Well, we are having a good winter. Let’s hope the snowfall is enough to fill the lake. It has a long way to go. Last year was a good fishing year. An early run on salmon started the season followed by rainbows and browns all the way up until the end of my guide season – the last of November.
Now what do I do in December, January and February? In December I hunt turkey, ducks and geese. But January and February, with conditions just right and a lot of cold weather, the lake freezes in some areas and then I can ice fish.
Try ice fishing for something different. Talk about fun and different, this is it!! There are a few things you need to know however. If you are fainthearted at all —- don’t read this. You have to really like fishing and be a little bit nuts— I guess that covers me. But, I’m careful, really careful, knowing the ice is crucial. I prefer 3″ or more rock hard slick ice. The thing to watch for is pressure cracks. You can hear the ice move and crack all the way across the lake. That usually indicates good ice.
As long as the weather stays cold, the ice will keep freezing. Always take a long rope with you and tie off to the log boom or dock or anything else that is solid. This is your lifeline in case of an ice failure. Use an ice auger to cut a hole no bigger than 8″. Keep your rope next to you or tied to you for safety. You don’t need to go out very far, only about as far as you can cast or just a bit further.
Use a short 4 ft. rod with six# line and a spinning reel. A variety of bait worms, mealworms, red & white eggs, roe and yellow and white small 1/16 oz jigs. Fish about 2-3 ft. off the bottom. Note: Fish bite short in the cold water, so the best thing to do is let them have the bait well before you set the hook. Fish bite all day long as schools pass by.
Along the East Shore the wind blows and doesn’t let the ice freeze solidly. Be careful of snow on the ice, for this covers up the thin ice. The best thing to do is use you head. I’ve been fishing the ice for more than 40 years and as much as I know, I just fish offshore sometimes and don’t venture out on the ice at all. You know you just get that feeling: it’s called “good common sense.”
Never attempt to walk clear across the lake anytime. And when ice shifts and goes up on top of another layer it can be very dangerous. Just the other day, the ice shifted and took down a buoy — that is a sign of becoming bad ice.
Places to ice fish are along the west shore and down by the dam. For the rest of the years’ fishing, I would say it’s going to be good. More fresh water and a good population of bait fish (smelt) are in the lake. Good fish plants were made in 2007.
For more guiding information, give me a call at (530) 259-2051. This is my 45th year of guiding on Lake Almanor. Hope to see you soon.