By Bob Kopernik – Lucky Grady Fishing Guide Service Photos Courtesy Lucky Grading Fishing Guide Service
For the past several years of writing this article for the MVL magazine, I have focused on the “how” of fishing the streams and primarily Lake Almanor. Because many of the readers of this publication are not local to the Plumas County area, I thought this year I would share some ideas of “where” I have had good success fishing other than from a boat on the lake.
One word of caution, if you are going to drive “o road” into a new area, please do not go without a GPS that has the “bread crumbs” feature activated. I think all of the ones I have seen have it. Some are a simple push button, others you have to go into the menu to turn it on and o . Because I did a lot of hunting in my early life, I developed a good sense of direction, however after you make several right turns, left turns and take various forks in the road, anyone can get turned around and lost very quickly. Keep in mind that all bets are o after darkness falls.
The other tool that I think is very important is a good paper map. There are USGS Topo Maps and I particularly like the DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer because it covers all of California. It has all of the lakes, streams and most all of the older established gravel roads. Another good resource for information on fishing is the Almanor Fishing Association’s website. http://www.almanorfishingassociation.com.html There you can read back issue articles written by most all of the local fishing guides going back 9 years. The AFA is a fantastic organization that is dedicated to enhancing the sport of fishing primarily for Lake Almanor. They actually acquire and pen raise 50,000 or more sh each year which are released into the lake. You can become a member on-line and financially help support all the superb work they do. As a member you will receive a copy of the annual newsletter which describes most all of their current projects and activities. There is a plan to send out quarterly updates via e-mail.
For stream fishing, my all-time favorite is Deer Creek. Highway 32 follows the creek from Highway 36 south to below the Potato Patch Campground. There are literally scores of places to safely park your vehicle and sh either upstream or downstream. Pay attention to the fact that below Deer Creek Falls is an artificial lure/catch and release only area. My second favorite place would be the North Fork of the Feather River just north of Chester. You may have to do some exploring to find a road that gets you close to the river but they are there. The area where the Paci c Crest Trail hiking bridge crosses is a really productive area to fish. Don’t pass up Warner Creek that runs through High Bridge Campground. Goodrich Creek east of Westwood is usually stocked near highway 36. Be mindful to request permission to enter private property where appropriate.
I hesitate to mention Hamilton Branch where it enters Lake Almanor. At times there are so many fish caught here that many local residents have asked the Department of Fish and Wildlife to assign a Game Warden to enforce the legal limit of fish taken. Which prompts me to mention, please only take the fish that you can and will eat. Gently release all the rest. By doing that those fish will grow bigger and allow someone else the joy of catching it. If a released fish looks like it will not survive, recapture and add it to your creel. Note that that under any circumstance you cannot keep an illegally caught fish.
Above the Power House at Hamilton Branch is a really great fishable stretch of water that is joined by Rock Creek. One other super stretch of water is south of the Chester Library all the way to Lake Almanor. At times this stretch of the river holds a lot of natural fish swimming upstream from the lake.
Lake Almanor has quite a few areas that are accessible from shore. South of Prattville is the Mountain View picnic area, Geritol Cove between the PG&E Boat Launch Ramp and the Dam has a paved path with handicap access. The Dam itself and much of the east shore from the dam to a little north of Nudie Beach. Note that there are several Osprey and Bald Eagle nests in this area. Early in the summer it is fun to watch the young birds learn how to swoop down and catch their own meal.
Off of Hwy 70 at Caribou there is Belden Fore Bay above the power house that holds some very nice fish. Round Valley Reservoir south of Greenville is full of sun fish for the youngsters just starting out. With some small red worms or meal worms they can catch a fish on almost every cast from shore. The water is shallow and generally warm, but insist your love ones always wear a PFD (life jacket) when playing near the water. While taking a look at my map of the local area I saw so many more
really great places to fish. I am a bit embarrassed to only list so few of them, but I’m only allotted so much space for this article. Get out and go exploring to find some that very few others know about. That in itself is just part of the fun.
One last suggestion that I offer, if you are discouraged by not catching very many quality fish or just want to gain a wealth of knowledge about fishing, consider hiring a professional fishing guide. (The price of eating two meals out including a good bottle of wine for a family of four is all it takes.) The AFA web site lists 10 excellent professional guides offering a variety of options. Some have patio boats for larger parties and are well suited for youngsters who do better still fishing. Others offer fly fishing or bass fishing and still others offer trips that include a combination of still fishing and trolling. Note that I specialize only in trolling beautiful Lake Almanor using down riggers for trout and salmon. My boat, the “Lucky Grady” accommodates two clients very comfortably, three gets crowded. Note that I also offer a discounted price for “Catch and Release” trips.
I and at least one other guide, offer a “Learn the Lake” outing that actually motors around most of the 44 square mile lake and explains where, how and why to fish five or six different areas. This is a great trip if you haven’t shed the lake before, have a boat and are planning on an extended stay. On this minimum of four hour trip, I spend significant time on what I look for in lake-bottom structure/cover using a sonar/GPS lake map. I try to answer client questions regarding the selection and differences of rods and reels, basic knots for tying leaders, how I modify my lures and how I rig baits. I’m surprised how often “experienced” clients need help with how to set the hook with “authority”, play a big fish and coax it into the net. This trip spends much more time motoring, explaining how and why I fish an area than actually fishing. Be sure to clearly communicate with the guide that you choose what your needs, desires and expectations are, being aware that even the most experienced fishing guides can’t guarantee that you will catch fish. (That’s really why we call this sport “Fishing” instead of “Catching”.)
Good luck and
“THINK BIG FISH”.
Lucky Grady Fishing Guide Service [email protected] 408.515.1503