Category Archives: Editor’s Blog

Angler Who Hooked Shark In Manhattan Beach Won’t Be Cited

Photo by David Burdick/NOAA

Photo by David Burdick/NOAA


Yesterday, we told you about the ban on fishing off the Manhattan Beach Pier due to the incident involving a swimmer and a great white shark that was hooked by a angler.

Of course, it’s illegal to fish specifically for great whites, which are protected. But like the story of California Sportsman story subject Jeff Fangman, who last winter had an incidental catch and release of a 14-foot great white,  it’s hard to fault an angler fishing off a pier with plenty of different fish around and whose bait gets bitten by any species. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife agreed, and the angler who hooked the shark that resulted in the swimmer being injured will not be cited. 

From the CDFW:

An investigation including evidence from videos, social media and personal interviews did not provide proof there was intent by the angler to target white sharks.

It is legal to fish for the many species of sharks, rays and other fish that frequent the waters surrounding the pier using the same techniques used that day. Facebook posts and interviews resulted in evidence that showed the angler was targeting bat rays, but admitted to catching sharks including white sharks.

This is a legal activity and consistent with numerous other fishing practices in waters where similar tackle is used to catch a variety of fish species. Incidentally caught species that are not legal to keep must immediately be released. In this case, the line was cut before the fish was landed.

Although this was a very unfortunate incident where a person was injured, criminal prosecution requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime was committed. Unless additional evidence is discovered, no charges will be pursued by CDFW in this case.


Shark Attack Forces Manhattan Beach Fishing Shutdown

Photo by Wayne Hoggard, NOAA

Photo by Wayne Hoggard, NOAA


Sharks are in the news, and unfortunately, for all the wrong reasons. For some reason, the SyFy TV “event” Sharknado became a thing via social media, again proving our downfall as rational human beings. And now get ready for Sharknado 2 (catch the trailer here, if you have a minute-and-a-half of your life you won’t mind giving up to watch this; but give it up to top-billed stars and Sharknado veterans Ian Ziering and Tara Reid for finding a niche again and striking while the iron is hot).

On a more serious note, the recent shark attack in Manhattan Beach has prompted the popular Southern California coastal community to extend a fishing ban on the popular pier.

From NBC Los Angeles:

The fishing ban at the Manhattan Beach Pier is expected to last 60 days, the maximum allowed time under the California Coastal Act. A newly posted sign at the pier says that fishing will be banned until Sept. 7.

“For the protection of all beachgoers, we did a time out to investigate what happened,” Manhattan Beach Mayor Pro Tem Wayne Powell said. “Maybe it’s separating swimmers and surfers from the fishing activity. Maybe it’s banning the type of bait, we don’t know yet.” 

A juvenile 7-foot white shark bit 50-year-old swimmer Steve Robles at the Manhattan Beach Pier on Saturday as it was fighting to free itself from a fishing line cast from the pier.

Check your local listings on the Sharknado 2 thing.

Free Fishing Saturday Highlights Holiday Weekend

Kids enjoying the fishing pond at the Raahauge Shooting Fair last month. (RACHEL ALEXANDER)

Kids enjoying the fishing pond at the Raahauge Shooting Fair last month. (RACHEL ALEXANDER)

Happy Fourth of July, Cal Sportsman readers. Looking for something to this holiday weekend?

Free Fishing Days: the best thing to happen to California since John Muir. July 5 and September 6 should be circled on your calendar, as a California fishing license will not be required for anyone 16 and over to grab a rod and reel and dunk a line in the American River, Lake Nacimiento, the Salton Sea or San Luis Reservoir.

Free Fishing Days: the best thing to happen to California since Sutter’s Mill. It’s important to get non-fishermen involved in the sport. Take your kids who have never experienced pulling in a rainbow trout from Irvine Lake or landing a striper off Rio Vista in the San Joaquin Delta. Even if you don’t catch anything, the quality time you spend with your family will want you asking to go back.

Editor's note


Free Fishing Days: the best thing to happen to California since Google and Yahoo. We have a lot of options to tell you about in this month’s issue where fish are biting: Luke Kelly’s reports on the anticipated July 16 king salmon openers on the Sacramento and Feather Rivers; Scott Haugen dishing on San Francisco Bay sharks; Mike Stevens on Eastern Sierra lure techniques, Bill Schaefer with the best way to cast for trophy bass at San Diego’s Otay Lake.

Free Fishing Days: the best thing to happen to California since California Chrome. Remember, per the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, if you’re fishing on one of the two no license-needed days for abalone, steelhead, sturgeon, spiny lobster or salmon in the Smith or Klamath-Trinity River Systems, you must purchase the proper report card for those species (

Free Fishing days: the best thing to happen to California since Carl’s Jr. I remember my earliest experiences throwing marshmallows baited with salmon eggs at Lake Merced in San Francisco. It wasn’t long before I was begging my dad to take me out again, and then another time, then another.

Free Fishing days: (Maybe) the best thing to happen to you and your family this month.

Stampede Reservoir Update

In our July issue of California Sportsman, we chatted with Rick Kennedy of Grass Valley-based Tight Lines Guide Service (888-975-0990;, who told us about some underrated kokanee fishing at Stampede Reservoir near Truckee.

Kennedy had this Stampede report from earlier today:

We had a great day on Stampede today. Ben Stern took his two sons Cole and Luke on their first fishing trip. The bite was a little slower than it has been. The best part of this trip was the fact Ben was making this a learning trip for the boys. Not just about fishing but how to respect the outdoors. They learned only to keep what they were going to eat; Ben explained the whole circle of life in the outdoors to the boys. They watched a Osprey take a fish for lunch, the Seagull’s eat the carcasses of the fileted Kokanee. We also talked about the life cycle of a Kokanee. Ben plans to bring them to one of this years egg takes. They ended up keeping seven for dinner tonight. Our fish were all caught once again on Copper Sep’s Side Kicks and Radical Glow Pink Tubes tipped with pink Pautzke Fire Corn.

Ben Stern and sons Cole and Luke after a great day at Stampede Reservoir. (TIGHT LINES GUIDE SERVICE)

Ben Stern and sons Cole and Luke after a great day at Stampede Reservoir. (TIGHT LINES GUIDE SERVICE)


A Chat With Girls With Guns Moguls



Editor’s note: This story is running in the June issue of California Sportsman 

Photos courtesy of Girls With Guns



By Chris Cocoles

There’s nothing quite like summer in Red Bluff – if you love triple-digit temperatures on almost a daily basis there – in the Sacramento River valley off Interstate 5 in Tehama County.

But here were friends Jenifer Adams and Norissa Harman, in the latter’s two- car garage, living out a dream, albeit a sweltering dream in the summer of 2008. The then 20-somethings wanted to combine their love of the outdoors with a sense of a fashion and creativity to produce a line of apparel for sportswomen. Born from this blending of ideas was a company they called Girls With Guns (

“We pulled out all the vehicles and we had box fans (running),” Harman says. “Of course, it was summertime when we were pumping out our products. And around here, we’ll have 118-degree weather, and we would be sitting here in shorts and tank tops, not in any high fashion whatsoever. But that’s what we were doing and it was fun.”

Five-plus years later, a fun and harmless idea between friends is now a growing enterprise. Girls With Guns has graduated from the carport to an actual office space, then a larger one, and continued to get bigger until the company began sending out products from a 5,000-square-foot warehouse. Besides being able to buy from the website, Girls With Guns apparel is available in multiple states’ local outlets and chains like Scheels All Sports and Sportsman’s Warehouse. They have partnered with Montana Silversmiths with their jewelry line. Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin wore GWG apparel on her outdoors reality show and sported their belt buckle on her appearance with Jimmy Fallon. The girls also are selling accessories like luggage, and The Sportsman Channel is currently filming a TV show, Universal Huntress, where Adams and Norissa will get to hunt and explore the world (it’ll debut in 2015).

Their friendship has made them “love each other like sisters,” Adams says, and they will be soon sister-in-laws; Jen is engaged to Norissa’s brother.

“We were family long before that happened years ago,” Adams says with a laugh.

The girls behind Girls With Guns, just back from a hunting adventure in New Zealand, chatted with us about their journey:

NZ April '14-63 (1)

CHRIS COCOLES So how did this idea get off the ground?

JENIFER ADAMS We started working together at my real estate office, and we did a fundraiser that was called Shoot For Purpose and it was for breast cancer awareness. The first year I was the secretary-treasurer, and Norissa was the vice president. We raised $15,000 in one event in one day. And through that Norissa al- ready had this plan in place for a name – Girls With Guns. And she kind of just said, ‘I’m not really sure how to go about this on my own; I have an idea. What do you think?’ And I’m a business-minded person. That’s what I do and that’s what I love. And I already had a real estate business going. So I told her I’d help her out for a year and we’ll see it how it goes. And by August (our apparel) was in Scheels and they were asking for more. We were working 12 to 14 hours doing our day job and then at night I’d go to her house. We’d work out of her garage filling orders and doing designs. Eventually we got to the point where we built enough revenue that we could jump on an airplane and flew to China. We started learning about manufacturing and import-export and all those things.

NORISSA HARMAN I started an embroidery business when I was 21 years old, so I kind of had all the means and the access to get shirts and hats and all that stuff. I already knew that market, how to get it and that was a little bit of a jumpstart for us. I had the name already trademarked. Jen had the same love and passion for shooting as I did. She was the famous sales agent here in Tehama County and she was very savvy at sales and marketing. We kind of had the same drive and vision toward business and shooting sports. At the time, we never imagined that we’d be here today. To see where the company’s evolved, from my garage and my home office where we fworked every night on everything, it’s kind of amazing. It’s been fun to see where it’s going. When we started with little money, it’s really taken off.


CC How did both of you grow to love the outdoors so much?

JA I grew up in the real, real, Northern California in Modoc County (Adin; population: 272) in the mountains. I graduated high school with 15 people in my graduating class. I lived on a small cattle ranch with my family. So I was a total country girl. We had alfalfa, chickens, goats, sheep; we had everything. I was a cowgirl who did rodeo. That’s how I grew up. It was really outdoorsy. My dad did a lot of hunting, but I didn’t get involved in hunting. I’d go with him but it was usually my dad and brother’s thing. But when I was 29 and we started the company, I’d always been a shooter but never hunted anything. I got my hunter’s ed and my license. I started on birds the first year and by the next year I was killing my first buck. And then I was on my way to (hunting in) New Zealand. And I’ve been addicted ever since.

NH I grew up in Nevada and my family then moved here to (Red Bluff). I never hunted growing up because that’s not what my dad was into. My dad was a fisherman and he would trek his kids all over. We would camp and we would fish for hours and hours and hours. It was fun; that’s what we did. The older I got and started dating my husband, that’s how I started getting into hunting. He hunted a lot and traveled with his family, so if I wanted to spend any good quality time with him that would be the way to get his attention. After I shot my first buck and a couple of pigs, I thought, “This is kind of fun.” I love it now. When we got back from New Zealand I messaged him and said how I get it, and I don’t know why.

Impala-8 (1)

CC Did you both have expectations and high hopes it would be successful?

JA You know, I will have to say at first I just thought it was just something fun I was doing with my best friend. My business was my real estate company. I made good money and a good living. But my passion, my intrigue was with Girls With Guns. I’m kind of a tomboy and it got me a little more involved in the fashion world. It was something that I was able to put my own spin on, and Norissa had her own style. Right now I’m our operations director and she’s our creative director. Those are the

roles that we fell into. As best friends we were able to work together and started taking the things we were good at, and that’s what we did at our jobs.


CC Lots of hard work went into this, no doubt.

NH What kept us so involved and engaged in this. Jen and I were just talking about working and the hours we put in working two jobs; we’d work all day and then come back and work until 12, 1 or 2 a.m. I’m not sure how we made that be- cause even now I get extremely exhausted. And I feel like there’s someone always watching over us or to help us achieve our goals.


CC So did it help make this a seamless process that you were such good friends. What’s the old adage: Never get into business or a project with a close friend? It sounds like you two meshed right away.

JA I can’t say it helped. But Norissa and I just stayed three weeks together at this woman’s house in New Zealand where we hunted. And she said to me, “I’ve never seen two people fit better together like two pieces of a puzzle. You two just complement each other.” We’ve heard that a lot, but just the way she said it and put it was definitely awesome. We’re totally different personalities, but with different strengths and weaknesses, and I think that’s what makes it work. When she’s on I’m off, and vice versa. But we’re a team and that’s how we treat it. That’s how we treat our entire team at GWG headquarters. They’re growing with us.

NZ April '14-66

CC Was there a single moment when you collectively thought something was brewing with this project? NH It’s funny when people tell us we’re moving up, and Jen and I just take every day as we can. I think we’re still in denial and that we’re still a small company. We still have that small-town mentality and we still don’t realize how big it’s gotten until we’re across the country or in another country when someone says they follow us or greet us by our name. That’s when we realize how big it is.

JA I think it was when we moved into the warehouse. We all had offices, and we had a part-time crew with two part-time employees. And I realized that we needed a team. And within three or four months we had a staff of five, including Norissa and I.

I had let go of my real estate business, and we brought on three more people. It was almost like an overnight thing, though it seemed to happen about a year ago. It was always growing with new stores. But now it’s growing so quickly with the popularity, and how women are so excited about the outdoors. It’s really awesome, because women are truly gearing up for the outdoors.


CC So how did you get from Norissa’s garage to this spacious warehouse?

JA We actually did a few baby steps. My broker at the time had a 600-square-foot little building and he gave up six months of free rent. It was one of those cool, “I’m in your court” and “here you go”(situations), and after that we started paying rent. And then because Scheels wanted to come on and we got our manufacturing underway, we ended up going into the space next door, which was 900 square feet. And then we ended up occupying a place across the street, which was 1,800 square feet, and we were renting from (the original real estate broker) at that time. We just had some amazing people along the way who have stopped to help us. That allowed us to do that jump, and then, finally, we realized we had to get into a real warehouse. Right now we have eight full-time employees, not including all of your independents like our design team and such. We have anywhere from 10 to 20 temps that come in twice a year for our seasons when our shipments come in. It was pretty surreal.

CC How did your relationship with Sarah Palin blossom?

JA She’s actually somebody Norissa and I both look up to as a role model. People may have their different views on what they feel about her politically. But what she’s done for being a voice of women is huge. We never asked her to wear our clothes. She spoke in Anderson at a logging conference and we attended. We gave her a bag full of goodies that were hand-pressed in the garage by me and embroidered by Norissa. We’d only been in business for about a year and four months. We ended up giving it to her, and that following December we got an email; it was surreal. She was going to wear us on the show. One time would have just been amazing. Now, we sent her a box of clothes for her and (Palin’s daughters). We receive hand-written notes back from them. We’ve seen Bristol wearing us on her show, and we’ve seen (Sarah Palin) all over wearing our stuff. She actually buys our stuff. We were recently asked to outfit her, so we went and met her and (husband) Todd and spent the day with them. It was pretty amazing.

NH I’m not sure if she realizes how important and special it was to us.


CC From what I’ve gathered, you two are very different personalities, right?

NH think that’s why our company has be- come what it’s become; I think I have some great ideas and I wasn’t much of a risk taker. From the beginning our friendship has been like that. I think that’s why it works for us, and I think why the show’s going to be great. You’ll see in the show there’s one of us that’s more of adrenaline junkie, and I’m the scaredy-cat.

JA I’m very much a risk taker; and she’s very conservative. I’m kind of a go with the flow and a planner both at the same time. Norissa and I work together day-in and day- out, and we’re very like-minded even with our opposite personalities.

CC So what was New Zealand like?

NH The first time we went we were stag hunting, and it was only the second time we’d been out of the country ever. It was pretty eye-opening for us. To go back this year we realized how the terrain is different. And it’s an outdoor mecca; people train there for triathlons; running, biking and kayaking. There is good food and good wine. There’s an energy that you can feel when you’re outside. I just love it; it’s a spiritual place.

DSC_8061 danny rush edit

CC You’ll be soon traveling all over the world filming the show, but where do you get away in California for your outdoor fixes?

JA I do a lot of hunting in Modoc County where I grew up. I just went and hunted with my dad and future brother-in-law last fall and took my first mule deer. Duck hunting up here is huge in my family; my cousins, my fiancé and my brother are duck-hunting addicts. I love it now too. We actually just put our dog in training; he’s an amazing 9-month-old Lab. So next year is going to be awesome. When I want to get away, I go to Modoc County because there are so many open spaces.


CC I’m looking forward to watching your Universal Huntress show. Just talking to both of you it looks like this will be fun.

NH The show is basically going to be real time; we’re not going to re-enact anything. We’re just going to out there and being real. I’m not going to profess that I’m perfect by any means. I get to learn about different countries and different animals. We’re growing up on TV; the friends and the family who get to see us every day, we get to share that with them. I hope everybody loves that, so we’ll see.

JA It’s just going to be us. When we met our producer and he pitched for us to come out and fly to South Africa and see how we did hunting with him, he said, “All I want you to do is be yourselves because that’s what your fans love.” So we’re going to be Norissa and I being Norissa and I; we’re going to be goofy, but we’re going to be serious about our hunts and fun. We’re going to see the world and you’ll see it through our eyes.


CC Give me a short description on what you think your products represent?

JA It’s not really too hard for me to describe because it’s really mine and Norissa’s lifestyles combined: it’s a little bit of redneck, a little bit of fashion. We love the outdoors, period. And we love guns, so it’s not just about guns of the outdoors; it’s a universal brand and it’s about the women who love to wakeboard, who love to snowboard or work out or shoot. We want women to love our brand because it’s all about the out- doors and empowering women.

CC Where do you see this company going?

NH Of course we’d love to keep building the brand, and that’s been our goal. We want to make outdoor fashion fun and trendy for everybody. I don’t know how it’s going to go. We’re just enjoying our journey and hoping people are picking up our brand in the homes of every country girl.


CC I get the feeling no matter how successful you are, you’ll always be just down- to-earth Jen and Norissa from small-town Northern California.

JA Oh, yeah. Just because our company is doing well doesn’t change the person that I am. That’s very important to me to stay the same person. We’re just normal girls.

NH What you see is what you get. I’m not any different than I was four years ago; I’m not changing. I think I’m a down-to-earth person. Hopefully that shows; sometimes we’re big dorks, and we love to just laugh and have fun.

CC This last question I think is the most important one: Do you hope you are role models for women who want to be involved in not just an outdoors apparel company in what’s been a male-dominated genre, but any kind of business venture?

NH We have people approach us and tell us they want to take a chance and a leap to try something new in their life. And also we like to see young girls coming up with their own business ideas, either in the same industry as ours, or in a whole different industry. They’ve followed us so much and thinking, “If they can do it, we can do it.”

JA You know what’s funny? I have people tell us now we have been an inspiration because they see us working so many days and into the wee hours of the morning trying to build our company. And just now this year, we’re finally able to relax a little and enjoy this. Norissa and I up until last July were doing this on our own. So it is really awesome to show that hard work does pay off, and that’s the American Dream. That’s really important because that’s what Girls With Guns is all about. As for what’s male-dominated, that doesn’t mean anything to me. Women are taking over the hunting world. I’m excited about it.

Collins Lake Photos

Some recent fishing photos from our friends at Collins Lake Resort






Dallas Barrett Sr. and Dallas Jr. with an 8-pound, 4-ounce rainbow they caught trolling with a flasher and night crawler.



The “Comedy Club Goofballs,” Lindy,  Nick and Jay, each landed a trout caught on green PowerBait near the dam.





Jeff White, Sam Hernandez, Mike Tedrow, and Joe Veliquette  of Petaluma with a trout haul.



Tomas and Codie with a trout limit caught on worms from the dock.







American River, Nimbus Hatchery Fish In Peril

Fish jumping up fish ladder

 Photo courtesy of CDFW 

Temperatures are bound to start regularly hitting the triple digits around the Sacramento Valley. But combined with the drought it’s a dangerous situation for fish in area hatcheries. In the American River and Nimbus Hatchery, rainbow trout, steelhead Chinook salmon are being removed for fear a lack of cold water could be fatal to their surivival, reports the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Here’s the full release:

With extreme drought conditions reducing the cold water supply available, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) are moving the last rainbow trout out of the American River Hatchery to avoid future losses of young fish to rising water temperatures. CDFW biologists predict that by mid-summer the temperature of the water entering the hatchery will exceed tolerable temperatures for the growing fish, causing extensive — if not total — loss of all fish in the hatcheries. The Fall Run Chinook salmon and steelhead from Nimbus Hatchery have all been released into State waterways.

“We are taking proactive actions to avoid catastrophic fish losses,” said Dr. William Cox, CDFW State Hatchery Program Manager. “It is an unavoidable change, and we need to look for unique opportunities to avert major losses. We will track all changes involved in the evacuation and evaluate how fish react to being released early. Ultimately we could develop new release strategies based on what we learn.”

American River Hatchery operations focus on taking rainbow trout eggs, while Nimbus Hatchery takes both salmon and steelhead eggs. Both hatcheries raise fish to release size. This will be the first time all stocks of fish at both hatcheries have been evacuated. By the end of this week all fish from both hatcheries will be released with nearly 430,000 fingerling steelhead from Nimbus Hatchery released into the American River, six months ahead of the normal February release time.

The remaining 20 state-managed hatcheries are expected to make it through the summer months and into the winter season without having to evacuate fish.

Normally CDFW would call on the Bureau of Reclamation to draft water from what is known as the “Deep Water Pool,” in the depths of Folsom Lake. The transfer of cold late water helps to keep hatchery waters acceptably cool. However, this year, the length and intensity of the drought is so extensive that little, if any water, in the lake is expected to be cool enough to utilize during sizzling summer months. CDFW predicts water temperatures will exceed 78 degrees in the hatcheries – far too warm for the young trout and salmon to survive.

Throughout the fall and winter CDFW workers mark hundreds of thousands of steelhead trout at Nimbus Hatchery. Unique markings will enable biologists to evaluate what happens to the fish throughout their life cycle and how the drought conditions will ultimately affect each type of fish.

Fall and winter rains, if received in sufficient amounts, will cool water temperatures enough to allow both hatcheries to come back online and resume operations.

Governor Brown has called on all Californians to reduce their water use by 20 percent and prevent water waste – visit to find out how everyone can do their part, and visit  Drought.CA.Gov to learn more about how California is dealing with the effects of the drought.





Caples Lake Update


5lb mack handpainted Kastmaster

From our friends at Caples Lake Resort:

A 5-pound, 27-inch Mackinaw was caught  on June 13 by Paul Katosh from Kirkwood Ca.,

trolling at the Woods Creek inlet with a hand painted 1/8-ounce  Kastmaster.

Caples Lake is full; what a pleasant surprise in this drought year.

The Department of Fish and Game is scheduled to plant catchable trout  at Caples, Silver and  Woods Lakes this week and next.

Our marina is open 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for rentals of our 12- and 14-foot Gregor fishing boats with 8-HP, 4-stroke Honda motors, canoes, and kayaks.

Our Store is open 7:30 to 5:30 with bait, beverages, snacks, and fishing licenses.

Our nine cabins and six lodge rooms are available.

The Caples, Woods, Kirkwood and Silver lake campgrounds are all open.

For info and rates go to

Dave Foley

Large Yellowtail Could Be A Record

Bob Hoose with his record yellowtail.

Bob Hoose with his possible record yellowtail.


From our correspondent, Steve Carson:

Congratulations go out to Penn's Bob Hoose, who caught this pending IGFA line-class record 45.6-pound yellowtail on just 
12-pound test Dacron line on a Penn Fathom FTH12 reel, during 
the Tuna Club tournament last weekend off Oceanside.

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.”