Lake Almanor Area Chamber of Commerce
My Day as a Fly Fishing Companion
by Carolyn Stillman on October 4th, 2010

It’s a great time of year to go out in the woods around the Lake Almanor Basin! We had a special reason to go exploring the back country when my husband’s friend came for a visit this last week. Dr. John Stafford arrived from Houston, Texas along with his faithful companion, Spooky, a purebred Weimeraner. John and Jim have known each other for over sixty years…went to school together and were in the same Boy Scout troop in Houston. What fun!

John is an avid fly fisherman so Jim planned to take him to some of the local streams. I didn’t go along for the first trip when they went to Yellow Creek. Before undertaking the day’s jaunt they went to The Lake Almanor Fly Fishing Company on Main Street in Old Town Chester for gear and information. Then suitably armed they headed west on the dusty by-ways to Yellow Creek. They didn’t have a lot of luck in the fishing department but had a grand time enjoying the woods and talking of old times and old friends.

The next day I got to go too. Not being much of a fly fisherman I carried a book and a folding chair. This time the route went north out of Chester along the North Branch of the Feather River. After a time, we left the paved road and took a bumpy, dirt track further into the forest. We pulled off at a rough campground on River Loop to check out the fishing possibilities there. Turned out the trail to the water was too steep and rocky for John to negotiate.

We visited with a couple of guys who’d been camping there for two weeks. They’d seen a mama bear with two cubs but she didn’t raid the neat campsite…just investigated briefly and moved along with her babies.

Leaving River Loop we backtracked to Warner Valley Road and after 1.1 miles arrived at a campground with picnic tables overlooking Warner Creek. I broke out our lunch and we enjoyed an al fresco meal. Continuing on for four miles, we came to a one lane bridge over Warner Creek. There was a nice flat shaded area to park just before crossing the bridge. The men gathered up their fishing gear and I took my book and chair and followed them to the creek.

I found a grand place to sit by the rushing stream and sighed with pleasure at the view. Golden leaves from the cottonwood trees on the bank fluttered gracefully to the water and floated like little yellow boats down the stream. I sat next to the bridge and was reminded of playing “Pooh Sticks” with my sisters as a child. We’d launch a stick into the water on one side of the bridge and then scurry to the other side to see whose stick was fastest. A pair of chipmunks chased each other tirelessly over the rocks on the other side of the creek. I found I was just too fascinated with my surroundings and listening to the music of the water rampaging over the rocks to read my book.

Jim caught two small trout and his thumb, and after a wonderfully pleasant time we gathered up our things and headed back down Warner Valley Road to Chester. How fortunate we are to be close enough to enjoy these wonderful outdoor treasures in just a short trip! We puzzle over why we don’t do it more often.

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