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Rick Nelepovitz of Fort Bragg caught this 6-pound brown trolling a Rapala at Lake Almanor with Bryan Raccucci of Big Daddy’s Guide Service. The fish was released after posing for this photo. Photo submitted

Rain continues to put a damper on spring fishing

“Long as I remember the rain been coming down.”

— John Forgarty

“Who’ll Stop the Rain,” 1970

If there is been a theme to the past six months it’s all about the rain. And that continues to be the case. Our snow-pack is at near record levels. Our lakes are full and our rivers and streams are running high. And still the rain keeps coming down.

Generally, all that water is a good thing for fish. We needed some relief from several years of drought. But enough is enough.

All this rain has taken its toll on our collective attitude and if that were not enough, it is not helping the fishing any. The high flows are contributing to low visibility even in the lakes.

The wind that usually accompanies the rain makes for some very tough fishing.

But on those days between storms, when the sun is shining and the wind is calm, there is some excellent fishing to be had.

Now if we could just get a few more of those calm and sunny days. …

Lake Almanor

Rainy and windy weather has kept fishing pressure very light. For those boats that are getting out, fishing is good one day and off the next day. That has a lot to do with when the wind is blowing.

Visibility is decent in the west lobe of the lake, but a little murky in the east lobe especially in the vicinity of Hamilton Branch. Using high visibility colored lures along with scents and dodgers can help overcome the lower visibility.

Fish are scattered, but I would focus on the shallow water as it tends to be a bit warmer and that should attract more feed. I would try Almanor West to Airport flats, Prattville, the tip of the peninsula, and Rocky Point to the dam.

Pond smelt seem to be the main source of feed right now along with some midges. Trolling flies, Rapalas and Speedy Shiners in fire tiger, white and chartreuse are reporting catching fish. Worms or night crawlers trolled behind flashers are also attracting some nice fish.

The water is cold so the fish are still on the sluggish side. Troll slowly (1.5 mph) but don’t be afraid to go a little faster if you are not getting bites.

I like to use an action disk in front of my lure when I am fishing a trolling fly or other lures that need some extra action when trolled slowly.

The Almanor Fishing Association released 25,000rainbow trout last week. This organization does great work for the Almanor fishery and they deserve your support. If you catch small rainbows (7- to 9-inches), please let them go. They were likely just released into the lake and will grow much larger.

Frenchman Lake

Much of the ice is gone, but most of the lake is inaccessible. You can drive to the dam and that area continues to produce some nice rainbows for anglers fishing Powerbait or suspended worms.

Eagle Lake

Eagle Lake has been plagued by low water for the past few years. Low water has kept boat launches out of the water and limited spawning success. That appears to be turning around this year. Pine Creek is running high and the lake level is way up.

Eagle Lake fishing season does not open until the Memorial Day weekend, but all signs are pointing to some better fishing at Eagle this year.

Lake Davis

Open water is still in short supply. The lake is full and spilling over, but mostly covered in ice. There apparently is plenty of open water north of Mallard Cove, but getting there requires a snowmobile or skis.

General trout season opener

The general trout season will open April 29. Given the significant snow pack and associated runoff, many rivers will be running high and off color. Stream fishing will be challenging and could be a bit dangerous with such high flows. Anglers who chose to hit the streams and rivers for the opener will need to be cautious.

Given the potential high water conditions, focusing on lakes and reservoirs may be the best bet for anglers.

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