File photo by John Crotty

Winter fishing at Almanor and Davis

Compiled by Mari Erin Roth

Lake Almanor

Almanor Fishing Association relayed details on the lake via John Crotty, as always, many thanks.

Our first significant storm of the season dropped over two inches of snow/rain mix before Thanksgiving; the snow is all but gone at lake level. Snow remains at higher elevations and Lassen has a good base of snow for the first time in months.  With most of the rain soaked into parched ground, creeks and streams there remains little impact; lake level rose ever so slightly to 4477.76’. Clarity remains unchanged at 5-8’.


Numerous navigational hazards continue to exist and boaters should be advised to exercise caution while motoring. As of Nov. 29, there have been no significant changes to weather or water levels since the storm and conditions are expected to remain the same for at least the next seven days. Morning temps are around 20 degrees with daytime temps approaching 50. Lake level rose up fractionally, water temp is around the mid-40s.

Fishing remains good with quality fish caught throughout the lake. Slow trolling gulps and Arctic Fox Trolling flies produced fish along the west side of the Peninsula with 10-15’ the preferred depth working for Crotty before Thanksgiving. Hardware also produced fish. When fast trolling, Crotty suggests always having at least one red/gold on. “I also like red dot frog, cop car, smelt and brown trout patterns,” said Crotty. Fish continue to chase pond smelt, the smelt have moved offshore as have the fish. “The fish have moved out of the shallow areas into the deeper water as have the large schools of pond smelt.” Fish have migrated to the south end of the lake as well as is typical for this time of year.

“Nov. 28 we started fishing at the dam, moved to flag island, moved to Rec #2 and finally found some bait and fish on the East Shore where we picked up a half dozen fish,” said Crotty. “We caught our fish slow trolling gulps at one mph with 15-20’ deep on the wire the best depth.” Fish are scattered and moving daily. Crotty suggested fishermen start out fast trolling hardware until bait or fish are found. Then, if the fish won’t take your offering slow down and mix up baits. “The fish are in great shape and fight hard,” said Crotty.

There has been an increase in bank and fly fishermen with the fly guys out producing the bank fishermen. Bank fishing the coves will produce fish, however, the bite is far from “red-hot” and most fish caught are smaller with reports of a few larger fish in the mix. The bite in the coves around the dam has been inconsistent and mature fish have not yet been spotted. Hamilton Branch remains a fisherman’s best option from shore.


The forecast is for clear sunny skies over the next week with morning temps around the twenty degree mark and daytime highs in the high 40s. Temps drop quickly when the sun goes down.

“Roads are clear; they can be icy in the mornings,” cautioned Crotty. Canyon Dam boat ramp is open. Plumas County has joined most other counties in California and we are currently under the purple (COVID) tier. Further information is available on the Plumas County website. “Drive safe and dress warm if coming to Plumas County,” said Crotty.

As a side note, Almanor Fishing Association invites reader and fisherman support. There are projects folks may not realize are sponsored by the AFA volunteers. “AFA has the longest running, most successful, fish pen program in the state,” said Crotty. “We currently have 60,000 fish (50,000 rainbows, 10,000 Browns) in our pens and our dedicated volunteers are feeding 80 pounds of food a day regardless of the weather.”

The group welcomes new members and begin its 2021 membership drive soon. Interested persons may find information online or join at Their mailing address is Almanor Fishing Association PO BOX 1938, Chester, CA 96020. “Thank you for your support,” said Crotty.

Winter has arrived at Lake Davis Nov. 18. J&J Grizzly Store remains open as ice begins to form on the lake. Photo by Jeanne Graham

Lake Davis

“Drove up the east side of the lake a little bit ago,” said Jeanne Graham of J&J Grizzly Store on Nov. 29, “and some THIN ice is forming in the Lightening Tree Boat Launch area and a small amount on the North side of Mallard Cove.” There is snow and ice visible but the launch appears accessible.

The “Maybe Ice Derby” is scheduled for Feb. 13, said Jeanne. The Father’s Day Weekend Derby is planned for June 19.

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