I have not posted a report for a while as I have recently returned from a trip swinging flies for steelhead in British Columbia. While the Skeena system is considered mecca for the serious steelhead flyfisher, the weather in BC was much like steelheading here on the northcoast in winter, wet and cold. Returning home to spectacular weather, fall colors and outstanding fishing has made me appreciate the place I live and fish more than ever, there is no place like home.
Despite the much dreaded drought conditions local rivers are holding up well. The Klamath is cold and as clear as we’ve ever seen it and we’ve found it’s first push of steelhead. The Upper Sac and McCloud have cold flows and active fish, the Fall River continues to produce on dries, nymphs and streamers, the Rogue is as consistently good as we’ve ever seen it, and the Lower Sac has been outstanding with perhaps even better fishing on the way as Chinook Salmon prepare to spawn and drop eggs.
Fall, particularly October and November is our busiest time of year and this year is no exception. While guides’ calendars are nearly full, we do still have some openings. We’ve had a number of requests recently and had to turn folks away, so to help you plan your fall trip, below is a list of current guide availability. We don’t expect these dates to last long so contact us at your earliest convenience to schedule a trip with the finest local guides.
Lower Sacramento River: October 10-12, 17-18, 31. November 15, 21-24, 29.
Upper Sacramento River: October 9, 17-18, 21. November 19-25, 27-30.
Fall River: October 16-18, 23, 27. November 4-6, 11-13.
Klamath River: October 17-20, 23. November 18, 20-24, 28-30.
Rogue River: October 19-20. November 23.
Scott River Lodge: We still have one opening for 1 or 2 anglers November 16-19th
The Upper Sacramento River has been fishing well top to bottom with a higher percentage of large fish in the lower and middle river but higher numbers of fish upstream. Early in the day when both air and water temps are cool we have had success nymphing mostly with small and tiny flies. Later in the day we have switched to dry flies with droppers with satisfying results. LBT’s (little black things) have been the most productive as fish fill up on black midge larva this time of year but some hatches of small mayflies as well as a few caddis get eaten as well.
Flows on the Upper Sac are low and clear, 186 cfs at Delta, which makes wading and fishing pocket water as easy as it gets. Flows out of the bottom of Lake Siskiyou dam and are supplemented by cold springs so upsteam water is cold year round. Below Simms the hottest days of summer can raise the water temp but currently temps are peaking comfortably in the upper fifties and lower sixties and we expect they will only get lower with the coming of cooler weather this week. A few October Caddis have popped with the bulk of this hatch scheduled to go off after the first hard frost. Stay tuned!
The Lower McCloud has had some silting issues of late with the river fluctuating between clear with great fishing and unfishable. This week the clarity was around two to three feet. The norm when we see these events is for the river to take days or weeks to clear but remain clear rather than fluctuating so much, best to drop us a line to check on conditions before making the drive into the McCloud River canyon. When the river has cleared our best success has been with small flies hung below droppers and nymphing the bigger water with small mayfly, midge and caddis patterns.
Current conditions are still fishable, though challenging to get around. The fish are much less wary with the low clarity so large bright indicators, heavier tippets and larger flies do not spook fish making it easier to hook fish (particularly larger ones) for less experienced anglers. Streamer specialists hope for this kind of bonanza which gives them a chance to target the larger fish, including some sizable Browns though catch rates can be signifcantly reduced. Flows at Ah Di Na are a bit above 200 cfs which is ideal to access all of the stream crossings and pocket water.
The fishing on Fall River continues to hold up well with few folks around. Sparse hatches and fussy fish have made nymphing and swinging the most productive methods. It is 7X season which means getting them to eat is not always the end of your challenges. Fishing, particularly with dry flies will likely improve with cooling temps and increased mayfly activity over the coming weeks.
The Lower Sacramento River has been fishing fair to good with the fishing improving over the past few weeks as temperatures have moderated from the hundred plus we had a few weeks ago. Cooler temps on the way along with spawning salmon will hopefully spark the bite even more. Fish are podded so searching efficiently and skipping unproductive water to find the pods is key. Most fish have come on small and tiny mayfly nymphs with a few caddis mixed in. The bite has been soft, fish are sipping the bugs like a martini rather than guzzling them like a beer. This can be very frustrating as the fish will often offer a handshake and nothing more, no kiss, dance or picture. Those with keen eyes and quick hook sets fair a bit better than those of us who enjoyed our athletic prowess decades ago. As salmon move in and drop eggs the bite will become easier and the biggest fish in the river move from their lairs into vulnerable lies downstream from spawning salmon. Flows are steady at 6,830 cfs with no scheduled releases at this time.
Now is the time to plan a trip on the Klamath or Rogue River for fall steelhead fishing. The steelhead have arrived and we are finding fairly consistent results, particularly on the Rogue. We have guides that swing flies with two handed rods as well as guides who nymph along with those who feature both. Fall is our busiest season so we recommend you schedule early for the best availability. We hope to see you soon, drop us a line if you are headed our way, we are always happy to share all we can whether you are seeking guide service or not.