“They say you forget your troubles on a trout stream, but that’s not quite it. What happens is that you begin to see where your troubles fit into the grand scheme of things, and suddenly they’re just not such a big deal anymore.”
Summer is over. The mornings have that nice fall chill to them. The jet skis are gone and some deciduous trees are showing hints of fall color.
Despite the hints of fall, we have seen some very warm afternoons lately. Most lakes are still on the warm side and the fall bite is still a ways off.
I eagerly await the first fall storm of the year. It gets the deer moving, the forest mushrooms start to show and the fall fishing kicks into high gear. We are almost, but not quite, there.
Fall fishing is arguably the best fishing of the year. It is about to kick into high gear. I can hardly wait.
Bucks may be one of the few local waters where the fall fishing patterns have begun.
Bucks Lake is somewhat unique among our local lakes in that it has a very healthy population of kokanee salmon. Kokanee are fall spawners. Before heading up the creeks to spawn, they gather in large number in the inlets in front of Mill Creek and Bucks Creek.
The browns, rainbows, brookies and smaller Mackinaw trout follow the kokanee into the inlets resulting in a large concentration of fish.
Trollers have been doing well fishing 25 to 35 feet of water, shallower early in the morning. As the water cools and the kokanee move upstream to spawn, the other fish will move into shallower water.
There has also been a nice concentration of fish, mostly brook trout, out in front of the dam.
If you need the best fishing gear for Bucks Lake, or the latest information on where and how to find the fish, stop in at the Sportsmen’s Den on Highway 70 in East Quincy. Owner Allan Bruzza is a real expert on Bucks Lake and always has the most current information.
The surface water at Almanor has cooled, but only a few degrees off the summer highs. The lake has not “turned over” yet. That means cooler water is trapped below the warmer surface water.
Trout prefer the more oxygenated cooler water so they are still holding deep.
Lake levels have dropped slightly because the Butt Lake powerhouse has only been running intermittently.
Fishing pressure has been light. According to Doug Neal of Almanor Fishing Adventures (258-6732), most boats are working the waters from Big Springs to Hamilton Branch because that’s where the fish are.
Doug has been catching rainbows to 4.5 pounds. These fish are bright healthy rainbows with beautiful deep color.
King salmon up to 5 pounds are being caught. The bigger salmon are starting to show some gold spawning color.
Trollers are finding the best results fishing 20 to 45 feet deep. Nightcrawlers and smelt imitations are the most productive baits for trollers.
Baits or jigs suspended six to 10 feet off the bottom have been producing some nice fish. Look for diving birds for a likely spot to drift through or drop an anchor. Try cricket and mealworm combinations or white jigs.
Brown trout have been conspicuously absent from the catch. Normally this time of year the trollers are picking up some large browns as they prepare to move into shallow spring-fed water for the fall spawn. The only browns being caught lately have been caught on jigs.
The east basin of the lake remains the most productive, especially in the Big Springs and Hamilton Branch area.
Most of the local streams are fishing well.
Water temperature is the key. Warmer sections, like the upper portion of the Middle Fork Feather River, are too warm for good fishing.
Cooler streams like the North Fork Feather and virtually all of the smaller streams have plenty of cool water.
Fish will seek cover during the brightest part of the day. Lower light and late afternoon insect hatches will bring them out to feed later in the day.
Fly anglers will find caddis flies, mayflies and a few small yellow stoneflies. There may be a few orange October caddis flies hatching. This is prime food for the trout as they fatten up before winter.
Whether you like fishing flies, artificial lures or bait, grasshoppers can be very productive this time of year. They are abundant in streamside vegetation and a little breeze can blow them into the water where they become a tasty meal for eagerly waiting trout.
Fishing has been very good at Frenchman. Frenchman is much deeper than nearby Lake Davis so there is more cool water and better fishing this time of year.
The fish are larger than they were in the spring and still full of energy. Callibaetis mayflies and midges are hatching daily and fish are being caught on a variety of techniques.
In the mornings when the wind is not blowing fish are taking loco ants and parachute Adams flies on the surface. Later in the day woolly buggers and a variety of nymph patterns are catching fish.
Bait anglers are catching fish up to 18 inches using PowerBait. Lunker Point is a hot spot for shore anglers.
Trollers are scoring with Rapalas.
Call Wiggins Trading Post for the most current information: 993-4683.