Fishing Reports

Current information on river flows, fishing conditions, fly selection, and closures for Northern California including the Upper and Lower Sacramento River, the Klamath River, the McCloud River, the Pit River, the Trinity River, and Hat Creek.
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Shasta Trout Fly Fishing guides holiday report

Frank swings up some bright chrome on his third cast of the day!Happy Holidays! Klamath, Trinity, Upper & Lower Sacramento Rivers December 15, 2013 We had a record breaking two day storm hit late last week blowing out everything except the Klamath River which continues to amaze us with both numbers and the size of steelhead this season.   As a result several of our guests enjoyed the best steelhead fishing of their lives.  The Trinity, Lower  Sacramento & Upper Sacramento rivers blew out completely with the Upper Sac raising from a couple thousand cubic feet per second (555 cfs is the median) to 30,000 cfs overnight.  Fortunately the water in Dunsmuir stayed within the banks and no major damage was reported. Flows have dropped significantly in the past few days and with only a few smaller storms in the forecast fishing should return to normal winter conditions.  The Lower Sacramento River continues to experience silting from Lake Shasta and it could be sometime before it clears more than the foot or two we have had.  The Trinity started fishing fair to good prior to the storm and could be a good bet for those wishing to visit during the holidays as flows drop and clear. Flows Flows from Iron Gate on the Klamath have been very low, clear and steady at 950 cfs which is half the norm.  Water clarity has been three to five feet which has created ideal conditions and an exceptional bite.  Flows on the Trinity  have remained at 300 cfs at Lewiston, which is the norm but blew up to 5,500 during the storm at Junction City.  Flows have dropped back to  792 cfs at Junction City with the norm at 500.  With showers in the forecast for the rest of the week and sun on the horizon for the weekend and next week, we hope to experience some fresh fish and a much improved bite. Releases out of Keswick on the Lower Sac are currently at  4,000 cfs, dropping from 8,000 on December 11th, with flow changes scheduled to drop to 3,250 tomorrow.  The mean is 5,790 and the median 8,190 cfs so the fish will packed tight. Prior to the storm fishing was just fair with poor days outnumbering great days as water clarity has ranged from 1-3 feet (wind was an issue as well) though a few nice fish were found. Fishing Conditions IMGP2020IMGP2014IMGP2024On the Klamath, both nymphers and swingers have been enjoying great steelhead fishing.  Several large fish have shown recently, which is typical this time of year, thound  most adult steelhead are running in the 2 to 5 lb range.  We are only finding a few half pounders remaining but they have been bright and hot!  The word is out so the river has seen more than its share of traffic.  For those nymphing, legs and eggs have been the top producers.  Swinging flies continues to find fish,  last week (prior to the storm) we even hooked a fish on a Muddler fished on an intermediate tip and raised a fish to a foam skater!   We have primarily gone to sink tips with small leech and Intruder style patterns.  For details on tactics, techniques and flies, check out our post on Fly Fishing the Klamath in Winter, first published in California Fly Fisher magazine. The good news is that with one of the better run in years, and this big storm the tough technical fishing on the Trinity is a thing of the past.  More water usually means fresh fish which tend to be better biters.  With only a few light storms in the forecast the fish should get back on the grab and we could be seeing some great days coming this winter as well.   Eggs, stonefly nymphs, PT's and Copper Johns have all found fish.  A few folks swung successfully for fish just before the storm. photo3The Upper Sacramento River blew out bigger than most can imagine. Flows have already dropped significantly and with colder weather and only light storms flows should drop and stabilize making the river fishable over the holidays.   For more on fishing the Upper Sac in Winter check out our articles first published in California Fly Fisher, Winter Angling on the Upper Sac Year Round Angling on the Upper Sac. The Lower Sac continues to be a hit and miss affair with poor water clarity and low flows.  The great days of fall have passed and the winter bite will be tighter. We are looking forward to some fair weather next week would should improve the fishing, perhaps more than the catching, but a sunny day on the Lower Sac and a few fish to net is always a great escape from the craziness the holidays can sometimes bring. Wishing you and yours a very happy holiday season.  For the latest on conditions please drop us a line.  We are always happy to point you in a direction you might enjoy whether you are seeking guide service or not, we hope to see you soon!

Klamath, Trinity, Upper & Lower Sacramento River Fly Fishing Guide’s Report

IMGP1980December 2, 2014 This fall has been unseasonably warm and drippy, exactly the weather diehard steelhead anglers wish for.  As a result the fishing as well as the catching on the Klamath River has been exceptional with many of our regular guests enjoying their best days ever for both numbers and size of fish.  We still have a few guide dates available before the holidays get in full swing, drop us a line for availability! Fishing on the Lower Sac, Trinity, and Upper Sac on the other hand has been more challenging, particularly for less experienced anglers as conditions have become quite technical, with low water and crowds on the Trinity, sparse hatches of small and tiny bugs on the Upper Sac and cloudy water from Shasta Lake at times spoiling the Lower Sac. SRLIrishFlows Flows from Iron Gate on the Klamath have been very low and steady at 950 cfs which is half the norm.  Water clarity has been three to five feet which has created ideal conditions and an exceptional bite.  Flows on the Trinity  have remained at 315 cfs at Lewiston, which is the norm but only 405 cfs at Junction City, so the low, crystal clear water is causing steelhead to sit in tanks with a very soft bite despite decent return numbers for Steelhead this season.  With wet weather on the horizon and hopefully some significant precipitation to move some fish, we expect conditions to change and hope to experience the same kind of epic days several guests enjoyed earlier this fall.  We do have some guide availability so drop us a line. Releases out of Keswick on the Lower Sac have been low and steady around 4,000 cfs with some flow changes scheduled dropping to 3,600 today and 3,400 on December 8th.  The mean is 5,540 and the median 8,270 cfs so the fish are packed tight and very wary.    A great concern is the water clarity which has been varying from a foot to 3 or 4 feet at best.  Our guests recently enjoyed some spectacular days fishing egg patterns behind a few remaining spawning salmon we found, otherwise tiny nymphs have been the ticket particularly on the few days we've seen with fair hatches.  We've skipped the days (rescheduled trips) when the  clarity dropped and bugs are sparse but heard the bite has been tough.    Flows at Delta on the Upper Sac jumped this week from 250 and are currently at 405 cfs, which is still quite low.  Water temps are in the forties so the bite has been best midday.  This is the time of year we target large fish, it is technical and can be good fun for those interested in learning how to stalk and catch the biggest fish in the river. 2014-10-24 14.59.48photo 5IMGP1991Fishing Conditions On the Klamath, anglers of all levels have been enjoying multiple steelhead days, but the solitude we typically experience has been lost as the word is out.  To preserve the experience we have spent a good deal of time on beats downriver from the Irongate dam reach.  Most adult steelhead have been running 2 to 5 lbs but several fish in the the larger range have shown recently along with a few hearty half pounders each day.   For those nymphing, legs and eggs have been the most consistent producers but later in the day when it warms some fish have been taking small nymphs as well.  Swinging flies has been quite good including a good number of fish on floating lines.   Sink tips with small leech and Intruder style patterns will become the top producers as temperatures cool.  On more than one occasion jigged or retrieved flies have out fished those swung slow and deep.  For details on tactics, techniques and flies, you might like to check out our post on Fly Fishing the Klamath in Winter, first published in California Fly Fisher magazine. DSCF3814Fishing this fall on the Trinity was fair to good for the most seasoned anglers, but poor for those less familiar with the river.  With low, cold crystal clear water fish have "tanked" so even when you get the fish to take the bite has been soft. The biggest problem has not been a lack of fish, but the lack of rainfall so the fish are not moving and stale as a result.  The good news is that with steelhead in the system, warm temps and a few storms in the forecast the fish should get back on the grab and we could be seeing some great days coming this winter as well.   Eggs, stonefly nymphs, PT's and Copper Johns have all found fish.  Swinging successfully for fish recently has been difficult at best. Trophy Upper Sac Rainbow in winterAfter a spectacular fall season, the Upper Sacramento River has slowed,  and is now more of a midday affair nymphing and hoping to find a good hatch of Blue Winged Olives.  Nymphing the slow water in the biggest runs has been the most productive.  Finding productive runs and utilzing stealth to target trophy fish has been key.  With the dripping weather we are hoping to find some dry fly fishing opportunities utilizing our favorite dry dropper rig.  For more on fishing the Upper Sac in Winter check out our articles first published in California Fly Fisher, Winter Angling on the Upper Sac Year Round Angling on the Upper Sac. IMGP1927Since the peak of the egg bite and Salmon spawning has passed, fishing on the Lower Sac has been a bit of a hit and miss affair with fair days outnumbering the great days.  The great days have been worth waiting for as some of our best fish of the season show this time of year.  We found a few pods of late spawning salmon last week and the fishing was epic.  Otherwise, hatches of mostly Blue Wing Olives have been sparse and unpredictable, if and when you find them they are also a bit technical as the bugs are tiny and the fish just sip them making hooking and landing the trophy trout that eat this time of season a challenge. For the latest on conditions please drop us a line.  We are always happy to point you in a direction you might enjoy whether you are seeking guide service or not.  Wishing you and yours the very best of holiday seasons, we hope to see you soon!

Fly Fishing Guide Reports: the McCloud, Upper & Lower Sac, Pit, Fall Rivers & Hat Creek

IMGP1846Northern California fly fishing report, September 15, 2014 The weather has been spectacular and we have been enjoying the final days of summer wet wading our local freestones to nymph and cast dry flies and droppers to fat feisty trout, taking a break to gorge on juicy blackberries, and chasing the hatches on Fall River and Hat Creek while anxiously awaiting our favorite color which is Fall.  Flows on local rivers are low but cooled from springs and fishing in the shadow of Shasta has been much better than the remainder of the state suffering from drought.  The leaves are just beginning to show a hint of color in Mount Shasta and the earliest runs of salmon and steelhead on their epic journey to the Klamath, Trinity and Lower Sacramento Rivers are just arriving. Reports of large numbers of fish downstream have us anxiously anticipating a stellar steelhead season. We hope you are able to get away to join us soon to sample the seasons as they unfold. IMGP1739IMGP1852IMGP1853The 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.  We even encountered a sparse hatch of Green Drakes recently which got some fish looking up at our #12 Parachute dry we were using to present small beadhead droppers in some pocket water, runs and riffs.  This is typically a spring hatch so was a very welcome surprise! IMGP1709IMGP1712IMGP1728Flows on the Upper Sac are as low and clear as we've seen them, 157 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! IMGP1843The Lower McCloud has had some silting issues of late with the river fluctuating between clear with great fishing and unfishable.  Today the clarity was around two feet, you could not see your feet if you waded above your knees.  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 at 200 cfs which is ideal to access all of the stream crossings and pocket water. The Upper McCloud is also very low and ultra clear making fish quite vulnerable to catch and keep anglers.  A few fish can still be found in some tucked away places if you search them with a dry or dry dropper, but overall fishing has been fair or poor. The Pit River continues to fish well for adventurous willing souls.  We have done best nymphing with fish taking a variety of bugs.  We have had success with rubberlegs as well as small and tiny standard beadhead nymph patterns hung below them.  Fishing has been a bit on and off during the day, slow for a run or two but when you find a run when the grab is on it can make your day.  Flows are at the new norm except for this weekend when they will be ramped up to 1200 CFS for one of the annual whitewater weekends. 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.  A few Tricos have shown on the upper river and some Callibaetis in the lower river have brought some heads to the surface but 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. IMGP1745IMGP1746The 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.  Even cooler temps this week 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 dropped to 6,000 cfs on September 11th (8,000 is the norm) with no scheduled releases at this time. One of our guides enjoyed an evening hatch of Tricos on Hat Creek last week where fishing has only been fair otherwise.  As temps cool and fall hatches get started we will be looking for fish to get more active. Now is the time to plan a trip on the Klamath or Trinity for fall steelhead fishing.  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.

Update: Fires & Fly Fishing in Shasta/Burney & Southern Oregon

Dry fly time on the Upper Sacramento RiverAugust 7, 2014 The worst of the smoke has cleared in the past two days in the Shasta, Fall River and Burney areas and fishing continues to be fair to good on most local streams with the exception of Hat Creek being closed.  In fact on Tuesday, a guest enjoyed perhaps the best evening of dry fly fishing local guide Craig Nielsen has seen on the Upper Sacramento River all season. A colorful Upper Sacramento River dry fly summertime RainbowBlue skies have returned and air quality has improved to ten miles or more of visibility in the Mt. Shasta, Fall River, Yreka and Southern Oregon areas with conditions perhaps a bit worse in the Hat Creek and Burney area.  A Ranger at the Hat Creek station described blue skies and visibilities to all the surrounding mountains this afternoon. Reports from guides on Fall and Pit Rivers is that fishing continues to be good, again with the exception of Hat Creek which is closed, silt in the McCloud reducing clarity to two feet, and Pit 5 which is suffering from 70 degree water temps, much too high to catch and release wild Rainbow Trout safely.  Highway 89 is currently closed southbound at the junction with 299 and Highway 299 is closed to nonresidents at Johnson Park.  Best to double check on lodging reservations in the Fall River/ Burney area before you leave home as the majority are in use by firefighters. A link to current fire conditions can be found at: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/state/5/  Feel free to drop us a line for the latest fishing conditions if you are considering heading this way.

Fly Fishing the McCloud River remains cloudy

Carrie's McCloud RainbowAugust 7, 2014 Fly Fishing on the McCloud River remains cloudy as the river continues to suffer from an infusion of silt from Mud Creek. Folks have been calling so we thought we'd update you on conditions. Turbid McCloud River Below Ash Camp ShastaTrout fly fishing guides have cancelled trips until conditions improve.  While the river is fishable, reports two days ago at Ash Camp were that water clarity remained at perhaps a foot and a half or two feet.   The gauging station near Lake Shasta is showing very low levels of siltation.  One good bit is that not much stealth is required and fishing pressure has been nonexistent.  While catch rates are typically low in these conditions, anglers get shots at some of the larger fish including this one a few seasons ago under similar conditions by Carrie, a guest on a trip with local guide Rick Cox.  Do stay tuned.  Feel free to drop us a line for the latest.