With fall just a few weeks away, we are enjoying some exceptionally fine weather and the final days of summer, enabling us to wade wet on our local freestones, the McCloud, Upper Sac and Pit Rivers. As is typical of summer, this is not the time of year we expect epic days catching loads of big fish. It is the time of year we enjoy the simple pleasures of fly fishing and perhaps even a streamside nap. With flows at their lowest we can chose a water type and technique to suit our mood, whether it is high sticking pocket water, fishing a dry dropper through a classic run, or casting tiny dries to selective evening risers. This is also a favorite time of year to target the larger fish with streamers. Though not a numbers game, anglers who cover a good deal of water can enjoy productive days for big Rainbows on the Upper Sac and Pit and as well as trophy Browns on the McCloud River.
As is typical in summer, fishing has been best early and late in the day when the sun is off the water. Evening hatches on local freestones have been compressed, sometimes lasting an hour or more but seldom longer, mostly small to tiny mayflies and caddis with a few lingering yellow sallies. Nymphing, as well as fishing dry fly attractors with droppers, has been effective before the hatch as well as earlier in the day. We saw our first October Caddis of the season yesterday but we expect the main hatch of these big morsels is still weeks away.
Those who like it hot have enjoyed some fine catches on the Lower Sacramento River of late with plenty of big ‘bows (and one big “golden bone” :>). Daytime temps have been in the nineties, not scorching by Central Valley summer standards, and with stable flows, hatches of summer caddis and mayflies have been predictable. A good place to visit after sleeping in, the grab has been best later in the day with some mornings and early afternoons being unusually slow, more than made up for by the late afternoon and early evening bite.
The Fall River has reached the summer lull with a couple hours of dry fly fishing in the morning with some nymphing and streamer fishing before and after. You can have the place to yourself. On most days the fishing drops of completely mid-afternoon and doesn’t pick up again until the caddis hatch during the last hour of light. As soon as the weather cools we expect Blue Wing Olives and PMD’s to reappear along with some Mahoganies providing good top water action.
Bud and his family were treated to some magical days on local rivers and McCloud Lake by great local guides Alan Blankenship and Fred Gordon followed up by a float trip on the Lower Sac with Gabe Duran and Chris King. What a special treat to enjoy beautiful rivers, good fishing and great guides with your loved ones. Craig brought sons Bryce and Brody along with his father in law, to the Lower Sacramento River and was amazed at the size and fight of the Rainbows with guides Craig Nielsen and Gabe Duran, so decided to return with some business associates, Ron and Dave who are new to fly fishing. Ron and Dave were quick studies and despite very windy conditions gained some experience in the morning that paid off in the afternoon and evening. Everyone in these family and business gatherings caught nice fish including some trout that were their first ever and some trophies that were the largest of their lives.
Rick enjoyed a guide day with Fred Gordon after climbing Mt. Shasta, while longtime local guide Tom Peppas returned to host a group on the McCloud River at the Bollibokka Club. Alan Blankenship shared the McCloud with longtime friends, Chuck, Mike and Jim who concluded their trip to the shadow of Shasta with successful drift trip on the Lower Sac with Chris King and Gabe Duran. We finished last month with a delightful couple, Bern who is returning to fly fishing after a long layoff and his wife Cheryl who enjoyed her first day ever landing her first fish on flies, all of them on dries!