Lake Davis is the hot spot for anglers

Michael Condon
Staff Writer

“There is certainly something in angling that tends to produce a serenity of the mind.”
—Washington Irving

Lake Davis

Lake Davis is the hot ticket right now.

The damselfly hatch is in high gear. It is not an epic hatch but it is a very healthy one, according to Allan Bruzza of the Sportsmen’s Den in Quincy.

Allan says there are some very nice fish being caught, but the fishing pressure is also pretty high.

Blood midges are working well when the damsels slow down.

There is a good evening Hex hatch, but the damselflies are the main attraction right now.

I would love to spend an evening testing the new Hex hatch on Davis. I can only imagine what a magic evening it would be in a float tube along the west shore of the lake with those fat rainbows sipping big emerging Hex flies.

Trollers are finding some decent action using Wee Dick Nite Copper Red Heads and Yellow Watermelon Needlefish.

Bank anglers are picking up a few fish with PowerBait and worms along the west shore.

Lake Almanor

Trolling at Lake Almanor is starting to settle into a summer-like pattern as the water warms. In other words, it is slowing down.

There are still fish to be caught, but as the lake continues to warm, finding cooler water will become more of a factor for successful fishing. That means fishing stream mouths, springs and deeper water.

But for the next couple of weeks, the main attraction is the Hex hatch.

These huge mayflies start life in the muddy lake bottom found along much of the west shore of the lake. The hatch is in full swing near the dam and working its way north toward Almanor West.

The nymphs start leaving their lake bottom homes and working their way toward the lake surface in the evening. By the time it is getting dark, there are large numbers of these huge mayflies leaving their nymphal shucks in the surface film and eventually flying toward shore.

This transition takes some time and the trout and smallmouth bass are there to feed on the hapless insects as they make this transition to adult mayflies.

Successful anglers will start out fishing nymphs, then switch to emergers as the surface feeding begins and then switch to adult mayflies near dark. Some evenings I like to stick with emergers. The bugs often get “stuck” in the surface film while trying to leave their nymphal shucks behind, making them especially vulnerable to hungry cruising trout.

Butt Lake

One of the big attractions at Butt Lake is the peace and quiet. There is no water skiing and no personal watercraft. Fishing pressure tends to be on the light side.

This once prolific trophy trout lake has not rebounded to its former glory, but still the fishing can be very good.

I can’t say for sure, but I have to wonder if what appears to me to be an increasing number of the native pike minnows is holding the trout population in check. On the other hand, the pike minnows could be a significant food source for the lake’s large brown trout.

The Hexagenia hatch is in full swing. The best fishing is in the evenings down near the dam. Both trout and smallmouth bass are eagerly feeding in the Hexagenia mayflies.

The powerhouse has been running intermittently on the upper end of the lake. This can stimulate some very active feeding when the pond smelt get flushed down from Lake Almanor.

Eagle Lake

Eagle Lake is fishing well, according to Tom Maumoynier of Lake Almanor Fly Fishing Co. in Chester. Tom says the usual flies are working well.

Fly-fishing, float tubing and bank fishing can be very good in the shallows and along the shoreline as long as the water temperatures remain below 65 degrees.

Bait fishermen and trollers also do well and find most of the trout in the top 10 feet of water.

Tui chub, Lahontan redside shiners and speckled dace are all abundant in Eagle Lake. Unlike in other local lakes where insects make up a significant portion of the trout’s diet, these forage fish are the main food source for Eagle Lake trout.

Flies and lures that mimic these forage fish are the most successful offerings. Jay Fair’s trolling flies were developed specifically for Eagle Lake and remain a local favorite.

Eagle Lake rainbow trout range in size from recent planters to holdover fish in the 3- to 6-pound range. There are a few even larger fish. The current lake record is an 11-1/4-pound rainbow taken in 1988.

Boaters who are not familiar with Eagle Lake need to be aware of the many rock reefs in the lake, especially along the west side. Some, but not all, of the reefs are marked with buoys. These reefs are a serious hazard to boaters, especially as water levels decline.

The Gallitan Marina boat ramp is currently the only available public boat ramp on the lake.

Stream fishing

Local streams continue to fish well.

Flows on some streams are beginning to look more like August than June. Lower flows and lower water will likely mean that fishing will drop off during the next few weeks. But for now, there are still some good mayfly hatches early in the day and caddis and golden stoneflies later in the day.

On the Middle Fork Feather River, the best fishing remains from Camp Layman downstream to Nelson Point.

Deer Creek is best downstream from Elam Campground.

The North Fork Feather is good above Lake Almanor. High Bridge is a favorite place to fish. Hamilton Branch has good dry fly fishing in the upper reaches and some larger fish just above Lake Almanor.

There are some good mayfly hatches on Yellow Creek, but my favorite time to fish Yellow Creek is a few weeks off when the grasshoppers become active.

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