Compiled by Mari Erin Roth
Rain has hit the dirt in Plumas County. Even a couple of tenth inches of rain are better than no rain a’tall. The warm weather last week sped up snow melt at higher elevations. Bailey Creek, the North Fork of the Feather, Hamilton Branch, and the Super Ditch are all depositing water into Almanor. Lake level is up another six inches this week. Water temperature is hovering in the high 40s.
The warm weather triggered insect hatches, which will become the diet of choice for fish over the next couple of months. Osprey and swallows returned to Almanor this week as well. Fish remain scattered as they transition to spring feeding patterns. Fish are being caught fast, and slow trolling with the early morning bite being the most productive. Speedy shiners, Mooselook wobbler’s, Rapala’s, Artic Fox trolling flies, plastics and crawlers all caught fish. “The bite is good when you find fish, fish are on the surface early dropping in the water column as the sun comes up,” said John Crotty of Almanor Fishing Association. “Bass anglers hit the water in earnest this past weekend with mixed results. As is typical this time of year the bass are confused with inconsistent water temps and can be tough to catch.”
Shore anglers are targeting fish around the dam and at Hamilton Branch. The fish at the branch are tough to catch as they feed aggressively on fish food escaping from the Almanor Fishing Association fish pens. “Early mornings and late evenings with light tackle are your best shot, fly angle’s are catching more fish than the bankies,” said Crotty. “Spring is in the air and it’s time to put Almanor on your fishing list.” Plumas Pines is open for lodging; their ramp is currently closed and should open sometime in April. Canyon Dam remains the only useable public ramp.
Looking ahead, July 3 and Sept. 4 are free fishing days in California this year.
Catch and Release information from California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
1. Land your fish as carefully and quickly as possible.
2. Try to avoid removing the fish from the water. Underwater unhooking and release is preferred.
3. Do not squeeze the fish, or touch its eyes or gills.
4. Remove only those hooks that you can see and remove easily, otherwise clip the line near the mouth on deep hooked fish.
5. Use artificial lures (no bait) to minimize deep hooking. Barbless hooks or hooks with flattened barbs make unhooking easier and less stressful on the fish.