By Doug Neal
Almanor Fishing Adventures
March 18, 2019
Mid March and its been very nice here. The Sun has melted any ice and the lake is wide open. Currently surface temps @ 36 to 38 degrees. Clarity improving in the east basin, about 26 inches visibility. The Ham Branch is flowing strong and the water is slowly clearing for now, more rain coming in this week.
The west side is better, about 8 ft. clarity and improving also. And that's where fish are be biting. Most boats are launching from Canyon Dam. The ramp and lot has been cleared of snow and there's plenty of parking. Besides its the only public ramp in operation with dock. Rec. 1 and 2 on the peninsula are also open. While a few boats have been fishing the east basin with little to report. The west side has been producing hookups. Some nice fish too. Mostly Rainbows and Browns with a occasional Salmon. Rainbows over three pounds reported by several boats. All with nice cold water colors. The most action has come off 'fast action hard wear'. Like Needle Fish , Speedy Shiners, Rapalas trolled at 2.5 to 2.8 mph. Almanor West, Airport Flats, Bailey Springs, Red Banks, are all places I would start for now. The East basin will need a little more time before that water clears up and the bite develops. But right now the best bite and cleanest water is on the west side. The Feather River is flowing clean and strong, keeping the west basin flushed. And when Bailey Creek starts flowing that will only help. Bailey Creek could start flowing anytime now. So now is the time to prepare for some great fishing. Lake levels will be high and water quality very good.
Good luck to all.
Almanor Fishing Association update.
The AFA crews have been busy this past winter with several endeavors. The Rainbows in the Hamilton Branch fish cage project are looking good. They are approaching 8 to 9 inches and have been feeding well this winter. Crews braved heavy snow and wind. Some days sending 5 guys to clear snow off before we could feed. We started out placing 50,000 rainbows in the cages last October 2018. And will release these fish this Spring. They eat about 40 lbs. of food daily.
We also added 1400 Brown Trout to the Hamilton Branch Cage Project they were about 5 inches when we place them in the cages last December during a very cold day.. Again we had about 15 guys down there moving these fish into the cages between storms. The 1400 Browns we have in the cages are the first Browns we ever raised. The started at the Chester High School, Almanor Research Institute program, also known as the ARI. Which is a small hatchery. Currently AFA members are working with the ARI assisting in raising these fish. During the winter, and during the summer when the students are gone for the summer. Our AFA crews currently have approx. 50,000 Brown Trout just hatched last month at the ARI facility. These little Browns are now about 1 inch long.
The AFA is working with Feather River College hatchery program, the FRC is the only college in Calif with a hatchery program. We provide support, hatchery improvements, and food for the program. We have another 50,000 Browns currently at FRC. These Browns are now about 2.5 inches long. All these fish that survive, will be introduced into Lake Almanor, or the Feather River above Chester. If they are smaller Browns they survive better in the river, but will find their way into Almanor eventually.
So your AFA crews are kicking AZ here. Working to make and keep Lake Almanor a strong vibrant fishery. We need your membership. I hope you will consider joining and supporting our efforts. Follow us on Facebook. Post a comment, we need to know your thoughts.
LOOKING AHEAD TO SPRING.
Here's what I'm thinking as we begin moving into Spring time. These are tips for Pros and Beginners.
Coming to Lake Almanor this year? Wondering what you can do to make the most of your time spent on the water? well that depends on several things. Like when your going to be here? Got a boat? Fishing from shore? There are a few places to bank fish here at Lake Almanor. The Branch, Geritol Cove, The 'Big Willow Bush' springs, in the back cove of the Big Springs area. Also the North Shore Campgrounds along the causeway early in the spring. Bailey Springs offer. great shore fishing too, but its a hike to get there. Guys in boats will do better here. Most will be trolling. Lake Almanor is a great lake to troll. Most of it has a flat bottom so some of the best trolling lanes are free of underwater hazards. And then there are some areas where many a down rigger ball has been lost. You still gotta watch that sonar depth reading.
Check a map
After you decide where to go, what ya gonna do when you get there? Running fast action lures, or slow trolling crawlers will usually produce fish even for first timers. I generally start fishing a lot more in late March, weather permitting. We can still possibly get some big storms in March. And we already had a real good winter this year, lots of snow. After Winter clears out it really gets interesting around here. Longer days and more sunshine slowly warm up the cold water a little every passing week. Fish become active as their metabolism picks up. As insect hatch's begin to bloom off the lakes bottom, it doesn't take long for hungry fish to find the rising larva. And the cycle begins anew.
By April the fishing is pretty darn good and just gets better all the way into June. Fishing pressure is generally light in the early Spring, but picks up noticeably by the 3rd Saturday in June. By then schools are all out for summer and fishing boats are everywhere. Searching for the hot bite that can sometimes be elusive to the first timers. Lots of people hire a guide, and get into the action quickly. Different areas in both basins have feeding events constantly evolving around Lake Almanor.
Spring and early summer have feeding events popping on, then off, all over the lake, local guides know these areas and will get you there. Finding yourself in the right spot at the right time will provide you with a unforgettable angling experience. There's lots of savvy fishermen out there that know the lake well, and there are others that could use a little advise on what to use and where to go.
We all want to make the most of our time spent on the water productive. And I want you to have a good time during your visit here. So. Here's a few tips on where you might want to start....
From April thru May, I will be looking into shallower water areas from 15 to 36 ft. The shallows will warm a little earlier, and sunlight hitting the lakes bottom will encourage some early aquatic insect hatches. Fish will become active in Almanor West, Airport Flats, Bailey Springs, and Lake Cove on the east shore. Last spring I spent many sunrises working Airport Flats and Al West. Some mornings releasing 12 to14 Rainbows and Browns in the 2 lb. range, and a few up to 5 lbs. As we move from May into June, the shallows slowly start warming, to the point where fish are slowly driven into deeper cooler channels where insect activity is just beginning. So the bite continues, just shifted to a different location. Deeper cool water channels like the old river bed from the LACC peninsula to Rocky Point across to the east shore, The east shore to Canyon Dam, Rec.2 north toward Bailys Creek and back. All these areas will be holding fish into late June and beyond. I actually was catching big Rainbows into mid July in these areas before moving into the deeper, cooler, spring fed water of the east basin. Generally the east basin is the place to fish from mid July thru September. Big Springs, the A-Frame areas are well known and productive trolling lanes.
Good luck to all.