Jon Baiocchi Reports on 6.8.20
Finally back with my other sweetheart. When you’ve been away from one of the most beautiful lakes found in the West for 7 months, it hits you deeply. What an awesome place. The most striking characteristic of this area to me is the bird life. Around the lake you’ll find Bald Eagles, Red Tailed hawks, Western Grebes, White Pelicans, Pie Billed Grebes, and Sandhill cranes. Among the conifers and deep forest, songbirds and warblers are thick like the Fox sparrow, Yellow-rumped warbler, and Western Wood-Pewees just to name a few. Super green native grasses, willows, and flowering Mule’s Ear encompass the lake’s basin. What a sight to behold. The weather was a bit extreme for June in the Northern Sierra, an encroaching low pressure system brought fierce strong winds that howled up to 35+ mph the entire time I was up there. Big water and waves ran from the South West shore up to the North Eastern shore of the lake. I’m always on edge when I have guests in my boat during such conditions because it’s SO gnarly, like an episode of Deadliest Catch. I’m really glad I have a safe boat that was designed for such conditions, the Lilly Bob, a Tracker Pro Deep V 16 that knows Lake Davis well. This morning at Lake Davis the low was 27 degrees with a few inches of snow. It looks like we’ll warm up again only to see a slight chance of showers and cooler weather for this coming weekend. With all that wind, it pushed many anglers off the water, and only the hardy toughed it out. Campgrounds are open and full, though the big shocker for me and many others was the increase in fees for day use areas and launching ramps. Daily use fees have gone from $6 to $10. Launching fees? Are you ready for this? One ramp access - $50, 2 ramp access - $70, unlimited ramps at Davis, Frenchman, Gold, and Bucks Lakes - $100. Oh, by the way…leave the checkbook at home as they are only taking cash.
The lake is at 76% of capacity, I like it from 60 to 70% as it offers more peninsulas, flats, and coves that offer better habitat and transition zones for the trout to thrive in. The good thing about the water level though is that Lightning Tree boat ramp is still usable. Water temperatures were 62 on Saturday morning. I expect it to drop a degree or two by this coming Monday. The current fishing condtions? Let’s start with the catching. Pretty good action on Thursday and Friday for my guests. Highlights included one rainbow at 24”, and two browns in the 16” range – That means those brownies have grown about 5 inches since last June when they were planted. With Lake Davis having one of the biggest bio masses for a western stillwater, it does not surprise me at all. Water clarity is a little off, mostly from the absurd amount of wind that has been hammering the lake. Weed growth is slow and most weed beds are dark in color, but very abundant. Many of the trout were hooked in 4 to 8 feet of water, and in deeper water they seem to favor the mid to upper water column, even late in the day. Stripping was the only game we played and did not bust out the indo rigs – For my guests, the tug is the drug. They’ll take that over watching the neon ball that owns you. Floating lines for the shallower water, and clear camo intermediates in the deeper water. Best tactic while in your tube or pontoon boat is using an intermediate line and covering water. Now for the bugs. The morning starts out with a good blood midge hatch with adults in a size 12. There is also many other smaller chironomids in the mix, most notably a size 14 in a pale olive color. The damsels have just started and with this cooler weather it will delay the peak of the hatch, I’m guessing the 3rd week of June or so. Damsel nymphs are dark in color right now in cocoa brown and dark olive. They have chameleon like traits and change colors to match the surrounding weed beds they live in. Camouflaging themselves within the surrounding environment is their only defense against predators like Dragon fly nymphs, Kirby’s backswimmers, sunfish, bass, and trout. Callibaetis spinners are also on the water’s surface, but the few days I was out there, the hatch was sparse at best, and not very many duns on the water. That will change.
Lastly, I found my first Hexagenia mayfly of the season which is always a treat to show my guests that has never seen one before. If you’re really serious about fishing this novelty hatch, go to Lake Alamnor, Butt Lake, or the Fall River. It’s just a better game at those areas. I use to guide this hatch heavily at Lake Almanor when I started my guide service in 1997, and I learned so much back then being on the water learning both the insect’s behavior, as well as the trout. The nymph is your best bet if you want numbers of trout, and you can start fishing it in the late afternoon when the bugs slowly wiggle their way up towards the upper water column from their homes in the clay. I’m currently at the lake with an 11 day run of trips and will post a fresh report in a week or so. Spring and early summer Lake Davis trips are filled up. I have 9 days available in Late September, and 14 days in October. If we get good weather into November I’ll be there, and my calendar at this time is wide open. Shoot me an email if you want in - firstname.lastname@example.org See ya out there…