“There will be days when the fishing is better than one’s most optimistic forecast, others when it is far worse. Either is a gain over just staying home.”
There is no question that the heat of summer, the so-called “dog days of summer” are here now.
Many of the local lakes and streams are warming up to a point that causes the trout’s metabolism to slow down. They become less aggressive and feed less during this part of summer.
Most anglers catch fewer fish under these conditions. But there are a few things the angler can do to keep the odds in his or her favor.
Cold water is the key. Find the coldest water and you find feeding fish. So where to look?
For starters, look in the higher elevation water. Plumas County has many high mountain streams loaded with trout. They tend to be smaller than their lower elevation cousins, but they also tend to be eager and beautifully colored. Grab an assortment of flies or some salmon eggs and a good topographic map and head for the high country.
If you want to stick to the lakes, Plumas County offers several high elevation options — none are more beautiful than those in Lakes Basin. Farther north there are dozens of lakes in the Caribou Wilderness and Lassen Park. And there are many small lakes in between. Some are right along the road and others are just a short hike away.
Dick Nite and Thomas Boyant lures can often work magic in these high lakes. A variety of flies can also be very effective since these fish are often less selective than those at lower elevations.
If you prefer the mid-elevation streams and lakes, cold water is still the key. Fish the deeper water in both lakes and streams. Look for seeps and springs. And don’t forget working the areas just below where smaller colder tributaries empty into larger streams and lakes.
Butt Valley Reservoir
Like all the other mid-elevation lakes, the water in Butt Valley Reservoir has warmed up. The key to finding feeding fish is finding colder water.
There are many springs and seeps around the lake. But the biggest source of cold water is the Butt Creek inlet and powerhouse.
The powerhouse also happens to be a great source of food for the lake, especially when it is running. Try pond smelt imitations or woolly buggers in the inlet.
The main Hexagenia hatch is over, but there are usually a few bugs hatching for a couple weeks after the hatch has peaked. Try Hexagenia nymphs in the late afternoon and cripples in the evening.
Damsels continue to hatch at Lake Davis along with a few blood midges.
Fly fishers should use a long leader and a slow retrieve.
Fishing is best in from the late morning until the afternoon wind picks up. Look for Callibaetis mayflies in the late afternoon when the wind settles down.
In addition to damsel fly and midge pupae and Callibaetis dry fly imitations, various forms of woolly buggers, and J Fair Wiggle Tail Nymphs, are also getting good results.
PowerBait and eggs are working for shore anglers and trollers are doing well with Dick Nite lures.
The water at Davis is warming, so try to land and release the fish quickly to increase their chance for survival.
For the most current information, call J and J’s Grizzly Store and Camping Resort at 832-0270.
The weather has gotten much warmer lately, so the fish are going deeper at Frenchman Lake.
Nightcrawlers and rainbow PowerBait are working well from shore, but you need to fish early or wait till evening when it is cooler.
Trollers are doing best with nightcrawlers behind flashers and least three to four colors of lead line out.
The North Fork Feather River is in good shape. Assorted nymphs are working well.
There is a decent hatch of golden stoneflies in the evenings.
The river below Belden Forebay is running very high because Pacific Gas and Electric Co. is releasing water so it can do some repairs on the powerhouse.
Fishing is good on Deer Creek in the mornings and evenings. A stimulator with a bead-head attractor nymph dropper is the ticket. Try caddis dry flies in the evenings.
The action is slow in the afternoon, but ant and grasshopper imitations will entice an occasional fish.
On the Middle Fork Feather River try fishing below Two Rivers. The water is too warm upstream from there. Trout are taking stoneflies and a few caddis flies.
The best fishing is early in the morning and again late in the afternoon when the sun is off the water and trout are feeding on caddis, yellow sallies and small mayflies. The caddis hatch is sparse.
Nelson Creek is fishing well. As the water in the Middle Fork warms, fish move up the tributaries like Nelson Creek in search of colder water. Try golden stoneflies and caddis flies in the afternoons.
Trolling has been productive from Hamilton Branch to Big Springs, and from the Dorado Inn to Canyon Dam, according to Doug Neal of Almanor Fishing Adventures (258-6732). The best fish, a mix of rainbow and salmon, are being caught with nightcrawlers trolled behind a dodger or flasher.
Surface temperatures are in the low 70-degree range and water clarity is very good. Doug says there are some fish fairly shallow early in the morning but they move down as deep as 40 feet as the sun hits the water.
The Hexagenia hatch has peaked, but there are still a few flies hatching along the west shore. Some fish are close to the surface early, like 10 to 12 feet, and drop to 40 feet before mid-morning.
Fish for a Wish Tournament at Almanor
Big Cove Resort will once again be host the Fish for a Wish Tournament Saturday, Aug. 4. This is a great opportunity to help children with life-threatening illnesses.
Those who would like to know about this very worthwhile event may call Big Cove Resort at 596-3345 or check the website fishforawish.com.