Lake fishing coming to life

Michael Condon
Staff Reporter

Trout Stream Opener

The trout stream opener last weekend was great…for kayakers.  The abundant spring runoff made it a tough go for anglers.  Most streams were running very high with low water clarity.

A week ago I listed a few of the streams I thought might be fishable despite the high water levels.  One of those was the North Fork of the Feather River above Chester.

That was an error on my part.  The water may have been clear…..but it was, and remains, closed to fishing.  The tributaries to Lake Almanor are closed until May 28 to protect the spawning rainbow trout.

Give the streams a few more weeks and the water levels should recede and insect activity will increase as the water temperatures increase. That is when the fishing will get better.

Lake Almanor

Water temperatures are increasing, water clarity is improving, and the fish are waking up from their winter slumber. (O.K., they don’t really “slumber”, but the winter bite can be slow enough that it seems that way.)

“Get ready for Prime Time” according to local guide Doug Neal of Almanor Fishing Adventures.

The trolling bite has been very good along the east shore according to Doug. Midges are hatching and the fish are moving into shallow water to feed on the larva as the move towards the surface to hatch.  Look for fish in the shallows.

Doug has been doing well fishing threaded night crawlers 18” behind dodgers. Doug likes to spike his crawlers with a bit of scent. He recommends that anglers be prepared to change up their presentation as the fish will eagerly take a particular lure or bait one day and reject it the next.

Pond smelt are the main forage fish in Almanor and anything that imitates these silver, inch and a half long, bait fish is a good bet.

There are a few spots Doug recommends keeping an eye on as the spring bite kicks into high gear.  These include the west shore from Pratville to the north, the Almanor Peninsula, and Bailey Springs.

There are a few smallmouth bass starting to show. The bass bite will improve over the coming weeks.

The Forest Service boat ramps at Canyon Dam and the Pratville are open with docks and plenty of parking.


Butt Lake

Butt Lake is fairly shallow so it warms sooner than other lakes.  Midges are hatching in the shallow waters of the lake and both trout and smallmouth bass are feeding actively.

The area near the powerhouse remains closed to fishing to protect rainbow trout moving into Butt Creek to spawn.


Lake Davis

According to local fishing guide Jon Baiocchi, Lake Davis is starting to pick up.

The water level is high and the fish are hungry. Blood midges are starting to hatch and that is the name of the game at Lake Davis.  Snow is still limiting access around the east side of the lake.



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