Northern California’s Premier Fly Fishing Guide Service

Summertime fly fishing in the shadow of Shasta

28575961462_000526ca80_kAugust 6th

The Blackberries are ripe, the weather is perfect (no local fires), the trout are fat and feisty and solitude is easy to find.  Fall is just a few weeks away, and we are enjoying some exceptionally fine weather after a hot spell, enabling us to wade wet on our local freestones, the McCloud, the Upper Sac, and some local creeks. As is typical of summer, this is not the time of year we expect epic days catching loads of big fish.  It is the time of year we enjoy the simple pleasures of fly fishing, the solitude of casting dries on scenic creeks to native fish, nymphing pockets for hot rainbows and perhaps even a streamside nap.  With flows at their lowest we can chose a water type and technique to suit our mood, whether it is high sticking pockets, fishing a dry dropper through a classic run, or casting tiny dries to selective evening risers.

28626726896_3ea30cd3b4_m28397601920_4ccd8ef7e4_mAs is typical in summer, fishing has been best early and late in the day when the sun is off the water.   Evening hatches have been compressed, sometimes lasting an hour or more but seldom longer, mostly small to tiny mayflies and caddis with a few lingering yellow sallies.  Nymphing, as well as fishing dry fly attractors with droppers, has been effective before the hatch as well as earlier in the day.

The Upper Sacramento River is low and clear and fishing exceptionally well with dry flies and droppers finding good numbers of small fish, while nymphing fast water pockets has found some of the larger specimens in the river.  For those who know where and how to “high stick” the fishing has been exceptional at times.  The bite has been best on Black Fly Larva imitations, small to tiny caddis and mayflies, and October Caddis case patterns.  The evening hatch has been superb but is compressed into the last hour of light.

28397593940_7e4a6b46ae_mThe spring crowds on the McCloud have dissipated and guests enjoyed some great fishing in the past weeks fishing dries and droppers as well as nymphing.  The action has been nearly non stop but most of the fish have been small, with a few fish in the teens mixed in during the day.  Unfortunately Mud Creek recently started spilling silt and water clarity dropped to a foot or two but has started to clear.  As this event has a habit of varying greatly from season to season be sure to check conditions before heading to the McCloud.

I hope to see you soon, drop us a line if you are headed our way, I am always happy to share all I can whether you are seeking guide service or not.

Annual Umpqua Steelhead Pilgrimage

IMGP2226July 15-24

20160718_063451Every summer for several seasons, Craig and Jerri have enjoyed a tradition of friends and family joining them for an annual pilgrimage to the Umpqua River to search for summer run Steelhead.  The Umpqua has one of the few remaining runs of wild summer fish in the lower 48 states that supports angling.  The fish are also surface oriented and getting one to tip up from a deep emerald pool for a skated fly can be one of the most magical moments in our sport.  The Umpqua is steeped in tradition and is famous in the lore of the sport so for us sharing this tradition with those we love is what it really is all about.  We enjoy telling some fish tales about our success or lack of it during cocktail hour, a breakfast at the Steamboat Inn or one of our evening potluck BBQ’s, perhaps the highlight of which was a whole lamb roasted Argentinian style on a cross over an open fire this season.

20160717_17090120160717_181757This year a couple dozen folks joined us for the week, most of which took the opportunity to fish.  Some folks new to the river, as well as a couple not so new, opted to fish with some great local guides who we heartily recommend, Rich Zellman and Tony Wratney.  A big thank you to Nana & Papa, Ed & Melinda, Tim & Judy, Greg & Larry, Jim, Gui, Tim, Brandon, Brian, Joel, Dave, Zach, Tony, Avery, Mike, Steve, and Ray for helping to make this year one of the most memorable visits ever. A great trip for family and friends who don’t fish as well, some folks took hikes, biked, swam, camped, ate, drank, and slept under the stars.

Walking on waterGui's HenGui's CuttFishing conditions were challenging as the weather was hot after a little rain, one of those times when “we should have been there the weekend before.”   Despite the lack of action most folks stuck to searching with dry flies and floating lines. Over the week perhaps a dozen or so steelhead were caught and released with Ed and Zach at the head of the class with three fish to hand each.  Look for reports on hosted trips to the Grande Ronde in October (still some openings, call)  and the Skeena (sold out) in late September or early October.  For more photos of this trip check out the Umpqua Selects album.

Fly Fishing Superb on McCloud and Upper Sac

IMGP2538June 28th

Conditions could not be much better on the McCloud and Upper Sacramento Rivers and the fishing has been superb!  Flows on the Upper Sac are low and clear while some glacial melt has made it’s way into the McCloud helping to disguise anglers approach and create conditions that are much less technical than we saw earlier in the season.

GaryUSac'bowNymphing has IMGP2526produced best early in the day with dry fly fishing becoming productive once the sun goes off the water.  A few Stoneflies are still about though fish are not as keyed IMGP2503on them as they were the past few weeks.  Several species of Mayflies and Caddis are out in force and fish have been taking them all.  The weather forecast for Mount Shasta is calling for ideal weather with daytime temps in the 80’s so if you are looking to escape the heat I recommend making the pilgrimage to enjoy some splendid fishing.  I do have a few openings in the coming weeks so drop me a line if you are seeking one of the finest local guides.

Guide Report: Dry Fly Time on the Upper Sac & McCloud Rivers!

IMGP2478IMGP2496June 5: It’s Dry Fly Time!

If you are like me and fishing dry flies to eager trout on freestones releases your juices and makes you feel like a 12 year old again, consider this your invitation to get here now!  This weekend the dry fly fishing on the Upper Sacramento and McCloud Rivers turned on.  Yesterday afternoon guests fished a couple runs (among others) that I know intimately as they are only a few minutes from my front door and I have to admit I had no clue that they harbored so many large fish (that rose to eat dry flies!).


IMGP2472IMG_2165IMGP2490The feast features Goldenstones, a few Salmonflies, half a dozen species of Mayflies from large to small, and a couple different Caddis along with some Sallies.  We have been fishing dry flies with droppers and had nearly nonstop action from early morning until dark.  It doesn’t get much better.

Sandy River Speyclave, McKenzie River & Shasta Area Report

IMGP2457May 13-28th

It’s been a few weeks since I have posted a report as I have been traveling and spending time with family as my father has been ill.  He passed peacefully on Wednesday morning May 25th with my mother and his wife of 63 years at his bedside.  He was a good man, and a great father.  He taught me to fly fish and tie flies and to play baseball though he never had a chance to do those things as a child.  He started working to help support his impoverished family in the Mission District before he was old enough to drive.  I will miss our conversations about the Giants, Warriors and Niners, he was a lifelong San Francisco sports fan, having worked at Seal Stadium as a vendor when the Giants moved from New York.  I  enjoyed a visit with him on Monday and Tuesday and was able to comfort him before his passing.

IMGP2452IMGP2466Last week I drove to Portland Oregon for the Sandy River Speyclave fishing the McKenzie River with my friends Tim, Katie and Brandon on my way there.  The McKenzie is just minutes east of Eugene and I had stopped to walk and wade it on previous trips north but this is the first chance I’ve had to float it.  This is the place where driftboats got their start and back in the day we even called them McKenzie River Boats.  The McKenzie is incredibly scenic and fishing from a boat  allowed us to experience in a historic way, at it’s best.  We took the opportunity to get out and wade a few exceptional runs but most of the time on the first day we fished indicators from the boat.  On the second day we fished further upstream where the river is faster and has fewer deep runs so we fished dry dropper rigs.  The action was nearly nonstop, there was a brief period of about ten or fifteen minutes one afternoon when no one got a grab and we were wondering what was going on.  Not to worry a quick fly change and a few minutes later we were back into them.  If you are driving north or visiting the Eugene area I highly recommend taking a day or two to sample this outstanding fishery, drop me a line and I can arrange a trip with the finest local guides.

Gary AndersonThe Speyclave was a great time as usual though the weather didn’t cooperate on Saturday and Sunday when it was very windy and rained hard.  I visited with long time friends and met some new folks I hope to fish with in the near future as well.  I was able to sample some new products including Gary Anderson’s new Elite and Elite light series Speyrods.   Wow!  Gary has new proprietary graphite that is incredibly light and powerful, allowing him to build tapers that for my tastes are the best in the business.  Though I already own nearly 30 rods, including several ACR’s I need to convince my wife the need to purchase his new 12’5″ Elite 5 weight and the 12’7″ Elite Light 5 weight for this season on the Klamath.  The whole series is exceptional but the 12’7″ 7 weight is also a rod I hope to add to the arsenal for this coming winter.  During my visit I fished the Clackamas and met area guide Jeff Hickman who suggested rigging a second rod with a floating line and a muddler which paid off the following morning on the Sandy with a bright fresh wild hen, marking my first fish of the new season.  My favorite time of year has arrived, summer steelhead are on their way!

Fishing in the shadow of Shasta is taking off, the weather forecast is perfect and spring bugs are starting to pop, including Salmonflies and Goldenstones!  I have been fishing the McCloud and Upper Sacramento typically nymphing in the early day and fishing dries and droppers later in the day including a couple days when we cut our droppers off as the fish were looking up.  My availability in the next few weeks is limited but I work with the finest local guides so drop me a line if you are able to head this way to enjoy the bounty!

Deschutes River Wilderness Fly Fishing Trip

TaylerDeschutesApril 28-May 1

I had a last minute cancellation so when I got a phone call from a friend to spend an extended weekend on the Deschutes River I jumped at the opportunity.  The Deschutes is my favorite river outside of my homewater in Northern California and so I make the pilgrimage north at least a few times each season.  The Deschutes has it all, amazing geography and scenery, world class whitewater and camping, wildlife and birds (we saw Bighorn Sheep), great weather, good hatches and some of the hardest pulling wild trout and steelhead on the planet.

Kevndeschutes2 KevindeschutesI typically plan trout trips around the spring hatches of mayflies and caddis and the incredible stonefly hatches which are as good as it gets, bringing the biggest trout to the surface.  We knew we were a bit early for the stoneflies on this weekend so we mostly nymphed the first few days, finding several fish in each run we sampled.  The weather dawned bright and sunny on Sunday, some Salmonflies and Goldenstones took flight, so I committed to a dry dropper for the final day and was not disappointed, landing a number of hearty Deschutes Redband Rainbows.  I unexpectedly even found a late season steelhead!  Watching the sun set and the moon rise over the vermillion cliffs after one of the most satisfying days of trout fishing I’ve ever experienced made me want to howl with the coyotes.

IMGP2438 IMGP2428The Stonefly hatches will be in full swing in the coming weeks, consider this your notice to get to the Deschutes now!  If you have experienced casting huge dries tightIMGP2405 to the banks of the Deschutes you know what I mean, if you haven’t you should seriously consider adding it to your bucket list.  This is a great trip for family members, I’ve taken mine who enjoyed it immensely. As a Flywater Travel agent I work with the finest guides and outfitters on the Deschutes and they still have some limited availability for groups of two to six.   Drop me a line at your earliest opportunity to schedule a trip on this beautiful river.

Available dates:
May 9 – 12
May 24 – 31

Rate: $1500 per person for a 2 night / 3 day package (4 anglers minimum)
Note: Additional packages available upon request.

Join me at Spey-O-Rama April 22-24th

Amy Hazel throws a lazer loopSpey-O-Rama @ Golden Gate Casting Club

San Francisco, April 22-24

I will be visiting the historic Golden Gate Angling & Casting Club to attend the Spey-O-Rama this coming weekend.

Anglers from across the globe gather for an extended weekend of friendly competition, camaraderie, and the opportunity to sample the wares of the leading developers of two handed toys. Join me for one day or more, it is a relaxed and fun affair in a beautiful setting.

You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and compare notes with a number of friends and associates, including the maker of magic wands, Gary Anderson of ACR, champion caster, instructor & proprieter of Lost Coast Outfitters, George Revel , and the author of A Passion for Steelhead, Dec Hogan.  Just watching the amazing casts made by these talented competitors and teachers is worth the price of admission. Oops, I almost forgot to mention it’s free!