From Lake Davis to Lake Almanor, there is plenty of good fishing to be had, but Lower Bucks presents a unique opportunity for the moment.
Jarrod Pomeroy has been having terrific luck at Bucks — he caught four large German Brown Trout in the past week and provided a picture of one.
Lakeshore and Bucks Lake Lodge restaurants are open for take-out food only. “All fishing is excellent. There are a lot of construction trucks around because of the work on the dam. The water (level) looks better this week than last because of the rain,” said Rebecca Guereque at Bucks Lake Lodge. “At this point, all water that comes to the lake will stay in the lake.”
PG&E reported that the water levels at Bucks Lake will be relatively constant, starting off lower-than-normal but by summer’s end will be at normal seasonal levels. Bucks Lake relies largely on surface runoff from precipitation in winter and spring. Though Bucks Lake water levels are projected to be below seasonal normal until the end of summer, due to the dry year conditions, levels are expected to be constant all season, around 5,139 feet elevation. Other contributing factors are spillway maintenance and dam upgrade projects.
Look at all the fish!
Dam work affecting Lower Bucks, which will eventually be drained completely, will result in perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime situation. “People who like fish should come up and get some,” said Guereque. Fish and Wildlife will not allow the fish to be moved from one body of water to another — Lower Bucks to Bucks Lake — so as the water is drained, the fish will be plentiful. UPDATE: According to PG&E, Lower Bucks Lake is not now publicly accessible and won’t be through sometime in November as roads to it are closed per Forest Service order. This closure is for public safety as work at the site requires heavy equipment using the few roads and as the lake is drained, the muddy and steep shoreline will not be safe to walk on. This unsafe situation was also one of the reasons Fish and Wildlife will not conduct a fish rescue. The lake has not been planted with fish in quite a while due to this planned project.
Thanks to Almanor Fishing Association and John Crotty of Quail Lodge Lake Almanor for details May 17 on local fishing.
The Canyon Dam boat ramp is open and remains the only public boat ramp on Lake Almanor. On weekends it gets a little crowded. “All PG&E and USFS campgrounds are closed and the last report I heard was they would remain closed until at least the end of June,” said Crotty. No official word has come down on the opening of the USFS ramp in Prattville.
“We are going to receive a good old-fashioned soaking over the next few days, with winds, which will make for tough conditions,” said Crotty. The weather is expected to clear for Memorial Weekend. Bailey Creek, the North Fork of the Feather and Hamilton Branch continue to deposit large volumes of water into Almanor as lake level continues to rise. Water temps are hovering between 57 and 60 degrees and clarity is 15-plus feet.
Bass fishermen continue to outperform trout fishermen with quality 15-pound limits the norm. Fishermen are targeting bass in shallow water with plastics and crank baits being good choices. Trout continue to feast on insects throughout the lake with the majority of the fishing pressure targeting the flats between Prattville and the Peninsula, north.
“Fast or slow trolling with hardware, flies and/or crawlers; troll crawlers at 1 mph naked or 1.5 mph with a small dodger,” suggests Crotty. “Red/gold speedy shiners at 2.8 mph and Arctic Fox trolling flies at 2 mph in orange or white have all produced fish this past week.” Most of the fish caught are in the 2- to 3-pound range with a few larger fish thrown in the mix. The bite can be tough, but if you are persistent, quality hard fighting, good eating fish are worth the effort.
“I would like to remind everyone that the Almanor Fishing Association board was forced to cancel both our Veterans Fishing Day, our Annual Picnic and all of our youth events,” said Crotty.
PG& E reported that despite the significantly below-average precipitation and snow pack for the northern Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades mountain ranges, Lake Almanor is expected to be only about one to two feet lower than normal this summer.
Lake Almanor receives much of its water from volcanic aquifers in the Southern Cascade Mountain Range, which release a steady year-round flow of water from springs, even in dry years. This year, based on current data and models assuming moderate electrical demand this summer, PG&E projects Lake Almanor water levels will reach approximately 4,487 feet elevation by July 4 and approximately 4,481 feet by Labor Day.
The lake is 77 percent full according to staff at J & J’s Grizzly Store and Camping Resort on May 19. Prior to the storm this week, fishermen have been doing well with trout and bass. Catfish action is starting to pick up.
The ramps are open but the docks are not yet in, but that is expected to change any day now.
Shore fishing for trout has been productive at Mallard Cove in the morning and late afternoon once the sun is off the water. Trout fishermen are catching their largest before 10 a.m. Trout action straight off Eagle Point and both sides of the point at Old Camp 5 is good using worms or PowerBait.
Bass fishing is best on the west side of the small island by the dam towards Catfish Cove and Old Camp 5. “A nice 4.5 to 5 pound bass was caught Saturday,” said Jeanne Graham. “Many are in the 2 to 3 pound range.” Soft plastics, frogs, jigging, worms and rattletraps are recommended.
Catfish have been biting off Mallard Cove in the afternoon, off the side of Eagle Point and at Old Camp 5.
Trollers are seeing the most action about 150 feet behind the boat slow trolling. Best action is mostly in the channel from Honker up to Mallard, around the big island and down towards Grizzly Campground, also the north end of the lake.
“Baby Simons, Needlefish Red Dot Frog and Dick Nite Copper Red Head have all been working for those trolling,” said Jeanne. “Baby Simon Moon Jelly light blue or chartreuse are seeing the best action.”
There is no report for fly fishing other than to say fish are rising in the mornings and the evening. There are a lot of bugs on the lake.
With California’s event and gathering rules the way they are right now, a decision has been made to reschedule the Father’s Day Weekend Fishing Derby on June 20 to Saturday, Sept. 5, during Labor Day weekend. “We sincerely hope you will be able to join us for a fun-filled day with family and friends and raising money for our local Volunteer Fire Department,” said Jeanne. “As a side note, Saturday, Sept. 5, is a free fishing day in California!”
We would love to see pictures of your fishing adventures, adhering to safe social distancing and other precautionary measures of course. Send pictures of your spring fishing expeditions for publication in the Feather Publishing Sports Section to [email protected]