Prospect of fall fishing brings excitement
“You do not cease to fish because you get old, you get old because you cease to fish!”
I am getting excited about fall fishing. It is a very special time of year and it is just around the corner.
There is something about the combination of fall colors, crisp fall air and hungry trout that really gets me going.
Recent rainy weather made me think that fall might be coming early. And while the rain did help cool the water and lower the fire danger, the current warm weather is a reminder that summer is not quite done with us yet.
That is fine with me. I am not in any hurry and I know fall isn’t far away.
For now I am staying with summer fishing tactics. The water is still warm in both the streams and lakes. That means fishing the lakes deep and near the tributaries and springs. In the streams, I will work hoppers and stoneflies just below the tributaries and in the deeper pools.
Recent rain and wind have made fishing a little tough lately. But surface temperatures have dropped into the high 60s and low 70s and that means better fishing and perhaps an early start to fall fishing conditions.
Fishing pressure is down (as is reliable fishing information). The trolling boats are scattered all around the lake, with a few more working the east basin, which is usually more productive this time of year.
Fish are fat and actively feeding on smelt and this will continue the rest of the year, according to local guide Doug Neal of Almanor Fishing Adventures.
Not much has changed over the past few weeks. The fishing is fair, but not great. Early morning fishing is best. Most fish are holding at 30 to 40 feet deep. Fast-action lures like Speedy Shiners and Needlefish are the most productive. A little touch of fish scent will help to tip the odds in your favor.
Smallmouth bass are working the rocky shorelines and moochers are picking up some salmon with anchovies in the deeper holes and springs.
The kokanee bite is picking up. They are still deep and still scattered throughout the lake.
Within the next few weeks they will start to stage in front of the two spawning tributaries: Mill Creek and Bucks Creek. When that happens, more fish will concentrate in those areas awaiting the feeding binge that accompanies the spawn.
In the meantime, the rainbow bite is good early in the morning in the Bucks Creek arm and brookies are feeding actively in the Mill Creek arm. In both cases, the bite slows when the sun is on the water.
Fishing is fair. The water is still warm. Midges under an indicator are getting some action from a float tube or boat early and late in the day. Mid-morning, try stripping damsel nymphs and olive woolly buggers from a float tube or walking the shoreline.
Trollers are doing well with Dick Nites in the deeper channels. Afternoons tend to be pretty warm and breezy and the most productive thing to do may be to take a nap.
The smoky conditions of the last couple of weeks are improving at Frenchman Lake. Fishing pressure has been light lately but those who venture out have been catching some nice fish.
Chilcoot and Cottonwood campgrounds have closed for the season. Spring Creek, Frenchman and Big Cove remain open.
Call Wiggin’s Trading Post for the latest fishing and camping information (993-4683).
Deer Creek is fishing nicely. Midges and small mayflies are hatching early in the day. Try drifting a small dry (Adams, humpy or caddis pattern) along the edges of the runs, riffles and pocket water. Midday the action drops off some but an attractor dry with a small attractor bead-head nymph rigged as a dropper can still entice a nice fish.
For the bigger fish, go deep in pools with a stonefly and a small bead-head dropper. Worms and salmon eggs work well if you prefer bait over flies.
There are good reports of stocked trout above Deer Creek Falls and plenty of wild trout below.
Road work can affect access so be sure to check the Caltrans website or phone line before heading out.
The water in the Middle Fork Feather is warm and unfishable on the flats and shallow water. The best fishing is below Two Rivers. Fish the deeper pools and near the tributaries early in the morning.
Fly anglers will do well with a dry/dropper setup. There is also some good dry fly action in the evenings when the caddis are active.
Little yellow stoneflies and bead-head nymphs are a good bet for fly anglers.
Bait fishers should try hoppers on windy afternoons.
The North Fork Feather River above Almanor and Hamilton Branch are good bets right now. Like all local streams, the water is still on the warm side so work the deeper pools and pocket water.
I heard of a 7-pounder being caught on the North Fork Feather above Caribou Crossroads. My guess is that it came from the powerhouse at Belden Forebay. That spot produces a few nice lunkers every year.