To start off, there has not been a lot of fishing going on around the lake. The recent onslaught of winter conditions, including heavy snow, wind, and ice have made it all but impossible to access the lake. Area roadways seem to have had chain controls and closures more than they haven't, the deep snow depth is hampering the shore-based anglers and unplowed snow at the Canyon Dam Boat Ramp has prevented boats from launching. The positive side of this is the Almanor basin, along with the rest of the state, is receiving the healthy dose of water we needed rectify the drought conditions.
There have been small windows in between storm fronts that have allowed some fishing to take place. A few boats did manage to get out prior to this last heavy round of snow and found some limited success near the dam trolling a variety of offerings in the top ten feet of water. Ice on the surface of the lake was a major factor on where they could go and fish and was changing from day to day even affecting launching and recovering the boats. Use extreme caution when using the ramp this time of year as conditions can be slick. A few fish were caught by some hearty bankies close to the Canyon Dam Ramp as well before being blanketed in snow again.
Post Dixie Fire the USFS has taken over the responsibility to maintain the ramp, access road and parking lot at Canyon Dam, but this series of storms have tested the limits of everyone's snow removal ability. On March 3rd, the ramp and lot were beautifully opened up by Travis and the guys from All Phase Landscaping in Chester, however their work was quickly covered by additional snow fall including, at times, blizzard conditions.
Water conditions have changed very little over the last month, Surface temps running in the mid 30's, ice mostly covering the west basin and at times covering the east basin as well. The ice in the east basin is subject to rapid changes depending on conditions and the wind. Lake Almanor's water elevation has remained mostly unchanged for the last month as well currently sitting at 4481.39 ft out of a maximum storage level of 4495.5 ft. with very low inflows as most of the water sits locked up in the snowpack waiting to melt.
So what is the outlook, well I have some good news and some bad news. Forecasts are calling for a few more days with light snowfall as this current low spins cold temps and moisture at us before moving on providing a brief break mid to late week. I guess that is the good news, lighter snow, small break. On the not so good news side, it looks as if the next series of storms, due in this coming weekend are "Straight Outta Hawaii" aka the "Pineapple Express". Given our current snowpack, these warmer systems with heavy rains and higher snow levels have the potential to cause both localized flooding as well as problems downstream in the valley. This pattern is not set in stone and can always change. As always if you are traveling to the Almanor basin please be aware of current road and travel conditions, as they has been rapidly evolving. Let's end on a good note, given the amount of precipitation this winter, we should see a full Lake Almanor this year.
I look forward to seeing you on the water.
Capt. Bryan Roccucci
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