Everyone always talks about the bait. What’s the best lure for Lake Almanor? What juicy stinky goo should I use as fish attractant? You want me to do what with a cricket? All are common questions we get as we show off our catches on Fishbrain.
The truth is, the actual bait and presentation is only half of the battle for these giant browns, rainbows, and smallies. The second front you will battle these beasts on is gear selection.
Trolling, casting or bait fishing success hinges on your ability to get the bait in front of the fish. This doesn’t mean your bait AND some heavy line, a giant string of flashers, some weeds you picked up, or stinky garlic oil. You have to ask the question “what environment is this creating for the fish?” It is extremely important to cut out variables that the fish at Lake Almanor are not used to. The water clarity is astounding, the lake is fairly uniform, and the fish hunt on their own schedule. You can’t surprise these fish into striking.
Bait fishing Lake Almanor is seldom done from shore. The food the fish are targeting are available in deeper waters all over the lake. Going in shallow gets you removed from the gene pool by the claws of an osprey fairly quickly. When selecting tackle for bait fishing Lake Almanor, you will need to focus on a boat or float setup. Use light gear! The fish are sensitive and will likely leave your bait if they see leader or any unusual movement. I recommend Berkley Vanish 110 yd, Pound test 44lb fluorocarbon leader. We fish with ultralight poles and their respective reels, to give the fish a little more time tugging on the bait.
When casting spoons, jigs or other swimming lures your line will need to be a tad heavier. I use 8lb fluoro for most applications. My jigging motion is erratic and the large browns often strike with the first jig off the bottom. I find the 8lb is strong enough to catch up to 14lb browns if you fight them well. The sinking line helps the bait stay down and is clear as can be in the pristine water. I actually use the same 7 foot medium action setup for catching smallmouth in Lake Almanor. The line is sensitive for finesse and Senko fishing, but strong enough to rip any lure you could want for smallmouth in this lake.
I can’t stress line and rod selection enough to people fishing Lake Almanor for the first time. The local shops will sell you the right bait, convincing the fish it is food requires the right gear. Feel free to comment or email with any questions. Subscribe today to stay up-to-date with our Lake Almanor Fishing Report. Tight lines!