Friends Darrell, from Turlock, and Rob, from Richmond, Va., fished with guide Doug Neal of Almanor Fishing Adventures last week. Part of their catch was this beautiful 28-inch brown that weighed in at a bit over 13 pounds. Photo by Doug Neal
“It has always been my private conviction that any man who pits his intelligence against a fish and loses has it coming.” —John Steinbeck
July has been pleasantly, if not unseasonably, cool. Water surface temperatures have dropped to 67 degrees.
Water clarity is great at about 13.5 feet. Insect hatches continue and the pond smelt are everywhere.
These are ideal conditions for the fish. But they are a bit challenging for the angler.
With all that fish food around, and the recent full moon, catching has been slow. That full moon allows fish 24 hours of feeding opportunity.
The Hexagenia hatch continues, but is still a bit sporadic — not as consistent as most years.
The best bet for the Hex hatch is the west shore just north of the dam. The fish remain keyed in on the nymph stage of the Hex much more so than the emergers and adults.
Doug Neal of Almanor Fishing Adventures (almanorfishingadventures.com) worked it hard the past week.
He proved that patience pays off when one of his clients landed an awesome brown trout. This monster brown was 28 inches long and had an 18.5 inch girth. It weighed a bit over 13 pounds.
Doug has caught several large browns trolling with silver dodgers and a threaded crawler 18 inches behind the dodger. Doug likes to spike his crawlers with scents like Bang Aerosol in Garlic.
According to local fishing guide Jay Clark (jayclarkflyfishing.com), there is a solid blood midge and Callibaetis hatch most days.
Fly anglers are doing well fishing a blood midge pattern hung under an indicator in 7 to 10' feet of water.
Damselflies are also hatching. A damsel pattern fished on a floating line with a long leader is likely to get some action.
Jay Fair Wiggle Tail Nymphs in brown, black and cinnamon, fished on an intermediate lines, are all catching fish.
Fishermen have been doing very well at Frenchman. The favorite spots for anglers are Turkey Point, Crystal Point and Nightcrawler Bay. The dam is also a popular spot.
Shore fishermen have been using night crawlers, marshmallows and PowerBait. One fisherman used Sunrise Power Eggs dipped in corn gravy. He caught three rainbow trout within an hour at the dam.
Trolling is good at the north end of the lake. Fishermen are using Dick Nite Copper Red Heads, and Needlefish in a variety of colors. Tasmanian Devils in chartreuse and orange also catching fish.
Fly fishers are doing well using small flies, especially green and black midges.
For the most up to date fishing conditions, call Wiggin’s Trading Post at 993-4683.
Most local streams are running high and still slightly off color but conditions continue to improve. There are some insects hatching: pale morning dun mayflies, caddis flies and a few stoneflies (yellow sallies and goldens).
The key is to fish deep. For fly anglers, try high sticking weighted nymphs. Late afternoon and evenings may see some dry fly action.
The swarms of flying ants are over, but the fish continue to key on them. An ant pattern fished along the bank, especially on a breezy afternoon, can produce good results.
I visited the Lakes Basin area a few days ago. With the weather warming this week, Lakes Basin may be a great place to visit to escape the heat.
There are still snowbanks throughout the area. Wildflowers are in full bloom and with the abundant moisture this year they are very profuse (as are the mosquitoes, unfortunately).
It is hard to imagine a more beautiful setting than Lakes Basin. The Sierra Buttes provide an incredible scenic backdrop to many of the lakes.
Because of the high altitude, the season at Lakes Basin is pretty short. Planted fish help make up for the short growing season for the fish.
I have heard that in recent years the California Department of Fish and Game has cut back on fish plants in the Lakes Basin area (as with most areas in the state).
I had the opportunity to talk to several anglers in the area and their experience seemed to confirm the reduced trout plants.
Some got skunked, some caught fish, but they all complained that the fishing wasn’t as good as it used to be.
But then “You should have been here yesterday” has long been a favorite angler mantra.
I know I will be going back to Lakes Basin.
Echo Lake, Antelope Lake, Bucks Lake and Lake Almanor all received trout plants last week. There are no trout plants scheduled for Plumas County this week.