The east side of the lake seems to be better from now through fall. My guess is this has to do with the number of springs, the steeper shoreline and the wind blowing up the canyon. These combine to keep the water cooler and better oxygenated than the left lobe.
The usual hot spots for trollers in the heat of summer are the mouth of Hamilton Branch to Big Springs and down the Peninsula to the A-Frame.
The Snag is a good spot for salmon mooching right now. The Snag is a deep hole with an abrupt shoal on its east end. It is located about a half-mile from the dam along the east shore. It is usually easy to locate by the number of boats fishing there.
By the time you read this, there should be a new dock at the Canyon Dam boat launch.
Butt Lake has been hit and miss lately. Normally the best action this time of year is near the powerhouse where Butt Lake gets cold water from Almanor via the powerhouse and from Butt Creek. But Allan Bruzza of the Sportsmen’s Den in Quincy reports that the powerhouse has only been running intermittently and the lake level has been fluctuating quite a bit. Allan says the fish won’t go up into the channel when the water is too low.
There are some sizable rainbows and browns to be had at Butt Lake, but one day the fishing is on and the next day it’s off.
Just like our other local lakes, Bucks Lake has not been immune from the heat.
The fishing has slowed a bit and the jet-ski hatch is in full swing every afternoon. But the fishing has been decent in the mornings. Trollers are picking up a few kokanee as well as some rainbows and an occasional brown.
The best fishing right now is in the Bucks Creek arm and in front of the dam.
Although I have not tried it yet this year, Lower Bucks Lake can provide some good action this time of year. Lower Bucks is fed by cooler water deep in Bucks so it tends to stay cooler.
The higher-elevation lakes are always a good bet this time of year. Fly anglers will do well with Callibaetis mayflies and dragonfly nymphs. Casting from shore with Daredevils, Dick Nites and Kastmasters can be very productive.
Most area streams are fishing well.Nymphing is the most productive technique throughout the day. Get your flies on the bottom and keep them there. Golden stones, small mayfly nymphs, birds nests nymphs and San Juan worms are good options for the fly angler.
Dry flies will work in the late afternoon and evenings when most streams have some caddis flies and small mayflies hatching in the evenings.