Nothing makes a fish bigger than almost being caught. ~Author unknown
It is late August and not surprisingly warm temperatures and smoke fill the air. It’s a typical late summer in the Sierras. The warm temperatures are not limited to the air; our local waters are nearing their seasonal high temperatures as well.
But all is not lost for the angler. Lake Almanor is warm and smoky. But the smoke has actually helped to moderate the water temperatures and the smoke is beginning to lessen. The fishing is actually quite good right now.
At Davis and Frenchman, the water is very warm and yet fish are still being caught. (Catch and release anglers avoid these waters knowing that the warm water does stress fish to the point that mortality is much higher in released fish.)
Only Butt Lake and the surrounding streams are closed due to the Chips Fire. All the other waters in Plumas and surrounding counties are open and producing nice catches.
The real opportunity right now may be our higher elevation lakes and streams. Antelope and Bucks, the most popular of our (almost) high-elevation lakes are fishing well.
Fishing in the Lakes Basin has been a little slow, but it is picking up. North of Chester Echo, Silver and Caribou Lakes are smoke-free and fishing well.
I haven’t fished nearly as much as usual this week. Among other distractions, I was focused on a family summer home in the path of the Chips Fire, and a now three-week-old granddaughter.
She is a marvel but my future fishing partner is not quite ready to hit the water. It is an understatement to say that spending some time with her has been well worth missing a little time on the water.
This week I intend to get back on the water. I plan to hit a couple of our local smaller streams. Indian Creek below Antelope Lake and Grizzly Creek are at the top of the list. Maybe Jamison Creek, too and Warner Creek and the North Fork of the Feather River above Almanor if time allows.
So much water ... so little time.
Trollers are finding some nice rainbows going deep with flashers and worms early morning. Orange needlefish behind down riggers are also catching some nice fish.
Fly anglers are doing well with weighted nymphs on sinking lines neat shore.
Call ahead to Wiggins Trading Post for current information (530-993-4683).
Trollers are catching limits by the big island. Wee Dick Nite Copper Red Heads are working the best. Needlefish in Fire Tiger and Red Dot Frog are also producing good results.
Fly anglers are doing well fishing ice cream cones, blood midges, damsels, and Woolly Buggers in olive, rust or black.
Bank fishing for trout is best early in the morning. Inflated nightcrawlers are producing best. Powerbait in Lemon Twist, Rainbow, Sherbet and Chartreuse are also picking up fish.
Call J and J’s Grizzly Store and Camping Resort (832-0270) for the latest Lake Davis fishing information.
The Chips Fire is 55 percent contained and the threat to Canyon Dam and the west side of the lake is greatly reduced. But it is still smoky and the Forest Service boat ramps and campground at Canyon Dam and Almanor remain closed. Still, some anglers are returning to the water.
Doug Neal of Almanor Fishing Adventures (258-6732) has been back on the water and picking up some nice fish.
Doug says water clarity is very good at 15 feet and surface temperatures are creeping down and currently holding around 69.5 degrees.
Smoky afternoons filter the sunshine and surface temps will continue to creep downward.
Doug advises trolling Strike Master chartreuse dodger/crawler combinations at 1.2 to 1.5 mph. He is seeing large concentrations of fish from Big Cove to Big Springs on his sonar.
Fishing is best in the early in the morning. As the morning progresses, the fishing slows and the up canyon winds push more smoke onto the lake.
The best bite remains the early one. The bait balls are thick on the east side from the Springs to Eagles Nest and Black Mountain where dropping a threaded nightcrawler under a slip bobber set between 25 and 30 feet deep has been a successful method of catching some nice fat trout.
By late morning when the sun is higher in the sky some trout to drop down to 36 to 38 feet but if you drop any deeper than that you will most likely find an adult tui chub.
Start out bait fishing under slip bobbers off The Springs or Eagles Nest area. The best depths for bait fishing are between 27 and 36 feet deep in 58 to 59 feet of water.
Try a mix of garlic gravy and krill attractant on the threaded nightcrawlers.
The trout on the east side generally stay there much longer and are consistent, even when other fish begin to move in to forage the shoreline and rock piles on the west side and those who begin to move north.
Eagle Lake report courtesy of Valerie Aubrey, publisher, Eagle Lake Fishing Information & Network, eaglelakefishing.net.
The North Fork of the Feather is in good shape and fishing well, especially in the evenings when there is a good hatch of mayflies and caddis flies. High Bridge and upstream has been above the smoke.
Warner Creek is also fishing well with lots of small natives being caught in the evenings.
On Deer Creek, the upper end has been fishing best with prince and Parachute Adams dry flies. Mill Creek is a little smoky but fly anglers using dark flies in the evenings are picking up some fish.
Big fish from the lake are moving into the cooler water at the mouth of Hamilton Branch. The upper stream is fishing well with dry flies in the evening.
Fish plants are scheduled for Hamilton Branch, Deer Creek and the North Fork of the Feather River above Chester this week.
In the Lakes Basin area, Packer, Gold, Lower Sardine, and Upper Salmon Lakes are all scheduled for planting this week.