“They say you forget your troubles on a trout stream, but that’s not quite it. What happens is that you begin to see where your troubles fit into the grand scheme of things, and suddenly they’re just not such a big deal anymore.” —John Gierach
I love the fall. It has to be my favorite time of year.
The problem is there is just too much to do.
Deer season opened this week. I grew up hunting and fishing. But until last year, I had taken several years off from deer hunting, largely due to time constraints. I got back in the game last year but my hunting efforts were minimal due to the hot weather. This year the weather looks more promising for deer hunting so I am going to devote more time to it.
I have collected a few easily recognized edible mushrooms for many years. But I have gotten much more serious about mushroom hunting. It is really a fascinating pursuit and the rewards are delicious. Recent rains have mushrooms popping so I am going to devote more time to that as well.
I really enjoy working in my vegetable garden. I love cooking with the meager harvest the deer leave behind for me. I have completed much of the harvest in anticipation of an early freeze. But there is still work to do so I am going to spend lots of time in my garden.
And then there is the fishing. I believe fall offers the best fishing of the year. So much water and so little time.
There is just so much to do that something has to give. I think I have a solution.
I will just have to work less for the next several weeks.
I think I will get off to a proper start by taking next week off. Accordingly, there will not be a fishing report next week.
I will be gone fishing.
The water level is dropping and the temperatures are decreasing. While the fish are starting to scatter more, the best fly-fishing is around Hamilton Branch and the mouth of the North Fork where big trout are still seeking cool water. Woolly buggers, wiggle tail nymphs and pond smelt imitations on a type 3 sinking line are getting fly anglers into some nice fish.
Reports from trollers have been a little thin this past week due to the windy and sometimes wet weather.
Fast action lures trolled at 30 to 40 feet had been the ticket recently. That is probably still the best bet although the fish should be coming up a bit into shallower water, especially early in the morning. A good fish finder is the key to finding the right depth and the right depth is critical to catching fish.
Bass fishing is reportedly dropping off although I know a couple bass anglers who do really well this time of year. Try crankbaits along the drop-offs. Cover lots of water until you find fish.
Look for big brown trout in pre-spawn mode. They will be staging near shallow water with gravel and springs near by. If you do catch any of these big bruisers, treat them carefully and release them gently. They are critical to replenishing Almanor’s excellent brown trout fishery.
The powerhouse is still running and the inlet is where the big fish are. Try nymphs on the creek side and pond smelt imitations on the powerhouse side. Bait dunkers are taking an occasional fish but be prepared to put some time in.
The water level is low and dropping. Boat launching is becoming a bit more challenging as the water drops. Fishing is very good. The kokanee are still deep and a bit scattered but fish are beginning to stage in front of Mill Creek and Bucks Creek. The fishing will only get better for the next few weeks as the kokanee get closer to spawning.
This is a great time of year for a Bucks Lake slam: kokanee, rainbow, brown, brook and lake trout can all be caught in the same trip.
Fly-fishing is starting to pick up with fish moving into the shallows.
Best reports are from Cow Creek and Jenkins Cove on the west side where a wide variety of tactics are hooking rainbows up to 20 inches. Buggers and damsels are hooking fish on intermediate to type 3 sinking lines; blood midges, snails and scuds are catching fish under an indicator with a floating line. Some Callibaetis are still around in the afternoon if it is not windy.
The fall bite has begun at Lake Davis, according to local guide and Lake Davis expert Jon Baiocchi of Baiocchi’s Troutfitters (228-0487). Every day will improve until the peak, which should occur near the end of October.
On the menu for the trout is a very good Callibaetis hatch with rising fish on the bank and in open water when the wind is down. The little chartreuse midge is out with a sparse amount of blood midges as well.
Jon says all styles of fly-fishing are producing: floating line and long leaders off the bank, covering water in a personal watercraft with an intermediate line, and deep indicator presentations. Top flies include burnt orange wiggle tail nymphs, pheasant tail flashbacks, sheep creek specials and olive woolly buggers.
October is a great time to fish our local streams. The fishing is getting better as the water cools. The deciduous trees are starting to show their fall colors and fishing pressure is very light.
The North Fork Feather is fishing well, according to Tom Maumoynier of Lake Almanor Fly Fishing Co. in Chester. Nymph fishing has been most effective.
October caddis are starting to hatch. These big (size 12) bugs make for some really fun fishing. Warner Creek is low, according to Tom. There are some small evening hatches. Hopper imitations work well, especially on warm and windy afternoons.
Hatches are sparse on Deer Creek but trout are eager to rise early and late to attractors in the pocket water. Nymphs are working in the middle of the day. Fishing a stimulator with a small beadhead nymph dropper in the shade will find eager fish. There are plenty of stocked trout above Deer Creek Falls and wild trout below.
Mill Creek is in good shape. Dark flies in the evening are working best.
Upper Hamilton Branch is in good shape. Nymph fishing has been best and there are some evening hatches. There are some bigger fish are in lower section. Try a beadhead nymph in the pocket water.
Nymphing the Hamilton Branch with a beadhead through the pocket water is also producing some big rainbows.
The Middle Fork of the Feather River is cooling and the fishing is improving. Fish the riffles and tailouts around Sloat and Nelson Creek. The best fishing is early and late with a dry/dropper set up. Look for caddis in the evening.