Spring runoff is still going full throttle. Some of the smaller streams, however, are starting to show signs of clearing and becoming more fishable. If stream fishing is your thing, focus on the small streams and creeks.
The fish will be conserving energy by staying out of the faster water. Try drifting an egg or a small stonefly imitation through pocket water.
Look for the seams in the current where the fish can stay in slower water but grab their food as it drifts past in the faster current.
That faster current is like a food conveyor belt, but the fish will stay just to the side of it in slower water to conserve energy.
A couple weeks ago I wrote about looking for tail waters, those sections of a river immediately below a dam, as good places to fish because they would likely offer slower and clearer water.
That has turned out to be a bit of a mixed bag lately.
Floodgates on local dams have been opened on and off during the past couple weeks, and when they are open the water below the dam is as unfishable as it is dangerous.
Water managers have many variables to consider when deciding how to manage reservoir water levels and releases.
They have to look at the need for spring “pulse” flows, which are designed to mimic natural spring runoff and flush out sediments from spawning gravels.
They need to consider contractual requirements for downstream water delivery. They must balance that with the need for storage capacity in the reservoir to prevent downstream flooding as runoff increases the flow of water into nearly full reservoirs. And of course there is power generation, which directly affects the bottom line.
In that column a couple weeks back I mentioned that the North Fork of the Feather River between Belden and Highway 70 was a stretch of river that usually runs very clear. That was true on the opening weekend.
That same stretch of river a few days after the opener was the color of a cup of hot chocolate!
I can only assume that water managers decided that mid-week was the best time to “flush” out the river and increase storage capacity in Belden Forebay.
I suspect it will again be running clear by the weekend to accommodate recreationists. The take-home message is that conditions change rapidly.
Call ahead to check current conditions.
Caribou Crossroads fishing tournament
Speaking of the North Fork of the Feather River, the tournament at Caribou Crossroads was a success again this year.
Richard Huntsinger, from Sacramento, caught the largest fish. His fish measured 19-3/4 inches!
Second place went to John Bond, of Twain, with a 19-1/4-inch trout. John must know what he is doing; he has won the past two years.
Seven-year-old O’Riley McNabb, from Oroville, won the 12 years and younger division with a beautiful 15-1/2-inch fish.
The river above Caribou Crossroads was running very high, but clear. Many anglers were fishing the river, but it looked to me like at least as many were fishing the still waters of Belden Forebay.
The spring bite continues to improve at Lake Almanor.
Wind has been a bit of an issue. A little “chop” on the water is good. It seems to make the fish feel a bit more secure from predators.
But a little chop can quickly turn into a very rough lake.
Pay attention to the wind forecast, especially as springtime cold fronts move through or when north winds are in the forecast.
When you can get on the water, focus on the near-shore shallow areas along the east shore and from Prattville north towards Almanor West. Pond smelt imitations are always productive. Fly anglers should consider using green midge imitations and small mayflies as the water continues to warm.
Smallmouth bass are moving into the shallow water in preparation for spring spawning.
After a tough morning of fishing, there is always breakfast to consider.
Carol’s Camp Prattville Cafe on the west shore of Almanor is now open. Breakfast at Carol’s has been a tradition in my family for many years. The eggs Benedict there is the best I have ever eaten.
Yes, I understand this is supposed to be a fishing column. But I don’t know of any angler that doesn’t also like to eat. A good meal tip can be just as important as a good fishing tip!
I don’t have any recent reports from Lake Davis. Davis is shallow and should be warming nicely by now. Green midges and their larger relatives, the blood midges, should be hatching now.
The main event at Davis is the damselfly hatch. That is probably still a few weeks off but not far away.
All of these insect hatches will have the fish moving into shallow waters where all anglers will have access to them.
The lake fishing is slow and steady according to the folks at Wiggin’s Trading Post (993-4683).
Boat ramps are in the water, and getting around the lake is no problem.
The lake is rising two to five inches per day.
Fishermen have been limiting out at Galeppi Creek (east side of the lake), using night crawlers tipped with a salmon egg.
Lookout Creek is fishing well also. Frenchman’s Creek (west side of the lake) is running high and fast.