Fishing continues to improve

May the holes in your net be no larger than the fish in it.

~ Irish Blessing

The weather is starting to change and the leaves are showing a bit of fall color. Summer weather has not entirely released its grip but change is in the air.

Fishing pressure is very  light so reports are getting harder to come by, but all indications are that the fishing is improving as the weather continues to cool off.

Lake Almanor

Hamilton Branch continues to produce some very healthy rainbows. Fly anglers and hardware slingers are all managing to hook some fat rainbows. Early morning is best, but the branch is fishable all day long.

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Boat traffic is light especially during the week. The trout are focused on pond smelt right now.

Pond smelt are very abundant, especially in the east basin. They are running about an inch-and-a-half long so size your gear accordingly.

Trollers have been running Rainbow Runners in orange, fire tiger colored No. 2 Needlefish, and 1/6 oz. Speedy Shiners in silver hammer finish or red and gold.

I like Kastmasters, too. I don’t hear of as many fish being caught on those, but I suspect that is because not as many anglers use them. I think they make a great pond smelt imitation.

If I could only have one lure, it would be the Kastmaster. They are good for trolling, jigging, and as the name applies, they cast superbly.

The fish are shallow until the sun hits the water then they will head for deeper water. Once the sun is on the water, set your downriggers from 30 to 35 feet. Sonar will help you fine tune the depth.

The fish are there. But with the feed so abundant, getting their attention can be tricky. Adding a bit of scent to your lure can provide that extra edge you need to get some fish in your boat.

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Shore angling is a little tough outside of Hamilton Branch. I have not yet heard any reports of fish moving into the shallow coves on the west shore. But stay tuned. That is not far off.

Bucks Lake

Fishing pressure is very light at Bucks. The kokanee have not begun spawning yet, but they are staging in front of Mill Creek and Bucks Creek.

This is great time of year to catch kokanee as well as rainbows, with a few browns and brookies thrown into the mix. Fishing is best early before the sun is on the water and again in the evening.

These are not particularly finicky fish. I like to fly fish so I usually use small mayfly nymphs just under the surface. I have seen other anglers doing just as well with a variety of lures — Kastmasters seem to work well — or small jigs.

Lake Davis

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Overall, the fishing has been good at Davis this past week.

Local guide Jon Baiocchi of Baiocchi’s Troutfitters (baiocchistroutfitters.com/)  has been spending lots of time at Davis lately. Baiocchi says the fish are in the shallows until about 1 p.m., and then move out to the first ledge in deeper water.

The lake is fishing better than expected with the water levels at 56 percent.

The fluctuating water level will keep the fish moving around. Baiocchi has seen the most fish from Eagle Point all the way up to Cow Creek, and some fish up in the northern part of the lake.

There are  some mayflies hatching on warmer days. These mayflies are very small, about size 18, and are the last brood of the season. There have been a few blood midges out, but the hatch has been sparse.

Buggers leeches and wiggle tails are becoming more effective during the autumn season, according to Baiocchi. The classic colors for this time of year include burnt orange, fiery brown, cinnamon, rust and black.

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Trollers are picking up some nice fish using copper red head Dick Nites or Needlefish in red dot frog or metallic perch. Shore anglers are doing best around Mallard Cove using Powerbait or night crawlers.

Frenchman Lake

Fly anglers have been doing very well the past few weeks, but this week the fish seemed to shift their attention to anglers bait fishing off the banks.

Night-crawlers have been catching some really nice rainbows and some have found luck using lures.

Turkey point and the north end of the lake are producing fish up to 16 inches. Night crawlers are the bait of choice, but Powerbait is working too.

Call Wiggins Trading Post (993-4683) for the most current conditions and fishing report.

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Streams

None of our area streams have been planted for a few weeks now. That isn’t all bad.

The remaining fish have had time to acclimate to their wild surroundings. They are a little bigger and a little smarter. Stream fishing now means fishing for wild or nearly wild fish.

There are still a few mayfly hatches on warmer afternoons, but the big attraction now is the October caddis and hoppers. These are more available in the afternoon, so this is a perfect opportunity to hit a lake in the morning when they fish best and then check out a local stream in the afternoon and early evening when they are fishing better.

Area streams are still flowing low and clear. Work the deeper pocket water during full daylight hours. As the light fades, the shallow water in and just below the riffles will be more productive.

I like to fish an October caddis or hopper with a pheasant tail, copper john  or bead head mayfly nymph dropper under these conditions.

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