Well things continue to be pretty well shut down but the lakes are open to fishing. During the shut down I have continued to monitor the conditions and the fish so that when things do open back up we will be right back on it. Check out the video below to get an idea of how things went.
Following my last posting on 4/17/20 (about an hour after I left the office) the closing of the Canyon Dam Boat Ramp at Lake Almanor was reversed with stunning speed. A quick recap; The US Forest Service put out a press release on 4/15/20 stating the facility would be completely closed with access being blocked off. On the afternoon of 4/16/20 the dock was pulled out of the water and concrete barricades with signage were placed across the access roadway entrance. Friday morning 4/17/20 at approximately 11:30 am it was announced that the boat launch facility on Almanor's south west corner would be re-opened. The dock was placed back in the water and the concrete barricades were moved off to the side of the road.
How did things progress so quickly? Well from my understanding several key people and groups were involved and need to be thanked for their attention to this matter. The Plumas County Sheriffs Dept. and Sheriff Todd Johns, Plumas County Supervisor Sherrie Thrall, Lake Almanor Area Chamber of Commerce, Shane Starr of Congressman Doug LaMalfa's office and the US Forest Service. On the afternoon of 4/17/20 the barricades were removed and the dock re-set in the water but there will be some noticeable changes.
The bathroom facilities will remain locked and off limits as they have been for several weeks and from this point forward there will be a Plumas County Sheriff deputy stationed in the parking lot to ensure activities go smoothly. Having the deputy on duty will hopefully prevent the problems that prompted the closure such as the heavy out of town traffic, overnight camping and trash and litter being left behind. Again thank you to Sheriff Todd Johns for recognizing the importance of this resource and providing the means to keep it open. That said, if problems arise, the facility could again face a total closure. Remember for the quickest updates please like and follow our social media outlets @bigdaddysguideservice on Facebook and Instagram.
The public access boat launches along Lake Almanor's western shores have been closed down by the US Forest Service. The announcement came in a press release on 4/15/20 from the Lassen National Forest and on 4/16/20 the facilities were officially closed, the dock at Canyon Dam was pulled and the road barricaded with concrete blocks and signs. For how long is a bit unclear at this time. The sign pictured below says through the end of this month, the wording in the press release says until the stay at home orders are lifted.
Following orders that came down in late March the USFS posted signs at the facility as well as locking the bathroom facilities, how ever they continued to allow boats to be launched and people to access the parking lot to fish the surrounding shore lines. I was told by a high ranking USFS official who I will not name, "It is our goal to keep access open for the locals so they have a place to launch their boats and an avenue to get outside and recreate during these times" He went on to say that they would be monitoring the situation and if things got out of hand they would take further steps to close off access. The three things in particular that he indicated they would be looking for were, 1) Large crowds of out of the area people not heeding the Plumas County travel restrictions, social distancing guidelines and trying to camp in the parking lot, 2) Vandalism of their locked bathroom facilities, and 3) Garbage and trash being left and accumulating at the site. Well in the last several weeks the launch at Canyon Dam has seen at least two of those three concerns violated. The parking lot has been packed with out of town rigs from the Bay Area, Sacramento and Reno as well as all of the surrounding counties. Multiple people had set up camps in the parking lots in recent weeks, some going as far as to have campfires right in the middle of the parking lots. I have opted to omit the pictures of these people. Garbage was also an issue, people leaving everything from pizza boxes to alcohol bottles to remnants of fireworks and even whole bags of trash. At this time I am not aware of any vandalism of the bathrooms.
So this is where we are left, Canyon Dam boat ramp as well as the USFS west shore launch are closed at least through the end of this month and maybe longer. I will continue to monitor the situation at the lake and post changes here, as well as on my social media outlets on Facebook and Instagram. Stay safe and healthy and once we are clear of this it will be back to our regularly scheduled program.
Many of my customers have opted to move their trips to the fall, some are waiting to see how things go before they choose a future date and some have canceled all together. A few groups, understanding that conditions like these are very impactful to a small business, have instructed me to keep their deposits and they would be paying full price for their future trips. I’m almost at a loss for words, and all I can say is THANK YOU while striving to put on the best show I can when they come on board the next time. Like I said I am blessed with world-class long-time clientele. Many of these people frequent the boat with their friends and family multiple times throughout the season and certainly rise above the level of “customer”, I consider them good friends and part of my extended fishing family. We celebrate birthdays, graduations, bachelor parties, family vacations, first fish, personal best fish and a host of other big life events on board the boat together and I am honored to be part of it. Again, it really doesn’t seem like enough but Thank you.
Prior to the shut down we were experiencing some pretty good fishing here at Lake Almanor for a mix of quality Browns and Bows. The lower lake level along with the unstable weather patterns made the shallow fishing program a little bit challenging, however with a few adaptations we were able to stay on the fish. During the time we are shutdown, I will continue to monitor the fish and conditions at the lake to be ready the second we are cleared to resume operations.
So, what is happening now? Fishing as a form of outside recreation is still open, but please if you do go out remember to be on your best behavior per all these new guidelines. Basically, fish by yourself or in groups made up of only people living with you under the same roof and maintain a safe distance from other people not in your immediate household. Most, if not all, of the recreation sites have been closed by their controlling agencies, USFS and PGE, which in most cases up here wasn’t hard to do, as many of them at elevation are still snowed in from recent storms. Others that are accessible have had services like bathrooms and trash receptacles locked up or removed. I feel like I shouldn’t have to say this but if you do visit one of these areas please respect the closed facilities and take your trash with you. Things like overcrowding and litter will get the attention of the authorities and could lead to even more restrictions. Please do not travel from other areas into Plumas County, things are starting to tighten up and in the last several days people have been checked as to their place of residence and asked to leave. I’m not going to go into all the details recently released by our county officials, but the bottom line is if you don’t live in Plumas County don’t come to Plumas County. We will be happy to again share our beautiful area with everyone once this stuff blows over.
Behind the scenes there is still plenty going on. Shipping out orders and fulfilling gift certificates for future fishing trips from the Online Store, talking with customers and booking charters for the summer and fall months. I have never been so “caught up” on paperwork. Lol. If you would like to discuss conditions or a future trip please don’t hesitate to reach out. Remember one of the best ways to keep up to date fast is follow us through our social media on Facebook and Instagram. Thank you again for your continued support, once we are clear of this garbage it will be game on and I look forward to seeing you on the water.
Capt. Bryan Roccucci
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