A little Fall fishing wrap up from the waters of Lake Almanor. (side note: As I am writing this report, I am watching snow coming down out the window of my office.) The Fall schedule was a little different this round, than in the past 25 years. Declining water levels at Eagle Lake made launching difficult for most and impossible for larger deep draft vessels, that said, i would not be fishing Eagle Lake this season. No Eagle meant all Almanor and despite lower-than-average water levels along with algae blooms, for the most part Almanor produced, and as it is known to do, produced some exceptional quality fish.
As the water temps cool in the Fall and the aquatic bug activity slows down, fish turn their focus to the pond smelt in the lake. The Japanese Pond Smelt or Wakasagi will remain the fish's primary food source throughout Winter and into Spring. Targeting this fish becomes a game of "find the bait find the fish" and can happen just about anywhere in the lake this time of year. During the month of October, we spent a lot of time in the west basin working areas along the peninsula and west shore as well as a few trips way up north. The bait can be found at almost any depth and depending on circumstances and fish activity we were able to catch fish from the surface all the way to the bottom, sometimes in 30 plus feet of water and others in water less than 10 feet deep. In November the deeper waters of the east shore were productive, but it is Fall fishing in the Sierras, so you know I had to run some gear in the shallows along the east side as well as up north for some beautiful Rainbows. Areas around the peninsula also heated up in late November as fish moved into feed on bait that had staged there. Lately the east shore has continued to produce. Working the rocky shoreline just up from the dam and snag point has been producing fish.
"Match the hatch" is a saying you hear, and it always makes sense to try and imitate what the fish are keyed in on. Soft plastics do a great job of mimicking the bait fish and they are usually one of my go-to baits. Flies are also a good option in the Fall and Winter and definitely hooked their share of fish. i spent most of the time slow trolling these baits, again keeping an eye on what level the fish were targeting the bait fish at. With fronts moving in and out as they tend to do this time of year slow trolling may not always be an option due to the wind. I save the fast hardware for those days when you need more speed to maintain boat control. We had the best results again with patterns that looked more "bait fishy", the blue and silver, whites and cop cars all hit fish.
On the lake condition side of things i am cautiously optimistic. The Almanor basin began receiving good precipitation in the form of both rain and snow in November, a trend which has carried into December, including today. These storms have spurred a more than 6-inch rise in lake level in just one week's time, with more happening now and another system due in the end of this week. If you are coming to the area, be prepared road and water conditions can change quickly.
2022 marks the end of my 25th season guiding trips here in the Northern Sierras and plans for the 2023 season are already underway with some exciting new things coming at you, so stay tuned. Remember it is never too early to book your upcoming fishing trips and as they say. "the early bird gets the worm" especially if you have specific dates in mind. For some of the latest and most up to date information, pictures and videos please be sure to follow along on social media, Facebook and Instagram
I look forward to seeing you on the water.
Capt. Bryan Roccucci
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