Category Archives: Editor’s Blog

Lake Almanor Derby Preview

Photo by Kevin Smith

Photo by Kevin Smith


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 ( 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.

Photo by Kevin Smith

Photo by Kevin Smith

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 (

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.”


Trout Plant At Caples Lake

Photo by Caples Lake Resort

Photo by Caples Lake Resort


Our friends at Caples Lake Resort  made a plant of rainbow trout fingerlings this week. Here’s the report:

60,000 rainbow fingerlings planted on 6/2/2014,

and California Department of Fish and Game intends to plant heavily in June.

Caples Lake is only 3 feet from full and rising 4 inches every day,

thanks to the EID keeping outflow to the minimum fish release.

Fishing should pick up as the temperatures warm up.

Caples lake Resort is open for lodging, its marina and store.

Look at our lodging special this June 6 weekend:

one night free with two nights booked!

John at

Clear Lake, Berryessa Among Nation’s Best

Clear Lake 7 (1)

Clear Lake was named among the nation’s best fishing and boating destinations for families. (BRIAN LULL)


Apologies for not getting this out sooner, but two of Northern California’s two premiere Bay Area getaway lakes, Berryessa and Clear Lake, were among America’s top 100 fishing and boating lakes for families. The website published the list. Lake Berryessa’s Pleasure Cove Resort, which is just a short drive from Vacaville and about two hours from San Francisco, can play the “We’re Number One” game after finishing atop the poll. Clear Lake State Park ranked 17th in the poll.

Here’s what the criteria was for making the list, per the Take Me Fishing website:

  • Family-friendly location: Within an hour’s drive of a major city or town, so they are easily accessible
  • Have a public body of water that is known for having plenty of common fish species such as bass, crappie, bluegill and trout. Often times these public places are stocked with fish for all.
  • Part of a park that also offers amenities families need like parking, restrooms, playgrounds, picnic areas, or campgrounds
  • Has plenty of places to cast a line, like a fishing pier or has boat ramps to allow you to reach other areas on your boat
  • Is recommended by other anglers! Anglers from around the U.S. cast their vote and thought these parks offered some of the best fishing spots

Good for Clear Lake, a place that I spent many a summer at as a kid but has fallen on some hard economic times over the years.

The Lake County News reported on the results, which had plenty of California flavor to it:

California also notched seven other places on the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s (RBFF) inaugural Take Me Fishing Top 100 list of best places to fish in U.S. state parks and recreation areas, including Lake Chabot Regional Park in Castro Valley (7), Lake Del Valle State Recreation Area in Livermore (11), Moonlight State Beach in Encinitas (13), Clear Lake State Park in Kelseyville (17), Dockweiler State Beach in Playa del Rey (28), Echo Park in Los Angeles (33) and Millerton Lake State Recreation Area in Friant (75).

The entire list can be viewed at .

“The inclusion of eight California sites in the Take Me Fishing Top 100 list is a welcome recognition of the array of alluring recreational opportunities that exist in our state for anglers and boaters,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham.




Memorial Day Remembrances

I’m sure I’ve said it before during one of my blog posts, but I’m a history geek. I almost jumped out of my chair last night when I was channel surfing and saw the History Channel’s promo for its three-part event, The World Wars.  My Dad is 82 now, a Navy veteran of the Korean War, and I’ve been trying to convince him to get on a plane and check out Normandy and other war sites in France. But while Memorial Day is all about the coming off summer, baseball game and cookouts, it’s also one of those holidays where you have to take time out to reflect on those brave soldiers who have been lost, from Bunker Hill to Afghanistan, it’s important to reflect a little while you’re enjoying the holiday weekend.

I grew up in San Bruno, just south of San Francisco, and moved back there for a few years before relocating again to take on the editor’s position with California Sportsman’s parent company, Media Inc. publishing. The Golden Gate National Cemetery is located right alongside the street where I’d walk my dog every day, and each day we’d slow down a bit and I’d peek over the tombstones of those who fell in various conflicts. I know what these men and women have sacrificed for us. So I just wanted to post some of pictures of stops I’ve made over the years, and I just hope you all take a moment to say thanks on this holiday.

Shiloh National Battlefield

Shiloh (Tenn.) National Battlefield


54th Massachusetts mural, Smithsonian National Gallery

54th Massachusetts mural, Smithsonian National Gallery

World War II Memorial, Washington D.C. World War II Memorial, Washington D.C.

Arlington National Cemetery; Washington D.C.

Arlington National Cemetery; Washington D.C.







More Shiloh: The Peach Orchard

More Shiloh: The Peach Orchard

Little Round Top, Gettysburg

Little Round Top, Gettysburg





More Mysterious Dead Sea Critters

After the strange deaths of fish and sea creatures in Marina Del Rey  this week, on the Northern California coast, a baby humpback whale washed ashore off Half Moon Bay near San Francisco.

NBC Bay Area with the report and a Twitter photo courtesy of @carolsuestories:



View image on Twitter

A dead whale is floating in ocean in front of our RV in Pillar Point Half Moon Bay, CA 

What’s Happening In Marina Del Rey

In my days living in Southern California, my few beach experiences were mostly in the Malibu area (probably because my sportswriting gig took  me to nearby Pepperdine University took me there frequently. But driving south through a cavalcade of coastal communities you eventually run into Marina Del Rey, one of the nicer of those cities. But something strange is going in the harbor adjacent to Marina Del Rey. Fish are turning up dead. 

From the Associated Press

California Fish and Wildlife workers continued to remove the dead anchovies and stingrays that created a silvery blanket on the water’s surface and a pungent smell that set off a feeding frenzy among harbor seals, pelicans and seagulls. An octopus was also found among the dead sea life.

The incident is likely the result of a confluence of factors, said Dana Roeber Murray, a marine and coastal scientist with the environmental group Heal the Bay.

“They’re not unheard of,” she said. “I would not tie it to a big indicator that bad things are happening in our environment. It’s more like a multitude of circumstances happening at once.”

Anchovies travel in large schools and may have been pushed into the shallower, semi-enclosed waters of the marina by extreme tides caused by a recent full moon.

With so many fish in the water during last week’s heat wave, it’s also possible there was a low amount of dissolved oxygen and increased temperatures that hurt their chances of survival, Murray said.

Strange story, indeed.


The Coming Of Spring At Caples Lake

Update: Here’s Caples’ first plant of the season: California Department of Fish and Wildlife planted 22,745 German brown 3-inch fingerlings.




At 7,806 feet above sea level in the Sierras, spring starts a little later at Caples Lake than other mountain fisheries. But the resort area near Kirkwood off Highway 88 was happy to report the lake has fully thawed and will be open for business this week.

Here’s the report and photo from Caples Lake Resort:



HAPPY Caples Lake Thaw as of 5/12/2014 J

Caples lake thawed on 5/9/2014!

We are delaying our opening to this Friday May 16 for lodging, store and marina to reseal and re-stripe our paving and parking.

We have docks and boats in the water –see picture. The store will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with bait, tackle, beverages and snacks, and will be ready for boat rentals and launching on our ramp.

Fishing licenses are not available at this time. The water is at 54 feet lake level-8 feet down from full, and rising-but on our concrete ramp. The Silver Lake boat launch is open.

The Caples lake EID public boat launch is planned to be open on May 16.

The Caples Lake, and Silver Lake campgrounds are planned to be open Memorial weekend.

Check our phone message on (209) 258-8888 for updates.

Have a great spring 

John and Dave at



An Update From Lake Jennings

Here’s the latest from our friends at Lake Jennings in the San Diego area:


Lake Jennings is warming up and the trout have moved out deep. However, this past weekend produced trout both off the T-Dock/Fishing Float and the Buoyline at Cactus Patch. If you’re waiting for catfish stockings to start
targeting them than you’re missing out, Catfish are already moving into the shallows with sightings in the double-digit range. Lake Jennings will start stocking catfish the week of May 19
and will begin the season with 3,000 pounds.
“Night Fishing” season will commence on Friday, May 23, 2014 for the three-Day Memorial Day Weekend so Lake Jennings will celebrate the holiday by being open until midnight on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and open until 8:30 pm
on Monday. Watch for the change of “Hours of Operation” for the “Night Fishing” season.
bass fishing is good at best and no word of panfish.
Sign up today at for the weekly “Fishermen’s News.”
For more updates and to post comments visit and “Like Us” on Facebook or go to
and search “Lake Jennings Recreation.”

Best Catfish Spots: Bird Trees and Siesta Cove
Best Catfish Bait: Mackerel, Chicken Liver, or Dough Bait

Best Bass Spots: All along the banks
Best Bass Lures/Bait: Crawdads and Kreature Baits

Best Trout Spots: Deeper waters and Trolling
Best Trout Lures/Bait: PowerBait, PowerWorms, and Nightcrawlers

Best Panfish Spots: Coves
Best Panfish Lures/Bait: Mealworms and Wax Worms

? Siesta Cove: Taylor Edberg of El Cajon, 10 ¾ pound Catfish using Frozen Sardines.

? T-Dock/Fishing Float: Darrell Stewart of El Cajon, 7 ¼ and a 5 pound Sierra Bow Trout using

? Hermit Cove Buoyline: Edgar Pineda of Chula Vista, 4 pound Sierra Bow Trout using PowerBait.

? Big Rock (Not on Map, ask for location): Sean Nunez caught a 15.25 Blue Catfish using a piece of bread.

? Eagle Point: Justin Hickison of Imperial Beach, 3 ½ pound Catfish using Sardines.

Water Temperature: 61 Degrees at 100’ and 70.5 Degrees at 10’

Bear Too Much Of A Ski Bunny?

In this photo provided by Heavenly Mountain Resort, a bear cub is seen receiving care on Monday, March 3, 2014, at the Heavenly Mountain Ski Resort at Lake Tahoe, Calif. The bear cub apparently became too accustomed to people and is headed for an animal sanctuary or zoo after wildlife officials decided he’s become too domesticated to be returned to the wild. (AP Photo/Heavenly Mountain Resort)

View photo


Lake Tahoe’s bear problems have been publicized over the years. But a more popular bruin has become somewhat of a celebrity at the Heavenly Valley, one of Tahoe’s top ski resorts.

The bear was found near a ski left at the resort with some issues. When nursed back to health the animal known, big surprise, as “Heavenly” returned to the ski resort. Here’s some of the Associated Press story:

“It’s the exact same bear,” Nevada Department of Wildlife spokesman Chris Healy said Tuesday about the bear that turned up again a few miles northeast of the ski resort near Glenbrook.

“Our plan originally was to take him out in the mountains again over in the Wellington area (50 miles southeast of Tahoe), but it’s just so acclimated to humans as a source of food and obviously has honed in on this area,” he told The Associated Press.

“It’s a disaster for this magnificent animal,” Healy said. “Wild animals should not be in cages their whole life. It’s a real indictment of the way garbage is handled, or not handled.”

Heavenly is currently staying at the Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care Center in South Lake Tahoe, California, where he earlier was treated for a puncture wound to the shoulder and scraped up pads on the bottom of his feet.

 Heavenly will spend the rest of its life in a zoo or sanctuary. I would agree it’s a shame human contact will prevent this bear from living life like a bear should. But in an area where bears apparently are wreaking havoc on Tahoe-area homeowners, perhaps we should be the ones who are getting too close to a wild animal.



Preparing For King Salmon Season

Here’s a report from Scott Feist of Feisty Fish Guide Service in Northern California:

It’s Time to Start Thinking King Salmon for the 2014 Season!!!

I am seeing the end of the tunnel on my striped bass season, and can’t help but to think salmon. The question I am getting from all my guys that have fished stripers with me is, will there be water? The answer is, the salmon are coming regardless and leave the worrying to me, LOL! There are some really good numbers forecasted to return this year. The season will open July 16 and run into December with August and September being the prime months.. Many saltwater captains are already catching large salmon, it should be another great season. You do not want to wait until July to book a prime August/September date. Now is the time! I still have some weekends available… I look forward to another season chasing the Sacramento River kings!

Call me for an awesome day of fishing the scenic Sacramento River and California Delta.


I spend a lot of time on the water but I will get back to you as soon as I’m able. Call to book your trip now!