We go from the freezing temperatures of a June cold snap, straight into the hex hatch heat of July at Lake Almanor. When you can dodge the smoke, or get out early enough to avoid the heat the fishing has been great. Many anglers are reporting hex hatches in the mid morning and late evening with a moderate amount of bugs. Fish have been scattered a bit while they search for these bugs, and cruise in and out of the cooler deep water. Move around a bit to find the fish if you can and stay put as it gets closer to dark if you find some hex hatch surfacing in 30-35 feet of water
Fly fishing Lake Almanor is always popular during this time of year. Using any yellow hex fly imitation should do the trick, the bugs do have quite a variance in size between individuals. Experimenting is the key from what I hear. If you have any tips for other fly fishermen feel free to leave them in the comments section.
Bait in all forms has been doing well for anglers in the deeper waters as the hex begin to emerge. Most have been using bait that imitates the hex, but nightcrawlers are also producing There are a few ways to get your bait in the target zone, but a good start would be to head over to our guide on Fishing Lake Almanor with the Right Gear.
Hamilton Branch has seen a decent number of rainbows and a few very large browns feasting on them. Nightcrawlers or other worms are going to be effective here, as well as some smaller jerkbaits. This is a great place to fish Lake Almanor from the shore and a fun place for older kids to fish Lake Almanor from the bank. Robert McCabe got this excellent fish.
The smallmouth bite has been tough with the heat, smoke, and boater pressure we have had over the last few weeks. The fish seem to be hyper-localized around a few things, making finding the best summer bass fishing spots at Lake Almanor a bit tricky. During the mid-mornings the fish seem to be responding well to finesse tactics. Senkos and Yamamoto Fat Ika have been working for some anglers. During the mornings and late evenings, topwater baits like Whopper Ploppers and shallow baits like jerkbaits are a fun way to catch one of these fighters. If all else fails, throw on some crickets and a bobber and float it through any shadows for a decent chance. It can also be noted that the lower lake levels have revealed some cover (and taken some away) from the Northside Largies. They are still there, but likely trying to stay cool so get your kayak ready and bring some braid. Check out our intro to how to fish Lake Almanor for smallmouth here.
Everyone loves a good “salmon run” on Lake Almanor. These are some cool fish and I make a point to target them at least once or twice a year. They make a great meal (try canning them), are plentiful, and put up a great fight. My mother caught one of these in 1980 that won the Vagabond Resort’s fishing derby and weighed almost eight pounds. I wasn’t around for it, but my dad says it was one hell of a fight in front of about 30 boats. The point is that these fish hit hard and come in schools. It is not uncommon to have two or three on at once when targeting them. There are a few deep channels that can be fished to increase your chances, but these fish are cruising all over the lake. If you can get your bait down to about 40-50 feet, you could be in great Landlocked King Salmon territory.
Over the years we have had the most success with a size 6-8 baitholder and slices of anchovy. The tails seem to work the best, but if you cover up the hook all of the fish will work so don’t wast your bait! Many times they will hit in waves, so fish for a while and if you have no luck after an hour try somewhere else. I am getting reports of catches all over Lake Almanor so your chances are good!
Thanks again for all of your support. Feel free to reach out with any questions and send in your fish photos!