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Plumas County’s 1,000 miles of streams and more than 100 lakes of the Feather River watershed make for a wonderful, varied and famous fishery. Whether you’re a fly fisherman or prefer to use lures and bait, you’ll find plenty of places to reel them in.
Native rainbow trout are the predominant game fish, but German Browns and brook trout also have been established in many water-ways. A special strain of rainbow, known as Eagle Lake trout, are found in many of the major lakes. Other game fish include Mackinaw (lake trout), kokanee and king salmon, largemouth and smallmouth bass, bluegill and catfish.
Lakes are open to fishing year round and the stream season usually opens on the last weekend of April and closes in the middle of November. Some streams, such as tributaries to Lake Almanor and Bucks Lake, are not open until the end of May and close at the end of September. Some waters like Yellow Creek have special barbless catch and release provisions. Check the current Department of Fish and Game regulations pamphlet for specific dates and limits.
All of the larger lakes and some of the smaller ones have boating facilities. Most of the lakes are subject to strong afternoon winds, so use caution with small boats or float tubes. Most of Plumas County's lakes have rainbow trout, and may be fished with either bait, lures or flies. Deep trolling with lead core line or downriggers is usually an effective way to take large browns, rainbows, salmon and mackinaws. A key to deep trolling success is to use very long leaders. Most types of bait, lures and fly-fishing work well from shore or from boats. Check with local sports shops to find out what is happening at the moment. Explore and experiment!
Butt Valley Reservoir is noted for huge rainbows and browns of trophy trout status. Butt Valley is at its best with flies, jigs and small lures in the inlet when the powerhouse is running.
Round Valley Lake near Greenville is a small lake with big bass. This is a great place for children to fish from shore for bluebills. An annual free Children's Fishing Derby sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service is held here each September. Call (530) 283-0555 for more information.
Bucks Lake in central Plumas is a good all around lake that is especially noted for trophy size (over 16 pound) Mackinaw trout, although the current lake record is over 30 pounds. Fall fly-fishing for rainbow, brown and brook trout is often spectacular in middle to late afternoon.
Little Grass Valley Reservoir is good for rainbow and brown trout, and Antelope Lake is popular for trout, catfish and bass fishing.
Newly restocked Lake Davis
Frenchman Lake are excellent trophy
rainbow waters. Fly fishing from the west
shorelines, either wading or using float
tubes, is good both spring and fall. Both of
these lakes are popular for ice fishing
during the wintertime.
Whether you're a fly fisherman or prefer to use lures and bait, you'll find plenty of good action and surprisingly large trout in some very small creeks. The most common aquatic insects of the Feather River are several species of mayflies, caddis flies and stone flies. There are others, of course, as well as terrestrials (ants/grasshoppers). Exploring a stream, you may see trout rising to an active hatch of insects.
The main parts of the Feather River are the North Fork and Middle Fork. The North Fork and Hamilton Branch flow into Lake Almanor. These and their smaller tributaries are good trout waters. A new fishing access area with restrooms and trails is now in place at Hamilton Branch at Lake Almanor. Downstream of Almanor, the first dam in PG&E's "Stairway of Power," the fishing depends on seasonal restocking.
The Middle Fork is a federally listed Wild and Scenic River from the outflow of Sierra Valley most of the way to Lake Oroville. The wild river section downstream from the Quincy-La Porte Road bridge is accessible by steep foot trails and provides excellent fishing for strong hikers. Upstream, in the more easily reached scenic and recreation portion near Highway 70 east of Quincy, the Middle Fork holds some nice, if sometimes angler-shy, rainbows and browns. Fall fishing, when there are fewer vacationers, is particularly good.
Yellow Creek, in Humbug Valley, is a stream restoration success involving fishing groups, PG&E and the Department of Fish and Game. Barbless hooks and a restricted limit apply to Yellow Creek to keep it a trophy fishery.
streams worth exploring including Indian
and Wolf Creeks, in the Indian Valley
area, Nelson Creek and Spanish Creek
near Quincy, Jamison Creek
near Graeagle, and Little Last Chance
near Frenchman Lake.