Fishing Naked With Big Daddy

Lake Almanor - CA (Plumas County)

Capt. Bryan Roccucci, Big Daddy Guide Service and Gary Heffley
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Big Daddy Guide Service

by Gary Heffley

Okay now that I have your attention and before anybody turns away and says, “I don't even want to see that”, I am talking about trolling the “naked worm” technique on Lake Almanor.

Along with my good friend Lou Hubert, we booked an opportunity to fish with Captain Bryan Roccucci of Big Daddy's Guide Service knowing that Bryan keeps the trout fishing and applicable techniques dialed in.  As a highly in-demand full time guide Bryan has that all important factor of time on the water that keeps him in tune with changes in the lake's trout movement, feeding changes, depth location and all the factors that will give his clients an optimal chance at success.  Add the fact that Bryan uses quality rods, reels and tackle for the task at hand, utilizes great electronics, has a comfortable, very safe boat and is an all around friendly good guy to fish with we were looking forward to a great day on the water.

Last year Lou and I found success with Bryan top line trolling plugs in early spring along the east shore of the Peninsula for a mixed bag of rainbows and browns along with a few smallmouth and a king salmon. This year found us fishing off the west side using the naked worm technique targeting rainbows.

While most worm anglers use flashers, dodgers or spinners as attractors when trolling crawlers, the naked worn is just that, a piece of nightcrawler on a hook, no hardware. Using a chain swivel to prevent line twists and a 4 to 5 foot leader with a basic bait holder hook, thread three quarters of a half of a mini crawler on the hook add a little dash of secret sauce of your favorite scent and drop the line.  Locate the depth of trout on the electronics to set the downrigger depth and make sure as with most all trolling to let out at least a hundred feet of line behind the boat;

Bryan had us hooked up before the third rod set up was in the water, while the sun was still below the eastern horizon. The first of many 3 pound rainbows was in the net and released back to the lake in short order.

Trolling four rods at varying depths at slow speed proved deadly as we enjoyed over 20 hook ups before noon, landing the majority and releasing them all.  I did have a brief case of the LRR  (long range releases) on a few nice fish, although Lou was not so inflicted landing all his opportunities. I cannot emphasize a slow trolling speed enough, noting that a number of hookups occurred when the boat slowed further to net and release fish.

What makes this technique really enjoyable is light tackle can and should be employed. You are fighting only the fish, not dragging the resistance of any hardware with it. The rainbows we caught were all full bodied and hard fighting.  The largest landed was well over 4 pounds although I am sure one of my unintentional LRR was surely bigger.  

Lake Almanor can consistently produce big trout year round with any day giving an angler a chance at the trout of a lifetime. Rainbows and browns over 6 pounds are always possible for skilled anglers or those utilizing the services of a knowledgeable guide like Bryan.  

Fishing and spending time on the water with good friends is always a great time and with Lou and Bryan the day could not have been better.

Bryan fishes not only Lake Almanor but also guides on Bucks Lake, Davis Lake and Eagle Lake seasonally as well as occasionally on request other regional waters. To book a trip with Bryan ( highly recommended) contact him through the Big Daddy's Guide Service website, or at 530-370-1001.

Gary Heffley has been a valued contributor to MyOutdoorBuddy for over 10 years serving as manager, sales representative and reporter for much of Northern California. He is an avid outdoorsman and loves to fish and write about his adventures. He has a long history in the Sporting Goods field and uses that extensive experience to impart his wisdom in his writing. 

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