Cold water is the key

Michael Condon
Staff Writer


“There’s a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.”

—Steven Wright

The key for successful fishing right now is finding cold water. It is going to stay that way for the next several weeks until we see some fall weather.

That means fishing deep. For shore anglers working the lakes that means fishing nears springs and creek mouths. Tributary mouths are also key for finding fish in our local rivers.

High elevation lakes and streams are another great option as the weather and water warms. Echo, Silver and Caribou are great options north of Chester. To the south, Lakes Basin offers a number of absolutely beautiful lakes. Some can be reached by vehicle, others require a short or moderate hike.


Lake Almanor

If you don’t mind a bit of smoke this fishing is pretty good right now. Fortunately fishing is best in the morning, and that is when there is the least amount of smoke.

Surface temperatures have risen and the fish have moved into deeper and colder water. The east basin of the lake offers more cold and better oxygenated water and that is where you will find the better fishing.

Insect hatches are pretty much finished. Pond smelt are the key food source now. There are lots of them this year and they are bigger than normal.

Anglers are picking up very healthy browns and rainbows trolling nightcrawlers or any lures that imitate the pond smelt. Trolling is good all along the east shore, through the Big Springs area and down to the A-frame.

Moochers are picking up king salmon fishing anchovy tails just off the bottom. The salmon bite is hot along the east shore and at Big Springs.

Fly anglers are still getting some action by concentrating on springs or creek mouths. Tom Maumoynier of Lake Almanor Fly Fishing Co. suggests using buggers or minnow imitations. Tom has some excellent pond smelt imitations in his shop in Old Town Chester.


Butt Valley Reservoir

All of the campgrounds and boat launches are closed because of the nearby Chips Fire. The fire has reached the west side of the lake. It is best to stay away.


Lake Davis

Trolling has been excellent at Davis lately. Anglers are picking up limits of rainbows up to 18 inches. Wee Dick Nite Copper Red Heads are the hot lure. Needlefish are also catching lots of fish. The most popular patterns are Fire Tiger and Red Dot Frog. Fly anglers are picking up some nice fish with ice cream cones, blood midges, damsels and woolly buggers in olive, rust or black. Bank fishing for trout has been best early in the morning. Inflated nightcrawlers or PowerBait in Lemon Twist, Rainbow, Sherbet and Chartreuse are effective for bank anglers. Try fishing at Eagle Point, or off the points at Honker.

When bank fishing for catfish, try nightcrawlers or catfish bait. Eagle Point has been very productive. The best boat ramp to use is Honker Cove. The Lightning Tree is very shallow.

Call or stop by J and J Grizzly Store and Camping Resort for the latest fishing information (993-4683).


Frenchman Lake

Fishing has been very good at Frenchman Lake lately. Both trollers and bank anglers are scoring. The afternoons have been hot and windy so the best time to hit the water is early in the morning or in the evening. The standard bait at Frenchman is PowerBait. Rainbow works best. Worms are also a hot bait for catching nice sized rainbows from shore. Trollers are doing well using flashers and nightcrawlers.

Mario Jaquez, from Loyalton, caught some nice German browns at Little Last Chance Creek using rainbow or brown colored floating Rapalas. He said he also has good results with yellow or red Panther Martins.

Call Wiggins Trading Post for updates: 993-4683.



The North Fork Feather River above Lake Almanor is in good shape although it may be a little smoky at times. Nymphs are working best. Golden stones and mayflies are hatching in the evenings.

Warner Creek is also fishing well with lots of small natives being caught and released.

Deer Creek is smoke free and an excellent choice for stream fishing. The upper creek is easily accessed from Highway 32. Eggs and crickets are top choices for bait anglers. Fly anglers should try prince nymphs and parachute adams.

Hamilton Branch right at the mouth is a popular spot now as fish move from the lake into the cooler water. Be prepared for a crowd. The upper stream is much less crowded and fishing well with dry flies in the evening.

For the latest information on streams in the Almanor area, stop by or call the Lake Almanor Fly Fishing Co. in Chester (258-3944). For stream information in central and eastern Plumas County stop by or call Allan Bruzza at the Sportsmen’s Den in Quincy (283-2733).



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