Fishing Report for the week of 6/29/2011

Michael Condon - The calendar says it’s summer and at long last the thermometer agrees. But it is still a different story for the fish. Water temperatures still say early spring in most places. The runoff from a near record snowpack continues to pump colder than normal water into local lakes and streams, keeping temperatures unseasonably low.

Understanding how temperature affects the fish you pursue, and their feed, is the key to fishing success under these unusual conditions.

Lake Almanor

I was able to fsih Lake Almanor recently. The water temperatures were in the high 50-degree range.

That is a comfortable temperature for the trout. But it is not ideal for all of the species they feed on. I had a hard time finding a consistent feeding location and pattern.

The fish are scattered and there is not the consistent feeding pattern we usually see this time of year.

The fish were difficult to find on my fish finder. That either means I wasn’t in the right spot, or the fish were very shallow. A fish finder has a “cone” of vision: narrow at the top and wide at the bottom. If the fish are shallow, they are not as likely to show on a fish finder as the deeper fish.

I did find some fish in Goose Bay.

For years — or, to be perfectly honest, decades — I have not fished Goose Bay. I always figured it was too shallow and too warm for trout. My mistake. Certainly this year Goose Bay offers good early season fishing.

Goose Bay is located just north of the Almanor West development in the northwest corner of the lake. It is generally very shallow although with this year’s high water most of the bay is about 20 feet deep. The water is just a bit warmer than the rest of the lake and there is plenty of insect activity and plenty of feeding trout.

I also noticed some bass anglers working the shoreline with some success.

If it’s salmon you are after, Doug Neal of Almanor Fishing Adventures reports that the well-known salmon hole known as the Snag has been producing some nice king salmon. The Snag is located on the east shore a short distance from the dam. The salmon have been running up to 4 pounds although most of the fish are about 2.75 pounds — still not bad!

Most of the salmon are being caught with anchovy tails, but night crawlers suspended about 4 feet off the bottom are also getting their attention.

These salmon are usually out of the Snag and moving north this time of year but this year has been anything but.

In my opinion, these land locked king salmon are the best fighting and best eating fish in the lake.

Lake Davis

If you have never fished Lake Davis, you need to give it a try. Davis is a relatively shallow lake with some excellent fly hatches. It is most popular with fly anglers but also offers some excellent trolling and bank fishing.

The big attractions for fly-fishers are the blood midge hatch and the damselfly hatch. Blood midges are hatching now and the damselflies should kick into high gear soon.

Surface water temperatures at Lake Davis are running in the mid 60-degree range according to Jon Baiocchi of Baiocchi’s Troutfitters. This is a considerable increase in the past couple of weeks.

The north end of the lake is still a bit off-color from runoff. The rainbows are adjusting to water temperatures and still spread out through the entire lake.

Some pods of rainbows are rising in 19 – 22 feet of water for blood midge adults and emergers. Jon says there are many ways to fly-fish the lake right now but his best results have come by fishing blood midge and Callibaetis patterns under an indicator in deep water.

There is a solid blood midge and Callibaetis hatch most days. Damselflies are still slow to appear, but a damsel pattern fished on a floating line with a long leader is getting some action, according to local guide Jay Clark.


Frenchman Lake

Kayden Buell and Tara Newman caught two trout and three catfish at Crystal Point on Frenchman Lake using night crawlers. Photo submitted

Fly anglers are doing well stripping small buggers, sheep creeks and Jay Fair Wiggle Tail Nymphs on an intermediate or sinking lines in 25 – 30 feet of water, according to local guide Jay Clark. Fish are feeding on blood midges, damselflies and Callibaetis mayflies. The north end of the lake is producing good numbers of 12-to-14-inch fish.

Trolling has also been very good. Lures that are producing include Needlefish, Rooster Tails, Dick Nites and Tasmanian Devils.

For the most current information on the conditions at Frenchman Lake, call Wiggin’s Trading Post at 993-4683.


Stream fishing

Bay Area resident Eric Holt caught this 24-inch, 5-pound brown trout in the Middle Fork using a night crawler. Photo by Shelly McDonald

High flows continue on most local streams and rivers. Water temperatures are slowly rising and that has increased the insect activity, providing an import feed source for the trout.

In the Middle Fork of the Feather River pale morning dun mayflies and little yellow sally stoneflies are hatching on a daily basis and providing dry fly opportunities in the tail-outs in the evenings. There are also plenty of caddis flies and a few golden stoneflies, according to Jay Clark of Jay Clark Fly Fishing.

Eric Holt caught a 24-inch, 5-pound brown trout in the Middle Fork of the Feather near Cromberg. Holt said he was using a night crawler for bait.

Use caution when wading as flows are still high and the water is very cold.




Free fishing

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) invites anglers to celebrate Independence Day by fishing in California’s spectacular waters. Saturday, July 2, is the first of California’s two 2011 Free Fishing Days (the other will be Sept. 3), when people can try their hand at fishing without having to buy a sport fishing license.

All fishing regulations, such as bag and size limits, gear restrictions, report card requirements, fishing hours and stream closures remain in effect. All anglers must have appropriate report cards if they are fishing for abalone, steelhead, sturgeon, spiny lobster or salmon in the Smith and Klamath-Trinity river systems.

DFG offers two Free Fishing Days each year, usually in conjunction with the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekend, when it is legal to fish without a sport fishing license. This year, the Free Fishing Days were set for the Saturdays preceding Independence Day and Labor Day (July 2 and Sept. 3). Free Fishing Days provide a low-cost way to give fishing a try.

Anglers should check the rules and regulations ( for the waters they plan to fish. For more information on Free Fishing Days, visit


Trout plants

The DFG planted catchable-size trout this week in the following Plumas County waters: Antelope Lake, Bucks Lake, Little Grass Valley Reservoir and the Middle Fork of the Feather River. In Lakes Basin, Lower Sardine was planted. In Lassen County McCoy Flat Reservoir, Caribou Lake and Eagle Lake received plants. Deer Creek and the South Fork of Battle Creek received plants in Tehama County.


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