“Fishing puts me in touch with another of nature’s species, in beautiful surroundings that are as old as time. That is where I want to be; that is how I’m renewed.”
—Joan Salvato Wulff
This time of year is a bit of a mixed blessing. I am excited because the Hexagenia mayflies are hatching. But once that spectacular mayfly hatch is over, we begin the so-called dog days of summer. The warm water tends to slow the fish and the fishing down. The spring bite becomes a thing of the past.
But all is not lost. Fish will begin to congregate where they can find colder water. Tributary mouths, springs and deeper water will all hold fish. The observant angler can use that predictability to offset the reduced appetite the fish may have.
Butt Valley Reservoir
The fishing has been good and the pressure is light. The huge Hexagenia mayflies are hatching in decent numbers. Try fishing by the dam in the evening.
The powerhouse has been running. Try pond smelt imitations when the powerhouse is on.
Trollers are scoring with Dick Nite Copper Red Heads and Needlefish Red Dot Frog, Sockeye Slammer Fire Tiger and Rainbow Runner in red or green.
PowerBait continues to be the best producer for bank anglers. Try lemon twist, rainbow, chartreuse or sherbet. Inflated nightcrawlers also work well. Eagle Point continues to be good; Mallard and Coot are picking up.
Fly anglers are doing well with suspended damselfly nymphs and emerging mayflies. The west side from Eagle Point to Freeman has all been reported as productive. The best fishing is in the morning and late afternoon/evening.
Kokanee are plentiful this year — perhaps a little too plentiful, as they are smaller than they have been in recent years. Eight- to 10-inch fish are the norm this year.
The rainbows and browns are also biting and they are running 10 to 18 inches with most between 12 and 14 inches.
Anglers trolling spoons, and especially Needlefish, have been scoring lots of trout.
Shore anglers are doing well with eggs early in the morning. Try fishing the Mill Creek inlet.
For the most current information on Bucks Lake, stop by the Sportsmen’s Den on Highway 70 in East Quincy.
The North Fork Feather is in good shape. Nymphs are working best. Golden stones are hatching in the evenings.
Nearby Warner Creek is also in good shape and fishing well.
On Deer Creek the upper end has been best with nymphs. There are some stoneflies in the afternoon and mayflies hatching in the evening. Prince nymphs and Para Adams are working well.
The Middle Fork Feather River is warm in the upper reaches. Above Two Rivers, the temperatures are climbing into the 70s. This makes the trout lethargic. The low levels of dissolved oxygen make it all but impossible for the trout to survive being caught.
I recommend anglers head downstream below Two Rivers where the Middle Fork is fishing well and the water is cooler. Hungry trout are feeding on caddis flies and stoneflies. The evening hatch is the most productive.
Nelson Creek is fishing well. Golden stoneflies are a mainstay right now, according to local guide Jay Clark. Fishing rubber leg crystal stimulators (No. 10 – 14) will get fish to look up. Yellow sallies and caddis flies are also working. Water temperatures are in the low 60-degree range and offering a refuge for larger Middle Fork Feather fish.
Cast to all likely holding water. Use stealth when approaching the deeper pools as there are some large trout holding in the pools right now. Jay urges anglers to practice catch and release on our wild trout fisheries.
According to Doug Neal of Almanor Fishing Adventures (258-6732) the lake is still cool enough for fish to remain scattered around both basins. Water clarity is excellent at about 16 feet.
The Chinese pond smelt are again very abundant this year. They are especially concentrated in the east basin from Canyon Dam to Hamilton Branch.
The smelt are also larger this year. I normally look for pond smelt imitations around an inch and a half long. This year two and a half to three inches might be more appropriate.
Pond smelt are not the only item on the menu. Insect hatches are particularly thick this year. The weather and the higher water level have combined to produce lots of aquatic insects.
Doug says the fish are big, thick, feisty and very well-fed. This can make them finicky feeders.
Nightcrawlers have been getting the big fish. Threaded naked or behind an attractors like flashers or dodgers have been nailing the big fish all week. It’s not a hot bite, but the anglers that stick it out are being rewarded with very nice fish despite all that natural food.
Start fishing early. Try trolling from Almanor West to Prattville. On the east shore trollers working from the Dorado Inn to Canyon Dam are doing very well.
The Hexagenia hatch is the big news for fly fishers. Almanor (along with Butt Lake) is famous for its evening hatch of the very large and beautiful bright yellow mayflies.
Late afternoon and evening is prime time for fishing nymph patterns that imitate the immature mayflies making their way from the muddy lake bottom to the surface. Bait anglers can do well fishing crickets during this period.
At dark, emerger patterns fished in the surface film and dry fly adult imitations are the key during this brief and often magical period when the adults hatch and take flight.
The public is invited …
… to attend a presentation offered by Feather River Trout Unlimited. Lance Gray, fishing guide extraordinaire, will delight your fishing senses July 19 and offer tips on fishing the Sacramento River at the Mohawk Community Resource center at 6 p.m.
Support the Feather River Chapter of Trout Unlimited. This is a great organization of local volunteers dedicated to improving our local fisheries. Call Cindy at 249-0444 for more information about the summer speaker series and other programs of Trout Unlimited.