* Lassen watershed - Steve Rudzinski
The plan was to take two vehicles, JT and Barry in the camping van and Yog and Stosh in the Ford truck. I-5 to Redding for flies and east to Manzanita Lake inside Lassen Park and right under the North slope side. It's a beautiful lake for float tube fishing, fed by icy flows but the surface temps were in the mid 60's so the fish were down and so were all the tree stumps and gear grabbing structure. I was using a type IV sinking line in 20-25' and hooked and lost too many fish one day. "Old Walter" was one of the lifetime type fish that I never got more than a few feet off the bottom before it let go of my black leech to my extreme dismay. I did hook up later in the day, got a few nice browns by stripping my own marabou jigs and leeches fast on the same sinking line. Weeds were a few feet under the surface throughout the shallower parts of the lake.
The other guys were trying everything but the last couple days they found nice fish using midges and pheasant tail under an indicator in this one hot spot near the narrows area where there was a good drop and channel. We have to say that the fishing was really tough on this barbless hook only and native fish lake. I had three rods with me to try to figure out these fish.
We all stayed in a two room cabin near the lake, tight quarters and difficult sleeping especially for the guys on the top bunk built for teenagers and not grown men. We managed anyway and ate really well and had just the right amount of fire wood and single malt scotch.
We fished at Manzanita June 26-28, and took a side trip the last day to Crater Lake, a round lake you can kick your tube around in about an hour, 75' deep in the middle and where the fish were holding one of the locals told us. What we found was freshly planted trout, most skinny and starving from this lake with almost no aquatic plants or obvious food there. It's a beautiful glacial blue lake where you do catch fish but you feel sorry for them and there it's not sporting, like at Manzanita or Almanor. There's a long gravel road to get there and a decent campground and a good place for bait dunkers wanting a few fish for the pan.
Last day we head south to Lake Almanor to catch a night of the "Hex Hatch", Yog and I fished the famous Geritol Cove while JT and Barry found another hot spot that night. Jeff got two nice fish including the largest bass he said he ever caught and gave him a good battle, we were surprised thinking it was a brown. I got only one grab all afternoon and early evening and it was the largest rainbow (jumped twice) I ever caught other than at Goodwin Lake, this one in the 27" range and a good 7 or 8 lbs. I used a hex nymph almost on the bottom in 30' of water as all the lakes we fished are 100% full. The amazing hatch came off in clouds of bugs about the time we were putting in to shore, we saw no top water action at all. There were at least 30 fishermen in the cove and not a lot of catching as far as I could see and hear.
We spent the night in luxury at Quail Lodge just down the road in Canyon Dam. It's decently priced and very fishermen- friendly. JT and Bar slept in the van and used our shower and bath after we left for home, no problem with the staff. We found some breakfast in Red Bluff and shared the driving home with good timing for traffic problems.
Oct 19-22 I am organizing the fishout at the O'Neill Forebay for the annual camp out and striped bass marathon, you can catch over 50 fish a day here so put it on your calendar and hope we have good weather as we had wind and rain last year and only three people stuck it out but the fishing was really good; ask Elaine Cook.