I finally got up to Lake Davis to host the Gold Country Fly Fishers for their 3 day fish out last week, and just as I suspected the usual culprits of a high and cold water year were not favorable for good fishing. The lake is 97% of capacity. The fuller Lake Davis is, the less coves, peninsulas, and fertile shallows there are. Weed beds are also extremely deep as the water levels rose during late winter into spring. Surface water temps are already at 67 degrees rising to 70 during the heat of the day. Not very many hatches with good numbers at all. Just a few blood midges and Callibaetis, but there were many smaller midges in the morning and evening. On our second day I started to notice freshly hatched damsel adults on the top branches of submerged willows that are lining the shoreline. I did not see any damsels swimming, and I’m thinking they were emerging undetected in the willows crawling up the branches underwater. A few Hexes emerged in the evening near Honker Cove on the east side of lake but the rainbows, birds, and bats were nowhere to be seen. I have seen this type of scenario before both at Lake Davis and Lake Almanor in the last 3 decades. Late hatches of Damsels or the Hex, yet the surface temps are so warm that the trout prefer to stay in their deeper air conditioned restaurants down below off the first major ledge and feed on the nymphs. All of the fish that were being caught were down 20 to 25 feet. Full sinking express lines and slip bobbers were the tools to get the grabs. Sheep Creek Specials, Zebra Midges, and Albino Winos were the effective flies.
Ca DFW has made 3 plants of 18,000 pounds of Eagle Lake Rainbows since May, both catchable and sub catchable. This fall should fish well once the water cools down, and by that time the shallows will be full of aquatic insect life and much more fertile. If DFW keeps up on the planting schedule we could see Lake Davis near her former glory like in years past. I’m looking forward to seeing the most beautiful lake in Northern California rebound and provide my fellow fly anglers some positive stillwater experiences. See you out there in the future and the autumn sunshine.