Conditions vary but the fish are good!

Compiled by Mari Erin Roth

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Lake Almanor

Perfect weather on top of the water at Lake Almanor the first week of April is a bonus for great fishing below. Photo by Gary Walkup

Gary Walkup had a good day on the water this week on Almanor visiting from San Mateo. He caught two browns at 5 and 6 pounds and a 3-pound rainbow. Walkup said he was trolling at 20 feet in 40 feet of water. “I planned to fish four full days. Got blown out Monday, half day Tuesday, Wednesday calm, and Thursday half day. It was either glass or 3- to 4-foot waves and 30 mph winds.” Walkup was pretty pleased with the fish, though! “Look how healthy and fat,” said Walkup. “Eating pond smelt.”

John Crotty of Almanor Fishing Association has plenty more good news for fishermen in Plumas County. “There is lots of activity on Almanor — bass boats, trollers, fly and bank fishermen are all testing their skills,” said Crotty. Water temp raised another couple of degrees this past week and is quickly approaching the 50-degree mark. Snow at lake level is melting quickly and smaller creeks are depositing water into the lake. Lake level currently sits at 4481 approximately three feet less than last year, visibility has increased to 8-10’.

“Boat traffic has been off the charts and it will only increase over the next few weeks with numerous bass tournaments scheduled,” said Crotty. The canyon dam boat ramp remains the only public boat ramp and there were 32 trailers in the lot April 3. No official opening date has been announced for the USFS public ramp at Almanor West. “… there are reports of 50-plus boats, bass tournaments in the next few weeks, which will make for crowded conditions at best,” said Crotty.

Bass boats are struggling to catch fish as are trollers. Hamilton Branch remains the best shot at catching mature fish from shore. Trollers continue to catch more browns than bows and the quality of fish is superb with browns approaching the double-digit mark. Rainbows remain elusive. “Insects are hatching throughout the lake; I would expect the rainbow bite to improve over the next few weeks,” said Crotty.

It’s that time of year, everyone is anxious to get out on the water, catch some fish and enjoy the beautiful lake. As boat pressure increases, boat ramps are going to get crowded and patience will run thin. “There have been at least two well-written articles in the AFA annual newsletter on launching and retrieving your boat.” said Crotty. “We can all use a good refresher in both. Regretfully Saturday, I witnessed firsthand a complete disregard for posted USFS rules and boat ramp etiquette as a fellow fisherman set up camp in his cab over camper in the Canyon Dam parking lot and left his boat in the water over night attached to the only public boat ramp on Lake Almanor on perhaps the busiest day of the season this year.”

Crotty reminds fishermen, “Please be prepared at the ramp, offer assistance if needed and be courteous; don’t let a bad experience at the boat ramp ruin your day on the water.”

A nice 24.5-inch 6-pound brown is the prize for fishing this week at Almanor.