Lake Almanor-Sierra Tahoe

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
Gray's Hex Nymph, 6-8
Gray's Stillborn Hex Nymph, 6-8
Mercer's Rag Hex Nymph , 6-10
Denny's Stillwater Nymph #10-12
Carey Special #6-8
Bird's Nest #10-12
Prince Nymph #10-12
Lightning Bug #10-12
Woolly Bugger, Olive or Brown, #4-10
Krystal Buggers #4-10
TS BH Bugger, Hex #8
Mohair Leech #8-10
Marabou Leech #6-10
Milt's Pond Smelt #6-10

Directions: Lake Almanor 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.

Notes:Hex Hatch Lake Almanor

Lake Almanor
Lake Almanor contains Rainbows, Browns, Chinook Salmon, Smallmouth Bass, Brown Bullhead, and Channel Catfish. It was created in 1914 by Western Power Company and was one of the first hydroelectric dams in California. The power generated by the reservoir would supply the growing Sacramento valley. 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. Eventually, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) would purchase the site and a new dam was built in 1927. 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 two Spring feeder creeks, Benner and Last Chance, which flow year round. Along the southwestern side of the lake from Goose Bay down to Prattville is the area known as“big meadow.” This water is a large mud-bottom flat with a shoal that extends approximately 150 yards to a deeper section reaching between 25 and 30 feet deep. From Prattville to Canyon Dam, the southern shoreline has a number of small coves with steep drop-offs of 20-30 feet. The eastern portion is much deeper with the main tributaries of the Hamilton Branch and Big Springs feeding it. The eastern shoreline has numerous small coves, like the southern portion, with some limited shoals. 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". The trout use the lake based on water temperature and food source. In March and early April, the trout tend to be in the northern part of the lake where it is shallow and cold, feeding on blood midges, pond smelt, and newly spawned bass fingerlings. During the Spring, the western portion, being the warmest, will have the largest concentrations of trout congregating around the inlets and Springs, feeding on midges, pond smelt, Black Caddis, and Blue Wing Olives. 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. In June and July, the Hexagenia hatch begins within the muddy bottoms of the western side and the trout concentrates on this food source. As the water temperatures warm up during the Summer months of late July and August, the trout will move over to the eastern shorelines and feed around the cooler 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. Much of the Hamilton Branch flows through private property. There is an access parking area on the westside of County Road A13 near the intersection of Highway 147. Another access parking area is just east of the Highway 147 bridge with some dirt roads going to the creek. The Hamilton Branch is a large freestone stream with deep pools and plenty of boulders. Rainbows out of Almanor come into the creek during August and early September to find colder water. Therefore, the stream attracts a lot of anglers during the hot summer months. Most of the bait fisherman stay at the confluence, so work yourself upstream into the more oxygenated pocket water. "A-Frame" is a good location on the eastern side of the Peninsula as well. Try using Olive or Brown woolly 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. On the western side, in late September and October, the pond smelt spawn and thousands of 2-inch pond smelt populate the southwestern coves bringing in scores of trout to feed.. The coves generally have muddy bottoms 10 to 12 feet deep. Use Milt's Pond Smelt pattern, size 6.

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.

Lake Almanor Bathymetric Chart

Fishing Regulations, Effective March 1st, 2021

Lake Almanor: Open Year-Round. 5 trout per day. 10 trout in possession

Almanor Lake Tributaries: Almanor Lake tributaries (Lassen, Plumas and Shasta cos.) upstream to the first lake. Season is the Saturday preceding Memorial Day through Sept 30th. 5 trout per day. This is summer only fishing to protect both Spring and Fall spawning for the Rainbows and Browns.

© 2021 Steve Schalla
This page is not to be copied without my explicit permission.

North Fork Feather North Shore Campground Clear Creek Big Cove Hamilton Branch East Shore Rocky Point West Shore Rock Creek