Winter Is Hot At Lake Almanor

Special to AFA by: Bryan Roccucci / Big Daddyís Guide Service


            As I sit here in front of my lap top writing this article the snow continues to fall bringing much needed water to Northeastern California and especially to the Feather River watershed. Winter of 2006 started on the mild side and many people, including myself, wondered how the Spring and Summer would look with below average annual precipitation and snow pack. Mother Nature had other ideas. Winter marched on and a series of cold storms delivered the ever important snow to the Sierras to the point that now in mid March we are well above average and looking forward to plenty of water to support our lakes through out the up coming year.

            Winter is a magical time in the Northern Sierras and Lake Almanor, being one of the few higher elevation lakes open to fishing year round, offers anglers a phenomenal opportunity to get a crack at its population of Trophy Trout. There are several other factors in addition to being open to fishing year round that make Lake Almanor special. Unlike most lakes at comparable elevations the water of Almanor experiences very little icing, keeping plenty of open water to fish both by boat or from shore and with out having to drill a hole first. Almanor is also surrounded by major roads and highways including Highway 89 in the West, 36 to the North, and 147 to the East; because these roads are constantly maintained during winter access to the lake is relatively good, even during periods of winter storms. These factors combined with one of the best trophy trout populations in Northern California make Lake Almanor un-beatable as a winter time fishing destination.

WOW! The snow is really coming down now.

Many people including avid fishermen write off winter time fishing at higher elevation lakes due to weather. Instead they favor low elevation lakes or, even worse, hang up their rods and reels until April or May. It is hard for me to relate to you how many absolutely beautiful days we experience during Winter on Almanor. I donít just mean days with out snow, Iím talking about brisk mornings followed by bright sun and glassy water that have myself and my clients stripping off the jackets in favor of sweatshirts and in some cases even t-shirts. Itís pretty hard not to enjoy your self on a day like that.

 That being said it is possible to enjoy winter fishing under slightly less favorable conditions. Some of my absolute best, canít keep the fish off the lines, can do no wrong by the fish God days have been while it is snowing. Snow and the clouds that produce it are actually an anglerís friend. Light levels are lower during periods of snow making the fish much less wary about feeding close to the surface or in the shallows.

I am often asked about the wind during winter. While it is true that the wind can make things rough out there from time to time during winter, especially for people in small boats, it is not exclusively a winter time thing. (Ask anyone who has been caught in a small boat out on Almanor in the summer when the wind gets rippiní) During the winter months wind is generated as pressure systems move in or out of the area. During periods of established high or low pressure the lake will often times be like a sheet of glass all day long.

 The secret to enjoying winter time fishing at Lake Almanor is to be prepared. Anglers headed to the lake should be prepared for winter road conditions including ice and snow. If you plan to bring and launch a boat use extra caution around the boat ramps. The county has been doing an excellent job of keeping the Canyon Dam ramp and parking lot open and useable however conditions can change rapidly and it is a good idea to have four wheel drive as well as tire chains just incase. (It has been several years since I have had to use chains to launch at the Canyon Dam facility even with a 23 foot boat.) Finally, proper clothing is a must and I highly recommend the layering system including a hat and gloves. It is far better to show up over dressed and have layers to take off than to not have enough and be cold.

If you have never experienced winter time fishing at Lake Almanor you owe it to yourself to take shot at one of Northern California best trophy trout fisheries.

Tight Lines, Bryan Roccucci

About the author:

            Bryan Roccucci is a full time professional fishing guide and operator of Big Daddyís Guide Service. Bryan specializes in light tackle fishing techniques on Lake Almanor, Lake Davis, Bucks Lake, Eagle Lake and other Northern Sierra lakes by special booking. Bryan fishes Lake Almanor exclusively from January until May and keeps his clients comfortable in a fully enclosed heated cab aboard his 23 foot Boulton Powerboat. For more information please visit or call (530) 283-4103