A Guide’s Report: Fly Fishing in the Shadow of Shasta, May 2014

Paul McCloud dry fly RainbowWith low, ideal flows and perfect weather we are experiencing fantastic fly fishing in Northern California on all of our trout fisheries.   With the peak of our biggest hatches of the year just days away, we only expect the fishing to get better.  Salmonflies, Goldenstones, Mayflies big and small, as well as multiple hatches of caddis have been popping and with perfect weather in the forecast we expect this to only improve.   Wildflowers Tayler, McCloud Riverare in their full glory, with Dogwoods, Azaleas, Rhododenrons and Lilies lighting up the streamside vegetation.   We hope you can join us soon to wet a line, we feature the finest local guides in the north state and still have some availablility.

IMGP1553IMGP1572IMGP1556The Lower Sacramento River continues to produce good numbers of trout and incredibly high quality Rainbows for anglers of all abilities.  Flows remain low, clear and steady, at 8,000 cfs, a bit below the norm of 10,000 for this time of the year.  The weather has been terrific with the forecast calling for clear and pleasantly warm weather which we expect will get the summertime caddis in full swing and provide wrenching grabs from hot healthy fish looking to put on some weight after completing their spawn.  Hatches have been sparse but steady with some lingering Pale Morning Duns and small caddis.  The river has been fishing from Caldwell to Red Bluff but boat ramps have been noticeably busier on weekends than weekdays.

IMGP1559IMGP1578The Upper Sacramento is fishing well from top to bottom with ideal flows and our biggest and best hatches on the way.  Goldenstones have been out in good numbers and the fish are starting to look up.  A mixed caddis and mayfly hatch in the evening has produced some solid if not spectacular fishing and with steady warmer weather in the forecast we expect to see this action build.  Traffic on the Upper Sac has been very light on most days as this fishery is very under appreciated.  All techniques have been offering up fish provided you find the best water for each.  Try dries in the evening, fish dries and droppers or high stick pocket water all day and run indicators through classic runs morning and late in the day.  The water is at midsummer low levels and ultra clear so exercising maximum stealth is key.

IMGP1566IMGP1567IMGP1574The McCloud River  has been about as good as it gets.  We are enjoying outstanding numbers of fish and while most have been on the smaller size, there have been enough fish in the teens each day to keep anglers challenged.  While conditions are exceptional and the fish are feasting on the plethora of bugs that are coming off, the river has seen considerable pressure since the opening of the season in April.  Campgrounds at Ash Camp and Ah Di Na have been near capacity on weekends but have been clearing nicely midweek.  Flows on the McCloud are very low and ultra clear so the fishing has become quite technical.  Stealth is paramount, fishing water that has seen less pressure also helps as does fishing good imitations that these trout don’t see often.  Fly Fishers who know the river well and grasp this may catch dozens of fish a day, while those who are less experienced will find few. Even then experienced anglers will discover it is difficult to fool the larger, wary trout this river is famous for.  We have been enjoying this challenge and hope you do too!

Jerri enjoys another lunkerCraig, Fall RiverFishing on the Fall River has been improving steadily with hatches building and the dry fly fishing taking form.  On days when the wind lays down the dry fly fishing has been good.  Otherwise swinging nymphs and streamers along with dead drifting nymphs has produced well.  The majority of fish have been on the smaller size but spawners are returning in increasing numbers and good fish are coming to the net most every day, though a few of the biggest do manage to still get away.  The river is in great shape and the weeds are filling in nicely.  Fall River is in much better condition for this time in the season than it has been in the past two years.

Northern California Fly Fishing Guide George DurandJune will be your last opportunity to fish with George Durand as he will be retiring to a ranch in Idaho at the end of June.  If you have fished with George before you know what a great treat it is, if you haven’t you owe it to yourself to grab a date.  George is the consummate gentleman and fly fishing pro as he has enjoyed as many successful days guiding on the Fall River, Lower Sac and Trinity as most anyone and has taught a good number of the younger guides in the area how it is best done.  George still has a few dates available to guide the Fall River or Lower Sac on June 3,4,5,9,18,19,20, 23 & 24th.  Contact us now so you don’t miss out!

20140519_104629The Pit River has been smoking hot.  While Stoneflies and Mayflies will get grabbed Caddis have been coming off in clouds and the fish have been feasting.  We have some guide availability so if you have not experienced the new flow regime we recommend you schedule a date to learn the “new” river.  Nymphing with or without an indicator during the day has produced best with fish taking smaller bugs more often than the bigger bites but a few of our biggest fish have come on the larger stonefly patterns.  Get here now!

P1010002Salmonfly dry fly and Klamath River steelieSending her backStoneflies on the Klamath River popped early last week and we expect the dry fly fishing to take off with the warm weather this week which should make  the egg laying adults available on the surface.  Water clarity has been an issue again this spring with visibility running up to about two and half feet this last week which is poor even for the Klamath.  The Klamath is not known for great clarity, though this time of year it typically is at its best at four to five feet.  This will not help the dry fly bite as it makes it difficult for fish to look to the surface for your offering .

Flows on the other hand are quite low and very fishable, though those without experience drifting the Klamath can easily find themselves perched on midstream rocks.  The Irongate Hatchery, for the third season in a row, did not produce any steelhead smolts. They typically have released about 5,000 fish which in the past has provided not stop action on dry flies during this time of year.  Targeting spring run steelhead will be easier and along with juvenile wild fish and the few half pounders that have returned will provide the bulk of the action.   Considering these conditions, we don’t expect this spring will go down as  a banner year.

IMGP1564IMGP1561IMGP1560Paul, Upper McCloud RiverLocal creeks are accessible and fishing very well, we have enjoyed some outstanding days fishing dry flies with cane rods to eager fish, finding Browns, Rainbows and an occasional Brookie,  though they may be small, they are fun and good for the soul.  If you want to experience the feeling of being a kid again try fishing for these little gems on one of our incredible local creeks.  Many of these are fragile small streams that do not suffer pressure well so we will say no more.

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