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Lake Davis Fishing Derby scheduled for Father’s Day weekend

If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing poles.

~Doug Larson

Fishing is a great way to get out and enjoy the outdoors. It can also be a great way to give back to the community. Two excellent examples of anglers giving back are the Lake Davis Fishing Derby and the Veteran’s Fishing Day at Lake Almanor.

The Veteran’s Fishing Day is a great way to show vets how much their service to our country is appreciated. The event is organized by Debbie and John Crotty, the owners of the Quail Lodge in Canyon Dam. The Veteran’s Fishing Day is this Sunday, June 11.

John and Debbie have organized about 20 boats that will be taking veterans out for a day of fishing on Lake Almanor. Our thanks to the vets and to the anglers that have volunteered their time and their boats so these vets can enjoy a great day on the lake.

The Lake Davis Fishing Derby is scheduled for Father’s Day weekend. The derby is a fundraiser for the Eastern Plumas Rural Fire Protection District. Registration is available at the Fire Department Thrift Shop in Portola or at J and J’s Grizzly Store and Resort at the lake. This is a great fundraiser for the fire department. Prizes and trophies will be awarded in the adult, junior and “dad and me.”

Lake Almanor

The fishing at Almanor is sort of a good news/bad news situation right now. The good news is that feed is very abundant and lake conditions are near ideal. The trout are abundant and feeding actively. The bad news is, if you can call it that, is that the conditions are excellent throughout the lake and so the fish are scattered all over. Finding fish is the challenge.

Lake Almanor is nearly full. Clarity is good and water temperature is in a very comfortable range for feeding trout.

The water is still very cold for swimming, which I found out about first hand last week. My dog Willow loves riding on the back of my kayak. She is not a small dog so when she decided to try jumping to my wife’s kayak which was just out of reach, Willow and I both wound up in the lake. Sandy rescued Willow and left me to swim to shore on my own. I am trying not to read too much into that.

The Hamilton Branch, Bailey Creek, the North Fork of the Feather River and the Chester Bypass (aka Super Ditch) are running fast, clear and strong. In addition to cold clear water, they are also delivering a variety of feed to the lake providing some decent fishing where they enter the lake.

With the fish scattered the way they are right now, anglers are putting in their time to catch fish. It’s not fast and furious, but there are plenty of hungry rainbows and a few browns out there.

The west side of the peninsula from Rec 2 to the mouth of Bailey Creek has been attracting lots of attention the past couple of weeks. The usual spots in the east basin are also producing fish. Trolling the east shore is a good bet. Lake Cove to the Dorado can be very good. Rec 1 to the A Frame is another productive trolling lane. The west shore is also good and will likely improve over the next few weeks as fish start looking for emerging Hexagenia Mayflies. These huge mayflies are a major attraction and are found mostly on the west side of the lake where muddy lake bottom is more common.

Fast action lures like the usual Speedy Shiners and Needle Fish are effective right now. Trolling flies can also be effective and a night crawler trolled behind a dodger is an excellent choice. The trout are primarily focused on aquatic insects right now. They are not yet keyed in on pond smelt. But they are opportunistic feeders, so if they are eating tiny bugs and a big morsel passes within range they will grab it with gusto.

Start trolling shallow early in the morning. As the sun hits the water, move your gear down closer to 25 feet. Keep an eye on your sonar as it possible you may find fish much deeper.

Lake Davis

Davis has been a little on the slower side this past week, but is giving up some very healthy 18- to 22-inch rainbows to patient anglers.

Jon Biaocchi of Baiocchi’s Troutfitters reports that feed is very abundant. There are flying ants all over the lake and both midges and damselflies are hatching. But Jon reports seeing no rising fish on a recent outing. Other anglers are reporting one or two fish apiece on the better days.

Insect hatches, and in particular the damselflies, will increase as the water continues to warm. Other aquatic insects in the mix are blood midges, callibaetis mayflies and smaller chironomids.Snail and leech patterns are also productive at Davis.

Trollers should work the lanes in front of the island. Try Dick Note Copper Red Heads or Jay Fair Trolling flies.

Frenchman Reservoir

Fishing at Frenchman has been good for several weeks now. The lake is continuing to spill over the spillway and all campgrounds are open. Great reports are coming in from bank fisherman as well as trollers according to the folks at Wiggin’s Trading Post. The number one choices in bait remains night crawlers and power bait. Most fish are averaging 16 to 18 inches. On Monday May 22, Will from Reno, caught five rainbows using night crawlers fishing around the dam. Each fish averaged in size from 14 to 18 inches.

Fish are scattered and in all levels of the water column. Water temperatures are in the low to mid 60s, which is still very comfortable for trout.


Stream fishing is a bit tougher than it is in most years due to the high runoff, but area streams are fishable and improving. Runoff from snowmelt is still high, but should start to taper off soon.

The key to successful stream fishing right now is to work the shallow water and be sure to use enough weight to get your bait — whether it is a stonefly nymph, a salmon egg or a worm — bouncing off the bottom. Spin fisherman will do well with a split shot about 18 inches above a Panther Martin or Roster Tail spinner.

Insect hatches are still a little sparse although dragonflies and stoneflies are working there way toward the shore and getting caught up in the current in the process. I like tight line nymphing with stoneflies and flashy beadhead nymphs in these conditions. I save the dries for later unless I see rising fish.

All area streams are fishable now. I would consider trying Deer Creek, Indian Creek below Antelope Lake and the Middle Fork of the Feather between Clio and Camp Layman. Another excellent choice is the North Fork of the Feather above Lake Almanor, which was recently planted with catchable rainbows.

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