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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
June 14, 2017     Feather River Bulletin
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June 14, 2017

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2C Wednesday, June 14, 2017 Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Fish are bitin" Spawning Following her grandparents guidance, young Lauren Richards, age 10, shows off a 24-inch five pound German Brown she caught with a meal worm and cricket setup at the Northshore campground on Lake Almanor the weekend of June 3 and 4. Photo by Nancy Hutson Chinook salmon vary in color depending on their they are prized among anglers. Photo submitted current habitat or phase of life. In either case, Regulations went into effect May 26 to close a 5.5-mile stretch of the Sacramento River to all fishing, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced. An emergency regulation had expired on March 30, but was made permanent upon adoption by the Fish and Game Commission and filing with the Secretary of State. The Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon population suffered over 95 percent loss of juvenile natural production for the years 2014 and 2015 due to low reservoir storage and elevated water temperatures caused by the pervasive drought. Chinook salmon return to their natal rivers and streams every three years to spawn. Maximizing adult spawning numbers is critical to the population. CDFW fisheries staff evaluated recent winter-run Chinook spawning locations and concluded that the majority of spawning occurs in the recently closed section above the Highway 44 bridge to Keswick Dam. Although fishing for winter-run Chinook in this reach of the Sacramento River is not allowed under current regulations, incidental by-catch by anglers who are not targeting salmon has been documented and is significant, especially during low flow periods. Even if returned to the water, incidental by-catch stresses the fish, resulting in the potential loss of adults before spawning. A total fishing closure in the holding and spawning areas of winter-run Chinook is necessary to ensure this endangered fish population has the highest chance of survival. As adopted by the Fish and Wildlife commission and in effect as of May 26, the Sacramento River is closed to Chinook fishing from Jan. 1 through March 31, from 650 feet below Keswick Dam to Deschutes Road bridge, and from 650 feet below Keswick Dam to the Highway 44 bridge, with a bag limit of two hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead and four hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead in possession. The area is closed to all fishing from April 1 to July 31. When can you fish? The closed area is scheduled to reopen from Aug. 1 through Dec. 31, with a bag limit of two hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead and four hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead in possession from the Highway 44 bridge to the Deschutes Road bridge. Year round, there is a bag limit of two hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead and four hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead in possession. i:ilt's fiyfishing season with the hex hatch imminent Michael Condon Staff Writer Mid June to early July brings some of the most exciting fishing of the year for fly fishers. Why all the excitement? It is the "hex hatch." The Hexagenia mayfly, aka "the hex," is the largest mayfly in the western U.S. Its size alone would be enough to make a hungry trout throw caution to the wind, but what really sets these aquatic insects apart is the shear numbers that hatch all at one time. This appears to be a survival mechanism that is seen in a number of species. Because of the large numbers, many individuals are "lost" to feed other critters (or fish and diving birds in this case), but because of the large numbers, there are enough individuals that survive to ensure the continuation of the species. Hexagenia are primarily lake dwellers. They seek out muddy lake bottoms at depths of just a few feet up to about 15 feet to deposit their eggs. They hatch late in the evening and often hatch in such large numbers that they create a feeding frenzy. A good evening of fishing the hex hatch usually starts a little slow. First, there are just a few ripples on the surface of the water as the hex nymphs rise to the surface. Once at the surface, they emerge from their nymphal skin or "shuck" and pop through the surface of the water as a 1- to 2-inch long adult mayfly with erect yellow wings that look like miniature sailboats. Some of them have trouble shedding their nymphal shuck and will flutter on the surface of the water for some time. This has the effect of ringing the dinner bell for the waiting trout and diving birds. As the evening progresses, the number of hatching mayflies increases dramatically. When the hatch is in full swing, you will find yourself surrounded by hatching insects, large fish actively feeding on the surface, making splashy rises as they grab mayflies off the surface of the water, sometimes close enough to startle you and even hit you with a good spray of AIRLINE CAREERS START HERE Get trained as FAA certified Aviation Technician. Financial aid for qualified students. Job placement assistance. Call Aviationlnstitute of Maintenance 877-205-4138 or a lov d ono 'wgtO up we,ecl kil|er ofor. moto rand dev'eio:ped NOn-HOd ik|n m,a h,avo o flmfor oxposod ,o.. oA~o. ~,L 1 "8,00- 769-2889 www,weedkiller!o|ms,om water. It can be a bit unnerving as you try to keep your cool and stay focused. After emerging, adult mayflies will head for the lakeside vegetation. They will molt one more time and become sexually mature adults. The mature adults can be identified by their clear wings rather than the cloudy yellow wings of the newly hatched adults. After molting and mating, the females will head back to the lake to lay their eggs. This process of laying eggs takes some time and the females sitting on the surface of the water are once again vulnerable to feeding birds and fish. The tiny eggs sink to the bottom where they sit until the nymphs hatch and burrow into the mud where they spend the next one or two years. During this time, they will leave their u-shaped burrows to feed and molt up to thirty times as they, grown into much larger fully formed nymphs. Come late June and early July these nymphs will emerge from their muddy home, rise to the surface, and start the cycle over again. Plumas County is lucky to have several lakes with good hex populations. Lake Almanor is most well known for its excellent hex hatch. But "well known" is not my favorite attribute in a fishery. At its peak, which is right around the July 4 holiday weekend, an evening on the west shore of Almanor where the hex are most numerous will attract dozens of anglers in float tubes, kayaks, smaller fishing boats and even larger ski boats and pontoon boats. It can take on a sort of party atmosphere. Fortunately, there is Butt Lake, which is just a few miles away. Butt has a good hex hatch, mostly down toward the dam and offers the sort of solitude the darkness! Lake Almanor Lake Almanor is nearly full and in great shape. Trollers are picking up fish in both basins. The fish are scattered so be ,prepared to put in some time. and relaxed atmosphere I, like Rec 2 to Bailey Creek many fly anglers, prefer. Although I have never fished the hex hatch at Antelope, I understand it's pretty decent. And in just the past few years, the Hexagenia have taken hold in Lake Davis, adding another excellent food source and fishing opportunity to a lake already well known to fly anglers. But the hex hatch isn't just for fly anglers. Knowing where the hex have been active the night before is a good clue for trollers and bank anglers looking for a good concentration of fish. And while I have not tried it, I hear that crickets make for a passable hex nymph imitation. I like to be on the water early before the actual hatch begins. I will fish a hex nymph deep, lifting it toward the surface occasionally. Once the trout have keyed in on the hex as a food source, this technique can actually work all day long. It also continues to work once the hatch has begun, but I fmd the dry fly fishing much more exciting so I will switch to an emerger or cripple pattern. The method may work well, but most anglers do not wish to squander the best dry fly opportunity of the year by tossing nymphs into .LET US SAVE YOU TIME & MONEY REACH 75+ MILLION RI~ADERS WffH ONE ORDER, ONE BILL! ~/~ Community Classified lx $650 Statewlde 25 words~245+ papers$435 North/S485 South ~,, Dally Classified 7 days $995 25 words~41 papers~7 days $650 NorffV$650 South CLASSIFIED COMBO 8 days $1,270 ~/~ 25 words/282+ papers Statewide ~$~. DISPLAY - Community Newspapers 140+ papers lx $1,600 2x2 Statewlde; Sizes: 2x2; 2x4; 2x5; 2x6 $1,240 2x2 No,; $1,240 2x2 So. CALIFORNIA NEWSPAPERS DELIVER! ' continues to be the hottest spot. Hard to say for sure if that is because the fishing is better there or that is just where the most boats are heading. At the risk of sounding repetitious, try fast action lures like Speedy Shiners and Needlefish with a touch of scent. Start shallow and drop your gear down deeper as the sun gets on the water. Night crawlers about 18 to 24 inches behind a dodger are also very effective. I especially like this set up later in the morning. Fly anglers are starting to see a few hex mayflies, but we are still a week or two early for the peak of the hatch. There are still plenty of midges onthe lake and Tom Mauymonier of the Lake Almanor Fly Fishing Company in Chester reports some fish are on callibateis mayflies at the mouth of the Feather River. Butt Lake Depending on whom I have talked tol the powerhouse is either running or not running. I guess this means it just depends on when you happen to be there. But with tons of water still pouring into Almanor, I would expect the powerhouse to be running more often than not. Why does the powerhouse matter? When the powerhouse is running it is sort of like the buffet is open. That powerhouse delivers lots of pond smelt from Almanor. After the ride through the pipeline and powerhouse, the few smelt that survive are not in great shape to evade the hungry trout. Butt Lake is like Aimanor's little brother an it flshes retty much the same way. Shore anglers will do best by the powerhouse. Trollers will fmd fish scattered through the lake, Fly anglers will fred a few hex mayflies down towards the dam. Lake Davis With Lake Davis being 13 feet higher than last fall it has been very tough locating fish in the usual spots. The behavior of the resident rainbows has been very odd according to long time guide Jon Baiocchi. Jon reports there are large numbers of fish holding in the deeper water in the main channel of Grizzly Creek by the big island. These fish are out of reach to fly anglers, but present a nice opportunity for trollers. Fishing.has been slow lately, but starting to improves as the damsel fly hatch increases. Coot Bay has been one of the more productive areas. Fly anglers are picking up fish using red copper johns or bead head pheasant tail nymph under indicator. Frenchman Reservoir Frenchman's Lake has been fishing a bit better than its neighbor Lake Davis. Lake Davis is full to the brim and still spilling over. Fish are scattered See Fish, page 3C j ~. ~ : . ohnson s ea~ ~der r-to-Sbower Sexm=P,,,] k Topsoil, Compost & Manure ...... 12 yards, delivered* $350 Manure Only .............................. 12 yards, delivered* $350 - Screened and Processed - SAND & GRAVEL AVAILABLE Call (530) *Susanville area, call for outlying areas. / ........................ " *t