Lake Almanor, A Constant State Of Change

Special to AFA by: Bryan Roccucci / Big Daddy’s Guide Service


Change isn’t necessarily a bad thing; in fact, changes are what keep fishing and guiding fishermen and women exciting. Looking back over my years of guiding I am reminded, the only thing that remains the same, is that nothing in nature remains the same. Each year, month, and even day, many forces of nature are hard at work changing our environment. Fluctuations in water levels, food sources, and weather all play important roles in where the fish will be and how they will react. The key to being a successful is to track these changes, and modify your approach, to improve results.

Anglers, including myself from time to time, tend to get stuck in a rut when it comes to our fishing locations and techniques. Now, being able to duplicate your presentation is good, in fact it’s recommended, as long as your “secrete spot” is full of fish. What happens when the proverbial net comes up empty and the fish have moved on? This is when you have to be ready to evaluate your situation and change with the fish.  How many times have you heard someone, after a day of fishing, say something like “I fish that same spot this time every year and usually do great.”? (You may have said it yourself.) Something changed, and now it is up to you to figure it out. I have a saying, “never argue with the fish” if they don’t want to be caught where they “usually” are, we as anglers have to adapt our approach. Don’t think of Almanor, or any lake for that matter, as a stagnant environment; instead think of it as a body of water under a constant state of change and you will be a more successful fisherman.

The 2007 season has already given us record cold temperatures that produced little moisture but plenty of ice on Almanor. The Pond Smelt population seems to be making its come back after a several year lull. These are just several of the factors along with many others that will dictate location, health, growth rate, and size of the trout population in Lake Almanor.

Looking back, my 2006 fishing season was another banner year here in Northeastern California. Lake Almanor (Jan.-May) was incredible, despite wet conditions, with good numbers of beautiful Browns as well as Bows and a few Salmon in the mix. The bite started out great, and continued while Winter gave us a good dose of water which only helped with lake levels and water quality. Winter gave way to Spring and the Brown bite continued solid as we trolled the shallows of the West shore. The Smallmouth bite in spring was also strong, with these bronze beauties really testing the ultra-light rods. Once they came out of the spawning mode, the Rainbow bite turned on and provided my clients many great battles. The Lake Davis(May-June) Rainbows put on a great show with a lot of heavy trout put in the net as well as growing numbers of Northern Pike to 10 lbs. Bucks Lake (June-Sept.) provided lots of trout and Kokanee action along with trophy  Mackinaw (Lake Trout) for anglers who wanted to test their skills. Eagle Lake (Sept.-Dec.) was  phenomenal, with plenty of hard charging trophy trout. The increase in the lake’s water level over 2005 really seemed to help the fish resulting in a larger average size as well as an increase in the number of larger trophy class fish.

I am looking forward to another great year in 2007 and to seeing many of my clients/friends again.

Tight Lines, Bryan Roccucci

About the author:

            Bryan Roccucci is a full time professional fishing guide and operator of Big Daddy’s 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.