Lake Almanor/Eagle Lake
Lakes – Boat only
Full Day: $525 (1-2 Anglers) / Half Day/Hex Hatch: $425 (1-2 Anglers)
Lake Almanor – Float tube only/Hex Hatch only
Hex Hatch: $150 ea (3 Anglers minimum – 6 Anglers maximum)
Lake Almanor is the aquifer created by Canyon Dam, located near Chester, CA. As one of the first hydroelectric dams in California, construction on Canyon Dam began in 1912 and saw its completion in 1914. Lake Almanor takes its name from Alice, Martha, and Elinore the three daughters of the dam project coordinator Guy C. Earls. This aquifer is fed by creeks like Bailey Creek, Hamilton Branch, Benner Creek, Last Chance Creek, and Upper North Fork Feather River, as well as springs throughout the lake. The springs, help keep Lake Almanor waters cool during the hot summer months. Almanor provides great fishing opportunities year-round with good populations of rainbow trout, brown trout, Chinook salmon, smallmouth bass, carp, bullhead, and channel catfish. We primarily focus on the rainbow trout, brown trout, and smallmouth bass. With the fish rearing program (spearheaded by Almanor Fishing Association), coupled with the cooler water, and plentiful aquatic insect populations these fish thrive and grow big fast. The average size of fish here is 18” – 22”, however, we catch 24” – 30” fish here consistently. We also offer services to Eagle Lake in early winter and late spring.
Smallie Bite: In late March through mid-May, as the water starts to warm up, we go in search of smallmouth bass. The “smallies” will be moving out to the points, getting ready to spawn. The males defend the females, and redds with ferocious tenacity. They will attack anything that comes close to the redds. We use balanced leeches, pond smelt, PMD, BWO, caddis, and midge patterns under a long leader with an indicator (think float and fly). We target the far side of rocky points, where the smallies are heading to spawn. As the water temperatures continue to rise, we start looking for the trout moving in closer to shore and into the coves in search of one of their favorite meals the Hexagenia limbata.
Hex Hatch: From early June to mid-July, the “Hex” hatch starts on the Southwest end of the lake, and continues around the lake to the Northwest shore. This is my favorite time of year on Lake Almanor. The Hexagenia limbata are known as the second largest mayfly in the U.S.A. Bright yellow/golden in color, they grow to be just over an inch. Large rainbows, browns, Chinook salmon, and smallmouth bass come to the shallows to gorge themselves on these bugs. Fishing between 5:00 pm and dark is the best time to target fish during the Hex Hatch. Sunset to dark provides the best opportunities to catch large fish on dries. It is not uncommon to see 10+lb fish rising during the Hex hatch. During the Hex hatch we use Hex nymphs, Hex dries, blood midge, caddis, and pond smelt. Mid-July to September most of the trout head for deeper cooler water or they go to one of the numerous springs located throughout Lake Almanor. During this season we fish midges, balanced leeches, and some pond smelt while waiting for the cooler temperatures of fall to bring the pond smelt hatch.
Floating Pond Smelt/Midge Hatch: During fall (October through November) the fish look for pond smelt, which are congregating in the coves to spawn, so they can fatten up for winter. They work these smelt into bait balls, cutting and slashing through the ball, eating as many pond smelt as they can. There is one last midge hatch during the fall as well. The trout generally follow the food source in Lake Almanor and typically go to where the food is and the water temperatures are cooler.
We use a wide variety of tactics on the lakes, depending on the time of year and how the fish are behaving. We use 9’ to 9’6” moderate to moderate fast action, #6 weight rods. We use type 3/4 sinking lines, type 2 sink or intermediate sinking, and midge tip lines. We use floating lines with dry flies and long leaders with indicators. I typically have one of each rigged up and ready to go. We fish from either the boat or pontoon/float tubes (depending on the time of year).