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Gabe Friend of Reno fishes in his fourth winter derby. The nine-year-old fished with his mom and dad, Justin Jensen and third place winner, Jessica Estes. Fishing along side was family friend James Alliston who caught second place.

Fish Bits for the week of 2/7/18

Kellie and John Pato present the first place trophy to Portola resident Jimmy Reynolds for the biggest combination of two fish at the 2018 derby.

Lake Almanor

Almanor Fishing Association provides the following information as of Feb. 4:

The forecast is abundant sunshine with daytime highs reaching the high 50s and possible low 60s for at least the next 10 days. “The snow from last week’s storm is dissipating quickly here at lake level, while we are hoping for more snow/rain it is impossible to not enjoy this unseasonably warm weather,” said John Crotty of Almanor Fishing Association.

“Lots of fishing pressure this weekend, on Saturday I was the second boat out of Canyon Dam, when I returned in the early afternoon the main parking lot was full, with a half dozen vehicles parked in the overflow lot,” said Crotty. The majority of the fishermen were targeting the South end of the lake from Rocky Point to the Dam with 15-20 people fishing from the bank in and around Canyon Dam. Most of the fish caught were planters with a mix of Rainbows and Browns.

On Saturday my good friend Bob Michaels and I started out trolling speedy shiners at the boat ramp in Canyon Dam and trolled up the East shore to Dorado,” said Crotty, “We picked up three smaller fish on that run, we ran over to the Peninsula and trolled from the tip to Hamilton Branch where we had three grabs and landed two smaller fish.” The pair then ran over to Rec no. 2 where Michaels landed a nice four-pound Rainbow and a couple of two-pound Browns.

All the fish were caught trolling 2.5 to 3 mph from 5-15 feet deep on the wire in water from about 10 to 30 feet deep. “Red & Gold was our top producer,” said Crotty. Water temp started out at 41.1 degrees in the morning and hovered around the 42.5-degree mark. “We did find 44.6 degrees in shallower water,” said Crotty, “Water clarity was ideal at 8-10 feet. Fishing conditions should be perfect for the next few weeks.”

Lake Davis

The John Pato Ice/Winter Fishing Derby on Feb. 3 at Lake Davis was a “winter” derby this year in the absence of ice. With all the warm sunshine and ideal outdoor conditions for a wonderful day on the water, there were very few complaints, about the weather. The fish however were considerable teasers with a few fisher folk getting “skunked” for the day.

But it was all smiles when the weigh-in time arrived at 3 p.m. in front of J. & J. Grizzly Store where some very nice fish were weighed in.

Winners for the derby were determined based on the competitor’s two biggest fish. The top prize went to local Jimmy Reynolds of Portola with a 24 inch 4.11 ounce rainbow caught on yellow Powerbait. Reynolds has fished in the derby every year but one. “My biggest fish swam away with the stringer,” said Reynolds. Ah, the one that got away …

Robert Garcia and his 9-year-old daughter Ella had a warm day of fishing on Lake Davis during the John Pato Winter Derby Feb. 2. Photos Mari Erin Roth

A couple of friends fishing together from Reno took second and third place, James Alliston and Jessica Estes. Both weighed in with 24-inch beauties that were a bit lighter than Reynolds 24-incher. Estes caught hers on floating worms and yellow Powerbait.

Robert Garcia and his daughter Ella, 9, shared a great day of sunshine on the banks of Lake Davis. “I fish here every day,” said Garcia, “and always catch big fish.”

After giant trophies for the derby were awarded for the winning fish, a large chunk of the 2018 derby’s 84 participants anxiously awaited the big prize giveaway that raised further funds to be donated. “We are hoping to raise at least $2,000 today,” said co-organizer Kellie Pato, “that would make an even $20,000 for the eight years we have held the derby.” The biggest year of the event thus far was the second with 175 participants. “It’s a really tight group here,” said a fisherman from Sacramento who comes to the event every year.

Don Wass of Carson City was a first-timer to the derby and brought along his nephew Tony. “The fishing was great,” said Wass, “but the catchin’ kind of sucked. But then that’s why they call it ‘fishing’ and not ‘catching.” Wass confirmed he would definitely be back next year to try again.

All proceeds from the event are donated to the American Cancer Society non-profit organization.

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