Cooler mornings and shorter days have surface temperatures on the decline. Abundant bug hatches and a larger than normal pond smelt population provide fish with plenty of feed.
The cooler than normal water temperatures have kept fish from concentrating in areas of colder water until just recently. Action at inlets such as the North Fork Feather River, just outside Chester, Bailey Creek or Hamilton Branch is on the increase.
Local guide Roger Keeling of Almanor Fishing Adventures has been fishing the east side all month and said it's been getting better every day.
He has been hooking up rainbows and browns, 16– 22 inches, trolling threaded crawlers at 27 and 30 feet down.
The story is: There's lots of food around and the bite has been just fair this year.
Everyone has been working a little longer for limits these last two months. However, it looks like we are about to turn the corner now, and a stellar fall fishing season is just around the corner.
If you’re going to troll spoons, downsize is the word. Silver Prism needlefish and Sep's Pro Secrets are about as big as you should go and tip them with a small piece of a crawler.
Bait fishing has been best in the late afternoon and evening with nice browns over 3 pounds whacking the cricket /mealworm combo 4 feet off the bottom.
Almanor is a large lake and not an easy one to learn. If you are new to fishing Almanor, there is no better way to learn than to go with a guide. I have fished with Keeling. He has many years of experience on Almanor; he knows the lake well and takes good care of his clients. He can be reached at 258-6732.
Almanor area streams
Best fishing is in the morning and evening when trout are the most active. At Deer Creek, the best action is in the top section from Elam Campground down to Deer Creek Falls.
Good numbers of hatchery trout willing to take an attractor dry with a decent drift. Midday, search for deep pools or take a break. Evening picks up with prime time dry fly fishing from 6 p.m. to dusk.
Look for fish rising to Caddis, yellow sallies and midges in the catch and release section below the falls. Not a lot of fish over 12 inches, but lots of action for beginning anglers.
The North Fork of the Feather River above Chester, and Hamilton Branch have been planted with catchable rainbows recently.
The usual baits and small spinners are a good bet. For the fly fishers, try attractor dries such as irresistible Adams, parachute light Cahill, Rio Grande trude, yellow humpy, parachute adams, paralyzer, Royal Coachman, crystal stimulator, renegade or royal wulff (#10-18). Burk’s olive hunchback two-tone, Mercer’s micro mayfly, Caddis pupa/emergers and Golden stonefly dries are also good choices.
Yellow Creek in Humbug Valley is one of the most scenic streams in the area, but certainly not the easiest to fish.
This time of year, grasshoppers are abundant in the valley and a breezy afternoon tosses some of these tasty morsels into the creek where waiting trout can ambush them.
What I like to do in these conditions is walk carefully upstream and spot locations where the fish are holding. I fish my way back down stream and cast a hopper pattern to those holding spots.
Fishing is fair with fish scattered through the lake. There have been some reports of fish moving up near the powerhouse. This time of year the powerhouse usually runs on a more consistent basis and can produce some large fish as they move in to feed on the pond smelt that wash down from Lake Almanor through the powerhouse.
Try drifting white crappie jigs flies in the current below the powerhouse. The low light at dusk and dawn is the best time to fish.
Bucks Lake is one of my favorite places to fish. The scenery is worth the price of admission and when you hook a fish, it could be a lake trout, brown trout, brook trout or Kokanee salmon. All species are present and in good numbers.
Fall is my favorite time of year at Bucks as the fish begin to congregate near the creek mouths and the Jet Ski hatch slows considerably.
According to Alan Bruzza of the Sportsmen’s Den on Highway 70 in East Quincy (283-2733), the fish at Bucks are still holding deep in most parts of the lake, but some are beginning to move into the cove in front of Bucks Creek.
Bait anglers are doing well in Bucks Creek cove with inflated nightcrawlers floated 14 inches off the bottom. Crickets and mealworms are also catching fish.
For trollers, try Rocky Point or Whalers Run (opposite the Sundew boat launch). Needlfish, Rapallas, Crockadiles, and Jay Fair Trolling Flys in cinnamon or olive are all catching fish. If its Kokanee salmon you are after, try Kokanee Candy or a Wedding Ring behind a Sepps Dodger or Side Kick Dodger.
The Kokanee are running a bit larger than normal this year according to Bruzza.
If you are in Quincy and need any fishing gear or fishing advice, Bruzza’s shop, the Sportsmen’s Den, is the place to go. He has fished the area for decades and has the right gear and the latest fishing information.
Best fishing is from first light to 10 a.m. and again from 4 p.m. to dusk if the wind doesn’t come up.
In the morning, fish the shallows where trout are cruising and eating small leech patterns on a slow strip. Not many rising fish, but if fish are spotted rising, it’s a good indication of a concentration of feeding fish.
Try damsel fly nymphs or a Jay Fair Wiggle Tail in olive or burnt orange.
Although Antelope Lake may not yield as many large fish as other Plumas County lakes, it continues to produce good numbers of fish.
This may be due to generous fish stocking by the Department of Fish and Game in an effort to lure fishermen back to Antelope after a series of severe fires scorched the landscape around the lake.
In the short term, it’s hard to look at these burned-over landscapes and see anything other than destruction. However, the vegetation and the wildlife are returning in abundance.
In the longer view these burned-over forests demonstrate renewal in its most basic form. I highly recommend a trip to Antelope Lake. Don't fixate on the destruction. Fixate on the renewal. But, don't fixate too long. There are plenty of fish to be caught. Try trolling near the dam.