Thousands of hex flies emerge at dusk all over Lake Almanor; free state fishing day July 2

Compiled by Mari Erin Roth

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Lake Almanor

The Hex Hatch is in full swing with hex casin’s littering the lake each evening. Fly fishermen are targeting fish along the west shore from Canyon Dam to the tip of Almanor West. “If you have never witnessed the hex hatch now is the time, you can set your fly-fishing calendar to the third week of June on Almanor for this annual event,” said John Crotty of Almanor Fishing Association. “There are a number of great articles in our Almanor Fisherman annual newsletter that you can check out to get you started and all our local sporting good’s stores can pick out the correct flies and equipment needed to catch that trophy fish.”

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Water temperatures are rising and quickly approaching the 70-degree mark. Trollers did well this past week with most of the fleet targeting their efforts at Red Bank. Fish are being caught in deep water off Rec #1 to Big Cove. Boats on anchor are catching quality fish with the Almanor cocktail (cricket/meal worm combo). Crawlers at one mph are the preferred method for trollers.

“For the first time this season I saw pond smelt rising along the shoreline this past Saturday,” said Crotty. “As soon as the hex hatch concludes fish will begin gorging on smelt, with Almanor’s spectacular eco system it is no wonder these fish are tough to catch and grow so quickly.” Bank fishermen are picking up recently planted rainbows at Geritol Cove. Hamilton Branch has slowed recently, it should pick up as the lake temperature rises.

Highway 70 is open and, as is typical for this time of year, travelers can expect traffic delays on all roadways leading to Plumas County. Lodging is at a premium, including campsites, so visitors are suggested to plan accordingly.

Free fishing days coming up!

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The first of California’s two Free Fishing Days in 2022 is coming up over the Independence Day holiday weekend. On Free Fishing Days – which land on Saturday, July 2 and Saturday Sept. 3, the public can fish throughout the Golden State without a fishing license. For those new to fishing, this is an opportunity to explore a rewarding and exciting new hobby. For licensed anglers, this is an opportunity to introduce or reintroduce someone else to the benefits of becoming an angler. Free Fishing Days are also a time for people who used to fish to come back and reconnect to the activity.

Only basic fishing equipment and knowledge is needed to get started fishing.

Fishing training videos available

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) offers introductory fishing videos people can watch leading up to July 2.

Tackle Box Basics: You’ll learn about the different types of tackle and how to match the “when, where and what species” of various types of tackle.

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How to Become a California Angler: You’ll hear about California’s diverse fish species and where and how to find them.

A Beginner’s Guide to Trout Fishing: You’ll gain an introduction to cold freshwater trout fishing, including differentiating species, spawning patterns and best catch techniques for California waters.

CDFW’s Fishing Guide can be a great resource for all anglers. Look for a new body of water to fish, review recent planting locations or even refresh your knowledge of fishing regulations. This useful tool can be accessed from your mobile phone while you are fishing!

California’s vastness, varied geography and rich biodiversity, provide anglers with a plethora of fishing locations and species to catch. Those interested in fishing in California’s lakes, streams and rivers can find information about inland fishing locations and species on the CDFW website. Information about ocean fishing, including spots along California beaches, is also available on the website. All fishing regulations, such as bag and size limits, gear restrictions, report card requirements, fishing hours and stream closures remain in effect on Free Fishing Days. Anglers must have the appropriate report card when fishing for steelhead or sturgeon anywhere in the state, and salmon in the Smith and Klamath-Trinity River systems. Anglers can review the sport fishing regulations online or use CDFW’s mobile website to view freshwater limits and regulations specific to a body of water.

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“California anglers are incredibly fortunate to have such a wide variety of fish species and fishing opportunities to choose from on July 2,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “We ask anglers to pick their fishing destinations carefully given the drought conditions impacting our waters. Please try and avoid waters visibly suffering from the impacts of drought. Specifically, where warm and low water levels may be stressing fish populations.”

Anglers planning to fish inland waters through catch and release can help reduce fish stress levels and increase survival rates by voluntarily adopting the following practices:

Assess the water for extreme drought conditions before committing to fish there

Fish before the day heats up

Handle fish as little as possible

Keep fish in the water when removing hooks

We hope you take advantage of California’s Free Fishing Days. If you get “hooked” on fishing, be sure to purchase an annual resident sport fishing license. The revenue generated from license sales help conserve our fish populations and habitats while supporting California’s longstanding angling opportunities for today and future generations. An annual resident sport fishing license in California currently costs $54, while a one-day fishing license costs $17.54.

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