Fishing Report for the week of 11/9/2011

Michael Condon
Staff Writer

“The best time to go fishing is when you can.”Ed Zern

My daughter, Meegan, recently bought her husband, Earl, a guided fishing trip from Lake Almanor Fly Fishing Company.

It was Earl’s birthday and Meegan has this wonderful knack for activity based gifts. (I’d love to talk about my “Cheese-Maker for a Day” Father’s Day gift a while back, but that doesn’t seem to fit here.)

I recommended they go stream fishing with a guide from the Almanor Fly Fishing Company in Chester.

It seemed like the perfect setup. Fall colors were at their prime. And the October caddis were hatching.

But fishing is what it is. The weather changed just before their trip. The caddis and mayflies that had been so abundant suddenly were on strike.

The fish were there. The food wasn’t.

It made me think of walking into my favorite eatery ready for a big juicy steak only to find out the steak was sold out. That would throw me into a funk too.

A sudden change in the weather can do that. And fall is full of such changes. One day it’s sunny, the bugs are hatching and the fish are biting.

Then a storm blows through, the fish aren’t biting, and it leaves you wondering what just happened. Fishing is like that.

The fishing was slow on that trip, but they did catch fish. Earl caught his biggest ever on a fly. You should have seen the grin!

Meegan caught a few small ones. (She probably didn’t want to ruin hubby’s day by out-fishing him!)

Fishing guides aren’t just about the day. They are teachers; and the lessons pay forward. Meegan and Earl had fun, and even better, they learned. A very good day on the stream.


Stream fishing

Tom Maumoynier of Lake Almanor Fly Fishing Company on Main Street in Chester (258-3944) knows our local streams very well. I asked him what these recent cold fronts would do to the stream fishing.

Tom says that the fishing has been pretty decent with small mayflies, October caddis and a small midge hatching on many local streams.

The recent cold weather is likely to put an end, at least temporarily, to the October caddis hatch. The small midges and mayflies (blue-winged olives) will likely continue.

Water temperature is key. There is no need to be on the water at daybreak. (I love that about fall and winter fishing!) Water temperature will be at its highest from 3 to 5 in the afternoon. That is when the insects will be hatching and the fish feeding most actively.

I love it when you can sleep in, get some chores done, go fishing and be home to fix dinner. It’s fishing without guilt.


Lake Davis

The fishing was great … until the weather changed. Trollers and bank anglers alike were scoring.

According to expert guide Jon Baiocchi of Baiocchi Troutfitters, the fishing at Lake Davis was getting ready to peak prior to these recent storms. Jon reported fish foraging in very shallow water, making for some great sight fishing for shore anglers.

Keys to successful sight fishing are keeping the sun at your back, staying low and moving as little as possible.

Hopefully the good fishing will return when the more settled weather returns. But then, settled weather is fleeting this time of year.

And sometimes nasty weather will surprise you when it comes to lake fishing. It is possible lakes don’t fish well in bad weather mostly because nobody is fishing.

When you see an opening, go for it.

Frenchman Lake

Frenchman was fishing very well during the nice weather that preceded this current round of winter-like storms, according to Richard Wiggin of Wiggin’s Trading Post.

Shore fishing had been good almost anywhere around the lake.

Trolling was good around the dam and near Big Cove. Several different lures are being used. Most were silver or black/red.

Hopefully when the weather clears, the fishing will be right back where it was.

For the latest conditions, call the folks at Wiggin’s Trading Post at 993-4683.

Lake Almanor

According to Doug Neal of Almanor Fishing Adventures (258-6732) anglers are reporting good action from Big Cove to Rec 1 on the east side of the peninsula. The A-frame seems to be the hot place this year.

Large schools of bait fish are moving throughout the lake, especially in the east basin, and the fish are following them.

The key to successful fishing right now is to locate the schools of pond smelt. Even though there are some locations that tend to produce on a regular basis, a location that produces great one day may be fishless the next.

The key to locating the fish is to check those areas that tend to produce most consistently. Look for gulls, grebes and other fish-eating birds.

The feeding trout will often charge into a school of bait fish to stun their prey. The birds will also feed on the stunned pond smelt.

A good sonar unit will confirm when you are over schools of bait fish.

A sonar unit will also tell you the best depth to fish. If you don’t have sonar, try fishing 15 to 20 feet deep early in the morning and then drop to 30 to 35 feet once the sun is on the water.

For bank anglers your best bets are the mouth of Hamilton Branch, Geritol Cove, Rocky Point neat the dam, and the jetties at Prattville.

And remember, the best time to go fishing is when you can.

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