Shasta Trout guide service features the very finest local guides. All of our guides are seasoned local professionals, many of whom who spend as much time individually on the rivers they guide as our biggest competitor’s guides spend collectively. Each has been chosen for their ability to provide friendly patient instruction covering a wide variety of proven techniques, tactics and tips aimed to please the novice and expert alike. We believe there is no substitute for their wealth of first hand knowledge honed through years of experience on local legendary streams. Drop us a line to insure a successful and enjoyable adventure for your group large or small.
Craig Nielsen is the owner and operator of Shasta Trout. A Northern California native, he has been chasing trout with a fly rod for over 50 years and guiding professionally since 1992. Having fished all across the west, B.C. and Alaska he especially appreciates the angling diversity Mt. Shasta offers. From presenting tiny dries to selective Fall River Rainbows, swinging streamers with switchrods for the Klamath’s fabled steelhead, dry fly fishing on the McCloud, or nymphing the Upper and Lower Sac for trophy ‘bows, Craig enjoys it all. Everyone appreciates his patience, angling versatility and local knowledge. A certified casting instructor, he has taught at Mel Krieger’s school and was one of the first authors on switchrods. Craig has been a featured guide for Flywater Travel, The Ashland Flyshop, Leland, Ted Fay, Fish First, The Clearwater House and The Flyshop. He holds a Teaching Credential and a Master’s degree from Chico State where he worked as an Instructor, Administrator and Counselor prior to following his passion to guide full time.
Jerri Nielsen is co owner and assists in the operation of Shasta Trout. She has been flyfishing since arriving in the northstate over 30 years ago and teaches in our clinics and classes. A graduate of the Clearwater Guide School, she was a featured guide in their women’s clinics. Jerri is a versatile angler and the undisputed stillwater expert in the family. She most enjoys chasing high country cruisers from her float tube. Her easy manner, attentiveness and good humor are appreciated by all. Jerri enjoys motherhood and operates her own Aesthetics business in Mt. Shasta. Her fresh baked cookies are famous with family & friends alike.
Alan Blankenship is affectionately known locally as the “Pit Pirate” for his love of the Pit River and it’s trophy rainbows. As a local, he spends as many days guiding and fishing each season on the Pit as anyone and his knowledge of its hatches and fish behavior is unsurpassed. He has been guiding since 1994 and is an enthusiastic, articulate and patient teacher with a sixth sense for locating fish. When not plying the Pit Alan chases trophy Rainbows on the Upper Sac and McCloud and has seen more than his share of outrageous McCloud Browns in his net. In late fall, winter and spring Alan specializes in steelhead on the Klamath River and Trophy Trout on the Lower Sac where he has developed a devoted following.
Rick Cox has lived and guided in the shadow of Shasta since he arrived in 1990. The headwaters of the McCloud are literally in his backyard. He has worked tirelessly to protect and preserve the flows of the McCloud for it’s precious trout. His guiding is focused on wading the historical McCloud River for Trophy Rainbows and Browns, along with eager Upper Sacramento River Rainbows. In winter his guiding features local steelhead. Rick has over thirty years of fly fishing experience which enables him to utilize classic techniques along with newer ones developed specifically for local rivers. He freely shares his local knowledge of hatches and fish behavior and offers savvy tips appreciated by novices and seasoned anglers alike. Rick’s relaxed patient manner and friendly teaching style makes for a fun and relaxing day.
Wayne Eng knows the nooks and crannies of the Upper Sac as well as anyone as he resides in Dunsmuir right on its banks. His relaxed, observant, contemplative temperament and patience has made teaching beginners his specialty. He is a renowned fly designer having created the “Eng Theng” and “Licorice Fly” among others. He is the consummate streamsmith, reading the water, approaching with stealth and presenting flies to catch trout by intent rather than pure luck. A day on the river with Wayne leaves anglers confident in new skills and abilities often well beyond their expectations.
Fred Gordon is locally known as the dean of the Upper Sac. He lives right next to the river in Dunsmuir and has been guiding full time for over 30 years. He developed and taught fly fishing programs at Sierra College and CSU Sacramento. He is an award winning artist whose sculptures and paintings have been exhibited throughout the western states for over 30 years. His famed ceramic fish sculptures reflect his interest in riparian habitats and love of fly fishing. He regularly snorkels the river and knows where the big ones live. He is a trout hunter, a resourceful angler able to adjust his techniques and tactics in the pursuit of his prey.
Tom Peppas has been guiding for over thirty years in the Northstate and few if any can match his knowledge and experience. Having grown up fishing Northern California, his knowledge of local hatches and fish behavior is encyclopedic, and he has likely forgotten more than most of us will ever know. A family friend, he treated Jerri and Craig to their first guided trip over twenty five years ago. He has managed the Clearwater House and served as their original lead guide since it’s humble beginnings over a quarter a century ago. He features the Fall River from his comfortable pram as well as walk and wade angling on the Pit River, Hat Creek & the McCloud. He also has a few little known local creeks and stillwaters he shares with a few special clients. We are sure you will enjoy his gentle soul, wry humor and his willingness to share insights gained over a lifetime of fishing and guiding local legendary rivers. Be certain to schedule Tom well in advance, his discerning loyal following reschedules each season.
Chris King is a Federation of Fly Fishers Master Casting Instructor and one of just a few casters worldwide who is also FFF certified in Spey Casting. He relocated to Redding in the ’90s to guide and run Mel Krieger’s Fly Fishing School year round after a previous stint in Colorado and work as a Rod Designer for the House of Hardy where he met Mel. A life long fly fisher, his casting and fishing skills have been featured on ESPN’s team and individual fly fishing competitions, the Outdoor Games, the Fly fish America TV series, Trout Unlimited’s fly fishing series and the Travel Channel’s Fly Fishing Northern California. He is also featured in The Next Level Fly Fishing Videos and The Art of Spey Casting. In 2003 Chris founded his own successful fly fishing guide service, Sac River Outfitters which he recently sold to spend more time with his family. He currently guides part time featuring the Lower Sac, Trinity, Klamath and Upper Sacramento Rivers. Besides being a superb angler and instructor, he is outgoing and light hearted. He has a dedicated following so contact well in advance for a trip that is certain to advance your knowledge and skill set.
George Durand started guiding on the Lower Sacramento River, Trinity and Fall Rivers long before many Northern California guides first held a fly rod. His local knowledge of river conditions, hatches and their matches spans over three decades. A guide’s guide, many local’s were schooled by George before beginning their own guiding careers. His considerable bag of tricks comes in handy whether you are just learning the craft or have been chasing fish with a fly rod for more seasons than you care to consider. He is a creative and artful fly tier as well and pulls some flies from his bag that have been honed on local streams season after season to fool even the most challenging specimens. His wry wit and soft spoken charm make for a relaxing and enjoyable day on stream. George’s regular guests typically schedule him well in advance for prime dates year after year, so contact us early for a fishing trip with this local legend that is bound to serve you for years to come.
Scott Saiki began his guiding career on the waters of Northern California in 1993 while attending Humboldt State to obtain degrees in outdoor education and business. He is a patient and engaging instructor whose thoughtful presentation of techniques and skills will make a day on the water a true learning experience. His attention to detail and preparation is noticeable in all aspects of the day. Scott is equally comfortable wading the Pit, McCloud, and Upper Sacramento, stalking rising trout in the skinny water of Fall River with dry flies from a pram, or floating the Lower Sacramento in a drift boat. He teaches 5th grade in Redding during the school year where his easy going manner and patience of a saint are tested daily.
Tom Steele was born and raised in Chico, California and grew up hunting and fishing the local waters of the North State. A long time family friend of Shasta Trout owners Craig and Jerri Nielsen, he and his father have fished with us since he was in his early teens. Tom studied Recreation Management at Chico State were he completed a degree in Parks and National Resources. He has worked for the Department of Fish and Game since 2010 as a Fisheries Technician where he has conducted fishery surveys on the Sacramento River and Butte Creek. His passion for the outdoors, particularly fly fishing and waterfowl hunting are infectious while his easy going manner, technical expertise and soft spoken humor are appreciated by all.
Jeremy Baker started fishing local waters as a kid competing in bass tournaments at the age of 14 before switching to fly fishing for trout and steelhead. He has traveled to fish many western states but has settled in Redding where he was born. His guiding features boat trips on the Lower Sacramento, Trinity Rivers and Fall Rivers as well as walk and wade trips on the Upper Sac and Pit Rivers along with Hat and Burney Creeks. His calm confidence and patient demeanor is appreciated by all, which combined with his exceptional technical expertise, makes for an outstanding day on the river. He enjoys teaching others to fly fish, and has instructed classes and casting clinics for a variety of skill levels from beginners to advanced anglers. On his rare days off he also enjoys tying flies, spey fishing for steelhead and spending time with his wife and two daughters.