Collins Lake Fishing Report

Collins Lake - Browns Valley, CA

Collins Lake Fishing Report

by Collins Lake Staff

Collins Lake is planning for another extended planting season, conditions permitting starting the week of October 24th. Even during last year’s historic drought we reached the target surface temperature of 68°F by second week of October so we are optimistic that this year we will be able to get a few trout plants in during October.

Aside from starting earlier we really didn’t see a reason to stop planting through the winter. Even if we don’t get the same crowds on the shoreline that we do during Spring plants it will help with the distribution of fish throughout the rest of the lake. At the end of the day any trout that winters over will be bigger and better acclimated by spring- and weather notwithstanding, there are plenty of great fishing days in a typical November or December.

We are also excited to introduce, for the first time at Collins Lake, Golden Rainbow Trout AKA “Lightning Trout”. We have had requests from anglers for several years to stock Mt. Lassen Trout Farm’s Lightnings, and folks, the time is now. Immediately identifiable by their golden coloring and distinctive red stripe, Lightning Trout are a beautiful fish with a good fight and excellent flavor with meat similar to salmon. They flash when you fight.

Not to be mistaken with Golden Trout, the first “Golden Rainbow Trout”, a female, was discovered in 1955 in West Virginia. The result of an apparent genetic mutation, her eggs were carefully harvested and bred, eventually reproducing her signature coloring and subsequently released to the public in 1963. There are a couple other stories of trout with similar coloring but found, named, and selectively bred in other locations. Since then, decades of careful nurture and selective breeding have produced Mt. Lassen’s Lightning Trout.

While they don’t produce a literal electric charge I have been told by more than a couple anglers that Lightning Trout fight harder than the average rainbow- and while I have yet to put it to the test myself, it has been suggested that the selective breeding of Golden Rainbows for recreational sport fishing and/or simply genetic hybrid vigor could explain their strength and behavior.

At least I can say I am excited to go find out. What do you think?

Our tentative planting schedule starts in the second half of October and is currently scheduled through January:

  • 2,000 pounds during the week of 10/24 – 10/28
  • 1,000 pounds during the week of 10/31 – 11/4
  • 1,000 pounds during the week of 11/7 – 11/11
  • 2,000 pounds during the week of 11/14 – 11/18
  • 1,000 pounds during the week of 11/21 – 11/25
  • 1,000 pounds during the week of 12/5 – 12/9
  • 1,000 pounds during the week of 12/19 – 12/23
  • 1,000 pounds during the week of 1/9 – 1/13

(Tentative, Subject to change)

In January we hope to continue weekly plants right through Spring, as long as temperatures allow, usually into the beginning of May. We’ll post updates as we get closer to 2023. Each of the 2000 pound plants will include 500 pounds of Trophy Lightning Trout.

Make sure to send your Collins Lake catch pictures in to (full size if you can!). We’d love to include your story in our fishing report and share it with NorCal fishing publications. Can’t wait to see those Lightning Trout!


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