“Bragging may not bring happiness, but no man having caught a large fish goes home through an alley.”
Like an old friend
Three-year-old Amiya Rash, of Oroville, caught this beautiful 13-inch rainbow on the North Fork Feather River during the opening day Caribou Crossroads Fishing Derby. Photo submitted
It is interesting how we become so accustomed to some things they almost become like old friends.
I have never been a professional carpenter, but I have a favorite old hammer. Doing little projects with a different hammer — well, that just doesn’t feel right.
It’s the same with fishing rods … only more so.
I remember very clearly the first fishing outfit I really connected with. It was a Mitchell 300 reel on an Eagle Claw fiberglass spinning rod.
Now that was a thing of beauty. The feel it had when casting, or better yet reeling in a fish, was beyond compare.
That was the ’60s and early ’70s. Eventually I moved on to graphite rods. Cabela’s Fish Eagle II became one of my favorites for both fly and spinning rods. They may not be the very top of the line, but they certainly are quality rods.
My favorite was a 7.5-foot medium light spinning rod. I was living in Alaska at the time. I caught many trout, steelhead and salmon with that rod. Then the tip broke and it was gone.
That was a few years ago. I missed that rod, so this year I bought one just like it. They have upgraded the grips and the graphite since my old one. But it still has that old feel, like an old friend.
I took it to Almanor to break it in the other day. It feels real good with a fish on the other end.
Most streams are open now. The tributaries to Lake Almanor and Butte Lake are the big exceptions as the rainbows from both lakes are spawning in these streams right now.
The big event locally to celebrate the opening of the stream season is the annual fishing derby hosted by Caribou Crossroads on the North Fork Feather River.
This year’s derby was once again a huge crowd pleaser. A day of fishing was capped off with live music and a great barbecue.
The big winners in the under 12 division were Shyann Karkowski, age 9, with a 16-1/4-inch rainbow; second place went to Michael Alexander, age 11, with a 13-1/2-inch fish. The youngest fisher-girl was Amiya Rash, age 3, who brought in a 13-1/4-inch beauty.
Most streams are fishing reasonably well right now.
High flows and off-color water are always an issue this time of year due to the spring run-off. Moderate temperatures and a light snowpack have lessened those impacts this year.
Nymphs are standard fair for fly anglers this time of year. I like stonefly patterns. They are always present and offer a bigger meal than most other aquatic insects.
Whether fly-fishing, spinning or using bait, use split shot to get your gear down deep.
Look for trout under cut-banks and in back eddies. Trout seek these spots as refuge from the fast water.
According to Doug Neal of Almanor Fishing Adventures (258-6732), trout and salmon are active in the Almanor West area. Salmon are active near Canyon Dam and at the Snag, hitting anchovy tails, with Pro-Cure Super Herring Gel.
Doug says the brown trout action has been hot along the east shore of the peninsula. Pond smelt, the primary forage fish in Almanor, are pressed along the shoreline and the browns are holding them in there. Ripping smelt patters, like Rapalas, Pin Minnows or Trophy Sticks, work well.
The entire east and west shores are fishing well. Needlefish and slow trolled night crawlers are always successful at Almanor. Fish in the top 10 feet of water early in the morning and then drop down to 15 to 20 feet after the sun hits the water. Also Hamilton Branch flows into the lake have fish stacked out front about 500 yards and below 30 feet.
Hamilton Branch is running fast and clear. Salmon are hitting white jigs near the powerhouse and there are rainbows and browns stacked up in front of the mouth.
If you work up an appetite while fishing, there are two lakefront restaurants now open for the season.
Carol’s Camp Prattville has long been a favorite with anglers.
Plumas Pines has always been popular for lunch and dinner. This year they are also offering breakfast. Both have docks for visiting boaters and beautiful decks if you prefer to eat outside.
Butt Lake is fishing well. Fishing for trout is picking up and the smallmouth bite is on.
Pressure is light at Butt Lake with some action a few miles away at Almanor.
Fishing at the powerhouse is still closed to protect spawning rainbows heading up Butte Creek.
This is the time of the season for catching big Mackinaw at Bucks. They are most active after ice-out. This year there hasn’t been ice on the lake for many weeks. That might explain that while some Macs are being caught, it has been on the slow side.
Anglers trolling the shoreline are picking up some nice rainbows.
Fishing continues to be good. Bite is off and on throughout the day.
Bank anglers are doing well using PowerBait or night crawlers. The best reports have come from Eagle Point and Mallard Cove.
Trollers are using Wee Dick Nite Copper Red Heads, Sockey Slammer Fire Tigers and Needlefish in Red Dot Frog. Trolling very slowly and shallowly is the key.
Fly-fishing has been consistent. The best reports are from Grasshopper and Eagle Point.
Call J and J’s Grizzly Store and Resort (832-0270) for the latest information.
Fishing is picking up at Frenchman according to the folks at Wiggin’s Trading Post. Fly fishers and bait anglers are all picking up nice rainbows in the 14- to 16-inch range. Night crawlers and PowerBait are the preferred offerings.
Trolling with Tasmanian Devils or night crawlers behind flashers is also working well.