The Mac attack is on!

Michael Condon -

Bucks Lake

Sonya Berry caught this huge Mackinaw, estimated to weigh 25 lbs, on a Quick Fish lure at Bucks Lake last Thursday, May 19. Photo submitted

The Mac attack is on!

No, I am not talking about any golden arches here. The road to Bucks Lake is plowed and the spring bite is on.

Kim Henderson at Lakeshore Lodge reports that their boat ramp is open and the road is plowed past the Bucks Creek Road intersection. County road crews are still working on plowing the road to the dam.

Kim reports both rainbows and browns being caught in the shallow water by both trollers and bank anglers in the Bucks Creek area.

The big Mackinaw trout are in deeper water, 40 to 60 feet.

Allan Bruzza of the Sportmen’s Den in East Quincy knows of several reports of large fish being caught. He expects this to be an excellent year and won’t be surprised if someone catches another 30-pounder — the current lake record, caught by Julie McBurney of Portola.

The Mackinaw at Bucks like big lures — very big lures. Try J-Plugs, Flatfish or Buzz Bombs. Blue and rainbow are productive colors.

Allan at the Sportsmen’s Den has a full selection of excellent Mackinaw lures and can give you the latest reports. Stop in at his shop in East Quincy before you head up the hill to Bucks.

This is an excellent time of year to fish Bucks Lake. I am anxious to get up there and give it a try.

Lake Davis

Local guide and Lake Davis expert Jon Baiocchi reports that water temperatures are still hovering in the high 50s and pods of fish are rising to midges when the weather is warm. Blood midge pupae in size 10 and small chocolate midge pupae in size 18 are productive flies. An indicator helps with strike detection.

Jay Fair trolling flies in rust and brown, along with standard woolly buggers in sizes 6 – 8 have also been productive when fished near weed beds.

Lake Almanor

Almanor surface water temperatures are rising into the low 50s. The warmer water and improved water clarity are contributing to a more active bite.

According to local guide Doug Neal of Almanor Fishing Adventures, this is shaping up to be a terrific fishing season at Almanor.

Doug says the bite along the east shore started to slow down just a little this past week at the same time the activity on the west shore started to increase. There are insect hatches from Prattville to Almanor West, into Goose Bay and out to the Airport Flats, and they have not gone unnoticed by some hungry rainbow and brown trout.

The recent unsettled weather isn't helping and appears to have slowed the bite some.

Stream fishing

I did a little scouting on the Middle Fork Feather River this week. It is still running high and a bit off-color, but conditions are slowly improving. The water is very cold and insect hatches are sparse at best. When mayflies and caddis flies are lying low, I like to focus on stoneflies. They are a primary food source for the trout under these conditions.

Stoneflies have a multi-year life cycle and molt several times. Unlike most other aquatic insects, they crawl to shore rather than floating to the surface to emerge as adults.

This is important for the angler to understand. What it means is that stoneflies are always present, even if not in huge numbers. It also means they often get caught in the current as they try to crawl to shore and are tumbled along the bottom of the stream.

For the fly angler it means fishing stonefly nymphs or attractor patterns like woolly buggers or their many variations. And whether you are fishing flies, bait or spinners, it means fishing deep, as close to the bottom as you can get.

It’s time to get out there and finally enjoy some warmer weather and better fishing.

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