Fishing Report for the week of 9/5/2012

Michael Condon
Staff Writer

“Flyfishing does have its social aspects — on some of our crowded trout streams it can get too social — but essentially it's a solitary, contemplative sport. People are left alone with themselves in beautiful surroundings to try to accomplish something that seems to have genuine value.”

John Gierach

I have fished with anglers who look for crowds of other anglers as a sign that “the fish must be biting over there.”

I prefer to look for some feeding birds as an indication of where the fish might be biting. Or, I like to strike out on my own; anything but crowds when I am fishing.

If you depend on crowds, you might find this a tough time for fishing in Plumas County.

The crowds are not here.

Angling pressure throughout Plumas County has been very light lately because of the smoke; or more accurately, because of the rumors of smoke.

Butt Lake is in the middle of the huge Chips fire. It’s not just smoky, it is closed.

Almanor is on the edge of the Chips Fire, it has had some smoke but the smoke is clearing out. The evacuations have been lifted. The campgrounds and boat ramps are open. And the fish are biting.

The only thing missing is the crowds. I can live with that. I love solitude when I am fishing, and right now Plumas County offers endless solitude.


Frenchman Lake

Fishing has been consistently good at Frenchman. Last week Joe Baker from Reno caught his limit using flashers and worms by the boat ramp between 10 a.m. and noon.

Hans Mulgraber of Chilcoot caught his limit of 15- to 19-inch rainbows while boat fishing 25 – 30 feet deep using gold and silver Needlfish with downriggers.

Scott Christianson and Scott Terry from Reno each caught good-sized fish at the dam and in the stream below the dam.

Kyle Chisum and Salvador Perez from Reno caught some nice rainbows at the dam using rainbow PowerBait.

Doug Ouellette, a fly fishing guide, recommends using a red midge and going about 14 feet deep.

Stop by Wiggin’s Trading Post on your way up to Frenchman Lake or give them a call for the latest fishing updates at 993-4683.

Lake Davis

Bank fishing for trout is best early in the morning. Inflated nightcrawlers and PowerBait are producing the best results.

Trollers continue to pick up some nice fish by the big island. Wee Dick Nite Copper Red Heads are working the best. Needlfish in Fire Tiger and Red Dot Frog are also producing good results.

Fly anglers are doing well fishing ice cream cones, blood midges, damsels and Woolly Buggers in olive, rust or black.

Call J and J’s Grizzly Store and Camping Resort (832-0270) for the latest Lake Davis fishing information.


Lake Almanor

The Chips Fire is contained. The boat ramps and campgrounds are open again. There is still some smoke at times and that will probably continue until it rains. However, the smoke is decreasing and the fishing is good.

Big Springs and the A Frame are perennial hotspots this time of year and that holds true now.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, cool and deep is the key. Your fish finder will tell you how deep. If you don’t have one, try 35 – 40 feet deep for starters.

For fly anglers on the lake, use a full sink line and look for springs and seeps.

A couple years ago I was fishing a sink tip line near a rather well known fly angler. After watching me for a while he told me that I was wasting my time with a sink tip and well-weighted fly. He was right. I came back a day later with a full sink line and it made all the difference in the world.

For shore anglers, the water level has dropped to expose the Prattville jetties enough for bank anglers to reach the cool spring-fed water just outside the jetties.

The other hotspot for shore-bound anglers is the mouth of Hamilton Branch. The powerhouse and creek dump colder water into the lake and lots of fish come up for the colder and better-oxygenated water.

A few otters have also been enjoying the fishing at the mouth of Hamilton Branch. The otters are fun to watch but they are voracious fish eaters and will quickly chase the fish out of the area.

Just as unwelcome as the otters are the occasional motorboats that cruise up into this narrow channel. Sure it’s legal, but I really dislike seeing a boat in a channel crowded with bank anglers who already have to be very careful not to cross lines casting flies or lures in such tight quarters.


Antelope Lake

Before anglers deserted the lake because of the smoke (which is gone now), they were doing best in front of the dam fishing 30 – 40 feet deep.

Antelope Lake has a great variety of fish. If you get tired of trout, there are largemouth bass. If that isn’t your cup of tea, there are small mouth bass. Smallmouths aren’t your cup of tea? Go for the catfish.

The hills around Antelope Lake are recovering from their own series of wildfires. Seeing the diversity of life returning to this landscape that was severely scorched just a few years ago gives me hope for the areas that have burned in our most recent wildfires.



The upper end of Deer Creek has been fishing best with prince and Parachute Adams dry flies. Fly anglers on Mill Creek are doing best using dark flies in the evenings.

The North Fork of the Feather above Lake Almanor is in good shape and fishing well, especially in the evenings when there is a good hatch of mayflies and caddis flies.

Warner Creek is also fishing well with lots of small natives being caught in the evenings.


Free Fishing Day and Round Valley Kids Fishing Derby

Free Fishing Day and the Kids Fishing Derby at Round Valley Reservoir are both Sept. 8.

Free Fishing Day means anyone in the California can fish for the day without a license. If you are not already an angler, this is a great way to try fishing without committing to purchasing a license.

The Round Valley Kids Fishing Derby is a special event for kids and teens age fifteen and younger. The event is hosted by the Plumas National Forest and held at Round Valley Reservoir outside of Greenville.

The derby runs from 8 a.m. to noon, with includes fishing, contests, prizes, education, snacks and fun. Prizes will be handed out to contest winners at end of the derby.

Round Valley Reservoir is off Highway 89 in Greenville; travel three miles west on Hideaway Road, following signs to the reservoir.

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