Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Butt Lake Hex & Middle Fork of the Feather River

Butt Lake

I've read and heard that the hex hatch happens on Butt Lake about two weeks before it starts on Lake Almanor. Prior to heading out I checked to see if there was an updated fishing report on the area from Lake Almanor Fly Fishing and to my surprise the report read that the hex hatch was beginning to happen. This would probably be my only chance this year to fish the hex hatch so I decided to give it a shot despite not exactly know what I'd find.

I personally believe that the hex hatch on Butt Lake is better than Lake Almanor. Not only is it easier to fish, it is also more tranquil. The most inconvenient aspect of fishing Butt Lake's hex hatch is the long dirt road to get to the dam where the hatch happens. The road is well-maintained however it is made of red clay dirt which gets everything dirty. There is also no official launch site which means you're going to have to carry your floating device down to the lake.

I arrived at the lake around 6:30pm and started fishing shortly after setting up all my gear. I noticed a few hex shucks in the water but not a whole lot. I used a Teeny 200 sink tip line that got the job done the last time however I wasn't able to hook any fish before the hex hatch started.

The hatch started at around 8:45pm after sunset. It was a very poor hatch that lasted about three minutes; I probably saw a total of twenty duns. The fish that were targeting the hex where only eating dries and they stopped soon after I was able to switch between my rods. The lack of hatch activity was possibly due to the cooler weather that day and the timing of the hatch. After the waddle of shame back to the car I contemplated on where I would spend my next fishing day.

MFFR Nelson Creek Access

Middle Fork Feather River
Although I wanted to explore and fish Butt Lake below the powerhouse generator I decided not to due to the drive. I instead decided to visit one of my favorite places that was within a ten minute drive, The Middle Fork of the Feather River.

I consider June on the Middle Fork to be the best month to fish it. The run-off is over and the water hasn't gotten too warm yet. I fished the Nelson Creek access and the fishing was excellent. The hot fly that the fish seemed to be keyed in on was the prince nymph. Every fish I caught nymphing was on this particular pattern.

Fish of the Day

Prince Eater

I've come to know the fish on the Middle Fork as aggressive wild trout. These fish will attack a streamer with no mercy therefore I always make sure to bring a versileader so that I can strip some streamers. I was not disappointed with my choice.

Lil Streamer Eater

I also explored Nelson Creek a bit further upstream. I've read that Nelson Creek can hold fish up to 16'' however I find this hard to believe. There seems to be a point in the creek where it becomes fishless despite all the beautiful runs and pools. My theory is that the creek blows out often during the run-off making it difficult for trout to inhabit therefore the fish that are found in the creek reside close to where the creek meets the Middle Fork of the Feather.

The Middle Fork of the Feather is an amazing fishery that seems to have changed very little despite the high water floods. The fish are all wild and you definitely have to work to find the good ones. I wish I could have spent more time on the river but I had to all to myself while I was there and what could be better than that.

Beautiful Middle Fork


  1. Just read your earlier post as well about the Middle Fork and was wondering about the Nelson Creek access-is there a well defined trail down the canyon to the river? Great blog, I have just started following it and reading some of your earlier posts.

    Thanks, Dan

    1. Yes there is a trail down to where Nelson Creek meets the Middle Fork but you'll have to do some wading and boulder hopping to get around the river. I've ventured about a mile in but it really depends on how high the water is. This time of year you're golden.