|Lake Almanor Vacation|
I’d just gotten off the phone talking with Dave Sellers when my wife Cindy walked into my office and asked for ideas about where we could go on a week’s vacation. Well, I had the answer in a heart beat: Dave had been telling me about his recent few days of fishing for smallmouth bass and trout on Lake Almanor. Dave fishes the lake frequently since his mother-in-law has lived on the lake for more than two decades; and what better excuse to visit “mom” - and take advantage of the great fishing Almanor has to offer…
“How about we rent a cabin on Lake Almanor?” I responded. “We can go the week following Labor Day and it will be less crowded”.
Well, Cindy was definitely interested and did a little surfing on the Net to learn more about Lake Almanor, the area and what it had to offer. When finished with her research it was a “go”.
I called a long time buddy, Terry Walling, a long time Almanor vet for suggestions on cabin rentals. He didn’t hesitate to recommend our renting a cabin at Plumas Pines Resort, only a couple of hundred yards or less from the shore. He told me to give Kevin Williams a call to make reservations, which I did. We booked a cabin for six nights beginning on September 6th. Of course we needed digs that were “dog friendly”. Kevin advised there were only two such cabins and there was only one left. We took it – “Three Cedars”.
The cabins at Plumas Pines Resort are rustic but are well-appointed inside with everything needed – large master bedroom, bath, kitchen and spare room with a couple of twin beds for the kids if needed. We used it to stash all our stuff. The linens and all utensils and cooking implements were provided. It also had a gas log stove for heat and it was indeed cozy. With hardly anyone around after the holiday, it was superbly quiet and peaceful. About the only noise we heard was the breeze rustling through the pines and cedars and Fisher barking at squirrels or deer.
Having the Plumas Pines Store only a few hundred feet away as well as a couple of good restaurants within less than a mile (one right across the street) was very convenient. Of course we did make the short drive into Chester for breakfast and lunch one day; and to check out the local fly shop – Lake Almanor Fly Fishing Company - owned and operated by Tom Maumoynier, a very nice guy who was more than willing to give some pointers to someone who had only been on the lake a couple of times before. Definitely check in with Tom for current info if planning or making a trip to Lake Almanor to take advantage of the great smallie and trout fly-fishing it offers. (530-258-3944)
There is also a marina and launch ramp at Plumas Pines Resort plus an RV park and campground. I rented a slip for my skiff for six days, at $18 a day. I really liked the convenience of just driving a couple of hundred yards down to the marina parking area and walking to my boat. For those who might not want to do that there is plenty of room to park a boat/trailer back up in the woods and you could launch everyday. There are also lots of public camp grounds all around the lake, particularly on the west side; and there is a beautiful, free public launch ramp not far from Plumas pines.
I was very fortunate and pleased that Dave Sellers and his wife would be up visiting her mom for about three days and Dave and I were able to fish a half day together on the 7th. Dave showed me a few of his special spots, which I will not divulge, shortening the curve hugely. He also made some general recommendations about where else I might try. It was priceless.
Dave drove around the lake and met me at my boat slip at 7:00 a.m. (I know he would have rather been on the water at 6:00. Thanks again Dave! We were fishing within minutes; and by the time the wind sprang up just after noon forcing us off the water, we had probably landed 30 or 40 smallies, missed a few trout and I think Dave fought two nice trout, but dropped them both at boat-side when I took out my camera. Most of the bass were small, less than 10 inches except for a few, but they were fun on the 6-weights we were using. Lines: We both were using shooting heads with mono shooting line. I got to try out for the first time, Suffix Elite, and I found I really liked the stuff. Thanks again Dave! Dave was tossing a head of T-8 I believe (or it might have been T-11) and I was throwing 25-feet of T-14 which was too heavy and too fast as I was soon to discover. I ended up doing better with a mix and match head consisting of 20-feet of type III with 10 feet of type IV; and would have probably faired even better with a type II or an intermediate head.
The fish were feeding on pond smelt which are prolific in the lake, blotting out my graph at times. Both fish and diving birds would wreak havoc on the bait and cripples would be darting, flipping or swirling around on the surface. Big trout would blast them like taking a big stonefly or hopper. I finally wised up and made the switch to a floating head; and although I tried small gurglers and poppers I couldn’t get bit on them. I switched back to my small, Craft Fur Clouser (white and tan, size 4) and fished on the floater it was as close to dry as I could get. The trout loved the combo and I managed several nice fish, seeing every violent grab within an hour’s time span, the last day. I wished I had made the switch to a floater or and intermediate sooner. Oh well… Next time!
Our Italian Spinone, Fisher, who hasn’t spent much time in my skiff yet, fell right into pointing fish, just like he points birds and squirrels, and when he learned just where the fish were coming in over the side, you couldn’t get him out of that corner or his eyes off the water. Now if I can just get him to like the water and swimming…
Overall, the trip was fantastic. I didn’t fish that hard after that first morning with Dave, only getting on the water before 9:00 a.m. once. Cindy, Fisher and I took lots of boat drives, hiked the paved shoreline trail or the lake shore and enjoyed lots of great scenery and some wonderful meals out too. Of course we cooked in a lot and just hung out. There is a plethora of other interesting things to do in Plumas County for those with the energy and inclination. Except for a few clouds and wind one day, the weather was otherwise perfect, with a mirror-like lake surface most days .
Indeed, it was a great vacation. We will be booking a Plumas Pines Resort cabin again next fall – maybe even before then – in June when the big Hex hatch is coming off – but then again, I still love pulling streamers.
PS: Anyone wanting to book a cabin, camp or RV space at Plumas Pines Resort, give Kevin Williams a call at: 530-259-4343
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