A panoramic shot shows Bucks to be a private paradise for fishermen, hikers, or artists just a few days before the beginning of fall, Sept. 21. Campgrounds have been cleaned from summer use by the campground host who said they will reopen them for hunters the week of Sept. 26. Photo by Mari Erin Roth

Get ready for a great fall weekend on the water

Compiled by Mari Erin Roth

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Lake Almanor

Fall is finally in the air; we are expecting cooler weather and rain for the next three days with overnight temperatures dipping into the 30s. Rainfall totals are expected to range between one and two inches at lake level. Mount Lassen could see its first snow of the year as well. “We can only hope that this is the beginning of a wet winter,” said John Crotty of Almanor Fishing Association. “This coming weekend will be a beautiful fall weekend with temperatures warming back into the high seventies.”

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The bite remains tough as water temps drop and fish sense the weather change. What little bite there is happens early and ends quickly. With dropping water temps, fish have begun their seasonal migration throughout the lake. They should be settling down and resume gorging on this year’s prolific pond smelt hatch. Big Springs has been the go-to spot, with boats fishing from Hamilton Branch to Big Cove. Slow trolling crawlers and plastics are the preferred method with a few boats fast trolling hardware. As is typical this time of year, boats on anchor are catching fish over Big Springs. Hamilton Branch will remain the hot spot for bank fishermen until there is a significant change in water temperatures.

Lake level continues to drop, we are currently sitting at 4476.42, last year on the same date Almanor was at 4477.74, down 1.3’ from last year. Based upon previous years, water level is expected to drop through at least the middle of October before a steady increase will be seen. In 2021 the season low of 4474.80 was reached on Oct. 21 before lake levels began their seasonal increase.

Bucks Lake

Boat traffic is sparce on the lake and solitude is plenty. The bite is in the morning and evening primarily, however cooler temps and rainy days offer extended opportunities. Slow trolling at 1-1.5 mph with plastics or crawlers is the preferred method. There are plenty of nice sized fish waiting in the lake as pressure through the summer was relatively light. Go catch a big sleeper!

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A light drizzle and mild temperatures are fine for the evening bite on Lower Bucks Sept. 18. Clover Quigley is ready for an evening of fishing. Photo by Mari Erin Roth