Well we have past the Labor Day holiday and the un-official end to summer, and what a summer it was. The water was a little lower and warmer but that didn't seem to slow the fishing down. Thankfully we were the recipients of multiple late season snow storms in April and even May, which helped to edge the lake levels a bit higher than originally predicted. Almanor was by no means full but every little bit helped as we made our way through the summer and the lake level began to drop.
These past few months saw epic aquatic bug hatches fueling this fishery, including the famed Hex hatch. It takes several factors to develop a fishery like we have here at Lake Almanor, one is good genetics and the other is food supply to enable the fish to reach their potential, and the waters of Almanor contain both. As spring rolls in to summer and the waters warm, sheets of these aquatic bubs begin to emerge from the bottom and make their way to the surface. The fish respond to this easy food source by flooding in to areas rich with these hatches. My over arching game plan includes following the food, almost more than the fish. That said I concentrated the fishing efforts in these bug laden areas running a variety of offerings that somewhat replicate these natural food sources, resulting in quality Rainbows and some really large Browns. I fished many more locations around the lake this year, than in years past which is a testament to just how broad and far reaching these hatches are around the lake.
As the summer moved on and the bug load began to diminish the fish turn their attention to the other major food source in the lake, the Japanese Pond Smelt or Wakasagi. These bait fish can be found just about everywhere in the lake but the schools diffidently prefer deeper open water, that is until they are discovered by the fish which may run them into shallow water as they feed on their thick masses. Which brings us up to current day, the trout and salmon are continuing to feed heavily on the pond smelt and will continue to do so for the rest of this year which means its time to look, smell and act like a pond smelt as far as the presentations go. Most of the fish are currently coming in the 25 to 35 foot range on pond smelt imitating baits. Rainbows in the 2-6 pound range, Browns from 3 to 8 pounds and even a few of the lake's King Salmon in the 2-3 pound class have been showing in the last week.
Summer's warm grip on Lake Almanor continued through last week with a brutal heat wave that saw a string of temps into the high 90's here at the lake which was a bit uncomfortable but thankfully no where near the 110-116 degree days the valley was experiencing. Then in the blink of an eye the heat was gone and temperatures returned to much more seasonal levels featuring cool mornings and pleasant afternoons, we even got a good dose of water thanks to a thunder storm last night. Let's hope that is the end of the high temps, I'm ready for things to cool down a bit including the lake water temps as we move into fall and more importantly fall fishing.
Fall is a great time to be here at the lake, the crowds of visitors have left and watersport enthusiast numbers dwindle leaving a quiet calm on the water as the lake returns to the anglers. The fish will continue to feed up on the smelt and move shallower in the water column as the water temps recede. If you haven't made your fall fishing reservations now is the time, don't miss out on this exciting time of the season. For the most up to date information about what is going on remember to follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
I look forward to seeing you on the water.
It is common knowledge that most boats need to be registered in California with DMV and display the current registration sticker along with the vessel’s CF number on each side of the hull. Several years back an additional sticker, the Mussel Sticker, was required to be displayed next to the registration sticker. In 2012 AB 2443 authorized the Division of Boating and Waterways to require DMV to collect an additional Quagga and Zebra Mussel Infestation Fee effective December 31, 2013, on all vessels registered in the state. Many of you were surprised, even happy, when the cost of your boat registration for 2022 and 2023 went down and no Mussel sticker was included with your new boat tags. Did the program just go away? Not likely in California. Without mention of the new procedure in the boat registration paperwork, that began January 1,2022, many boat owners simply put on their new registration tags and went on their way displaying a green 23 registration tag and the now expired yellow 21 mussel sticker.
Make no mistake, there is a green 23 mussel sticker that is required to be displayed on all California boats that operate in fresh waters including inland lakes and reservoirs, rivers, wetlands and the delta. The change in procedure making the mussel sticker available separately stems from a 2021 revision by the California State Parks’ Division of Boating and Waterways of their rules to meet federal requirements. Boat owners are encouraged to purchase the mussel sticker online at www.dmv.ca.gov/musselfee and will no longer have the option to purchase them by mail or telephone.
Local PCSO boat patrols have been busy educating boaters about the need to obtain and display the current mussel sticker with only a few citations given out to boaters who choose to ignore previous warnings. The $16 fee is supposed to provide funding for infestation prevention and education through grant funding which is administered by the Division of Boating and Waterways.
Check out the latest Lake Almanor water storage level, and see how it stacks up against previous years. AFA's own Phil Datner put together this fantastic graph showing historic water storage levels from 2013 to April 30, 2022.
The take-away, we are above last year's level and continuing to rise but still below average. Some of the most recent storms have made things a little difficult out on the lake but thankfully they have deposited additional snow in the watershed and will help us out with higher lake levels and better water quality.
Well, 2022 is off to a rip-roaring start. Winter was looking promising as we closed out last year, giving hopes to an above average snowpack and lots of water for the lake, but January and February saw virtually no precipitation in the Almanor basin. A "Miracle March" never really happened with only limited amounts of moisture, so you can imagine my excitement when the recent "winter like" storms started lining up in the pacific and headed our way, these fronts possessed a solid amount of moisture but also high winds and unstable air, not the best for fishing in. Armed with that intel I made the choice to postpone a couple of days of fishing and let the fronts blow out of here.
Overall, the fishing so far this season has been what I would classify as pretty darn good especially when it comes to the quality of the fish, both Browns and Bows, and now some larger than average salmon have been starting to make an appearance. Even good fishing is not without its challenges here at Almanor and there have been a few slower days, some weather related, with wind not allowing us to fish the intended areas, and a couple of plain old "Almanor" days where mother nature and the lake conspire to let you know who is really in charge. That said, most of the trips have been fantastic.
February gave us a nice mix of fish with Bows topping 30 inches and Browns close to double digit weights. As usual it was all about the pond smelt and working areas that were holding bait was the key. Pond smelt numbers in the lake seem to be doing just fine, they are a vital part of the food chain, especially in winter, that keep the fish fed.
The "Miracle March" that didn't provide us with an abundance of rain and snow did manage to come through with a healthy supply of Browns. The numbers were impressive, but even more so was the average size with many 7 and 8 pound class fish in the mix as well as multiple fish over the double digit mark in weight. I believe we are seeing an upward trend in quality of these fish and myself as well as many others believe it is a direct result of catch and release efforts by the bulk of the anglers at the lake. Efforts by groups such as AFA as well as locals getting the word out about protecting our valuable resource have, and continue to make a difference. So remember #KeepAlmanorBrown and #BrownTroutLivesMatter, catch and release does work when done correctly, the proof is in the fact that we absolutely catch the same fish multiple times.
We are now deep into the month of April and finally getting that afore mentioned much needed rain and snow. The big Brown action continued into the fourth month of the year with a few more double digit weight fish and the Rainbow action started to pick back up following their spawn. The Smallmouth Bass started moving into the shallows and fish began to disperse throughout the lake as other food sources, mainly aquatic bugs, became available. Recently some of the lake's King Salmon have started to make a pretty good showing with "forked tails" as large as 7 pounds hitting the net. These fish are always fun on the light gear and I hope we see many more as the year progresses.
What will the months of May and June hold for us? Stay tuned, but things are looking good for more outstanding fishing here at Lake Almanor. For the most up to date in formation about what is going on remember to follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
I look forward to seeing you on the water,
The Tuesday prior to the opening day of the Sacramento ISE show usually finds us packed up, and on the road, headed for Sacramento to check in and set up for the show. Following the cancelation of the 2021 show due to Covid we all looked forward to 2022 and getting the year kicked off, and back to normal with a good show. Sadly, that will not be the case for us. While the 2022 Sacramento ISE show is scheduled to open this Thursday, January 20th, we have decided to skip the show this year. This is not a decision we took lightly, but several factors, including unclear and changing requirements for show entry, predicted low turnout and the current spread of the latest Covid variant all came into play.
We are actively booking dates for this 2022 fishing season which is currently under way at Lake Almanor. Contact us now to get your days reserved.
For more information and to check availability for this upcoming 2022 season, please visit the Reservation Page or call us at (530)370-1001
We will certainly miss the time in the booth this year and getting to meet and speak to so many wonderful people with a passion for fishing and the outdoors. To all of you who have supported us at the show, Thank You and we hope to be back at Cal Expo in 2023 under better conditions.
In honor of this being show week all hats, shirts and decals or 10% off. Use code " NOSHOW2022 " at checkout in the Online Store
Welcome to 2022, have you purchased your new fishing license? You may notice the price increase up $1.34 from 2021, bringing the cost of the annual sportfishing license in 2022 to and even $54.00. New 2022 fishing licenses are valid from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022 and are available from any of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's license agents or online directly from CDFW's website. Anglers now also have the option to sign up for auto renewal of their annual sport fishing licenses, report cards and validations through CDFW's website. If you, like many anglers, were under the impression that new California fishing licenses would be valid for one year from the date of purchase and you could keep a valid copy on your phone read on.
Much was made of Assembly Bill 817 authored by Assembly member Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa) this past legislative session and signed into law by Governor Newsom. AB 817 made it possible for CDFW to provide an electronic display option for sport fishing license items and sell a sport fishing license that will be valid for 365 days from the purchase date rather than the calendar year. In true California fashion, a new law was created that has no way to be enacted. The state announced that implementation of this new law requires "technological infrastructure revisions", so neither provision will be available during the 2022 license year. Given the fact that California's EDD and just about every other department system are also in need of "technological infrastructure revisions" has many wondering if the aspects of this new law will ever be realized.
While an electronic version of your fishing license may not currently be available in California it is certainly not a bad idea to keep that info on your phone as a backup. One game warden told me that he encourages everyone to take a picture of your new fishing license, making sure all the information on the license is readable, and save it to your phone. A solid idea for sure, but if you are like me and have large quantities of pictures stored in a semi-organized manner on your phone, that one picture of your license could prove hart to find. To make it easily accessible at all times, create a contact in your phone named "Fishing License" and set the contact image as the picture of your license.
Keep in mind this is only a way to back up your license information and have it available easily, you still need to have your actual signed fishing license in your possession while fishing, the same as in years past.
Tight lines to you in 2022!
Well, if you have to pick a reason to postpone fishing trips following a couple years of below average precipitation, i guess a "real deal" Sierra storm is a good one. As I write this report the Sierras, including the Lake Almanor basin, continue to be pounded by a substantial winter storm. This storm, having snow levels as low as 2000 feet, continues to dump much needed snow in the mountains with some impressive totals. Overnight the Almanor area saw 9 to 12 additional inches of snow bringing the storm total to well over 40 inches. Even more impressive is the current storm, when added to previous precipitation in October and November, brings our total to right at 50% of the annual average. The lake has been slowly rising for the last couple of weeks and this additional shot of rain and snow will only add to it. So that is all good news on the weather story, now for a few negatives. First off, the roads are a mess. Hwy 70 through the Feather River Canyon, which has been closed since late October due to a massive rockslide, briefly reopened on December 9th but was quickly shut down several days later due to more slide activity. Hwy 32 had a 20+ vehicle accident yesterday involving cars and big rigs that shut the highway down for a time, and once re-opened had drivers subject to 4-hour delays. AFA's own John Crotty, while traveling Hwy 89 yesterday had to stop and assist in pulling a vehicle back onto the roadway following a spin out. Bottom line is, now is not the time to be traveling up to this area. Widespread frequent power outages have also plagued the area during this weather event. Stand by as we look to be lined up to get a small break in the storms before another round of weather is due in the end of this weekend into next week.
Fishing wise out on the lake, prior to this series of storms, was fantastic from both a quality and quantity standpoint. Every day out saw double digit and high double-digit numbers come to the net with Rainbows running 2-6 pounds and browns to over 9 pounds, even a few of next year's king salmon made an appearance. This exciting fast paced bite was happening at a number of areas around the lake as the fish were chopping up huge balls of pond smelt suspended out over deeper waters. Areas of the east shore from the dam all the way to Hamilton Branch and multiple areas along the peninsula were all holding bait and fish. It was a lot of fun getting to introduce a few of my regulars, as well as some new people onboard the boat, to the incredible late fall/ early winter bite here on Almanor. Once the weather simmers down and things begin to open back up the fishing and bite will resume.
In other recent news the Canyon Dam Boat Ramp recently reopened to public use on 12/9/21. Use caution as the water is low and the ramp is short. There was a marker placed on the north side to indicate the end of the concrete. While the lot and entrance road is maintained during winter, it is low on the priority list and will likely take a few days following a storm like this to be opened up. If you do travel this way, be prepared with all the necessary items for winter mountain travel.
It is a beautiful December afternoon lookjng over Geritol Cove here at Lake Almanor. I thought I would take you in and show you what has been going on at the Canyon Dam Boat Ramp. It has been about a month and a half since I have brought you a progress report on the operations to remove hazard trees and get the facility back open. So lets take a look.....
At the entrance to the Canyon Dam Boat Ramp, you can see obviously the sign says it is closed, the gates are open, and off in the distance you can see a few of the log decks that reamin from the hazard trees that were removed.
On the road into the Canyon Dam Boat Ramp parking lot, to the left of the road you will notice the bulletin board and a couple small cedar trees that look like thew have survived. There are now log "guard rails" that line both sides of the entrance road coming in.
The entrance to the side or "overflow" parking lot at the Canyon Dam Boat Ramp. Here again you can see the log "guard rails" that have been constructed and pretty much ring the parking lot and roads inside the facitilty now.
The boat ramp and dock at the Canyon Dam facility. The dock itself is pulled up just a little bit out of the water, im sure there is some pretty good sand build up around the rollers. Fingers crossed that oncoming storms will bring some additional water to the lake.
While much of the surrounding area was ravaged by the Dixie Fire earlier this year, the resource that IS Lake Almanor continues to draw people both locally as well as out of the area to fish the lake. The Canyon Dam Boat Ramp, being the only year-round, maintained public access point for people to launch boats therefore becomes a vital piece in the economic recovery puzzle for Lake Almanor and the surrounding communities. Rumors have been swirling as to when the Canyon Dam Boat Ramp will again be open to the public. Three weeks ago, I heard it expressed as "any day now" then a series of unconfirmed "excuses" as to why it hasn't been opened yet. No matter if you are a local area business, a fisherman looking to access Lake Almanor to fish, and or launch a boat, or just someone who cares about the area and wants to see things return to some sense of normalcy in the wake of the Dixie Fire, I encourage you to reach out and let the US Forest Service know how important it is for the Canyon Dam Boat Ramp to be re-opened. You may do so by contacting the Lassen National Forest Supervisor's Office in Susanville at (530) 257-2151 and the Lassen National Forest Almanor Ranger District Office at (530) 258-2141 and tell them to open the Canyon Dam Boat Ramp.
It was announced today by the Lassen National Forest that the Canyon Dam Boat Ramp is once again open to the public. The announcement warned or low water levels on the ramp and advised a brown marker had been placed at the end of the concrete. Officials also advised that future closures may happen for additional tree work and dock repairs.
Well that is a wrap on the Fall 2021 Eagle Lake season. Thank you to everyone that came on board and did battle with world famous Eagle Lake Rainbows. This years fall season featured mostly mild weather with only a couple of stormy days, lots of flat glass water, foggy mornings along with some beautiful afternoons. For us, all of the action took place in the south basin of the lake with many days spent on the south end of the lake in areas like Pikes, McDonalds, Christie and Wildcat. At various times there we also good bites around Shrimp, Youth Camp and the last fish of the season were landed in and around Eagles Nest. The shore based fly fishing was really up and down this year, some of the trips were fantastic, while others had us working for grabs as the fish would push offshore just out of reach of our casts. This year it was my pleasure to assist a number of people in checking the Eagle Lake Rainbow off their list for both the California Heritage Trout Challenge as well as the Western States Native Trout Challenge, both very cool programs. The lower lake level didn't pose a problem for launching and retrieving the boat, while most boats, mine included, did have to drop off the concrete ramp, Scott did a great job of placing ballast rock at the edge to ease the transition from ramp to lakebed. The fish were looking good and healthy, which is no surprise, considering the amount of available food in the lake. Most of the catches were gorging heavily on shrimp, daphnia, and snails. I did see some leaches but probably slightly less than in years past. It is always tough to shut down the Eagle Lake Fish Camp while the bite is still happening but it was nice to get the boat and trailer back over the hill on road conditions that were still pretty good. Going forward there was a change in the fishing regulations this year the extends the Eagle Lake fishing season until the last day of February instead of its usual December 31 closure date. Not sure how or why the change was made, but if you are willing to brave the conditions in January and February you could now fish it. My understanding is the dock will be pulled around its regular time of early December and that A-1 road will close as usual. That said, I will be focusing my efforts back over on Lake Almanor taking advantage of the good weather and the fantastic winter bite. So to Eagle Lake, is bye for now see you next Fall. Did you miss out on the fall action at Eagle Lake this year? It is never to early to start planning your trip for October and November of 2022. Contact us today and reserve your dates.
Capt. Bryan Roccucci
Available Now In Our On-Line Store
Give the gift of fishing with a BDGS "Fish Certificate"