Lake Almanor

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Lake Almanor
Sierra Tahoe Hatch Selection

Suggested Flies for Lake Almanor:
Hex Flies
Burk's Hexgenia Nymph #4-6
Schmidt's Hex Nymph #4-6
Milt's Hex Nymph #4-6
Milt's Hex Para-dun
Hexagenia Quigley Cripple
Hexagenia Spinner
Watters Foam Hex
Gray's Hex Nymph, 6-8
Gray's Stillborn Hex Nymph, 6-8
Mercer's Rag Hex Nymph , 6-10
Denny's Stillwater Nymph
Carey Special
Bird's Nest
Prince Nymph
Lightning Bug
Woolly Bugger, Olive or Brown, #4-10
Krystal Buggers #4-10
TS BH Bugger, Hex #8
Mohair Leech #8-10
Marabou Leech #6-10

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
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.

Hex Hatch
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.

© 2014 Steve Schalla
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