California Sportsman is one of the sponsors for this month’s Lake Almanor Team Trout and Salmon Derby, scheduled for June 14 at the popular Plumas County lake.
Our Luke Kelly chatted with the event’s organizer, Gary Coe of Kokanee Power, and filed this report:
By Luke Kelly
CHESTER—Kokanee Power and the Almanor Fishing Association are hosting a team trout and salmon derby on Saturday, June 14 on Lake Almanor. The lake, located in Plumas County in northeastern California, offers exceptional opportunities to catch brown and rainbow trout, not to mention sizeable king salmon.
The Lake Almanor Team Trout and Salmon derby will give anglers the opportunity to test their fishing prowess against fellow fishermen, as well as the chance to walk away with a hefty chunk of change. The first place team wins $600, and the payouts go all the way down to 15th place.
The derby costs $45 for a Kokanee Power (kokaneepower.com) member and $55 for a nonmember. The derby is open to all ages, and teams get to weigh in a total of three fish (rainbows, browns, or kings). Teams are made up of one or more anglers, with a limit of one boat per team. There are also three side pots: “Blind Bogey” (the heaviest limit plus the lightest limit, divided by two), and pots for the biggest king and the biggest trout caught, each of which are $20 per team. There is a junior division for those anglers under the age of 16.
Derby chairman Gary Coe of Kokanee Power expects a good turnout this year at the lake. “This is our third annual derby. We’ve had close to 100 participants the last two years, and the fishing’s been great,” says Coe.
As far as conditions on Lake Almanor go, Coe says that they favorable thus far. “From what I understand, the fishing on Almanor is better than it’s been in years,” he explains. “The fish are heavier, feistier, and I think it has to do with the winter we’ve had. The fish are just eating like pigs. I understand they’re catching 20-inch rainbows up there.”
Although a variety of tactics have been producing on Lake Almanor this spring, Coe says that trolling is promoted during the event. “We prefer that people troll,” he says. “We really push for following all of the California state rules and regulations. Most people troll for the kings. You’ll see people trolling flashers and dodgers and worms, and you see people using various kinds of bait—hard-sticking it.”
Coe speculates a variety of baits will be used in the tournament, which is fine, just so long as they are legal.
Participants, aside from counting on a great fishing experience, can take pride in knowing that the entry fee goes to a worthy cause. Kokanee Power is a nonprofit, dedicated to the “to the enhancement of California and Oregon inland Kokanee, trout and salmon fisheries.” The proceeds from the Almanor derby will go to raising up to 15,000 fish to be released into the lake’s waters.
“All of the funding that comes from the event goes directly to the cost of fish growth in Almanor,” says Coe. “We (raise and) turn loose nice catchable 12-, 14-, and 16-inch rainbow trout into the lake for people to catch. So we help out the fishery.”
Registration is due a week before the derby. Check-in will be at Almanor Campground (Almanor Drive west off of Highway 89.) The derby starts at 5:30 a.m. sharp, and fish must be weighed in by 2 p.m. “A great big lunch,” as Coe puts it, is included in the entry fee, provided by the Almanor Fishing Association (almanorfishingassociation.com).
In putting on the derby, Coe says that he and his organization hope to promote both healthy fisheries and to share the joys of fishing with others. “We’re just a bunch of fisherman and we want to make sure that our fisheries are here for our kids and grandkids.”