(Click on any photo for more pics of recent adventures in the shadow of Shasta)
The Upper Sacramento, Pit and McCloud Rivers continue to fish well particularly early and late in the day when the sun is off the water. Afternoon is a great time to have a cold drink, take a nap and feast on ripe blackberries picked streamside! Though the average fish tend towards smaller sizes in summer, it is also the time when we find a few trophies that make our day or even our season. We primarily nymph early in the day and look for hatches of mayflies and caddis that provide dry fly fishing opportunities in the evening. If we fail to find a hatch, it often turns out to be an ideal time to break out a sinking line and streamer and hunt for one special fish. Water clarity is at the norm for this time of year, the Upper Sac is ultra clear while the McCloud and Pit have three to six feet of visibility, which is ideal. With PGE road construction continuing on the Pit, access has been limited, call 406-586-2206 ext. 703 for the latest closures.
The Lower Sac has been fishing well, with anglers picking up good numbers of fish nymphing mayfly nymphs in the morning and caddis nymphs late in the day. There have been some evening dry fly opportunities at dusk, particularly on the very warmest days. Preliminary reports on the Salmon run are not good. Last year was one of the lowest returns reported and this year’s numbers appear to be down an additional 20%. Fewer spawning salmon will likely hamper the egg bite for trout this fall which has historically been an outstanding time to target trophy Rainbows.
The Fall River continues to fish fair though the majority of activity has moved subsurface. On the other hand, fishing pressure has been exceptionally light. Dead drifting or swinging small mayfly nymphs has been the most productive. Some good opportunities for dry fly fishing but it’s no longer an everyday affair. Grabs are very light as the fish have seen it all by now, so seasoned Fall River anglers have better luck than those new to the game. For bigger fish but fewer on average, swinging leeches is the ticket.
It is the time of year when local guides experience a bit of a lull. While the fishing on most rivers in the shadow of Shasta remains good, many of our regular guests opt for a different flavor and travel to far away destinations for their fishing, perhaps Alaska for Rainbows and Salmon, British Columbia or Oregon for Steelhead, or the Rocky Mountains for trout. So what do fly fishing guides do with their time off? Go fishing of course ;>)
Craig recently hosted a number of anglers on the Upper Sac, Upper and Lower McCloud and Lake Siskiyou. Many folks this time of year are new to fly fishing and this in an ideal time for an introduction. Wayne, Kathleen and Lisa enjoyed a morning clinic on the Upper Sac followed by an evening on the Upper McCloud with everyone finding their first ever trout, on dry flies no less. Wayne was a natural and ended up landing several wild trout on dry flies on his own to cap his first day! Dennis who hadn’t gotten out for a a few seasons enjoyed a couple evenings of dry fly fishing on the Upper Sac while the Engle clan introduce their young children to Lake Siskiyou for a few days of swimming and boating along with some good fun fishing.
A local longtime friend, Stan and his son recently joined Craig to paddle inflatable kayaks down the Upper McCloud. Craig posted an individual trip report on kayaking and flyfishing the McCloud. The river passes through Wyntoon, part of the Hearst Estate and down to the McCloud Reservoir. While the fishing was fair, they caught mostly small Rainbows, the place is stunningly beautiful. For whitewater enthusiasts the river is not too difficult, Class III. However recently two trees have fallen across the river creating strainers. One is perhaps in the most dangerous spot possible, just below Big Springs at the very end of the most challenging whitewater. Craig has also been exploring local rivers with streamers to good effect and enjoyed a couple days swinging flies for steelhead in Oregon on the Rogue. Sunset picnics spent on lake Siskiyou with Jerri, family and friends have been magical.
After treating guests to some fine days on the McCloud and Pit, local guide Alan Blankenship escaped, with his favortie fishing partner Diane, to Oregon where he joined fellow local guide Fred Gordon. The camping, feasting and company could not be much better. They even discovered some finicky Brown Trout that if cast to just so would take dry flies. Alan also takes time to camp out on local rivers for several days at a time each summer to fish his home water, including an August trip on his beloved Pit River.
Fred Gordon continues to enjoy great luck on the Lower Sac as well as the Upper Sac. Though overall numbers are down, several trophy fish have come to net. He reports the bite on McCloud Reservoir has slowed at the same time the fishing pressure has increased. Gabe Duran has also been fishing the Red Bluff reaches of the Lower Sac where he has found a good number of fine Rainbows and an occasional steelhead.
Local Guides Rick Cox and Wayne Eng have enjoyed some fine days on the McCloud, Upper Sac and Burney Creek finding mostly smaller Rainbows while Rick has also had good luck hooking but not always landing some trophy Rainbows and Browns on the McCloud. Not to be left out Rick also took a few days over the border in Oregon to steelhead on the Umpqua and escape the heat on the coast. After a few days satisfying days on the Fall River, Tom Peppas left the state for a trip to the Rocky Mountains. The fishing was exceptional on all the waters he sampled including the Madison, Gallatin, Yellowstone Rivers and Armstrong’s spring creek. Nothing quite like throwing hoppers and attractor dries to eager trout. He enjoyed himself so much he’s heading back soon for more!