Take a Number
If you read a fishing report expecting to read about numbers of fish and how big they were, I may disappoint you this week. There will be no numbers in this column.
Recently, I fished the North Fork of the Feather River with my wife. We went out in the middle of the day. It was cloudy and I was hopeful we would find some bug hatches and feeding fish.
The Feather River above Chester is a beautiful stream and it reminded us of when we used to camp along this same stretch river many years ago.
But the fishing was slow. My wife came up empty. When we got back to the cabin at Almanor I told her I was sorry she didn’t catch anything. I felt it was my responsibility to get her into some fish and I had failed.
She gave me a look and then said, “What does that have to do with anything? I had a great time.”
I was suddenly off the hook. But it was much more than that. I felt a wave of satisfaction knowing that she really gets it.
Fishing is about the experience. In this case it was about a beautiful fall day on a stream that is like an old friend.
It was about the osprey and water ouzels and the sound of the stream. It was about sharing it with my best fishing buddy and my old dog, Sierra. It wasn’t about any numbers.
Catching fish is certainly a bonus but it’s not essential for a good day of fishing.
When I do catch fish it may be a matter of simple luck, or it may be validation of my limited understanding of the fish and its environment. Either one is satisfying and adds to the experience. But it is not, for me, the essence of the experience.
If it is essential to bring home fish on every outing, your best bet is the fish market. If you enjoy the experience of being in a beautiful outdoor setting that offers to possibility of catching fish, read on.
I rely heavily on fishing guides and sporting goods dealers for the information in this column. But I also consider it my responsibility to check my sources and validate their information. (Someone’s got to do it!) So I dutifully headed out on Lake Almanor one recent morning.
I had received a glowing report from long time Almanor guide Roger Keeling of Rogers Guide Service (284-6429) that I reported in last week’s column. I fished on the west side of the Peninsula just as Roger had done and just like he said, I found lots of fish.
There are large schools of pond smelt and the trout are in a feeding frenzy. I found the best concentrations of fish along the steeper banks and in front of Rec 2.
I was trolling, but my favorite method of fishing is with a fly rod. I noticed one angler fly-fishing from his boat so I decided to see how he was doing.
Just as I approached him he hooked a very large fish. He told me it was one of several. (Sorry, there are no numbers in this column this week, but if there were, this would be an impressive number with more than one digit.)
I will be back at Almanor this weekend. Instead of trolling gear, I will have the fly rod rigged with a full sink line and a pond smelt imitation.
If you need some pond smelt flies, try the Lake Almanor Fly Fishing Company in Chester (258 3994). Tom Maumoynier offers a very good selection of pond smelt imitations.
Fishing is fair to good with water temperature running around 62 degrees according to Jon Baiocchi of Baiocchi Troutfitters (836-1115).
Jon reports the best fishing at Jenkins, Freeman, and Eagle Point. Be on the water from 8 – 11 a.m. Blood midge patterns in size 12 and 14, both dry and pupal stages are producing. Calibaetis nymphs in size 14 (I like to use a pheasant tail or Mercer’s poxyback pattern) are also good.
Another favorite pattern for Lake Davis is the Jay Fair wiggle tails in a brown size 12. Jay has fished Lake Davis and Eagle Lake for many years and has designed an excellent pattern and developed the materials that really bring it to life. It’s probably my favorite lake fly pattern.
The folks at Wiggins Trading Post (993-4721) report anglers are still catching limits by the dam. Fish are taking nightcrawlers. The area around Frenchman’s Campground is producing good fish as is trolling around Lunker Point.
The weather is getting cooler and the fishing at Frenchman’s is best in late morning or early afternoon.