The only time the conversation took a break at the Veterans Fishing Day barbeque is when everyone was too busy enjoying the smoked beef and chicken, chili and many types of salads.

A day on Lake Almanor for veterans

This group of guides and committee members are the planners and facilitators of the Veterans Fishing Day on June 11 at Lake Almanor. Pictured in back, from left: Jim Pleau, Deb Reynolds, John Crotty, Duncan McIntyre, Bryan Roccucci, Doug Neal, Shirley Spediacci, and Cliff Spediacci. Middle Row, from left: Bob Michaels, Mark Antaramarian and Rich Dengler. Front row, from left: Auggie Serena, Brett Hurff, Matt Goodrich and Robert Gonzalez. Photo by Gregg Scott

A June 11 winter storm warning is quite unusual for the Lake Almanor area, but that didn’t hamper the efforts of many local fishing guides who offered their boats and expertise to take veterans from Plumas, Lassen and Shasta counties out for a day of fishing on Lake Almanor.

The 27 veterans that participated represented all different branches of service and varying eras of conflict.

Most importantly was the commonality of being comrades in arms and sharing a love for fishing.

Even the wind, rain, hail, snow, lightening, thunder and tough fishing conditions didn’t dampen the enthusiasm displayed by all partaking in the adventure.

In this, the first year of the event, there were actually more volunteers to guide the veteran fishermen than there were veterans available.

It seems the idea of having a day on the lake for veterans developed from a conversation by a group of fishing guides. John Crotty, owner of Quail Lodge, contacted the county veterans service officer and other veteran contacts to look for interested veterans.

Within a short time, there was an outpouring of volunteers from guide services and many others to make the event happen.

An exciting day of fishing was topped off with a barbeque spread at the Quail Lodge in Canyon Dam.

Food and beverages were abundant along with lots of smiling conversations about the experiences of the day and the delicious food.

Crotty said thanks were due to the many fishing guides who volunteered their time. He added that many others helped the cause. He mentioned that one volunteer drove all the way from Concord to help any way he could.

He also offered thanks for the support of the Forest Service and PG&E.

The whole idea of the event was to thank local veterans for their service and enjoy some time with them.

The event committee is looking forward to having an even bigger event next year, hopefully with better weather.

When lightning starts to pop around Lake Almanor and you’re in an aluminum boat, it is probably a good idea to vacate the water as soon as possible. Even with the winter storm warning, an early start on June 11 allowed most of the veterans fishing Lake Almanor to enjoy several hours on the water with some great guides. The catching was not at peak performance but perhaps that’s why it’s called fishing and not catching. Reports did not include any complaints.