Spring bite continues at Almanor

Compiled by Mari Erin Roth

Lake level (4482’) and water temps (50-55 degrees) continue to rise. The spring weather pattern continues with overnight lows dipping into the high 20s and daytime highs reaching the high 60s. There was some wind April 17 that made trolling tough and there is some unsettled weather headed this way next weekend, otherwise, it’s time to get on the water.

Canyon Dam continues to be the only usable public boat ramp on Almanor. April 17 trucks and trailers filled both parking lots and were parked along the roadway coming into the lots. Most of local businesses are taking advantage of the weather. If they are not currently open, they will be soon. Most of the resorts have private ramps with a few open to the public for a fee. Please check in advance with resort owners to make sure their ramps are open and/or publicly usable.

The bass bite improves daily. “I have heard reports of smallies topping the 5-pound mark, as water temps continue to rise they should begin bedding soon,” said John Crotty of Almanor Fishing Association. Trollers are picking up rainbows and browns with an occasional salmon thrown in the mix. The bite has been inconsistent at best and the fish are tough to find.

“You can choose your favorite trolling method and cover water, Arctic Fox trolling flies at 1.7 MPH, hardware at 2.5-3 MPH and as always slow trolling crawlers and gulps are your best shot,” said Crotty. “The insect hatches are off the charts and fish are beginning to migrate to the northwest side of the lake.” Hamilton Branch and the causeway the best shot at catching fish from shore. There are no reports of road construction projects on roadways leading to Almanor.

Thoughts on cold water diversions by John Crotty

“I will preface the following by stating these are my opinions and my opinions only, I will be making a formal presentation to the AFA board and request our board to take a firm and decisive stance on any proposed cold water diversions from Lake Almanor and Butt Lake,” said Crotty.

“On Friday afternoon AFA Vice President Brett Hurff and I attended a small, limited seating meeting held at the Collins Pine Museum in Chester regarding PG&E’s sixteen-plus year  effort to have the State Water Resources Control Board  (SWRCB) approve their application for relicensing as they conduct business on Lake Almanor and Butt Lake. The disastrous consequences to the Lake Almanor and Butt Lake fisheries and the entire Lake Almanor community if the SWRCB requires PG&E to remove cold water from Lake Almanor and Butt Lake via a thermal curtain or the Canyon Dam Intake Tower are well documented and all, but guaranteed!”

“This is not a political statement just the facts as I understand them, the Plumas County Board of Supervisors was either ill or misinformed when on June 9 and July 7, 2020, they submitted a letter to the SWRCB offering “unequivocal support” for withdrawing 250 cubic feet per second of cold water from the Canyon Dam Intake Tower between June 16and September 15. The Board of Supervisors must take immediate action to retract their “unequivocal support” of any cold water releases from Lake Almanor and Butt Lake with the intentions of lowering water temps thirty miles downstream!”

“The process of issuing PG&E a license to operate on Lake Almanor and Butt Lake is long overdue and disruptive to all parties involved including the residents of Lake Almanor and Plumas County. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the SWRCB must consider the science and the devastating impacts removing cold water from  Lake Almanor and Butt Lake will have on our fishery, businesses and quality of lives. This community must unify and take whatever measures necessary to finally put this issue to rest.”