Northern California Fly Fishing Guide Trip Reports

Happy Lower Sac Angler Jim with an Upper Sacramento River trophy Paul with a bright beautiful Lower Sac trophy 'bow September 2010

Summertime fly fishing in Northern California finished in fine style.   All of our local rivers, the McCloud, Pit, Upper and Lower Sacramento, Trinity, Klamath, Fall and Hat Creek are in superb condition and are fishing well.  Some recent guests enjoyed some of the best fishing and catches of their lives and the fall season is shaping up to be one of our best ever. Drop us a line to check on guide availability.

Flows on local freestones in the shadow of Shasta, the McCloud, Upper Sac and Pit are very accessible and bugs have been popping, particularly later in the day.  The Upper Sac flows are slightly above the norm for the season with exceptionally clear water.  With the high Shasta Lake levels we have enjoyed a larger than usual influx of sizable lake run fish.  Clarity on the McCloud has dropped to three or four feet from Mud Creek inflow which is ideal and is making fishing much less technical.  We’ve enjoyed seeing more large Brown Trout in our net this year than anytime in recent memory, it’s a great time to target these fish with streamers.  There are still some reaches on the McCloud to enjoy some solitude but it can turn into the McCrowded in October as the caddis start popping, we saw our first October Caddis today.  We’ve been consistently finding fish nymphing small caddis and maflies during the day while enjoying some exceptional evening dry fly fishing on both rivers.

Access on the Pit River continues to be an issue with Pit 3 open on occasion and closed most others.  Road closures in between reaches also makes it difficult to move from one stretch to another, call 406-586-2206 ext. 703 for the latest closures.  Flows are also higher this year so some familiar river crossings are not possible though with recent reports of some exceptional days we are not hearing much in the way of complaints. We’ve just received notice from PG&E that they plan to run some test flows on the Pit 4 & 5 reaches from October 4th through the 14th.  Might be best to avoid it as flows on Pit 5 are expected to vary between 220 cfs and 450 cfs with flows on Pit 4 being more of an issue with flows as low as 220 cfs moving all the way up to a high of 1370 cfs on October 7th.

The Lower Sac has been exceptional with flows dropping gradually though it has been crowded on the upper end with the opening of access at the Cypress Bridge construction site as flows have dropped below 7,000.  Fish seem to be stacking in some runs and not in others.  The egg bite has kicked off as some salmon have arrived in the upper river but overall salmon counts continue to be well down from historical levels as a result of a general collapse in the system.  Nymphing with small mayfly nymphs early in the day and caddis in the afternoon has been outstanding though it takes a little experimentation to find the fly flavor they most desire. Fall River has been nymphing well and fall Baetis hatches are building with some good dry fly days mixed in.  Traffic on the river has been quite light so our guests have been enjoying the solitude and scenery as well as the good fishing.

The Klamath and the Trinity are starting to see some action though it is still quite early.  The main runs of steelhead have not yet arrived in the upper rivers but anglers have found some nice fish.  Temps on the Klamath are unusually low, we often don’t  see temps this low until late October.  Fall Chinook Salmon are all the way up to Iron Gate Dam which can crowd the upper river with boats often stacked in the deep runs.  Reports of waves of large numbers of fish moving up the lower Klamath are encouraging.  Now is the time to schedule your fall steelhead trip as we still have some limited availability, just drop us a line.

Fall, Brown Trout time on the McCloud River Paul poses a beauty Paul with a VERY chunky Lower Sacramento River Trophy Rainbow We recently enjoyed some exceptional days on the McCloud with our regular guests Paul and Dan who made their annual pilgrimage.  Paul caught a fish on his first cast, which turned out to be a curse.  Dan enjoyed success all day though contrary to the norm, the size and numbers of fish we caught diminished until we decided to take an early exit.  The next day on the Lower Sac more than made up for any deficiency in our catch rate as we found a couple runs that produced fish on every pass, including a few big beauties.

Glenn casts dry flies for McCloud River Redband Rainbows Upper McCloud dry fly Brook Trout Upper McCloud dry fly Brown Trout McCloud Redband Rainbow, a California Heritage Trout Earlier in the week Glenn traveled from West Virginia seeking some Redband Rainbows, a California Heritage Trout.  He warmed up on the Upper McCloud before heading out into the woods to little creeks on the slopes of Shasta.  Glenn brought his Winston 7 1/2′ three weight vintage glass rod which he enjoys fishing for Brookies at home.  This was the perfect tool as he ended up with a triple on the McCloud catching not only a Redband Rainbow but a Brown Trout and Brookie all on dry flies!  He finished his adventure with a day of dry fly fishing the “big” water of the Upper Sac.

Jim with an Upper Sacramento River trophy Good buddies, Jim and Chuck, sample a classic Upper Sac run Three great buddies, Chuck, Mike and Jim returned for a day on the Upper Sac with Craig to start off their trip.  A storm had blown through and colored the water, dropping visibility to three or four feet at the most.  Though prospects were not good, they found fish consistently and Jim was rewarded with one of the best fish of his life and large very colorful trophy rainbow that earned him entry into the ShastaTrout “Hawg of Fame”.  It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. On the same weekend, John and family enjoyed a day with local guide Chris King on the Upper Sac with the whole family finding fish.  Joel the son of one of our regular guests joined Gabe on the Lower Sac on what was one of Joel’s best days ever.  Gabe offered that it was one of the best days he’s every seen and he grew up fishing the river!

A big Bollibokka 'bow makes Kevin's reel sing Bruce lands one of many fish he enjoyed Justin with one of many fish he enjoyed in this run McCloud River @ the Bollibokka Club midday dry fly Rainbow Craig hosted an awesome group of guys on the McCloud at the Bollibokka Club for a few days.  Some of those who were new to fly fishing were treated to some sweet success while learning some skills that served them well for the remainder of their stay.  Those with a bit more experience enjoyed learning some new techniques and strategies that were pure fun, the majority of fish coming on dries at times, even midday.  While Everitt, Kevin, Justin, Bruce, Nick and their friends gather for the fishing, the camaraderie has them coming back each season.

Scenic River and beautiful Rainbows Gabe with McCloud River Trophy Rainbow on a dry fly Craig enjoyed a phenomenal day with Gabriel Lopez, an angler based out of San Francisco who authors a fly fishing blog he calls LazyLopez which features some terrific photography and video.  He fished the McCloud and enjoyed considerable success, sampling first with an indicator, then high sticking, swinging streamers, moving to dry flies and droppers, and concluding the evening with some dry fly mania.  Gabe has got some serious game and showed his stuff on his first day out since becoming a dad.  He is planning a return visit for some steelheading.

Satya enjoys another Upper Sac Rainbow Harold find some dry fly action on the Upper Sac Alan Holding Big McCloud River 'Bow Craig treated Dan, a regular visitor from his hometown of Paradise to a fabulous day on the Upper Sac earlier in the week. Satya a new guest from the Bay Area, invited his brother Craig from the east coast,  to a few magical days in the Shadow of Shasta as well.  They enjoyed a reunion and some good fishing as well.  Local Guide Rick Cox helped Alan find some Rainbows on the McCloud including a trophy.  Harold came up from the Bay Area and took a tour of the Upper Sac from top to bottom finding willing fish along the way.  Our neighbor and good friend, Don treated his grandson Andrew,  a college student at Davis to a weekend in Mount Shasta with the Upper Sac treating them to some very fine fish as well.

Bundled up and hookin' up Nikki's McCloud Rainbow John enjoys a break in the weather John and Nikki traveled from Pennsylvania to sample California sunshine and the fly fishing.  They enjoyed some great weather and good fishing on the McCloud with Rick Cox, a day on Upper Sac and an awesome day on the Lower Sac with Craig before the last day of their trip when an afternoon thunderstorm with lightening, thunder and hail the likes of which none of us had before seen caused us to race to the boat ramp and cover.

Beautiful McCloud Lake Brown Trout Happy Lower Sac couple doubles up! Happy Lower Sac Angler Local guide Fred Gordon continues to enjoy great success on the Lower Sac and McCloud Reservoir where he hosted an enjoyable couple who caught a number of fish, including a few double hooks ups.  The McCloud reservoir is dropping rapidly and while the catching remains good, the fishing is less scenic when looking up at a bare shoreline.  Mud Creek has also been discoloring the Upper McCloud arm with visibility there down to inches.

Youngest son enjoys father's passion as well Dad finds a trophy 'bowBuzz keeps pace with dad James finds a nice fish Burr came out from Indiana to visit oldest son Buzz in San Francisco and invited younger sons Joseph and James to join them for a family reunion.  They enjoyed a couple great days drifting the Lower Sacramento River  with Craig and Gabe.  The weather was a bit warm but no complaints from them as it was quite dry unlike the humidity they suffered back home.  The fish cooperated and everyone got into the act many times over.  They are already planning their next get together.

Harold find some dry fly action on the Upper Sac Ben with his first McCloud Rainbow Trout McCloud fast water find Ben invited long time friend Hunter to share the Nature Conservancy water on the McCloud with Craig where they found a number of fish willing to eat their nymphs as well as dry flies.  The following day they toured the Upper Sac and though conditions were a bit tough and technical due to ultra clear water they were able to up their game and bring several fish to hand each day.  Harold joined Craig for a solo trip on the Upper Sac as well and they found fair action and brought a few nice fish to hand though the bite was a bit slower than we had hoped.

Upper Sac guide Fred Gordon helps Mike find another trophy RainbowBob with his first ever McCloud Rainbow on a fly Laura with her first fly caught trout Rob and Laura were vacationing from New York and thought they’d give fly fishing a whirl with their son Mike and daughter Anna.  Craig took Rob and Laura for a tour of the Upper McCloud viewing the falls and casting tiny dries to native trout while Rick treated Anna to a walk and wade adventure on the Upper Sac.  Fred took Mike to one of his secret haunts where Mike demonstrated he was a quick study landing a fish including a nice big Rainbow.  While the family took a scenic tour, Rob returned for a fine solo day exploring the Upper Sac and discovering a few of Craig’s secret spots.

One Comment

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