Give a man a fish and he has food for a day; teach him how to fish and you can get rid of him for the entire weekend. —Zenna Schaffer
For the past few months I have emphasized the fishing opportunities in our local lakes.
I have not had much good to say about stream fishing.
The Sierra experienced unusually heavy snows this winter. The resulting runoff kept our streams running high and cold. Stream fishing has been tough at best.
That has all changed now. Stream flows and temperatures have moderated and as a result stream fishing is now excellent throughout the region.
For fly anglers, the standard fair for this time of year is caddis flies, small mayflies and the occasional stonefly.
My favorite on a warm August afternoon is the grasshopper. If you walk along a sunny section of any of our streams you will see dozens of grasshoppers in the air.
Many of them wind up in the water, especially on a breezy afternoon.
Once in the water, they float along on the surface struggling to get out of the water. Drifting and twitching a hopper imitation on the surface near the bank can bring very aggressive bites.
Eventually the hoppers will drown and drift under the surface of the water. The water a foot or so under the surface is a very effective area to fish, especially this time of year. Most anglers, fly anglers in particular, concentrate on fishing very deep or right on the surface. That is exactly what I would have recommended until the past few weeks.
The water is warmer now, but not too warm. There is more insect activity by both aquatic and terrestrial insects. The result is the trout are feeding just under the surface much more than they were a few weeks ago. That is where you want to fish.
When I fish streams, I fish flies. I know that isn’t for everyone. If I were fishing bait, my go-to bait right now would have to be crickets. They look very much like hoppers, and even do a decent, if somewhat obscure, imitation of other emerging aquatic insects.
Fish them on the surface, or better yet attach a very small split shot to your line and drift them just under the surface.
If done properly you won’t have enough weight for a long or even medium cast. Just sneak up to the stream bank and toss your bait out for a short drift.
Be stealthy and be prepared for a good bite.
The water at Davis has warmed and the fishing has slowed a bit. Some fish are being caught from shore, but trollers are finding the best results.
Trolling 20 to 25 feet deep or anchoring and soaking baits have been the most productive techniques.
Despite the warming water, fishing remains good at Frenchman Lake.
Limits of trout have been caught at Snallygaster, Nightcrawler Bay, and Lunker Point.
The rainbows are ranging from 15 to 22 inches long, and weighing 1 to 2-1/2 pounds.
Trolling is good near Big Cove and the dam. Productive flies include green Woolly Buggers, dark lords, prince nymphs and copper johns.
Call Wiggin’s Trading Post for the latest conditions (993-4683).
Surface water has warmed to the 70-degree range. That is not comfortable for trout so they have moved into deeper and cooler water.
According to Doug Neal of Almanor Fishing Adventures (258-6732) the thermocline begins at 18 feet deep. That is a good place to start fishing during the early morning hours.
After the sun hits the water it’s all about downriggers, and maybe some lead-core, to get down deep where the bigger fish are to be found.
During the last couple of days Doug has been fishing close to the bottom along the east shore, running his gear down from 43 to 53 feet down in 61 feet of water.
After a rather slow July, Doug is relieved that the bite has returned.
Several different trolling rigs seem to be working but the common element has been using a scent of some kind. The fish are still scattered and the scent helps them find your offering.
If you don’t have the gear needed for deep trolling, try drifting bait 4 to 10 feet off the bottom.
During the week of Aug. 7, trout were planted in the North Fork of the Feather River above Caribou and above Lake Almanor. Hamilton Branch above Lake Almanor was also planted as was Upper Salmon Lake in Lakes Basin.
No local trout plants were scheduled for the week of Aug. 14.