Fishing Report; Spring patterns predominate, but not for long

Michael Condon

“Beyond every bend in a stream lies a new fishing challenge, for no pool, riffle or rapids is just like the previous one.”

Dick Sternberg



This is prime time for fishing most Plumas County waters.  Stream flows are a bit on the low side for this time of year, but that means clear and fishable water.  The few streams that are not yet open will open this Saturday.

Lake temperatures are in the ideal range bringing trout into shallow water in pursuit of abundant feed.  Callibaetis mayflies and various species of midges are hatching on most lakes. The Callibaetis mayfly is a very important food source for Stillwater trout.

The cooler temperatures this week will help maintain these conditions a bit longer.  But before you know it the hot summer weather will be here and the fishing will slow down.  So get out while the fishing is good.


Bucks Lake

Bucks Lake is well known for its kokanee salmon as well as rainbow and brown trout.  But right now the big draw is the lake trout.  These deep dwelling behemoths reach very impressive size.  The record for lake for lake trout (also called mackinaw)in Bucks Lake is 30 pounds. One angler came close last week with a 28 pound laker. Try fishing large jigs or plugs in the deep water in front of the dam or across from Sundew.

Browns and rainbows are being caught by trollers working the shallow waters just off shore.


Frenchman Lake

The water is still cool and Frenchman is fishing well, especially on the north end.   Fly anglers in float tubes and shore anglers with Powerbait and night crawlers are catching limits.

But fishing is what it is; I have also heard reports of anglers getting skunked.  There are no guarantees in fishing.


Lake Davis.

The fishing has been picking up at Davis    Water temperatures are close to 60 degrees and water clarity is good.

Fly anglers are taking fish on callibaetis and blood midges according to Allan Bruzza of the Sportsmens Den in East Quincy (283-2733).


Stream Fishing

The streams that flow into Butt Lake and Lake Almanor open this weekend.  Hamilton Branch, the North Fork of the Feather above the lake, and Butt Creek should all be fishing well.

The fishing on the Middle Fork of the Feather River is picking up as the flows recede.

Bug hatches, mostly mayflies, are good in the afternoon. Nymph fishing is the best bet in the morning. Stonefly nymph patterns are productive.

Switch to dry flies such as March Brown mayflies in the afternoon when insects start hatching.  Try ant patterns on breezy afternoons.

In the next couple weeks start looking for golden stoneflies in the evenings. The nymphs are migrating to shore now.  Very soon they will leave the stream and hatch into adults.  Those adults will quickly mature and fly over the water in the evening to deposit their eggs.  That is the trout’s version of “Dinner is served”.

Deer Creek is fishing well.  The flows are more moderate and the water is clearer on the upper end. That is where the fishing has been best. Try nymphs early in the day and dry flies later in the afternoon.  Caddis and mayflies are the norm, but be prepared for stoneflies in the afternoon and evening.

Mill Creek is still running high and a bit off color.


Butt Lake

Smallmouth bass fishing has been good. The powerhouse estuary opens Memorial Day.


Lake Almanor

Lake Almanor is still in the usual spring fishing pattern.  Fish are shallow and scattered all over the east and west shores of the lake.

Rainbows, browns, and king salmon are all being caught, most by trollers.  Night crawlers behind dodgers or red and gold speedy shiners are popular rigs.

Start fishing about 10 feet deep early in the morning and go deeper as the sun hits the water.

The lake will stratify soon as the surface temperatures move in to the low 60 degree range.  A fish finder will be very helpful for determining the best trolling depth as that begins to happen.  Once the lake has stratified, finding springs with the cooler water will be the key to finding fish.

Insects and pond smelt are abundant so the fish are well fed. Adding a dodger to your trolling rig is a great way to get the fish’s attention when feed is so abundant.

The smallmouth bass have moved into shallow water in preparation for spawning.  Bass anglers are doing well fishing the stumps and flooded brush along the shore.





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