Snowy access to Lake Almanor doesn’t deter some anglers
Compiled by Mari Erin Roth
Thank you to Bryan Roccucci of Big Daddy’s Fishing Guide Service, and board member for Almanor Fishing Association, for providing a peak into the chilly fishing conditions at Lake Almanor. Our regular liaison from Almanor Fishing Association, John Crotty, is out of commission, hopefully for a very short while. We wish him a speedy recovery! But if an avid fisherman were to get laid up, this was a good week to do it since there has not been much fishing happening. Besides, it is downright cold out there. Canyon Dam ramp is icy and slippery, IF you can get to it. Hazards abound. But if you want to fish alone, chances for that are very good.
The recent onslaught of winter conditions, including heavy snow, wind, and ice have made it all but impossible to access the lake. Area roadways seem to have had chain controls and closures more than they haven’t. Deep snow depth has been hampering the shore-based anglers and unplowed snow at Canyon Dam Boat Ramp has prevented boats from launching. The positive side of this is the Almanor basin, along with the rest of the state, is receiving the healthy dose of water we needed to rectify the drought conditions.
There have been small windows in between storm fronts that have allowed some fishing to take place. A few boats did manage to get out prior to this last heavy round of snow and found some limited success near the dam trolling a variety of offerings in the top 10 feet of water. Ice on the surface of the lake was a major factor. It has been affecting where able to fish and also changing from day to day the launching and recovering of boats. “Use extreme caution when using the ramp this time of year as conditions can be slick,” said Roccucci. “A few fish were caught by some hearty bankies close to the Canyon Dam Ramp as well before being blanketed in snow again.”
Water conditions have changed very little over the last month. Surface temperatures are running in the mid 3’s. Ice is mostly covering the west basin and at times, covering the east basin as well. The ice in the east basin is subject to rapid changes depending on conditions and the wind. Lake Almanor’s water elevation has remained mostly unchanged for the last month. It currently sits at 4481.39 feet out of a maximum storage level of 4495.5 feet. There are very low inflows as most of the water sits locked up in the snowpack. So, what’s the outlook? After a few more days of light snowfall there is predicted to be a short break in the weather … before the next series of warmer storms are expected to arrive this weekend, “Straight outta Hawaii: aka the “Pineapple Express.” Given the current snow pack, the warmer systems with heavy rains and higher snow levels have the potential to cause flooding. If traveling to the Almanor basin, be sure to check current road conditions as they change often. All the precipitation should fill Lake Almanor this year.