“There is a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.”
— Steve Wright
Recent rain has kept traffic at in the lake at a minimum, but as far as the fish are concerned, “Summer is here,” said Rebecca Guereque at the Lodge. From Memorial Day to Labor Day the fishing shop will be open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., or later.
“You can catch your limit every time,” said frequent Frenchman fisherman Gary Blanchard, “Wild creek fish have such beautiful markings.”
Blanchard isn’t kidding, “Caught over 50 trout on May 18th,” said the fishing guru, using salmon eggs. Blanchard had luck with nightcrawlers May 19 catching a 28-inch rainbow. With fishing action like that, there is hardly any time to enjoy the great scenery as geese can be seen nesting in the cliffs and deer trim the shrubbery surrounding the lake.
John Crotty of Almanor Fishing Association reported on conditions during last week’s daily afternoon thunderstorms and rain. The unsettled weather included winds making fishing conditions tough and possibly dangerous according to Crotty.
Water temps remained steady ranging between 57 and 61 degrees. Lake level remains unchanged and Almanor is full.
Trout continue to feast on insects on the northwest side of the lake with lots of fishing pressure north of Prattville into the flats. “We fished three days last week and caught fish fast trolling speedy shiners and switching over to crawlers and gulps when the fast bite died,” said Crotty. Shiners worked best when there was a little chop on the water and Crotty caught fish from 5 feet to 20 feet deep in water depths between 25 and 40 feet. Colors changed almost daily, according to Crotty, and they caught fish on silver, copper and red/gold.
“I had an opportunity to bass fish on Thursday with Joe Stout as he was pre-fishing for a tournament. We caught over 30 healthy, hard-fighting smallies in seven hours,” said Crotty. The fish preferred green Gitzits and white grubs. The largest fish of the day was 3 1/2 pounds. “We estimated our five fish limit would have been between 13 and 14 pounds,” said Crotty.
“Almanor is a fantastic small mouth fishery, fish are bedding up right now, we found males cleaning/clearing beds in preparation for the females,” reports Crotty. Spawning will be ongoing for the next few weeks. Overcast and windy conditions make for tough sight fishing when conditions are right, a 30-plus smallie trip on Almanor is not uncommon.
There are still no signs of large concentrations of pond smelt. It seems the high water, weather and water temps have delayed their arrival. “Almanor fish have great diets, insects, pond smelt and the Hex Hatch add up to a diverse fishery with fat healthy fish,” said Crotty.
Bank fishing remains light and flyfishing in coves is not producing many fish. “While fish are spread throughout the lake most fish and fishermen are on the peninsula,” said Crotty.
Fishing guide Jack Trout shared, “Clients had a 8-pound brown on that got off right at the boat after fighting it for half hour,” and shared a suggestion: “Use size 14 zebra midges in black and silver and red and silver. Try variations.”
Bass fisherman and guide, Ben “Fishdog” Williams said, “The spawn is winding down and fishing has slowed. While some fish can still be found on the beds, most of the fish are in recovery mode.” Williams suggests bass fishermen try ripping or swim baits near flats and points over the next couple of weeks. Once the weather heats up and the bass recover, “the top of the water action should start,” said Williams. “Remember to bring a camera. Take a picture and release your fish to reproduce and be caught another day,” said Williams.
Jim Graham at J & J Grizzly Store said he set up a couple fishermen at the store on May 24 and sent them out. He said they fished for about an hour. “In the first 10 minutes they caught three fish,” said Graham, “One was a 4 1/2 pounder!” The fishermen were set up by Graham with garlic rainbow PowerBait and caught Eagle Lake trout.