“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”
— Henry David Thoreau
Rebecca Guereque at Buck’s Lake Lodge says the road is still closed, just snowmobiles, but “If they can get up here, the lake is not frozen.”
Gary Blanchard reports the snow is minimal at the lake and the fish are biting. Blanchard sent a series of photos of his catches this week to back up those fish tales.
Mark Tieslau of Blairsden Hardware Store confirmed that the road to the lake is still closed due to snow. Those with an adventurous heart, a snow mobile and a desire to have a private space in the wild undisturbed may venture out.
John Crotty of Almanor Fishing Association reported on April 1, no joke, that spring has sprung on Almanor seemingly overnight. On March 26 the morning temp was 18 and daytime temps didn’t reach 40. On Friday the area experienced 60-degree weather and the parking lot at Canyon Dam boat ramp was full. The nice weather raised surface water temps into the high 40s. Lake level has increased by a couple of feet and visibility, while good, is down to a few feet in areas of the lake.
“I fished on Tuesday with my friend Mark Whipple from Fresno,” said Crotty, “and Mark and I boated 15 fish fast trolling speedy shiners, Arctic Fox trolling flies and Rapala’s.” The pair targeted fish in the top 12 feet in water up to 20 feet deep. They caught a mix of browns, salmon and rainbows with our largest fish a brown approaching 4 pounds.
“I went out scouting on Saturday and spent two hours trolling the same methods and didn’t get a strike,” said Crotty. “That pretty much sums up Almanor, the full moon impacts Almanor more than any body of water I have fished,” added Crotty, “That’s not to say there weren’t fish caught on Saturday just none on my boat.”
Bank fishermen, kayakers, float tubes, bass fishermen and fly fishermen were scattered throughout the lake the past few days enjoying the change in weather. Crawlers and power bait continue to be the bait of choice for bank fishermen; fly fishermen are doing well with Wiggle Tails. Tom at the Chester Fly Shop opened back up on the 1st of April and can provide up to date information at 258-3944.
“I didn’t hear of any bass reports. We are finally starting to see some bug activity which will only help improve fly fishing,” said Crotty.
Hamilton Branch is calming down and clarity around the branch has improved. Bailey Creek is clear, as is the North Fork of the Feather. USFS said they will be installing the public boat dock at the Prattville campground within the next two weeks; stay tuned here for updates. “We are expecting some rain later this week which shouldn’t impact fishing,” said Crotty.
The Almanor Fishing Association and Field of Dreams collaborated March 20 to provide a fishing trip for veteran brothers Bill and George Rowell.
“Fishing was good as Bill and George landed a mix of browns, bows and salmon with the largest fish being a brown a little over four pounds,” said Crotty. Fish were caught fast trolling (2.5 to 3 MPH) speedy shiners and Rapalas in water from 12 to 25 feet deep. “We also picked up a few fish with the Artic Fox trolling flies in the pond smelt pattern,” said Crotty.
The lake rose a foot or more from recent storms and that trend is expected to continue with the warming temps.
Hamilton Branch is bringing in lots of muddy debris-filled water, Bailey Creek is flowing clear water and there is still no water in the Super Ditch. The snow on the ground is as deep as 2-1/2 feet in spots. “I would expect most, if not all, the snow at lake level to be gone by the end of the week,” said Crotty.
The Canyon Dam boat ramp is the only public boat launch currently available. Bank and fly fishermen continue to pick up fish in the coves around Canyon Dam.
Robert Garcia said the lake is still frozen up to Coots Bay. There is plenty of snow to thin out any fisherman trying to gain access to the water. “If you have four-wheel-drive you can get all the way into Mallard,” said Garcia. Nine-year-old Ella Garcia and her pop Robert hiked into the lakeside from the road March 29 to dip the line, “but we didn’t get anything,” said Robert Garcia.