You would never guess it’s spring in the Northstate as it is snowing again this morning at Shasta Trout headquarters! Despite the cool wet spring, the fishing on the McCloud, Pit and Upper Sac is improving nearly daily. Flows have dropped significantly from a few weeks ago and while local freestones remain high there is plenty of fishable water and we have enjoyed the solitude as very few other anglers have sampled the bounty. The bugs are really taking off with daily hatches of small mayflies, mostly PMD’s and Pinks (Eporeus) and the large Drakes starting to show. It’s a smorgasboard of Caddis with at least three types popping, a size 12 Cinnamon, size 14 Tan/Brown and size 16 Olives. We’ve even seen some big stones! We expect the coming weeks to continue to improve.
The McCloud has dropped into very good shape as flows have decreased significantly and are very clear. Rockfall has been cleared on the road to Ash Camp, snow is no longer an issue getting into Ah-Di-Na and the boulder blocking the road between the campground and Nature Conservancy is scheduled to be removed on Thursday by the Forest Service. There were no campers at Ah-Di-Na, Ash Camp or any of the undeveloped camping areas earlier this week.
Some stoneflies have appeared but the fish are not yet keyed on the dries. They have been eager to gobble both small and large Green Drakes, Brown Drakes and Gray Drakes along with the daily hatch of small mayflies. If in doubt, a Parachute Adams in an appropriate size will often turn the trick. Nymphing with Rubberlegs and Goldenstone nymphs with small caddis or mayfly droppers will find fish, though they may be in holding in softer water than most anglers typically target.
Rick Cox and Craig Nielsen found some well rested, hungry fish this week, with some beautiful McCloud Rainbows in every run they sampled. We have seen few if any other anglers each day. While there are still few places to cross the river, the low gradient runs have fish podded up and with bugs popping it is ideal for dry fly fishing the hatches and casting dry dropper rigs with attractors and nymphing during non hatch periods. While the fish are eager, the cool water temps have them taking softly making strike detection and good hook sets critical to success. We expect hatches to progress and the fishing will only improve provided flows don’t increase dramatically in the coming days. Consider this your notice to get here now.
Craig, Rick, Wayne Eng and Fred Gordon have enjoyed some great days recently on the Upper Sac. While flows remain above the norm, there are a number of runs that fish well and have relatively easy access. The fish remain podded up in these bigger runs where they can be targeted with dry flies during hatches and dry dropper or nymphing rigs during non hatch times. The top flies have been Parachute PMD’s, Parachute Adams, Flashback PT’s, Birdsnests, Rubberlegs and Goldenstone nymphs.
Alan Blankenship, aka the Pit River Pirate, spent several good days on the Pit River this week as flows have dropped and cleared. He has been nymphing the bigger runs and pockets and he and his guests had the place to themselves. Flows remain high but there is enough good water to make it well worthwhile.
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