I made a trip to Almanor last week. We had been planning to close and winterize the family cabin on the weekend. But colder than forecast weather prompted a quick trip to make sure the pipes hadn’t frozen. (Sounded like a good excuse to me.)
So I loaded some fishing gear and my four-legged fishing buddy Sierra in the truck and headed from Quincy to Almanor. (I am not kidding when I say “loaded”. Sierra is 14-years-old and suffers from arthritis. She has to be lifted into the truck; all 75 pounds of her.)
I was surprised to see the large number of anglers at “Geritol Cove” near the dam, many fishing from float tubes. I stopped to check it out.
It turns out they were a group of old friends from various valley locations who get together every year to enjoy the World Series. When they aren’t watching the games, they hit the wate
For brown trout: fish in and around shallow coves in 10 – 20 feet of water. Use white or rust-colored jigs or streamers.
Land fish quickly and release gently. The fish are getting ready to spawn and spawning success is critical to maintaining a healthy fishery. If you need a fish for the table, take home a rainbow or two. They are fat and delicious this time of year.
For rainbow trout: troll speedy shiners or jig or fly fish with white patterns to mimic the pond smelt. Try drifting a single egg with just enough split shot to get it near the bottom in likely brown trout spawning areas.
Try white jigs or streamers near the powerhouse
Try orange or white grubs.
Also try rust-colored wiggle tails nymphs or J Fair trolling flies
If the wind has been blowing, fish the outside edge of the muddy water.
This turns out to be an excellent strategy.
Almanor is well known for some very large brown trout. Just before they spawn, is an excellent time to fish for them. That just happens to coincide with World Series time and Geritol Cove is an excellent place to fish for them.
Brown trout are an introduced species, originally found in Europe, North Africa, and West Asia. They are now found throughout the world, due in large part to their ability to adapt to a range of habitats.
During the summer they prefer cooler, deeper water, and lots of cover that can make them tough to catch.
Brown trout spawn in the fall and early winter. They prefer to spawn in streams. However in lakes, they seek out shallow coves where the wave action will simulate the action of moving stream water.
As for the baseball/fishing friends from the Valley; they were catching a combination of brown trout and the rainbows that follow the brown trout to their spawning grounds to feed on drifting eggs.
Good friends, good fishing and (especially this year) good baseball. That sounds like a hard-to-beat combination!
I haven’t fished Butt Lake myself lately; but the powerhouse is running, brown trout should be moving towards their spawning grounds. If past years are any indication, this should be a great time to fish for the large browns in Butt Lake.
Try pond smelt patterns (white streamers or jigs) for brown trout. For rainbows, try drifting a single salmon egg with just enough split shot to get the egg close to the bottom near likely spawning areas.
Bryan Roccucci of Big Daddy’s Guide Service (283-4103) has shifted his guided fishing operation from Bucks Lake to Eagle Lake.
Eagle Lake is justifiably famous for its unique strain of Eagle Lake rainbow trout. These are large and very beautiful fish.
Now until the Jan. 1 season closer at Eagle is the best time to fish for them.
According to Bryan the fall season at Eagle is well under way.
Eagles Nest and Miners Bay areas have been producing the best bites. There have been some smaller fish to pick through but there are also plenty of larger ones.
The best performing baits have been grubs in either brown or orange ; some days both colors produce equally well.
Bryan recommends running the gear from 5 – 7 feet deep and saucing them up with Pro-Cure's Trophy Trout or Freshwater Shrimp.
Fly fishing has also been productive, with points on both the east and west sides of the lake giving up fish as they move in and out in search of food. Wiggle tail flies in rust and olive have been doing the trick.
Ryan spends a lot of time on Eagle Lake and knows it well. He has a large, comfortable and warm boat.
It can be very cold at Eagle Lake this time of year and the fishing only gets better when the weather is less than perfect.
If you are looking for a guide who really knows what he is doing and can get you into the fish in comfort, give Big Daddy’s Guide Service a call.
The Eagle Lake water level has been getting quite a bit of press this year, most of it bad. The lake level is down.
That is a real concern in an otherwise abundant water year. It has resource managers debating possible causes and what should be done to mitigate the problem.
But there is plenty of water to fish right now.
Launching out of Spalding has not been an issue as long as you use some caution. All trailers will drop off the concrete when launching and recovering.
Gravel has been added to ease the transition from ramp to dirt but there is still a small drop. The advice is to slowly ease your trailer tires up and down the bump. Several trailers have been damaged by being towed over this lip too quickly.
Most of the usual spots around the lake are more exposed due to the falling lake level and quite a few new shallow spots have shown up.
Bryan recommends using extreme caution while on the lake.
Don’t forget the local streams. There are only a couple weeks left as the local stream fishing season closes Nov. 15.
The Feather River above Chester has recently been planted.
Streams normally fish very well this time of year and the crowds are nonexistent.
As an added bonus fall colors are near their peak right now.
For the fly angler, try olive- or rust-colored Woolly Buggers, Copper Johns, and in the late afternoon large yellow Caddis patterns to imitate the October Caddis.
Get out and enjoy this magical season. The snow and ice are lurking just around the corner.