Saturday, August 19, 2017

Trending Deeper Into Butt Creek

Butt Creek is a small stream located south of Lake Almanor that originates from Butt Mountain where it flows downstream to Butt Lake. I've visited this creek a few times before but never got the chance to truly explore it. The last time I visited the creek late last year I found some nice size brown trout that I was surprised to see in such a small stream. Excited about my discovery, I took the day to revisit and try to find these big brown beauties.

Butt Creekin'

Butt Creek shares similarities to many other volcanic creeks near Mount Lassen. Formed by mostly porous volcanic rock, this creek hosts many different species of aquatic insects. I found that there were three different distinct sections of Butt Creek: a meadow section, a valley section, and a canyon section. The first section I explore was the valley section off Humbug Road.

The valley section is the most accessible section of Butt Creek. Lined with willows and other native vegetation, this section is primarily composed of shallow riffles and runs with a few deep holes here and there. I caught a lot of small rainbow trout in this section that were quite interested in my hopper-dropper combo. From the most upstream bridge, I hiked downstream into the canyon section.

Butt Creek Bows

The canyon section began about two and a half miles downstream of where I started. There were a few diversion dams that kept showing up as I worked my way down the sloped canyon. These dams were great spots to fish since they all created nice big pools. I rose a few bigger fish but wasn't able to set the hook on any of them. All of the fish I caught were rainbows.

First Diversion Dam

I hiked further downstream and arrived at the famous Butt Lake powerhouse. Through the use of a large tunnel, water is diverted from Lake Almanor to Butt Lake where it reaches the powerhouse and generates electricity. Pond smelt that inhabit Lake Almanor are often ejected from the tunnel to Butt Lake where they become disorientated and fall prey to large browns and rainbows.

The powerhouse was running during my visit and there were plenty of pond smelt around however I didn't know the secret to catching fish in his spot. I tried stripping and dead-drifting streamers but wasn't able to entice any bites. My guess is to either fish early or late when the fish are feeding and use shiny minnow patterns. I will definitely return to this spot someday to try and figure it out.

Butt Lake Powerhouse

Butt Lake Pond Smelt

After a tiring hike back to my car I drove up to the meadow section. I was hoping that the water here would be deeper but it was the shallowest section that I explored this day. There were still fish around but they were all tiny rainbows. I quickly gave in and called it a day.

I've concluded that Butt Creek is definitely a small stream fishery and although I didn't find any brown trout it was neat to explore new waters. If your in the area I would suggest fishing Yellow Creek over Butt Creek since they are relatively close to each other. You just can't beat spring creek fly fishing.

Fish Of The Day

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