Fishing Report for the week of 4/18/2014

Robert Paulson, of Meadow Valley, holds up the 23-pound Mackinaw he caught at Bucks Lake on April 6. Photo submitted
Michael Condon
Staff Writer


A bad day of fishing is better than a good day of work.          ~    Author Unknown

Henry David Thoreau

News year’s resolutions are a big deal. They provide a sort of course correction for our hectic lives.

This annual ritual, by virtue of our collective commitment, improves not just our own lives, but also makes this world a better place; at least in theory.

The promises we make range from quitting smoking, to more dieting and exercise, to more hours spent volunteering. Each year, on the first day of January we get a new start.

It’s a bit like a real-life mulligan.

I like to take a slightly different approach. I don’t waste time on Jan. 1 resolutions.

I wait for the beginning of spring fishing season.

What I do share with so many other resolution makers is that I tend to make the same resolution every year. And like so many others, the implementation of my resolution tends to fall short of my expectations.

Like years past, this year my commitment to improving my life, and by extension making this world a better place in my own small way, is to go fishing more.

Yep; more time on the water is my own small contribution to making the world a happier place.

But spending time where I would most like to be is no small challenge. Life can get in the way of fishing.

I retired from a full-time (and then some) career a few years back. But the long-anticipated free time was quickly filled by a part-time job, some new hobbies and an unending list of household projects.

And then there are the two new granddaughters within the past 20 months. Given a choice between spending time with my granddaughters and going fishing, the granddaughters will win every time.

So I need to focus more on those other choices this year. If I am serious about fishing more (one outing a week sounds reasonable), I need to commit to fewer chores around the homestead and a bit less time at work.

I can do that.


Lake Almanor

Fly anglers are picking up some nice rainbows fishing the west shore coves. Bait anglers are scoring along the causeway east of Chester. Boat anglers are picking up mix of mostly browns, a few rainbows and an occasional king salmon along the east shore.

Smallmouth bass are off the points and drop-offs.

Tom Maumoynier of Lake Almanor Fly Fishing Co. reports the lake is fishing well and getting better as the water temperature rises. Tom says the rainbows are feeding on midges and pond smelt.

If you are looking for Tom’s shop, he has moved one block east from his old location on Main Street in Old Town Chester. He is across the street from Bodfish Bicycles and Quiet Mountain Sports.

Doug Neal of Lake Almanor Fishing Adventures is one of the Almanor’s top trolling experts. Doug says the osprey and grebes have returned and abundant insect hatches are attracting hungry fish along the east shore.

Doug has been fishing between the Dorado Inn and nearby Lake Cove. His clients have been catching a mix of browns, a few rainbows and at least one king salmon every day.

Mostly the fish are average to above-average size, with one recent brown hitting the 9-pound mark.

While the east shore has been kicking out some nice fish, the area along the east side of the peninsula from Rec 1 to A-Frame would be a great place to start. The sonar is showing loads of fish in that area, and fewer insects hatching compared to the east shore.

Doug says to expect some aggressive feeders in this area because there is likely more competition for the available feed.

The radio traffic on the lake (marine band channel 69) indicates that not everybody is catching fish.

Doug recommends changing your trolling rig if you are not hooking up. Try fast-action lures like Speedy Shiners or Needlefish. If that isn’t working switch to a crawler behind a dodger and reduce the trolling speed.


Butt Lake

Fishing pressure is very light. Trollers are picking up a few fish with fast-action lures and fly anglers are scoring with blood red midges. The powerhouse inlet, normally the hot spot on the lake, is closed until the Saturday before Labor Day.


Lake Davis

The fishing at Davis continues to be very good and the lake gets a little busy on the weekends. Fly anglers are scoring by fishing nymphs under indicators.

I love the term “indicator.” For fly fishers, this can mean anything from a dry fly that is visible while the nymph is suspended below it, or some sort of foam concoction that is really just a bobber in disguise.

Fly fishers have a certain ethic and sensibility when it comes to fishing that makes the idea of a bobber rather distasteful.

Using an “indicator” is a nice work-around.

But when a fish takes your offering under the water where you can’t see it, and something attached to that same line, floating on the surface, shows you what is happening … that is a bobber.

Some like to call a bobber on a fly line a “bobicator” as though that somehow gives them a pass from the bobber syndrome.

That eases the pain just a little bit. But come on. Get over yourself. An indicator is really just a bobber in disguise.

And if it helps catch fish … go with it.

Like many fly anglers, my first experience fishing with a fly was attaching it behind a bobber on my spinning rod so I could cast it out where I needed to get it. Worked like a charm.

Below that indicator, bobicator, bobber or whatever you like to call it, try fishing with a pheasant tail, hare’s ear or prince nymph when the sun is off the water.

The east side of the lake is most productive and fish are running between 16 and 22 inches in length.


Frenchman Lake

Fishermen from near and far are having great luck at Frenchman Lake. Bank anglers are catching rainbows using worms and Berkley Gulp Eggs.

Anglers are catching fish up to 3-1/2 pounds and limits are not uncommon.

Call Wiggin’s Trading Post for the best information on the fishing and current lake conditions: 993-4683.


Stream fishing

Most area streams are still closed, but the Feather River offers some options if you prefer stream fishing.

Lower Feather RiverIf you are willing to take the drive down the Feather River Canyon, the spring steelhead are starting to show on the lower Feather River in and around Oroville.

The best reports are coming from the low flow section below the Highway 70 bridge. This section of river can be accessed through the Oroville Wildlife Area. Try pond smelt imitations, egg patterns or caddis nymphs.

Middle Fork Feather River — Local guide Jon Baiocchi (Baiocchi’s Troutfitters, 228-0487) fished the Middle Fork recently.  The Middle Fork upriver from the Mohawk opens for fishing on the first Saturday of April.  Jon found the best fishing once the water warmed up to about 53 degrees. He expects the fishing to improve as the water warms to the 55- to 60-degree range. Jon says the native trout of the Middle Fork are adapted to the higher temperatures often found in this river and they tend to be a bit sluggish while the water is still very cold form the snow melt.

Hare’s ears nymphs, mayfly nymphs and Copper Johns are all productive. Split shot and weighted flies are essential as most takes are near the river bottom, according to Jon.

For other area streams you will have to wait until the last Saturday in April unless those streams flow into Lake Almanor, Butt Lake or Lake Davis. Those streams do not open until the Saturday before Memorial Day.

The late openings are intended to make sure the rainbow trout are not disturbed during the spawning season.

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