Compiled by Mari Erin Roth
Almanor lake level sits at 4476.49, which is up 2/10’s of an inch in the last week. Last year at this time, lake level was 4477.95, and as recently as October of 2015 the lake held less water than it does today. Water temperature is hovering around 44 degrees and visibility is unchanged at 5-10 feet.
Now for a little good news, the Canyon Dam boat ramp was opened up this past week and Highway 70 through the Canyon was opened as well. Scratch that last bit. As quickly as Highway 70 opened through the canyon, it closed again for another rockslide. The Almanor area is to receive in excess of 3 feet of (much needed) snow at lake level this week. This will impact travel and launching. Be advised that Plumas Pines removed their docks. “Todd and Jacob went above and beyond to assist fishermen in 2021 including hosting the Wild West Bass Tournament in April and leaving their dock in as long as possible to assist us fishermen,” said John Crotty of Almanor Fishing Association.
There was little boat pressure this past week and fishing remained good. The fish are migrating toward the south end of the lake and are staying in deeper water off shore. Shore fishing at Hamilton Branch has been slow; the weather system should get fish into the coves around the dam.
“I put my snow tires on this past week; if you are traveling to Plumas County make sure you have chains for your vehicles and boat trailers,” said Crotty. “Hazardous tree and debris removal will be put on hold for at least this next week and traffic on Almanor and our roads will be light.”
The weather is snowy and cold, with more snow expected. Goodwin’s General Store is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 7 days a week and handy for anyone heading to the lake. They have freshly made sandwiches, fudge, chicken tenders, and hot soup. The store also offers a wide variety of hot coffees. If the fishing fails, folks have the incredible scenery around the lake and comfort food available, which sounds a whole lot like many fishing days anyway.
The lake is not frozen. The campground is open. Reservations are highly recommended. Fishing licenses are available at J & J Grizzly Store, which is open weekends: Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Honker Cove is closed. “Last weekend they did pretty good up at Mallard,” said Jim Graham up at the store, “but I’m not sure now with the snow. Folks should stop on by to find out the latest scoop before heading to the lake.”
The road is no longer clear from either direction to Bucks so the only folks fishing are those that are already there or those arriving on skis, snow shoes or snow mobiles. The fish are biting, nice-sized, and there is plenty of room on the lake if you can get there. Shore fishing may take awhile to hook up but the rewards are worth the effort. Bucks Lodge recording says, “Merry Christmas … and it’s going to be a great year for snowmobiling!”