There is certainly something in angling that tends to produce a serenity of the mind.
Not much has changed since last week’s report. Rivers are still high and dropping slowly. Probably the biggest change this week is the beginning of the smallmouth bass spawn.
Most people associate the Sierra with excellent trout fishing. But less well known is the fact that we also have some excellent bass fishing. Here in Plumas County, Almanor, Bucks and Antelope are top bass producers. Fishing for bass is very good right now.
Trout fishing remains very good at Almanor. The water is warming slowly and the trout are still feeding actively.
Insects are hatching in all parts of the lake so the fish are very scattered. Look for swallows flying low over the water and you will likely also find fish feeding on hatching insects.
Red and gold Speedy Shiners or Fire Tiger colored Needlefish trolled through the hatching insects offer a good chance of getting the attention of a feeding trout. A nightcrawler trolled behind a dodger is also a good combo.
If you can see fish on your sonar (this becomes more likely as the day goes on and the fish move deeper) set your gear to fish just a couple feet above the fish. Trout tend to strike from below. If you do not see fish on your sonar try trolling at 15 feet deep and gradually drop your gear deeper as the sun hits the water.
Smallmouth bass are moving into the shallows preparing to spawn. These fish are very protective of their spawning beds and will aggressively attack a bait thrown near the beds. Fortunately, they are tough fish and have a high survival rate when caught and released.
This is a critical time for the bass. The survival of the Almanor fishery depends on a successful spawn. Ben Williams of Fish Dog Outdoors suggests that if you do fish for spawning bass please take a camera to record your catch, and release the fish so they can reproduce.
Look for smallmouth bass moving into the shallows as they prepare to spawn. Rainbows and browns will be out in the main lake chasing pond smelt and looking for insect hatches. The same techniques that work at Almanor will work at Butt.
The channel below the mouth of Butt Creek and the powerhouse remain closed until the Saturday before Memorial Day to protect spawning rainbows.
The fishing is slow, but anglers willing to put in the time are finding some healthy and feisty rainbows in the 18- to 20-inch range.
The road on the east side of the lake is open to Lightning Tree. Access on the west side is still limited by snow and trees across the road. Most of the trout remain on the east side. As the water temperature rises, the fish will tend to migrate to the west side around Cow Creek.
Fly anglers are catching fish on red copper johns and bead head pheasant tail nymphs. Trollers are picking up a few on red dot frog Needlefish.
The Honker, Mallard Cove and Lightning Tree boat ramps are open. Access to Camp 5 is still blocked by snow.
Anglers continue to do well at Frenchman. The road is accessible all around the lake and both boat docks are in. The folks at Wiggin’s Trading Post are getting reports of lots of fish in the 16- to 18-inch range. Bank anglers are scoring with nightcrawlers and Powerbait. Trollers are picking up fish trolling Needlefish.
The Forest Service has reported that Frenchman boat ramp dock has been pulled from the lake due to a broken anchor cable. The Lunker Point boat ramp is open for service.
Frenchman Campground is now open with water and garbage service. Big Cove and Spring Creek will have services very soon if they do not already. Cottonwood and Chilcoot Campgrounds remain closed due to snow pack, non-operational water systems and hazard trees.
Warm weather is accelerating the snowmelt so high flows are a challenge. Look for streams that are less affected by snowmelt. Good bets are upper Deer Creek, which is largely spring fed or Indian Creek below Antelope Lake or Last Chance Creek below Frenchman Lake.
Look for trout along the edges of the current. Water is high and cold, but improving. Walking the stream edges fishing carpenter ants and attractor dries will get some bites. Tight line nymphing with stoneflies and flashy beadhead nymphs will also produce. For bait anglers, a worm with enough split shot to get your bait to bounce along the stream bottom is a good bet.
The Middle Fork of the Feather River is still very high, but fishable. Try bouncing a worm or a stonefly nymph off the bottom. Be sure to use enough split shot to get your bait deep. Search the eddies and at tail end of pools. Clio area downriver to Camp Layman is your best bet on the Middle Fork.
The North Fork of the Feather is closed to fishing above Lake Almanor. Below Lake Almanor, there should be some good fishing for those willing to hike in the Seneca area downstream to Belden Forebay. Below Beldn, the flows are very high and pretty much not fishable.