“Yes, there's something about fly-fishing a stream that grabs you and won't let go. I was grabbed a long time ago and I must say that I won't let go either.”
Jimmy D. Moore
There is just a touch of fall in the air. The mornings are breezy and a few of the aspen at the higher elevations are showing the first signs of fall color to come.
But as far as the fish are concerned, its still summer. The Kokanee and Brown Trout are not yet ready to spawn. And the warm surface temperatures are keeping the fish deep.
Fall fishing can be the best of the year. But fall fishing is still a few weeks away. Just like it was in the middle of August, right now the key to finding fish is to find the cooler and better oxygenated water.
Surface water temperature is still in the high 60 degree range. It has started to cool, but still warm enough to keep the fish deep.
The lake level has started to drop some, but it is still very high for this time of year. PG&E is making repairs at the Beldon powerhouse. Don’t expect the water levels to drop much until those repairs are completed in a couple weeks.
Last time out I saw some fish holding in 15 – 20 feet of water early in the morning, but once the sun is on the water all the action is 35 – 40 feet deep. That makes down riggers a necessity.
Doug Neal of Almanor Fishing Adventures suggests trolling naked crawlers at 30 – 35 feet. He likes to add a little sent to his baits to up the odds a little. After 9 a.m., Doug says to add a flasher to your rig and fish a little deeper; 40 – 45 feet or 10 feet off the bottom. The east basin of the lake, especially from Rec 1 to Hamilton Branch, seems to be holding the best concentration of fish right now.
Fast action lures like Needlfish, Speedy Shiners and Rainbow Runners have also been effective when trolled at 2.5 – 3.0 mph.
The Forest Service boat ramps at Canyon Dam and Almanor are both open with plenty of water to launch.
The Hamilton Branch power house has not been running.
Fly fishing is still tough but Tom Maumoynier, owner of The Lake Almanor Fly Fishing Company reports some action on browns and rainbows on the West Shore. Floating pond smelt and fishing the weed beds with nymphs are producing a few fish. Full sink lines are a real advantage.
The road is now open and the effects of the fire are not as severe as one might have expected.
The reservoir has been low, but is now nearly full thanks to PG&E. The powerhouse has been running sporadically. That side of the inlet is fishable when the powerhouse is running, but there isn’t much action when the powerhouse is off. There are a few fish holding on the creek side, probably pre-spawn browns. They are very spooky but will take a carefully drifted nymph.
The NorthFork of the Feather is in good shape according to Tom Maumoynier of Lake Almanor Fly Fishing Company. (Tom has the most complete fly shop in the county. Stop by and see him on Main St. in Old Town Chester.)
Tom says that nymphs are working best with a few mayflies hatching in the evenings.
Deer Creek is also fishing well. Nymphs are the best bet in the morning. There has been a good mayfly hatch late in the afternoon.
Mill Creek is clear and producing some nice fish. Try dark-colored flies in the evening and late afternoon.
Water temperature is 68 degrees and the lake is 70 percent full.
Bank anglers are doing best at Eagle Point and Camp 5 in the early morning. In the afternoon Grasshopper and Coot Bay are the hot spots according to the folks at J and J’s Grizzly Store and Camping Resort. Inflated nightcrawlers or PowerBait in rainbow, chartreuse or sherbet are the most productive baits.
Trollers are finding fish in about 15 feet of water early in the morning but going deeper, to 24 feet, in the afternoon. Wee Dick Night Copper Red Heads have been the hot lure.
Fly fishing has been best on the north end of the lake from Jenkins around the top to Mosquito point. Midge imitations, bead head flash back pheasant tails, and wooly buggers in olive, rust, black and brown are all productive.
Catfishing, at Camp 5 has been good.
Check with folks at J&J Grizzly Store and Camping Resort (832-0270) for current conditions.