“Last year I went fishing with Salvador Dali. He was using a dotted line. He caught every other fish.”
— Steve Wright
Fish are starting to midge in certain coves, Lunker Landing being one of them. “Use a bobber with two different colored zebra midges size 14,” suggests fishing guide Jack Trout. “One in black and silver and one in red and silver.”
Fishermen are reporting big browns are being caught on worms and power bait. “On days when it lightly rains, trout are on the surface so look for surface activity,” said Trout. Parachute Adams, light cahill and mosquitoes can work. “Griffith gnats right before dark size 18 and 20, if you can’t see it, tie on a larger fly as an indicator or just listen for the hit,” he said.
Rebecca Guereque at the Bucks Lake Lodge said from Memorial Day to Labor Day the fishing shop will be open 7 days a week, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. or later.
Staff at Goodwin’s General Store report that “streams are really hot right now,” especially coming out below the dam, all the streams. With both boat docks, Crystal point has been doing really well.
Jack Trout says the fishing is great. He is using midges and leeches. “People are reporting big trout being caught on lures, bait and flies,” said Trout. “Choose your method, this lake is fishing great.”
If you are fishing for lunch and feeling a tad nostalgic, the Graeagle Hardware Store is celebrating 100 years in business. They have been making sandwiches for fisherman since 1918.
John Crotty of Almanor Fishing Association reports as of June 6, lake level remains unseasonably high and by all indications will stay high for the immediate future. Water is on the blacktop at the Canyon Dam boat launch. Water temp is steadily rising reaching the low 60s with the afternoon sun. Water clarity is good.
Fishing pressure remains heavy on the northwest side of the lake from the tip of the Peninsula to Goose Island north. The bite is slowing down and boats are beginning to anchor. “We have been slow trolling (1 mph) crawlers and gulps in the bottom 10-feet in water up to 50 feet deep,” said Crotty. “We are picking up a mix of browns, bows and salmon.” The fish are fat and healthy feeding on insects, crawdads and leeches. “I still have not seen any signs of pond smelt this year which is a little concerning,” said Crotty.
There have been rumors of a few fish caught in Geritol on anchor this past week on the “Almanor Cocktail” (cricket/meal worm combo). Also had reports of fish off the east shore from Dorado to Big Springs. “For you fly fishermen, the Hex Hatch is right around the corner,” said Crotty. “Typically, we will begin to see small hatches starting first at Butt Lake with Almanor soon to follow.”
Jack Trout adds that Hamilton Branch fishing is great now with small flies. Fish have been biting on both dries and nymphs. “High stick nymphing with a couple of bead heads was very successful for me; my best fly was a beaded PMD Nymph size 16,” said Trout. “Stone fly dropper nymph is a great way to go.”
Lake Almanor access status
The bypass road around the bridge replacement project in Canyon Dam is progressing. The one-way bypass road, which is traffic light-controlled, is making for quick travel around the project. All other roadways to Almanor are clear and open.
Fishing has picked up with better hatches mid-day. There are reports of fish being caught with black and green leeches. “Water temps still in the high 50s so fishing deeper is the key,” said fisherman Chris Wharton. “Mornings and afternoons still best in northern coves of lake.”
June 6, Jeanne Graham at J & J Grizzly Store said, “Fishing is really picking up and the lake is 98 percent full.” Trolling at the channel and around the big island 10 to 20 feet deep and 150 feet behind the boat using Dick Nite copper redhead, needlefish red dot frog or needlefish frog seems to be a tactic that works. Bank fishing appears to be doing best at Mallard Cove using worms or Garlic Rainbow PowerBait. “I have reports of a lot of fish in Big Grizzly Creek this weekend,” said Graham.
The store is open seven days a week with hunting and fishing licenses available. The campground is open and reservations are recommended.
The spring fishing derby is happening Saturday, June 16, starting at 6 a.m. The event benefits the volunteer fire department and firefighters will be barbequing up “burgers and dogs.” Sign ups by Friday, June 15, at 8 p.m. save on fees, but fishing folk may sign up the day of the derby.
The May 20th stocking was rescheduled for June 8, so the fish are now ready and waiting. “The pond should be filled with water and trout,” said Jack Trout.
Creeks and streams
“Now’s the time to fish Spanish Creek if you want to use a dry fly and catch trout on the surface,” said fishing guide Jack Trout. Size 16 elk hair caddis on top and using one or two droppers underneath with amber princes size 14 and a black copper john size 18 or micro mayfly in black is what Trout suggests. “They love those black flies in Spanish Creek,” said Trout.
Upper Indian Creek
Most hatches are from 10 a.m. to noon then back again about 3 p.m. to dark. “Little brown stone hatch in the upper reaches above Taylorsville has been incredible,” said Trout, “and trout aren’t always big, but lots of action for the fly fishers and spin fishermen.” Dry fly with a dropper also works, “but most fish last week were more often hitting a caddis on the surface. Had one huge trout bite it, but I wasn’t quick enough with my smile,” said Trout. Most common flies on Upper Indian Creek are size 16 and 18. “For lures use a small mepps in brown, be sure to debarb your hooks and use a single hook not trebles,” said Trout.
Levels could be considered perfect in areas from Portola to Quincy, but note they are changing rapidly. Hatches start as soon as the sun hits the water. Caddis, mayflies and golden stones are all showing, so there is a smorgasbord of insect hatches. In general, the fish are happy.
“You can catch trout using size 16 light cahills, pink cahills, tan caddis,” said river fishing guide Zachariah Stone Silver. “Size 12 sofa pillow or rogue foam golden stone or any stone imitation works on the surface.”
In Silver’s opinion, “Now until July 15th is the best fishing in any section.” Lures that are working well are Kastmaster in gold or silver, Panther Martin black and silver, and “the smallest sizes work best,” said Silver. For nymphs, try an olive green Copper John and small black wooly buggers. They “work great right now, but it’s hard to steer away from dry fly as the river right is simply amazing,” said Silver.
Closed June 1, “another great season with huge Lahotan cutthroat,” said fisherman Chris Wharton.