Northern California Fly Fishing Guide Trip Reports

Father & Son enjoy the beauty of Mossbrae Falls Axel hooks up a strong fish in an emerald glide on the Upper Sacramento River Trophy McCloud River Rainbow Mount Shasta Area Fly Fishing Guide Reports for July 2010

(click on any photo for additional trip pics)

July was a fabulous month, our most successful ever.  Thank you!  The fishing of late has been terrific, though with the warm daytime temps, the catching has slowed a bit, particularly midday.  It’s the time of year were many of our guests opt to split their day.  We get out early while water and air temps are cool, take a leisurely lunch, pick some ripe, juicy, wild blackberries and enjoy a nap before heading out in the evening to find a hatch and sample some dry fly fishing.  If summertime is your favorite season, check out our recent post on “Five Secrets to Summertime Success!”

Both the McCloud and Upper Sac have dropped to summer time low flows and are as wadable and fishable as they get.  The Pit River fished well in July but with increased water temps we utilize a thermometer to fish sections where catch and release angling is still practical.  Water clarity on the McCloud has been an issue this season but currently is hovering between three and four feet which is nearly ideal, and makes presentations much less technical and easier for the average angler.

We’ve been nymphing these freestone gems midday and manage to  dredge up a few fish but it’s a great time to toss streamers with the hope of a finding a fish that can make our day if not our season.  The evening dry fly fishing on the Upper Sac has been consistently good while hatches on the McCloud have been a bit more hit and miss. Fishing on the Lower Sacramento and Fall Rivers continues to be fair to good primarily with nymphs, either dead drifted or swung.  We’ve found some opportunities for dry fly fishing, which can be superb.  We’ll be back on the Klamath and Trinity in October when water temps drop and Steelhead arrive in fishable numbers.  Now is the time to drop us a line and schedule your fall trip as calendars for the finest local guides are quickly filling!

Keith fly fishes the fast water to find an Upper Sacramento River Rainbow Rainbow takes a big streamer Bob with one of many large 'Bows from this productive summertime Upper Sacramento run Last week some old friends as well as some new ones enjoyed outstanding days on the Upper Sac, McCloud and Fall Rivers.  Bob, who fishes regularly with ShastaTrout owner, Craig Nielsen introduced one of his regular fishing partners, Keith to the Upper Sacramento River.  They enjoyed some nymphing in the morning, finding some exceptional fish, including a few to hand along with some that were just too hot to net.  After a midday break they returned to fish dry flies to eager trout until it got too dark to see the fly or the take.  Local longtime guide, Rick Cox treated Gary to a morning on the McCloud where they found the nymphing solid if not spectacular, finding mostly smaller fish along with a few bigger ones.

Axel hooks up a strong fish in an emerald glide on the Upper Sacramento River Cumulus reflect in Fall River Will with an Upper Sacramento River Trophy 'Bow on an evening dry fly Craig and local legend Tom Peppas also hosted some good friends from the wine country, Paul from Wine Cult Central, and Axel from Schug Winery.  Axel brought his son Steve, along with his good friend Ben while Paul introduced Will, who had never fly fished, to the shadow of Shasta.   Will spent three days with Craig learning the craft on the Upper Sac, while Paul and Axel opted to sample both the Upper Sac and the Fall River.  Stevie arrived in time to join his father on the Fall River with Tom Peppas where they enjoyed good action technical nymphing, hooking several fish, including some big ‘uns.  Ben had terrific success nymphing as well as with dry flies on some seldom visited rugged sections of the Upper Sac.  Will concluded his intro to fly fishing visit with an evening that included a trophy Rainbow on a dry fly.

Fritz with one of countless McCloud River gems enticed with dry flies Laura finds a jewel on the McCloud River Father & Son enjoy the beauty of Mossbrae Falls Neely's first fly caught trout Steve with an Upper Sacramento River Rainbow at Mossbrae Falls The previous week ShastaTrout hosted three family groups.  Laura celebrated an adventure with her father Fritz, an avid angler, with a multiday tour of local waters with Tom Peppas and Craig, taking in the Upper and Lower McCloud, Upper Sac and Fall Rivers.  While they had some slow periods, on a few occasions the fishing got just silly good, catching fish after fish on dry flies!  What a terrific treat, they are delightful anglers who truly appreciated the beauty as well as the bounty.  On another family trip, Steve shared an adventure with his teenage son, Neely on the Upper Sac, with some good action and notable fish.  Steve found one of the biggest Rainbows we’ve ever seen at Mossbrae Falls while Neely, a naturally gifted angler, landed his first ever fly caught fish which was a trophy Upper Sac “bow!  At Digger Creek Ranch, local guide Gabe Duran shared his expertise with Kurt’s extended family who had an exceptional experience just a stone’s throw from Gabe’s doorstep.

Kevin paddles a calm stretch on the Wild and Scenic Rogue River Craig and family enjoyed a week long retreat from the business, taking a whitewater trip down the Wild and Scenic portion of the Rogue River.  It was one of our most enjoyable river trips even though there was not much to recommend in the way of  fishing this time of year.  Craig managed a few tugs while swinging for steelhead but spent the bulk of his time relaxing in camp recovering from a relapse from a stomach bug he picked up earlier this spring.   While it was nice to get away from the phone and computer, Craig’s camera broke on the second day of the trip which prevented downloading pics from earlier fishing trips upon his return and delayed this trip report.  We apologize for our tardiness and appreciate your patience and willingness to revisit our posts.

Brian enjoys a singing reel provided by a McCloud River Hawg Paul with a fine Upper Sac Rainbow Jack with a dry fly gem John watches line disappear with a hefty white water Upper Sacramento River Rainbow pulling hard Ron with a fine Fall River Summertime Rainbow Ben with a McCloud River Trophy Rainbow Early July has become just a blur by this time.  Flows on local freestones dropped  into summertime conditions, the unusually cool weather we experienced in June turned to unusual summer heat as we hosted multiple groups most everyday heading to all points on the compass. Good fun was had by all.  Craig treated new guests Jack and Wendell to a split sampler dry fly fishing on the Upper McCloud early in the day followed by an evening on the Upper Sac. Another new guest, John accompanied Craig on a successful day on the Upper Sac, while  Bob a regular guest, brought his good friend Ron up to the Spinner Fall Lodge for a few days chasing hatches and Rainbows with Craig.  Paul Roberts a Master Sommelier with Bond and Harlan Wineries opted to sample the fishing on the Lower McCloud with Craig as did Ben Branch on a return trip.  Ben again found good success as did his buddy Brian who he introduced to the McCloud. Ben and Craig enjoyed hearing Brian’s reel singing on more than one occasion!

Fly Fishing Guide Fred Gordon with an Upper Sacramento River Mountain King Snake Fly Fishing Guide Fred Gordon poses his guest's fine McCloud Lake Rainbow Peter with a fine McCloud Bow Trophy McCloud River Rainbow McCloud master guides Rick Cox and Alan Blankenship treated their guests to some exceptional times on the McCloud River, including an extended weekend on the Nature Conservancy with Peter and a group of his friends.  Fred Gordon entertained his guests on the McCloud Reservoir as well as the McCloud and Upper Sacramento Rivers where he encountered a Mountain King Snake.  Chuck Volckhausen along with Gabe Duran kept busy on the Lower Sac where they found good action with their groups, who hooked a few real trophies.  Gabe reports that a few Steelhead have already found their way to his net on the Lower Sac as well as the Trinity, now is the time to schedule your fall trip to target these chrome beauties!

The National Weather Service is calling for continued fine weather,  with this week’s daytime highs in the 80’s and night time lows in the 40’s and 50’s.  With low very wadable summertime flows on the Upper Sac and the McCloud and some good evening dry fly fishing,  we expect to have some very special days on the water in the coming weeks.  Fishing continues to be good on the Fall River, Pit and Lower Sac and you can enjoy them in relative solitude as many anglers have headed for the hills. We hope you join us soon!  For the very latest on conditions on the legendary rivers we call home and to check availability for any of the finest local guides drop us a line!

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