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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Guide’s Shasta Area Fishing Report

Klamath River dry fly steelheadJune 11th In the past week I've had the opportunity to sample the fishing on several rivers in the shadow of Shasta, including the McCloud, Upper Sacramento, Lower Sacramento and the Klamath Rivers and found good fishing on each.  I had one session with a guest who, without moving his feet,  hooked a dozen fish on a dry fly and landed eight, all in the teens, amazing!  It doesn't get much better.  We also enjoyed a few evening sessions casting to pools of boiling fish.  The wet weather over the last couple days has dampened the surface action but with the forecast calling for a warm up, I expect the dry fly fishing to heat up again as well. IMG_0137.JPGIMGP0001IMGP0005I've also been swinging skated flies on the Klamath with some success, not a big numbers game, but hey it's June, we found adult steelhead taking waked flies on the surface, what more could a steelheader ask for?  If you can sneak away please drop a line and join me.  I had two trips reschedule for later this week, so I have June 15-17th available for a last minute adventure and my schedule is flexible later in the month to squeeze a few trips in as well.   Just give me a ring and head up to Mount Shasta to enjoy the bounty and the delightful spring weather.  I hope to see you soon! IMGP0001IMGP1482 copyIMGP0006IMGP0001

Fly Fishing Guide’s report: McCloud, Upper and Lower Sac, Klamath & Hat Creek

Deschutes Redband dry fly magicMay 27th Flows on rivers in the Shadow of Shasta have fallen and the weather is perfect with the biggest hatches of the season just days away.  The famed Golden Stone and Salmonfly hatches are just beginning to show with a host of Mayflies, Sallies, and Caddis numbers increasing daily.  This past week I have found good fishing on the Upper Sac, McCloud and Lower Sacramento Rivers and received a report from a Hat Creek fan that claimed it is the best it's been in years. IMGP0010Flows on the Upper Sac and particularly the McCloud have dropped nicely into shape with 4-5' of visibility and nearly ideal conditions.  While most crossings on the McCloud will be possible there are still very few places on the Upper Sac for crossing, making first hand knowledge key to avoid wasted time locating fishable runs.  The roads on the McCloud to both Ash Camp and the Conservancy have been opened though a few spots are only one lane.  The bite has been best nymphing with small nymphs still out performing larger ones though a rubberleg can bring the largest fish of the day.  While nymphing will continue to be good, our best dry fly fishing of the season is just days away! EnochLSac_1On the Lower Sacramento River flows have been dropped to 11,000 cfs which is typical and terrific for this time of year and though clarity is only 2 1/2 -3' it is not an issue for nymphing.  We've had some 100+ degree days but forecasts are for highs in the 80's and low 90's which makes floating quite comfortable.  Hatches of PMD's and summer Caddis (Hydropsyche) are increasing and the big wild 'bows have been grabby with very consistent action throughout the day. The Klamath has dropped to 2350cfs and is fishable with the first Salmonflies of the season popping just days ago.  This typically portends dry fly fishing peaking in a couple weeks.  Stay tuned! I had a last minute cancellation so currently have May 30, 31st and June 1st available as well as a few days after June 13th. Drop me a line if you can make the pilgrimage, I would very much enjoy sharing these great conditions and my firsthand local knowledge with you. The "kids" float mid riverBrandon with a Deschutes dry fly RedbandLast week I spent seven days on the Deschutes River in Oregon with my wife and good friends chasing the Stonefly hatch, camping and running some exciting whitewater.  The bugs were out in force but not flying much as the weather turned cool with some showers and wind so dry fly fishing was not what we had hoped.  I salvaged my dry fly jones on the last two sunny afternoons with a good session followed by a great one, feeling lucky to have "cracked the code."  We rotated cooking duties and ate like royalty while lounging and sipping fine wine and whiskey in some spectacular campsites.  Fun was had by all. Here is a link to some Deschutes trip pics.New York strips and sweet potato Ta Ta'sHole in the wall gang hangin'

Fly Fishing guide’s report for the shadow of Shasta

IMGP0002May 10th: Spring has sprung Spring weather has arrived in Shasta and the wildflowers and bugs are popping.  The dogwoods are just amazing!  I was on the water a few days recently as flows on the Upper and Lower Sacramento Rivers have returned to just above normal levels making them much more fishable than they were just the previous week when they were more than double the normal flows.  Hat Creek, which is spring fed, is only a bit high (crossing the river is not possible in some reaches) but the river is fishing fair to good with hatches only expected to improve.  Releases out of McCloud Reservoir are still @ 900cfs but clear so the McCloud has some fishable runs though it can be a bit of a walk past whitewater to get from one to the next.  Dam managers are reporting that they plan to keep flows on the McCloud at this level through the end of the month barring an unusual weather event. IMGP0012IMGP0011While bugs are getting active they are not around in large numbers yet so the dry fly fishing has been spotty at best.  We spent our time nymphing and found fish that were not overly selective taking small mayfly nymphs and rubberlegs equally well.  I expect with the upcoming showers forecast that some of the bigger Mayflies will begin to show and fish will be looking up for them, making dry fly fishing a viable option.  Check out my post on Brown Drakes and a successful pattern, with the recipe.  When showers subside expect the big Stoneflies to take the stage and the spring feast will commence. CraigLSacIMGP0008I have fished and guided these rivers for a few decades now including several seasons with similar conditions.  I have learned that this first hand, local knowledge is often essential to clients' success and enjoyment.  I still have a few days available in late May and June, drop me a line if you think you might enjoy my sharing this knowledge with you. PS  The Klamath River is dropping into shape and I hope to check it out late next week, stay tuned!

Northern California Fly Fishing Guides Pre-Season Preview

The General Trout Season opens this Saturday, April 29th!

This weekend will be your first opportunity to sample the McBob lands a Trophy 'bow & enters ShastaTrout Hawg of Fame 3/09Cloud, Hat Creek and Fall Rivers this season, while the Upper Sacramento, Lower Sac, Klamath and Pit Rivers remain open.  As you are likely aware we have experienced a very high water winter, so your options for the opener and early season will be limited.  After being cooped up all winter I think we are all anxious for warm weather and  some invigorating days on the river chasing trout. These high water years are when local knowledge really comes into play. Familiarity with the best highwater spots on the river that fish well is key to avoiding wasted time searching for fishable water.  Spring is also when our best and biggest hatches of the year peak and understaing the hatches and their timing rather than trying to decode them during your visit can be essential to success.  With the cold, wet weather we've experienced expect hatches to be well behind schedule this spring. If you are planning a trip, consider hiring a guide for perhaps a day or two to help get dialed in. The National Weather Service is forecasting sunshine (yippee!) this weekend in the Northstate, with daytime temps in the high 60's in the mountains and low 80's in the valley which should make for very pleasant days on the water after a very wet winter.  With an exceptionally heavy snowpack (still 10' at the ski resort) plan on high water well into May and perhaps even early June. Our year round trout rivers including the Upper Sacramento, Klamath, Lower Sac and Pit Rivers have been very high and off color. Flows on the Upper Sac have cleared and come down significantly and if you can find productive water, it has fished fair to good.  The Klamath River and Lower Sacramento remain high and off color.  In addition the trout and steelhead are in the midst of their spawn and should be left alone to replenish their own.  Anglers and guides who are targeting spawning fish with egg patterns deserve to be shunned by the angling community as it is unsporting and unethical. The McCloud River will be fishable at these flows, (currently 1322 cfs, 300 is ideal) but it will be a very long walk indeed between productive runs.  In addition, the roads into Ash Camp and Ah Di Na washed out this winter and the Forest Service is in the process of repairing them.  This is the latest statement from the Mt. Shasta Forest Service I received yesterday, "We will try to do a temporary fix this week to get the road at least open with a more permanent fix next week (unless the government is shut down for budget reasons).  The rain and some equipment breakdowns have created delays. We may need to have the road closed for a day next week to replace the culverts." Fall River and Hat Creek which are spring creeks, are effected much less by high flows and are in fair shape,  though with most other rivers being unfishable, plan on even larger crowds than usual for the opener. Water on the Pit River is exceptionally high and dirty and access roads have been washed out.  It might be quite a while before the Pit comes in shape, check back in a month or two.  You might also consider a day or two on Lake Siskiyou, which has had some decent trout fishing along with incredible views of snow capped Mt Shasta.  If you are headed to the shadow of Shasta, please drop me a line to schedule a trip or to just chat and check on the latest conditions!

Upper Sacramento River

Upper SacramentoFishing Conditions Flows are high but clear making the Upper Sac fishable, but local knowledge is key to targeting the most productive water.  Plan on nymphing the bulk of your day but look for hatches and dry fly opportunities midday.  Spring is when we have the biggest and best hatches of the season, including Green Drakes, Brown Drakes and of course Goldenstones and Salmonflies. I've been on the river a few days in recent weeks and am finding fish podded up.  My strategy is to cover as much water as possible until I find fish, then I slow down and fish through a run systematically.  Hatches are very sparse and dry fly fishing has been spotty as a result. There are  spawning Wild Rainbows this time of year. If you site fish in tailouts or riffs, especially in groups or pairs, enjoy the show but please avoid spooking or fishing to them as they are exceptionally vulnerable and we need them to reproduce for upcoming seasons.

McCloud River

Reopens Saturday, April 29th. Will Johnson "high sticking" with the new Sage European System Nymphing (ESN) RodFishing Conditions I could not be more bummed about the opener on the McCloud this season. Flows on the Upper McCloud above the reservoir are well above the seasonal norm and the river is unfishable.  Flows below McCloud Reservoir have been exceptionally high and do not appear to be dropping anytime soon.  Parking and walking the trails to find fishable water in these conditions turns out to be a long hike interrupted by a few casts rather than a fishing trip. The good news is that fishing in late June, July and through summer when flows drop should be good as fish with be undisturbed this spring and hatches will be delayed.  Stay tuned.

Lower Sacramento River

Becky with her Shasta Trout "Hawg of Fame" trophy Lower Sac Rainbow Fishing Conditions Flows have been exceptionally high (30,000 cfs) the water is off color (2' of vis) and fishing is very marginal.  Some folks have been out and touting the fishing, but truth be told most have been targeting the trophy Rainbows primarily with egg patterns as hatches have been very sparse.  These fish are trying to spawn and this type of behavior, which has been increasing over the years, needs to be shunned by the angling community.  At a minimum this activity is unsporting and unethical.  I have lobbied for a seasonal closure on this river to protect these fish for decades to no avail (enough said).  I am planning to return to fishing for trophy Rainbows on this gem when flows drop and hatches develop, hopefully later in May when peak spawning has concluded.

Hat Creek

Reopens Saturday, April 29th. Hat CreekFishing Conditions The Hat is in fair condition and should be one of the few fishable waters for the opener.  This weekend on Hat Creek will be a community affair, plan on a circus at the Powerhouse 2 riffle for the opener. Hat Creek, being low gradient with spring creek conditions does not receive the runoff other local streams experience. In high water years it is one of the few rivers that fish consistently well early.  Hat Creek will likely see even more pressure this season and spring hatches are the reason. The fish have enjoyed a break from angling pressure and the larger bugs that hatch in spring make it easier on the angler, particularly those of us with aging eyes. Weather has been cold and wet so expect hatches to be delayed. The attraction here is the big bugs of spring, Salmonflies, Goldenstones, Green Drakes, Flavs, and Mahoganies but your most likely top water action will come on PMD's and spring caddis. Nymphing the fast riffles can provide some relief from the crowds and is generally more productive than prospecting with dries during nonhatch periods. Try high sticking with stones and small beadhead droppers. For dries, Parachute and Paradun PMD's and BWO's, emergers and cripples #14-18, plan on changing flies often for rising fish than can be selective. For caddis try an EC Caddis or Mercer's Missing Link #14-18, consider adding a pupa as a dropper. Not a bad idea to have a few ants and beetles tucked in the box just in case. I hope this report helps you plan your early season trout trip, if you are looking for a guide,  I still have some availability.  I have spent as many days on the rivers I guide as nearly anyone and many more than most. I believe this intimate knowledge enhances your experience not only during your trip but for seasons after.  Drop me a line so I might help make your time on the water as productive and pleasurable as possible.

Winter Steelhead Fishing: several weeks remain, get here soon!

UntitledMarch 6 I just completed the longest period in recent memory without wetting a line, nearly a month.   Local river conditions have been extremely high and off color, not conducive to boating or fishing what so ever.  I had to cancel all guided trips during the month of February as a result. Flows on the Klamath River, typically one of the last to blow out and first to come back into shape, just returned to fishable levels last Friday and I am excited to get back on the Klamath over the next month to wrap up the winter steelhead season.  I do have a few remaining openings if you are anxious to feel the electricity of a steelhead on the end of your line, just give me a ring. UntitledUntitledSpeaking of the electricity of a steelhead on the line, before the Klamath dropped last week, I took the opportunity to join my good friend (and fellow guide) Brandon Worthington (Worthington Flyfishing) who is guiding on the Oregon Coast.  The river was surprisingly low and exceptionally clear, not the conditions we typically wish for on the coast.  Brandon assured me that he has done well in these conditions and he was correct, I enjoyed the best coastal fishing I have ever experienced, particularly considering there were very few other anglers around.  In two days I hooked a dozen fish, though I only landed three.  All of the fish were of the highest quality imaginable, bright and hot with a few going well into the double digits in weight, (check additional photos on the ShastaTrout Flickr site).  On the drive back I stopped to fish the Umpqua with friend James Sampsel who has guided for a number of outfitters but recently opened his own guide service Humble Heron featuring southern Oregon rivers. The Umpqua and Rogue have also just recently dropped into shape and should fish well for another month or so.  Both Brandon and James have some upcoming dates available, I would encourage you to drop a line if you (like me) need to get your steelhead fix before the season ends.