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.
Capt. Bryan Roccucci
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