“Fishing puts me in touch with another of nature's species, in beautiful surroundings that are as old as time. That is where I want to be; that is how I'm renewed.” Joan Salvato Wulff
I spent a few days at Lake Almanor this past weekend. Other than a large gathering of firefighters in their camp at the West Almanor rest area, there is very little sign of the Chips Fire that burned all the way from Highway 70 in the Feather River Canyon to Highway 89 at the south end of Lake Almanor.
This is the “mop up” stage of the fire. Mop-up is very hard work. It is also boring, difficult and dirty work. There is no adrenaline — none of the excitement that attracts young men and women to this line of work.
This is where firefighters really earn their pay. We owe them our thanks.
Last Friday, the Forest Service opened the access to Butt Lake. I drove down there immediately.
Butt Lake is one of my favorite places. I have fished and camped there since the ‘70s. Butt Lake is a very productive lake that produces some nice trout and smallmouth bass.
I had heard the firefighters kept the fire out of the two campgrounds on the lake. I was anxious to see what the forest around the lake would look like.
A high intensity crown fire could devastate the area. But, that wasn’t the case at all. Butt Lake is still green and beautiful.
There were still a few “smokes” on the west side of the lake. If not for that, you would not know that it had burned. The fire moved through the understory, but the larger trees, for the most part, appear alive and well. The east side burned a bit hotter, but still it was mostly the understory that burned.
Butt Lake is alive and well. We should be thankful.
Summer is winding down at Frenchman Lake. The fishing is still very good and the lake is uncrowded.
PowerBait is still the big producer for shore anglers. Trollers are doing well with Dick Nites and Speedy Shiners. The fishing will only get better as the water starts to cool.
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.
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.
Bank fishing for trout is best early in the morning. Inflated nightcrawlers and PowerBait are producing best.
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.
The fire is out and the smoke is gone, yet fishing pressure is still very light. I fished the east basin on Saturday and the west of Sunday. I saw a lot more fish on the east side. I suspect this has a lot to do with the wind that blows up the Feather River Canyon. That extra wave action probably keeps the water better oxygenated.
Doug Neal of Almanor Fishing Adventures (258-6732) reports lots of fish caught at the A Frame and Big Springs. Bait anglers fishing on anchors are finding salmon up to 3 pounds fishing anchovy tails or night crawlers 8 to 12 feet off the bottom.
Doug likes to add scents to his bait. He likes Pro-Cure Trophy Trout Super Gel, Garlic Plus or Carp Spit scents on meal worm/cricket combos and crawlers.
Trollers are finding the most fish 25 to 40 feet deep. I was seeing fish as shallow as 15 feet early in the morning.
Doug says downriggers are a must for trollers in September. Surface temps can still be warm enough to keep fish down. Lead core can be effective till the sun gets up, but after that the bite is at 25 to 45 feet deep, or about 12 feet off the bottom.
Dodgers or flashers will help attract fish. Threaded crawlers are a terrific trolled offering and make a great trailer, on a #6 hook. Doug also likes fast action trolling lures like Needlfish and Speedy Shiners, Pin Minnows, and Strike Pros.
Bryan Roccucci of Big Daddy’s Guide Service (530 283-4103) said the summer trout bite we have been enjoying since early July has finally tapered off. Bryan says it is typical for the bite to slow down a bit this time of year as they begin lowering the lake level for fall and winter, and will be back on the bite shortly.
The Kokanee bite however is very solid. The jaws on the males have just started to distend, an indication that fall and spawning is on the way. The meat is still bright red and firm. The bulk of the fish are running 12 to 13 inches with a few "kicker" fish up to the 15-inch range.
In addition to the Kokanee Bryan has been catching a couple of nice bonus trout each day on the Kokanee gear. The trout are running 16 to 18 inches.
Bryan says the best action is in Bucks Creek Arm of the lake. Try fishing water 40 to 50 feet deep running the gear 25 to 35 feet on the downriggers. Bryan likes to fish an Uncle Larry's Spinner, tipped with corn brined in Pro-Cure's Kokanee Wizard.