Zig zag weather makes for variable fishing

Compiled by Mari Erin Roth

Lake Almanor

After a couple of days of unseasonably warm weather temperatures dropped 20-plus degrees with winds and showers just in time for Memorial Weekend. The winds will stick around for at least the next couple of days before subsiding as temperatures return to the 80-degree mark later in the week. There is a slight chance of thunderstorms next weekend.

Lake level is up a tenth of a foot from last week, Bailey Creek has slowed to a trickle and unless there is significant weather in the near future, it is not anticipated that the lake will see further increases in level for the year. Water temperatures range between 59 and 60 degrees May 29 and clarity is unchanged at 8-12’.

The trout bite has been inconsistent- good one day not so good the next. “I have been mixing up speeds and presentations as dictated by the weather/winds,” said John Crotty of Almanor Fishing Association. “Slow trolling plastics and crawlers at 1 mph, flies at 1.7 and hardware at 2.5-3 mph.” Crotty caught fish throughout the water column with 20’ the top producer. “I vary setbacks based upon conditions and presentations 60-80’ set back when slow trolling and 130’ when fast,” said Crotty. “White or Olive Arctic Fox trolling flies, red/gold & red dot frog speedy shiners and part of a mini crawler on a size 8 bait hook are my favorites.” Fish remain scattered throughout the lake with the largest concentration of fishing pressure taking place in the north/west section of the lake between the Peninsula and Prattville north.

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The bass bite remains good with reports of smallies over 5 lbs. Hamilton Branch remains the best shot at catching quality fish from shore. “We are still a couple of weeks away from the Hex Hatch on Almanor, if you want to get a jump start on the Hex fishery, we typically see hatches on Butt Lake a week or two prior to Almanor,” said Crotty.

Road construction is ongoing on all roads leading to Almanor with controlled traffic and delays. The USFS opened the public ramp at Almanor West on Friday, which will alleviate congestion at Canyon Dam.