Lots of options for local anglers
“It has always been my private conviction that any man who puts his intelligence up against a fish and loses had it coming.”
Lower Bucks Lake
One of my favorite overlooked local lakes is Lower Bucks.
You can practically hit it with a rock from its much more popular big brother. But while Bucks Lake is teaming with ski boats, jet skis and late summer vacationers by the hundreds, Lower Bucks is quiet and uncrowded.
The cool water pulled from the bottom of Bucks Lake picks up a big pulse of oxygen as it rushes in a torrent down the short stretch to Lower Bucks. This colder oxygenated water is a big shot in the arm to the fish, mostly browns, in Lower Bucks.
I fished Lower Bucks one morning recently. My little kayak was the only watercraft on the lake.
Except for a small group of anglers working from the bank just below the inlet, I had the lake all to myself.
We all caught fish. Not big fish. Not lots of fish, but feisty little browns that made for a nice morning.
We all caught our fish on spinning gear. I was using one of my old sentimental favorites, a Super Duper.
I am sure I started fishing with Super Dupers more than 50 years ago. They still work.
The unique U-shape has a great action at just about any retrieve speed.
Every time I fish with one I feel like I need to ditch the graphite rod and fancy spinning reel and go back to a Mitchell 300 on a fiberglass rod from Thrifty Drug Store.
Like all the lakes right now, Lower Bucks is fishing best early in the morning and late in the evening when the sun is off the water.
Look for cool water flowing into the lake. Aside from the inflow from Bucks, there are several small creeks and seeps around the lake shore.
Bucks Lake just keeps kicking out fish, according to local guide Bryan Roccucci of Big Daddy’s Guide Service. According to Bryan you can almost pick the kind of fish you catch by where you fish on the lake.
If you want rainbow trout, stay in the Bucks Creek arm.
If it is brookies or browns you are looking for, head to the Mill Creek side of the lake and work the creek arm around Rainbow Point. Many areas are holding small brook trout.
There are plenty of kokanee from Haskins Channel toward the dam stacked up at 40 to 45 feet. The larger Mackinaw have been tough to come by lately but there are plenty of 2- to 4-pounders hanging out in some of the deeper spots of the lake.
Bryan suggests working small spoons in 25 to 40 feet of water for the trout and Mackinaw. The kokanee have been hanging around that 40-foot mark and have been hitting Uncle Larry’s Spinners behind dodgers tipped with corn.
Fishing has really picked up during the past week, according to Doug Neal of Almanor Fishing Adventures. The dark moon phase has allowed the feeding cycles to hold deeper into the morning and early afternoon before slowing down. Surface temperatures have lowered a bit thanks to the northeast winds. Doug says he expects good fishing for the next few weeks.
Fish have switched from feeding primarily on aquatic insects to feeding on smelt more and more.
Trolling and bait fishing have both been productive.
Trolling dodgers or flashers with threaded mini crawlers or half a large crawler has been effective all season. These are usually trolled slowly (1 to 1.5 mph). With the pond smelt replacing insects as the primary food source, fast action trolling lures are getting more results.
Needlefish and Speedy Shiners are the most successful fast action lures for Almanor.
The bait bite is also good. Crickets and mealworms are always a favorite during late summer. The A-Frame, Spar Buoy, Big Springs and east shore are all great areas to mooch suspended baits up 6 to 8 feet off the bottom.
Anchovy tail fillets with Pro-Cure Herring Gel are the bait of choice for salmon. Kings, browns and rainbows are all taking mooched baits, and they will find them better with some scent on them.
Anglers continue to do well at Frenchman Lake. There are good reports coming in from around the lake.
Chris Baro and his sons from Chilcoot recently caught two limits of rainbows using Wee Dick Nites while trolling 30 feet deep from the narrows south. Their fish measured up to 18 inches each.
Bank anglers at Snallygaster, near the dam and many other spots around the lake have been hooking rainbows up to 18 inches. Most are using nightcrawlers or PowerBait.
For the most current conditions, call Wiggin’s Trading Post at 993-4683.
Antelope is always a good choice for late summer anglers. At just over 5,000 feet elevation, Antelope stays cooler than some other nearby lakes.
The lake has excellent structure with many small protected coves and points. In addition to the rainbow and brook trout, there are catfish, largemouth and smallmouth bass, and crappie.
Your best bet for the rainbows and brooks right now is to work the deeper water near the dam. Early mornings before the jet skis hog the water offers the best fishing.
The water is warming and there are lots of weeds but determined anglers are finding some rainbows early in the morning and late in the afternoon.
The damsel flies are sparse, but there are still midges hatching. There are also some Callibaetis mayflies in the afternoons.
Trollers are doing best working the deeper water near the dam and north of the island.
I visited Butt Lake recently. The powerhouse is running but the lake is fairly low; not unusual for this time of year.
Some nice trout have moved into the inlet, drawn by the cooler water and feed from Lake Almanor and Butt Creek, pond smelt on the powerhouse side and nymphs on the creek side.
The low water has them very spooky. The best fishing is during low light conditions in the morning and evening.
Fishing pressure is light during the week.
This is hopper time. Hot breezy summer afternoons will blow creekside hoppers into the water. These are big protein-packed meals and the trout will smack them with enthusiasm. They are a good choice on any area streams right now, especially near meadow areas.
Fishing is best when the sun is off the water. Trout are rising for caddis, mayflies and yellow sally stoneflies. In the morning, fish an attractor dry with a small midge or attractor nymph dropper.
There are plenty of stocked fish in Deer Creek between Elam Creek and Deer Creek Falls. Below the falls is all catch-and-release fishing for wild trout.
Fishing is best on the Middle Fork Feather River from Camp Layman downstream.
On the North Fork Feather River, try fishing from High Bridge downstream to Lake Almanor.
Other area streams that are productive now include Jamison Creek, Nelson Creek, Hamilton Branch and Warner Creek.
As always this time of year, your best bet is to find the coldest water, usually near springs and tributaries.