It has been more hazy than smoky in Mount Shasta recently, with the wind blowing the smoke in from the nearby fires on some days and away from us on other days. Visibility has remained above ten miles in Mt Shasta throughout and there have been no health warnings. Ashland, Medford and Redding have not fared quite as well with some days of less than five miles of visibility, but both have been over ten miles the past week or so. We only have one fire close to the area, on the north side of The Mountain, near the tiny community of Tennant and it is very small at under 60 acres. A link to current fire conditions can be found at: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/state/5/
Fishing has been fair to good with numerous inquiries and interest in flows, fires and water temps this year. The amount of misinformation continues to baffle us. Most all of our rivers are tailwaters and/or have base flows from springs so the only issues we have this year are ones that we experience every season at this time. The lower section of the Upper Sacramento River can get into the upper sixties or even low seventies in the afternoon during hot spells and so we avoid it. The same goes for the Pit River, in addition PG&E sent us notice that the Pit 5 whitewater releases will occur on the weekend of September 12-13, 2015. Target flows for the Pit 5 Reach for September 12 and 13 will be 1,200 cfs. Releases will be made from 10 AM to 4 PM on those dates and will be ramped down between the Saturday and Sunday. Every season we have also closed our guiding on the Klamath River July 4th (or earlier) and opened again in September or early October when water temps drop enough to safely catch and release wild steelhead. If you are fishing on your own and are in doubt, it is simple to check the water temps with an inexpensive thermometer. If temps are in the upper sixties or lower seventies, we recommend finding another place to fish .
The Rogue River just outside of Ashland and Medford has been the place to be on the west coast this season. A good number of fish have arrived early, conditions are ideal with cold clear water and the catch rate has been exceptional as a result. No need to wait until October to schedule your steelhead trip this year. We have a few great local guides we feature who’s specialty is swinging with two handed rods. If you are experienced you will appreciate their expertise, if you are not experienced they are great teachers who can get you started right. Craig has taken a few trips to sample the fishing including a recent one with local guide Brandon Worthington and found a hot hen on a Pale Peril.
The Upper Sacramento River has been low and crystal clear all season and as a result the fish have seen it all. There continues to be fair hatches early and late in the day with some heads popping up here and there but the fishing is tough and technical. One sloppy cast and the whole pod typically goes down. For this fishing we have brought out the long leaders and 6X tippet, tying on small caddis in the am, PED’s in the eve. We have nymphed early and late in the day, fished some dry dropper rigs through pockets and fast water and found some fish but they have been mostly small. There do not seem to be a large number of fish around this year in the lower and mid teens though we have managed to find more than our share in the upper teens and lower twenties. Do avoid the lower river as discussed above, perhaps at Pollard Flat and below, during the heat of the day until air temps and water temps drop.
The Lower Sacramento River has been fishing quite well if you manage to find the right day. On hot days (over 100) the bugs tend to be more active and as a result so are the fish. On cooler days the fishing is more enjoyable but the bite isn’t, well…quite as hot. As we move into fall, the weather will cool overall with the result that bugs will still need to hatch, fish will need to feed and you can catch them in comfortable weather. Much ballyhoo followed the reopening of the river between the Posse Ground and Highway 44 with some reporting amazing fishing for big fish “because the fish were rested”. While this was the case it was not as dramatic as many folks looking to fill guide dates made it out to be. Many of these folks are the same ones who drift trout egg patterns through Rainbow spawning beds in the spring for the trophies that spawn in this section of the river and claim they are fishing “sucker spawn”. We have lobbied for a spring closure on this prime section of spawning habitat for over a decade to protect the wild spawning Rainbows (our biggest competitor voiced opposition to this year’s closure), and fortunately this season some endangered spring Chinook caused the closure and protected at least the late spawning trout as well.
The McCloud has recently cleared from a silting event, and in the public water ,the clarity is a bit less than a foot and a half. With water knee deep you can see the top of your foot but not the bottom, as a result wading is a challenge. Some guide services have reported better clarity (two feet or more) but they have been fishing on private water downstream of public access or are offering up hearsay. The bite has been good on small dark nymphs with no particular pattern working noticeably better than others. With this clarity the river is much less technical as you can get very close to prime lies without spooking fish. The seasoned angler who knows the river well will be at a disadvantage while the beginner or intermediate who is athletic in their wading skills will do nearly as well as the “expert” in these conditions. We’ve been out with several beginners recently and they had exceptional days, landing a number of fish, mostly small as the bigger ones they could hook in these conditions still most often managed to get away.
The Fall River continues to fish consistently well. Fishing nymphs (both dead drifting and swinging) and streamers have produced best as dry fly fishing has been spotty at most. On many days you can have a run to yourself. As always the fishing is technical with 6X and even 7X the rule. As weather cools and hatches build the dry fly fishing should improve.
Lake Siskiyou continues to be a sleeper for smallmouth bass and a few trout. The Hex hatch is done but the topwater action with small poppers and stripping buggers has been a hoot. Great for the whole family, it is ideal for swimming and getting in your last trip of the summer.
Feel free to drop us a line for the latest fishing conditions if you are considering heading this way.