We have a Plumas National Forest – Special Use Permit to guide fly fishing trips on Frenchman Reservoir and Little Last Chance Creek. This is required of all guides that use these waters for guiding purposes.
Located near the small town of Chilcoot, CA, Frenchman’s Reservoir has been an outstanding stillwater fishery for many, many years. The locals consider it one of the most underrated fly fishing destinations in the area. Frenchman’s provides good numbers of very strong, healthy rainbow trout ranging from 12 -20 inches.
Frenchman’s Reservoir is open year-round and is only un-fishable during a few of the winter months due to ice on the lake and impassable roads. Early every spring, usually sometime in March, the lake starts to thaw and the fly fishing opportunities begin. The lake can be accessed from a motorized boat, float tube, pontoon boat or by simply wading the shoreline.
As soon as the ice is gone, small black size 18 Chironomids start to hatch and can be seen throughout most of the year. In early May, larger blood midges in size 10-12 start to appear. These hatches can be very prolific. Midge patterns fished under an indicator is a very effective technique, however, some of the more experienced locals fish a floating line, a very long leader without an indicator and vary their retrieves.
In May and September, the lake can have great Callibaetis hatches. Callibaetis nymph patterns fished with an intermediate line or a sink tip along weed bed edges are very effective. This can also be a great time to fish dries.
As water temperatures warm sometime in late June, the Damsels start to migrate. They can be seen in shallow water throughout much of the summer. A floating line with a 4x 12 foot leader and a couple of unweighted damsel patterns in size 14 is a very effective technique.
In the fall as cold weather approaches, snails and leaches become the main food sources for the fish. Staynor Ducktails, sheep creek specials, and cinnamon buggers are the flies of choice. An intermediate or a sink tip line and a 9 ft 3x or 4x leader will do to trick. Stronger tippet becomes necessary due to more aggressive grabs.