Northern California Fly Fishing Report

A colorful buck comes to net at sunset Roberta lands a Big Beautiful wild Trinity River Buck Steelhead Winter snow shoes January 6,  2011

For those willing to brave the elements, fly fishing in Northern California has been fair to good.  A series of cold storms blew through over the last month bringing frigid temperatures and ample precipitation.  While the fishing on the Klamath remained consistently good, finding a window to fish on the Lower Sac, Trinity, Upper Sac and Pit Rivers has been more challenging.  Runoff and high flows have been the biggest issues but at higher elevations snowed in access points have also limited options.

The fair weather we have been experiencing recently has much improved conditions and access.  Flows from Iron Gate on the Klamath have been around 1320 with the norm around 2,000 cfs.  Today flows are dropping and are currently at 1180 so stay tuned.   Anglers are catching a mix of juveniles, half pounders and adult steelhead with mostly wild adults running 2 to 5 lbs with a larger fish on occasion.  Legs and eggs have been the most consistent producers but a Baetis mayfly hatch mid afternoon has some fish taking small nymphs as well.

Flows out of Keswick on the Lower Sac have bounced around spoiling what otherwise has been a solid bite.  Releases are again scheduled to drop from 14,625 to 12,000 cfs by tomorrow.  The norm is 6,000 which is much more wadable, but once the flow stabilizes for a day or two the fishing at 12,000  should again turn on particularly for those who enjoy boat access.  Eggs patterns and small blue wing olive nymphs continue to be the top producers.

Fishing this fall on the Trinity has been difficult even for the most seasoned locals.  The biggest problem has been a lack of fish, though recently fishable water has also been limited to the upper reaches above Rush Creek where flows have remained at 300 cfs.  The very good news is that the storms brought in many more fish and the bite has picked up as a result.  Weir counts for Steelhead on the Trinity showed 71 fish in October, 85 fish in November with 704 fish showing in December.  Though this is still fewer than we might like, the result has been multiple hookups per angler per day.  Eggs, stonefly nymphs, PT’s and Copper Johns have all found fish.

The Upper Sac and Pit Rivers have been blown out with very narrow bands of opportunity until just recently.  The bite has been a midday affair primarily with hatches of of Blue Winged Olives.  Nymphing the slow water in the biggest runs has been the most productive.  Do not expect to find much wadable water, finding productive runs is key.  With the fair weather we are hoping to find some dry fly fishing opportunities utilizing our favorite dry dropper rig.  For more on fishing the Upper Sac in Winter check out our articles first published in California Fly Fisher, Winter Angling on the Upper Sac Year Round Angling on the Upper Sac.

For the most recent conditions please drop us a line, we are happy to point you in a direction you might enjoy whether you are seeking guide service or not.

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