Peninsula Fly Fishers

Lake Almanor Fishout
June 20 to 28, 2003


by Tom Kilfoil

August 2003

Some years we hit Almanor just right for the hex hatch. If the storm that hit the lake on Wednesday, June eighteenth, hadn't come along we would have had great fishing. Instead the storm lowered the lake temperature by seven degrees, which was just enough to almost stop the hatch completely. After we set up camp Saturday morning, a thunderstorm came through and dumped a ___ of rain.

Ed Barbara

On Saturday afternoon Ed Kamholtz and his girl Barbara Correia came to camp and stayed with me until Monday. Ed and I fished Saturday and Sunday.

Karen and John

John Margaroni and his wife Karen stopped by camp. He was going to fish with us for the next few evenings. During their week stay with friends, John told me he got skunked, but that Karen caught a catfish. Never can tell what will hit your line at Almanor.

Saturday and Sunday we fished "Geritol Cove" up near the Canyon Dam boat launch area. As everyone I had talked to said that there was little surface action, I started with a full sinking line (a clear, slow-sinking line) and a nymph pattern.

The fly I use is a Beadhead Hare's Ear Flash. It is one that I have been tying for about three years. The basic difference from a standard Beadhead Hare's Ear fly is that I replace the normal thorax and legs with about eight strands of light-peacock Krystal Flash, doubled over for the wing case, then the remainder is separated equally to each side and tied back for the legs. This pattern has worked great for me for the brown trout and the smallmouth bass that are in Almanor, as well as for the rainbow trout.

My first fish on Saturday was a nineteen inch brown trout. Instead of letting it go, I kept it to give to the camp host, Mr. Earl Allen who has taken care of the campground where we stay for eleven years. This past year he had quadruple by-pass surgery. He and his wife love trout, but he never gets a chance to fish. I've been giving them my first fish each year for some time.

My second fish on Saturday evening was a fifteen inch smallmouth bass that weighed about three pounds. Being that heavy and short made him look like a football. Talk about a fish that gives a bulldog fight, these smallmouth are the ones. I let the football go to fight another day. Ed Kamholtz landed a nice twenty-one inch brown trout and let it go. He also lost a few others.


On Sunday evening we landed only one sixteen-inch smallmouth bass. Barbara wanted to have fish for dinner, so I kept this one to show her how I deep-fry fish. Dusted in Krusteaz pancake flour then put into hot oil until cooked to a golden brown. It tasted great.

On Monday, Emmett Murphy and a friend stopped by to say hello. He was staying that week with his lady friend, who has a home near Almanor in Clear Creek. He was going to fish with us at Geritol Cove but got stuck with other commitments such as cocktail and dinner parties, etc. so we didn't see him the rest of the week.

From Monday, on to the following Saturday, I was set to be camping and fishing alone. Not something that my wife Donna approves of. I got acquainted with another fellow who was also camping alone in the campsite across the road from me. His name is Fred Gordon; he lives in Eureka. He comes to Almanor each year for one or two weeks to fish the hex hatch. We will touch base with each other next year to fish together again. We fished the evenings together as well as two side trips during the day. On Wednesday, we went to Round Valley Reservoir, which is above Greenville, seventeen miles southeast from Almanor. We fished for bass and bluegill. We brought home a bucketful of bluegill. They were small but after being filleted (so there were no bones) and cooked until golden brown, they made for great eating. On Thursday, during the day, we went to Crater Lake, a small lake about an hour north of Almanor off Highway 44. We caught some nice ten- to sixteen-inch trout there. I was catching small fish until I switched to my floating black beetle. A quick movement to create a big disturbance on the water brought crashing surface strikes by the bigger fish. It was driving them crazy. The black beetle is a good fly to use when fishing is slow. You can let it sit on the surface, but it is best when you make a big wake on the surface then pause. Fish it like a popper for great action.

For the rest of the week, our evenings of fishing for trout and bass were done right outside the north campground off the boat launch area. Most of the action there was with nymphs fished off a floating line. We caught a few more twenty-inch trout until Friday eveningundefinedour last night of fishing. I didn't catch any fish that night, but Fred hooked and landed a twenty-six and-a-half inch rainbow trout weighing close to seven pounds. He released it before I could get my camera out to take a picture, but the guys around him were still talking about it by the time I got near to Fred. With walkie-talkies to stay in touch with each other, both of us could enjoy the other hooking and landing fish.

All in all, the week of fishing this year could be classified as slow, but we had a good trip anyway. Next year, I'm seriously thinking of having the trip the week after the Forth of July. I left Almanor and made my way over to Incline Village, Nevada, to spend the next week with my wife, Donna. We stayed there through the seventh of July. On my way home, I stopped by some friends who live on Rucker Lake, just past Fuller Lake, west of Emigrant Gap. Rucker Lake holds a lot of black bass. I float-tubed for five hours, between noon and five in the afternoon, using just the floating black beetle pattern. While casting close to shore, I ended my fishing trip by catching and releasing sixty-five bass up to fourteen inches. I spent another couple hours with my friends, Georgia and J T Fields at their beautiful home on the edge of the lake before heading home at seven that evening. It was a nice way to finish a good fishing trip.

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