This continues to be the winter that wasn’t. The lack of precipitation is not a good thing on many levels including the health of our forests and fisheries.
But the silver lining in this rainless cloud is that there have been many beautiful days just perfect for getting out and doing a little fishing.
The trick is to not let life’s more trivial obligations get in the way of fishing (or doing whatever else you do to enjoy the outdoors). That is not always easy.
Take today for example. It’s a beautiful day to go fishing. But I had to make a choice between writing this column this morning or going fishing.
As I start writing, the jury is still out. I could use the lame but effective excuse of “writer’s block” and head for the lake. But if I finish the column and it gets in the paper … you will know that I missed yet another day of fishing.
I hate it when that happens! I promise to do better tomorrow.
The nights have been cold, the days warm and the fishing excellent at Frenchman.
Anglers are finding fish in different areas of the lake. Big Cove, Nightcrawler Bay and the dam are just some of the productive areas.
Most fish are running between 15 and 18 inches long, and about a pound to a pound and a half.
The dam has ice about 9 to 12 inches thick, but there is water on top during the day. Be extremely careful if you choose to go out on the ice.
Call Wiggin’s Trading Post at 993-4683 for current conditions.
Fishing has been good both through the ice and on the open water although it has slowed a bit with the full moon.
The recent ice fishing derby saw over 100 participants. Everyone had a wonderful time according to the folks at J&J Grizzly Store and Camping Resort.
The ice near the dam is about 4 – 6 inches thick and changes daily. That is too thin for me but some anglers have been braving the ice and doing well with worms and chartreuse PowerBait.
There is still plenty of open water where patient anglers have been catching some nice rainbows with worms or PowerBait.
Mallard Cove and Coots Bay are accessible by only four-wheel-drive vehicle. These are great spots to launch canoes or kayaks.
Remember the ice is not monitored; use your own discretion and be safe. Falling thought the ice not only spooks the fish; it can ruin your whole day!
Doug Neal of Almanor Fishing Adventures says it is winter, but it feels more like April at Lake Almanor. The blue jays are squawking and robins are singing at first light.
Doug likes hitting the water in the wintertime. Fishing pressure is light. There are no pleasure boats or jet skis to scare the fish. And the fishing can be excellent.
The key to winter fishing is knowing what the fish are feeding on. Insect activity is minimal this time of year. The pond smelt are a key food source all year at Lake Almanor.
This time of year the rainbow trout spawn is another major food source. Fish will be picking up spawn material along the bottom.
The best bet is to fish near springs or creek mouths where the rainbows will be spawning and the browns feeding. Try roe or salmon eggs. PowerBait is also a good choice.
Another good option is to fish night crawlers suspended 36 inches under a bobber and let the current take it out into the open water. Females should be released. Be sure to release your fish carefully. Try not to use a net if possible as the netting can harm the protective coating on the skin of the fish.
Winter conditions require an elevated awareness of safety. As lake levels rise, logs and sticks will be refloated. Boat ramps can be icy. Check current weather reports prior to your trip.
Don’t forget to purchase your 2012 license before heading out to fish.
I bought mine online at dfg.ca.gov/licensing. It took less than five minutes from the comfort of my own home.
I printed off a temporary license that would allow me to start fishing the same day. The official copy arrived in the mail within a week.
The license is expensive at $44 and change. So if you only go fishing five days a year that amounts to nearly $9 a day.
But if you fish 50 days per year, it costs less than $1 a day.
I don’t know about you, but I like to save money whenever I can. So I plan on getting my money’s worth from that license by fishing every chance I get.
Stay warm, be careful on the ice and have a happy and fish-filled new year.