Directions: Lake Almanor resides within Plumas County. It can be reached on Hwy 36 out of Red Bluff from the West or Hwy 70/89 out of Oroville from the South. Elevation 4,510 feet. The Upper North Fork of the Feather can be reached from Chester on Hwy 36. Turn NW on Feather River Drive by the Chester Fire Dept and stay left toward Drakesbad, go 1.3 miles to fishing access behind Collins Pine Lumber Co.; other access sites along Collins Pine Road next 6 miles to High Bridge Campground. Warner Creek can be reached from the High Bridge Campground by continuing 0.7 miles to Drakesbad turnoff. Turn Right and go 1.1 miles to Warner Creek Campground.
Lake Almanor contains Rainbows, Browns, Chinook Salmon, Smallmouth Bass, Brown Bullhead, and Channel Catfish. It was created in the early 1900's and was one of the first hydroelectric dams in California. The lake covers 24,000 acres with 55 miles of shoreline, mostly composed of private land. The 13 mile long lake is divided by a large peninsula. It was named "Almanor" after the owner's three daughters, Alice, Martha, and Elinor. The western portion is relatively shallow that warms up in early Spring and is cooled from the inlet of the North Fork Feather River as well as many Springs. The eastern portion is much deeper with the main tributaries of the Hamilton Branch and Big Springs feeding it. Water levels flucuate depending upon how water is released into the North Fork of the Feather River.
The lake is open all year with a limit of 5 trout/salmon per day, 10 in possession; 5 Bass per day with a minimum size of 12". During the Spring, the western portion, being the warmest, will have the largest concentrations of trout congregating around the inlets and Springs. As Spring progresses, the trout will move towards the southwesterm shorelines and the Smallmouth Bass will be quite active throughout the western portion, particularly around structure. Most of the flyfishing locations are around the PG&E Campgrounds and Prattville on the southwestern shore of the lake due to easy access. During the Summer months, the trout will move over to the eastern shorelines and feed around the inlets of Hamilton Branch and Big Springs. Hamilton Branch gets a good Green Drake hatch in June during the evening hours of 7:00pm to dark as well as Caddis and Yellow Sallies during the late afternoon. "A-Frame" is a good location on the eastern side of the Peninsula as well. Try using Olive or Brown wooly buggers in the coves, particularly at creek inlets such as the Power House at the Hamilton Branch during July and August. Also try stillwater or beadhead nymphs about 4-6' below an indicator. Another option is to fish the Callibaetis hatch near the dam with a brown or olive Bird's Nest on a sinking line. Fall is the best season for flyfishing Lake Almanor. As the water cools, the Tui Chub will come close to the eastern shoreline bringing the foraging trout. Large Browns will be actively getting ready for a Fall spawn and will be quite aggressive as they feed on the Tui Chubs.
Lake Almanor is best known for the large "Hex" hatches that occur in late June and run until mid-July along the western and southwestern shorelines from Canyon Dam to Almanor West. Most of the fishing is within "Geritol Cove" at Canyon Dam or near Plumas Pines Resort. The Hexagenia nymphs live in the lake bottoms and go to the surface as emergers to hatch into mayflies. The new mayflies must float upon the surface film for a period of time to allow their wings to dry. During this hatch, the fish gorge themselves on the ready meal of nymphs, emergers, and spinners. Usually this hatch takes place at the end of the day just before dark. The emerger patterns are a light colored orange or yellow nymph size 6-8. The nymphs need to be fished deep with a slow retrieve. Many will fish nymphs between 4 and 6 pm in 20-25 feet of water using a 7 1/2 foot 3x leader and a sinking line. Try a tandem rig with a #6-8 nymph trailed by a size 8 Bugger pattern. Use a slow retrieve with some pauses. Around sunset, move into 10-15 feet water and work emerger and nymph patterns within the top 5 feet. An intermediate sinking line works well for this. At some point, you will see the mayflies come to the surface and you can switch to a dry fly using a floating line. The dries, size 6-8, are usually bright yellow with an upturned abdomen and extended tail. Local Guide, Lance Gray, likes to use a tandem rig of a size 6 Paranymph trailed by a size 6-8 Stillborn pattern. This rig is twitched every so often to provide activity. The Hexes will continue to emerge within the main body of the lake well into the evening hours. Use a 5-6 weight rod. Nymph patterns usually outproduce the Dun and Spinner patterns. Paradun patterns can be very effective about 45 minutes before Dark.
Upper North Fork Feather River
The Season for the North Fork Feather River is the last Saturday before Memorial Day to Nov. 15th. The Upper North Fork of the Feather
River is fed by several small streams that originate from the snowmelt of Lassen Volcanic National Park. These streams run year-round
as Spring Creeks providing cold, clear water to the North Fork. The North Fork passes through the town of Chester where it drains
into Lake Almanor. Some of the best fishing can actually be within the town limits of Chester, with good access, for Rainbows and
Browns. The major creeks feeding the North Fork are Warner Creek, Willow Creek and Rice Creek. Most of these creeks have rainbows in the 7-12 inch range. Warner Valley Road (28N34) will
take you west of town and follow the river with a number of dirt roads providing access to the river. About 5.4 miles from town,
the road will veer to the right and follow Warner Creek. If you keep to the left, the road (29N63) will continue to follow the
river reaching Willow Creek at 6.4 miles and reaching Domingo Springs Campground at 7.7 miles from town. The Pacific Crest Trail
crosses the road just west of Domingo Springs. Again, numerous dirt roads exist to reach the river to the left. Just beyond Domingo Springs, you can take a road to the right and go northwest about 5.5 miles to the upper reaches of Rice Creek. If you go straight on the road out of Domingo Springs traveling 8.3 miles,
the road forks once again, taking the left fork will keep you on Rd. 29N63 and it will continue to follow the North Fork until
it meets the tributary of Rice Creek at 13.0 miles from town. Continuing on this road for another 3 miles will take you back
to Hwy 36.
During May and June, expect to see Golden Stoneflies and Salmonflies. May and June will also have hatches of Yellow Sallies in the
afternoon and these can continue through July depending upon flow and temperatures. A caddis hatch will start in June and continue
throughout the Summer months during the late afternoon. Many will fish nymph patterns during the day and dries during the low light
periods. Attractor dries such as a Parachute Adams, Parachute Madam X, and Royal Wulffs are very good here. The meadow section near
Lake Almanor will have a Hexagenia hatch at the end of June, peaking around the Fourth of July. Callibaetis mayflies will also be
hatching within this meadow section throughout the season until the end of October. During November, large Browns will enter the
meadow section from Lake Almanor for their spawning migration. The area gets heavily fished with Streamers such as Wooly Buggers,
Krystal Buggers, and Muddler Minnows during this period.