CHESTER — There may be a storm coming this way, but the long range forecast for Lake Almanor suggests more mild weather, and the hot winter bite should continue.
Bryan Roccucci of Big Daddy Guide Service said he has been fishing under spring-like conditions until recently, but said pleasant afternoons and hot action on Lake Almanor's trophy trout have been worth the cold morning starts.
“I have been concentrating my efforts along the east shore from the dam to Lake Cove, working fish that are eager to feed on the lake's pond smelt,” Roccucci said. “This time of year it is common to find the baitfish corralled up along the east shore, usually pushed there by hungry fish and feeding birds. The water temperatures have been running in the low to mid 30s, and at these temperatures, the pond smelt are one of the few food sources available to the fish, luckily there are plenty of them.”
“The fish are mostly rainbows with a few browns and have been running 2 to 2½ pounds, with several kickers in the 3- to 4-pound range each day,” Roccucci said. “We have found the best action during the first few hours of the morning, with the bite tapering off a little as the day goes on. Some mornings double and even triple hook-ups have been quite a common occurrence.”
Roccucci said these fish are strictly focused on the pond smelt, so in most cases it is best to try and match the hatch, with lures featuring silver and white as well as some black and silver; that said, the pond smelt patterned Tube Fly from Arctic Fox is always a solid choice.
“I fish these trolling flies a lot this time of year, and in addition to the pond smelt pattern, the orange has also been hooking a fair amount of fish,” Roccucci said. “The other rig that has been producing consistent action is a drop-shot soft plastic minnow. I was introduced to it by a friend nearly 20 years ago while fishing Butt Lake. They did a great job of imitating the pond smelt and continue to do so. With the addition of the action discs to the trolling arsenal, these soft plastics have gotten even better. All of the above mentioned lures offer little or no action on their own when trolled off downriggers or outriggers, so the action disc is mandatory to get these rigs to dance.”