We can’t decide if it is still winter or if spring has arrived in the shadow of Shasta. The weather sometimes decides to change seasons overnight. There is a slight chance of showers in the forecast for the weekend, otherwise a somewhat sunnier and warmer trend into next week.
With the exception of the Lower Sac which has varied only between good and silly good, fisheries including the Fall River, Upper Sac, Pit, McCloud and Hat Creek have been best during the warmer calmer spells. In most years a little spring squall will get the bugs going and the fish on the grab but this season, the reverse seems to be true, our best hatches and the best bite has been on the warmer and sunnier days.
The Lower Sac has been exceptional lately. Flows have been low, clear and constistent. Today flows are scheduled to bump up to 8500 cfs and 9500 by the 20th and will likely continue to climb in the coming weeks. Our great local Lower Sac guides, Craig Nielsen, Gabe Duran, Chris King, Jim Andras, George Durand and Fred Gordon have enjoyed some outstanding days with the average size of the fish surprisingly large, on a river known for large fish. Most fish have been coming midday on small nymphs during the mayfly hatch when the bite has been best but several fish continue to be caught on rubberlegs and eggs. Anglers should be alert to look for pods of late spawning fish this season so they might avoid disturbing their important annual ritual.
Local guides Tom Peppas, Gabe Duran, George Durand and Craig Nielsen have been finding a midday hatch with mostly Pale Morning Duns on the Fall River. Nymphing small nymphs or swinging streamers and small mayfly and caddis nymphs produce fish, including some nice ones during non hatch periods. Windy days have hampered the bite and made fishing and casting difficult a times.
Flows on the McCloud, Pit and Upper Sac have dropped a bit and while still high have become fishable, particularly if you are familiar with the high water runs. Shasta Trout’s local guides, Alan Blankenship, Rick Cox, Wayne Eng, Fred Gordon, Tom Peppas, Chuck Volckhausen and Craig Nielsen spend as much time on these rivers individually as our biggest competitors spend collectively and their local knowledge can make a big difference in having a bit of success, particularly in these conditions. The bite remains best midday on a mixture of small mayflies, caddis and our first drakes of the season. Some surface action but most fish are coming on nymphs along with the occasional fish on a streamer.
Hatches on Hat Creek have sputtered being light some days and non existent on others. Mostly small caddis and mayflies but some Green Drakes and Grey Drakes have recently begun to show though the fish have not yet gone crazy for them. Nymphing midday has been superb and when heads finally do show they are grabby, not yet showing their highly selective side. Ed and Paul enjoyed their time with Craig on this legendary Spring Creek including a few brief hook ups and one epic battle with sizable fish. Longtime local guide Fred Gordon also enjoyed a fine day on McCloud Lake with Evan and Conrad but high winds kept them off the lake the remainder of the week.
Don Gardner’s first experience on the Lower Sac with Craig was amazing. A bit new to fly fishing, he had a couple of days of a solid, steady all day bite and one big fish after another. Tom and Chris followed later in the week with a beautiful day and also many fine fish to hand. Their next day the bite was perhaps even a bit better but the fish were so very camera shy getting one to hand for a pic became hilariously difficult for no rational reasons. Good fun was had by all.
Irma treated her father Ray, an avid angler to his first day of fly fishing and it was a great one on the Lower Sac with Craig. Both novices, they were quick studies and landed some Lower Sacramento River trophy Rainbows, including Ray’s biggest trout ever! Paul took his annual spring trip and found some fine fish on Hat Creek as well as enjoying a day that was officially silly good on the Lower Sac.