Winter is the best time for ice fishing?

Michael Condon
Staff Writer

Recently a TV comedian shared, as they like to do, a less than intelligent newspaper headline: “Winter is the best time for ice fishing.” Now I know that is rather dumb. But I just can’t seem to get it out of my head. I hope that by sharing it with you, I will finally be able to let go of it.

There, I feel better now.

Lake Davis

Fishing Report  2.16 Sports XB 2c

An unidentified angler pulled this 5-pound rainbow through the ice near Mallard Cove on Lake Davis.

Let’s face it, painfully obvious or not, this really is the best time of year for ice fishing. Just ask the angler who caught the 5-pound trout through the ice at Lake Davis.

She is not the only one enjoying success at Davis. According to the good folks at J&J Grizzly Store and Camping Resort at Lake Davis, the lake has been fishing very well.

The ice had been getting a little thin, but with the recent cold and wet weather it should be getting thicker by now. Check with the folks at J&J Grizzly Store (832-0270) or you can look for them on Facebook.





Frenchman Lake

The ice at the dam was about 5 – 7 inches thick a few days ago but should be getting thicker now that colder weather has set in. Anglers have been catching their limits of rainbow trout at the dam. Night crawlers have been the preferred bait.

Call Wiggin’s Trading Post (993-4683) for current information.

Ice Fishing Tournament

There will be an ice fishing tournament at Lake Davis on Feb. 26. The tournament is sponsored by Trout Unlimited and John Pato Sr. and is a benefit for the American Cancer Society.

First prize is $200 and the entry fee is $20. Entry forms are available at J&J Grizzly Store, KS Market in Portola, and The Mill Works in Graeagle.

Check-in starts at 7 a.m. and fishing begins at 8 a.m. For more information, call John at 832-9659.

Lake Almanor

Fishing Report  2.16 Sports XA 2c

Kyler Klement caught and released this beautiful 20-inch rainbow near the dam at Lake Almanor.Photo by Gary Klement

If ice fishing isn’t your thing, try Lake Almanor. It may not be as hot as it was a few weeks ago but patient (and maybe slightly lucky) anglers are finding fish. I was there a few days ago and talked to a couple of trollers who were returning to the dock. One said he had been doing well within the last week or two but on that day he “couldn’t buy a fish.” Another angler fared a bit better with three fish to the net.

According to Doug Neal of Almanor Fishing Adventures (258-6732), water surface temperatures are holding below 36 degrees F. The fish are moving slowly and they are scattered all over the lake.

There are no real hot trolling lanes established. Fish are being caught, but anglers are putting in lots of time to catch them.

Silver Needlefish and Speedy Shiners rigged from five to 15 feet down seemed to be working best for trollers, hooking a mix of rainbows and brown trout.

Geritol Cove, near the dam, has been the most pressured area the past week, with anglers fishing from boats and shore alike. They are catching fish on a variety of baits like PowerBait, salmon eggs, crawlers and even jigs … the action is not hot, but fish are being caught.

In general, fishing pressure has been on the light side, as usual for February, however, this year’s winter access has never been better for this high elevation lake and fishing on sun-sparkled water sure beats watching another rerun of Caddyshack according to Neal.

An interesting online resource

I enjoy fishing and the outdoors on several levels. One of those levels is as a food source. I fish, hunt, garden and forage and all of those pursuits can put food on the table. I enjoy turning my catch into a good meal.

I recently learned of a website that speaks to those interests very nicely. The website,, is the work of Hank Shaw, a former line cook and commercial fisherman.

Hank Shaw hunts or fishes for nearly all his meat, and grows or forages nearly all his fruits and veggies. He runs the two-time James Beard Award-nominated blog “Hunter Angler Gardener Cook” and is writing a book about foraging, fishing and hunting for Rodale Press. He lives near Sacramento.

If you like to cook, and especially if you like to cook food you have procured in the outdoors, you need to check out his website at It is full of great recipes and interesting stories about Hank’s outdoor adventures.

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