Lower temps, smaller crowds mean better fishing

Michael Condon
Staff Writer


“Give a man a fish and he has food for a day; teach him how to fish and you can get rid of him for the entire weekend.”

Zenna Schaffer

The water temperatures have dropped from their summertime highs that can put a funk on feeding trout. With Labor Day behind us, the summer time crowds have dwindled. The weather forecast calls for comfortable early fall weather for the next few weeks.

Sounds like a recipe for some good fishing.


Lake Almanor

Doug Neal of Almanor Fishing Adventures is one of the most reliable sources of fishing information for Almanor. He only guides on Almanor and he is on the lake nearly every day.

Doug says the fish are fat and actively feeding on smelt and they will be the rest of the year. Doug reports that rainbows over 3 pounds are not uncommon now and even bigger fish are being caught regularly.

Doug has been running Fire Tiger No. 2 Needlefish at 30 feet and one-sixth-ounce red and gold Speedy Shiners at 35 and 40 feet deep. He also adds a light brush of Pro-Cure Trophy Trout Scent to the red and gold Speedy Shiners.

Fishing pressure and general boat traffic around the lake has been light. The trollers are scattered all around the east basin, working the usual places like Big Springs, Dorado, Lake Haven, Rocky Point and Canyon Dam, and Rec. 1 to the A-Frame.

Fishing remains best from daybreak to about 8:30 a.m. Evening jigging has been getting some quality fish also. Areas like the Spar Buoy, mouth of Hamilton Branch and Rec. 2 have all produced fish up to 4 pounds. White or yellow jigs are getting the most attention.

Mooching anchovy tails for salmon near the A-Frame has been productive one day and weak the next.


Bucks Lake

I do not have any current reports from Bucks Lake. I plan on rectifying that by fishing there this weekend.

I believe the kokanee are still deep and still scattered throughout the lake but they should soon be starting 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. The best bite is early and late when the sun is off the water.


Butt Lake

The powerhouse continues to run and the lake is still full although fluctuating. Large fish have been caught near the inlet. Low light conditions are best.

Try nymphs on the creek side and pond smelt on the powerhouse side.

Bass are biting in the main lake.


Lake Davis

The water is cooling and is now in the low to mid 60s. That is a bit below normal for this time of year and very good news.

Lake Davis is one of our finest lakes, but, being shallow, the fishery can suffer from the high summertime water temperatures. An early cooling can only help the rebounding trout population.

Despite the cooler water, fishing has been a bit on the slow side, according to the folks at J&J Grizzly Store and Camping Resort. Some folks are limiting out and others are getting skunked.

Fly anglers are doing the best on the west side and north end of the lake. Ice cream cone and wiggle tails are the top flies.

Bank anglers are scoring at Eagle Point, Old Camp 5 and Mallard Point. PowerBait or worms are the most productive baits.

Trollers are doing well near the big island with Wee Dick Nite Copper Red Heads, Red Dot Frogs and Fire Tigers.

Work on the Honker Cove boat ramp is progressing, slowly. They pushed in one of the ramp slabs recently and have begun prepping for the next one to be poured.

Call J&J at 832-0270 for the most up-to-date fishing information.


Lakes Basin

This may be the most beautiful part of Plumas County and it is especially beautiful this time of year. The summer crowds are gone and the leaves are just starting to turn at the higher elevations. And the fishing is at its best of the year.

Some guests from Camp Layman made a trip to Gold Lake recently and did very well. They started trolling the middle of the lake with limited success. Once the inevitable Gold Lake wind came up they moved closer to the campground, trolling just off shore.

They fished mini crawlers behind flashers, with enough weight on to get the gear about 15 feet deep. It paid off nicely. They were out of the wind and found a strong bite in the middle of the day.

In addition to Gold Lake, Packer Lake, Lower Sardine Lake and Salmon Lake should all be fishing well now.



Deer Creek is fishing nicely. Midges and small mayflies are hatching early in the day. For the bigger fish, go deep in pools with a stonefly and a small beadhead dropper. Worms and salmon eggs work well if you prefer bait over flies.

There are good reports of stocked trout above Elam Creek and plenty of wild trout below.

The water on the Middle Fork Feather is warm with the best fishing below Two Rivers. Fish the deeper pools and near the tributaries early in the morning.

There is some good dry fly action in the evenings when the caddis are active. Little yellow stoneflies and beadhead nymphs are a good bet for fly anglers. Bait fishers should try hoppers on windy afternoons.

The North Fork Feather above Almanor is running low and clear. Nymph fishing has been most effective. There are some small caddis and mayflies hatching.

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