Lake Almanor CA
Trophy-sized German browns, rainbows and king salmon await the eager trouter at Lake Almanor CA. There is a full range of popular areas to fish for trout on this lake. These include the shoreline near the A-frame, the east side of the dam, Recreation Area #1, Recreation Area #2, Old Crawford’s, the Hamilton Branch, Big Springs Cove, Bailey Springs and the Powerhouse area.
Still fishing with crawlers, salmon eggs or marshmallows is popular with both bank and boat fishermen. A slide-float with native minnows fished 20 to 30 feet deep is also effective. Drifting or “mooching” a live nightcrawler, particularly around the deeper, cooler underwater springs can result in some stellar catches.
But day in and day out the major take will be on artificials. Trolling accounts for a lot of fish. Try either a jointed or CD-7 Rapala on a fast top-line troll. A fluorescent orange Flatfish can equally potent when trolled by itself, or try the locals’ favorite – a silver or gold Speedy Shiner.
With increases in water temperature, shift gears and use either lead core or downriggers. Flasher blades teamed with lead core is a really hot combo. Drag these with a Needlefish, Super Duper or a nightcrawler trailer.
Occasionally there will be some highly visible surface-feeding action evident. A popular tactic is to work the strangely designed Z-Ray spoon through these trout boils.
Finally, take a shot fishing a small white crappie jig under a bobber or on the drift. Often, large sub-surface cruising rainbows bushwhack these tiny lures mistaking them for pond smelt or shad. There is also the chance of nailing one of Almanor’s legendary smallmouth bass on this same crappie lure while fishing for trout!
Upper Feather North Fork
The North Fork of the Feather drains into Almanor at Chester. Starting right in town, the North Fork and its streams(Rice Creek, Warner Creek, Hot Springs Creek, Willow Creek, Brenner Creek, Last Chance Creek) have good access, relatively low fishing pressure and native trout.
The North Fork itself, is a fairly large stream, even in autumn. Most of the streams are spring fed, and run clear and cold throughout the summer. Several types of fishing are offered. Willow Creek is very brushy and is best for bait angling. Some others, like Rice Creek are good fly casting waters. There are a number of campgrounds along the creeks providing access and overnighting.
On the northeast shore of Lake Almanor CA, the Hamilton Branch flows into the lake. It offers good fishing in a series of big pools, separated by white water riffles flowing through a scenic canyon. The Feather River flows out of Lake Almanor at its south end. Senaca Road parallels the river for about 10 miles and leads to Senaca Resort.
Lake Almanor CA dam provides a regulated flow of very cold water to this stretch of water. The best access is where Seneca Road crosses the North Fork. Fish away from this access, either upstream or downstream, for best results.
Butt Valley Reservoir
Butt Valley Reservoir, a fine trout and smallmouth fishery, is also just south of Lake Almanor CA. This 1,000 acre gem offers big browns trout, rainbow trout and king salmon. Facilities are limited to a single lane launch ramp, two PG&E campgrounds and a picnic area, but don’t let this keep you from trying Butt Valley Lake when you’re in the Almanor area.
Almanor Ranger District, Box 767, Chester, CA. 96020, (916)258-2141.
Upper Yellow Creek, accessible from Humbug Road, off Rte. 89 along the west shore of Lake Almanor, is a fine mountain-meadow stream. There is a PG&E campground in the east end of Humbug Valley.
The canyon below the valley is also good fishing with flies or bait. A section in the valley has a 16 inch minimum size, 2-fish daily, artificials only, regulation. Browns here in this restored native fishery are said to be the most beautiful of fish.