“The best fishermen I know try not to make the same mistakes over and over again; instead they strive to make new and interesting mistakes and to remember what they learned from them.”
Learning to fish any water well requires recognizing the often subtle seasonal fluctuations and how the fish react to them.
What I am noticing this year is that many things seem to be a couple of weeks ahead of schedule.
Water temperatures are pretty ideal for spring fishing right now. But the water is warming quickly. Fish are cold blooded so temperature has everything to do with where the fish are and what they want to eat. The normal spring fishing patterns may be short-lived this year.
I also have noticed flying ants out and about. That seems a couple weeks early. These are tasty morsels. (Well, they are tasty to the trout anyway.) Fishing an ant pattern along grassy shorelines can be very productive on a breezy afternoon.
I wonder what other insect hatches might be early this year? Damselflies might be right around the corner.
Almanor is full. Surface temperatures are in the mid-50-degree range and rising. These are ideal feeding temperatures for trout.
Local guide Doug Neal of Almanor Fishing Adventures (258-6732)reported that last week’s supermoon had fish feeding through the night. The best bite was very early and died off by mid-morning.
That is changing now as the moon gets darker every day. Doug says to expect a good bite to improve and last longer into the morning and early afternoon.
Warm conditions with no wind this week means it’s time to start bait fishing more according to Doug. Fish will be holding at Big Springs, the Snag and Skinny Dip Beach.
The west shore from Prattville past Almanor West to airport flats is producing fish in the 2- to 3-pound class. Try dodger/crawler combinations, naked crawlers and fast action lures. Start fishing six feet down early in the morning and lower your gear to 15 feet after the sun is on the water.
Fishing continues to be good according to the folks at J&J’s Grizzly Store and Camping Resort (832-0270).
Bank fishing at Eagle Point has been hot for the last several days. Mallard Cove is also doing well. Try PowerBait or night crawlers.
Fly-fishing has been good off of Eagle Point using bead-head nymphs.
Trollers are doing well between the islands on the west side of the lake. Try Needlefish in Red Dot Frog or Sockeye Slammer Fire Tiger patterns.
Catfish are being caught at Coot Bay.
Reports from Frenchman have been very good. Both bank anglers and fly fishers are catching limits. The best fishing is on the north end of the lake.
Most streams are still high but fishable. Spring runoff is less than normal this year and should taper off more quickly than usual due to the light snowpack.
Deer Creek is one of the best bets locally. Salmonflies are starting to show. The upper end of the Middle Fork Feather is another good bet with stoneflies and a few mayflies hatching in the afternoons.
The best dry fly-fishing on most streams right now is in the afternoon when the mayflies and salmonflies are starting to show.
In the morning, work the pocket water with a beadhead nymph and a small mayfly nymph dropper. Use enough weight to get down between the boulders where fish will hold.
Stream fishing will improve as the flows drop and the water warms a bit.
Remember that the streams that are tributary to Butt Lake and Lake Almanor are still closed to protect spawning rainbow trout.