Compiled by Mari Erin Roth
Water level on Almanor has increased by 3/10ths of a foot since last week and ideal fishing conditions appear on the horizon for this week. Lows are to be in the mid 20s and daytime highs are predicted to reach into the low 50s. Water clarity is unchanged and surface temps remain around the 40-degree mark.
Fishing pressure remains light with the majority of the fishermen targeting fish from shore. Hamilton Branch and the coves around the dam are seeing the most fishermen and the top choice of bait remains power bait and crawlers. Most of the fish caught are of the smaller size with a few mature fish thrown in the mix. The roadways are in great shape and the Canyon Dam boat ramp is open and clear.
“If you are planning on taking advantage of the weather over the next few days I would recommend you begin trolling right at the Canyon Dam ramp and head down either shore line,” suggested John Crotty of Almanor Fishing Association. “I have heard reports of fish caught fast and slow trolling in that area.”
Crawlers or gulps at one mph just off the bottom in 40’ of water or hardware 15-20’ on the wire both caught fish (red/gold, cop car and wonder bread speedy shiners). Arctic Fox trolling flies trolling at 1.7-2 mph with a wiggle disc in front will also work. The flies are far more effective when working the rod, it’s just tough to do this time of year. Crotty says he has a few rods set up for the flies he always carry on his boat.
“I set mine up on one of Duncan McIntyre’s 8’ spiral wrapped trolling rods and an ABU 5500 reel,” said Crotty. “I will spool some braid or 20# mono first, then 3-5 colors of 15# lead core followed by 90’ of 10# mono, a small P-line swivel, 4-5’ of 6# leader and a fly of choice.” Crotty prefers the double uni knot as it’s the easiest and most effective knot for attaching lead core to either braid or mono. “Just remember to remove the lead from the area that you tie your knot,” said Crotty. “That exact setup is my preferred setup on Eagle Lake.”
Arctic Fox sells a product called top-line that legendary Eagle Lake fisherman Jay Fair perfected; it consists of 100 yards of 20# braid, 100’ of .029” floating line, 1/2 color or 18# lead-core, 20’ of 10# mono and 5’ of 8# mono. No knots to tie, just attach to your reel.
If you enjoy winter fishing, this week is setting up to be a good one. “Come on up and enjoy beautiful Plumas County, Lake Almanor and our spectacular fishery,” said Crotty.
J&J Grizzly Store reports that fish have been caught mostly on nightcrawlers. Most were caught in the dam area, usually one or two each in a couple of hours,” said Jeanne Graham. “Last weekend ice at the dam was reported to be 6 inches and at Coot Bay, 5 inches. “This is as reported by fishermen, not officially monitored,” said Jeanne.
Nights have been cold but there has been rain and less than an inch of snow.
On the topic of the annual February Davis Lake derby, the “Maybe Ice Derby” is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 13, said Jeanne Graham of J&J Grizzly Store, but the plan is not solidified at this time. The Father’s Day Weekend Derby is planned for June 19.
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