The opening weeks of the fly fishing season on streams in the shadow of Shasta have been silly good. Conditions could not have been better, Dogwood trees, Indian Rhubarb, Shasta and Tiger Lilies are in full bloom (much earlier than usual) and local rivers are clear with flows we haven’t seen this skinny and fishable in years. The weather has also cooperated with near perfect temps in the 70’s and 80’s last week. The blue skies were disrupted by some showers and wind this past weekend as well as early this week but we fished through it all and the fishing (and catching) continues to be exceptional.
Hatches have been showing early as well and with the weather forecast calling for more great weather, we recommend you plan a trip in the upcoming weeks as our biggest and best bugs of the year will be arriving soon!
The Upper Sacramento River is in amazing condition all the way from the Box Canyon to Lake Shasta with extremely low, clear flows and hungry trout. We experienced a very small bump in flows with showers this week but they have dropped right back down to summer type levels. Water temps have also climbed into the mid fifties which is ideal and the trout have been active and willing dance partners.
Nymphing with big stonefly patterns accompanied by small (size 14-16) mayfly and caddis patterns has worked best early in the day, while later we have been fishing with dries, on several occasions cutting off our droppers because the dries have been so productive. We are seeing light hatches of Blue Wing Olives and springtime caddis along with some lingering March Browns and Brown Drakes. Green Drakes, Grey Drakes, Salmonflies and Goldenstones will be taking stage next. We expect these hatches to come early and with the river in this condition we expect a bonanza. We still have some guide dates available in the coming weeks, drop us a line for the latest conditions or to schedule a great local guide. Shasta Trout guides spend more time individually each season on the Upper Sac as our competitor’s guides spend collectively.
The McCloud River is fishing as well as we have ever seen it this time of the year. Flows are exceptionally low and clear, 215 cfs at Ah Di Na, much like you will find in midsummer so the fishing can be technical. Anglers intent on pounding typical runs with indicators along with everyone else are finding limited success while those in the know who are fishing dry flies, with and without droppers, in tucked away spots are enjoying an incredible bounty.
Hatches have been sparse with some lingering Blue Wing Olives, March Browns, spring Caddis and Brown Drakes. No Stoneflies yet as water temps are colder on the McCloud than it’s sister rivers the Upper Sac and Pit River, where water temps are in the mid fifties and stoneflies are beginning to emerge. Stealth is key as fish are podded together and presenting flies, hooking and playing fish away from the group rather than spooking one that can alert the pod improves success. The word is out, Ash Camp has filled on weekends and Ah Di Na has been half to nearly full and all the tags at the Nature Conservancy have been put to use. Best to visit midweek if you are able.
The Lower Sacramento River continues to amaze us with some of the best spring time fishing we have ever seen. This river tends to cycle and we are definitely on an upswing with many large fish hooked on each and every trip. The bite has been most consistent on PMD’s though few lingering March Browns are getting grabbed as well as rubberlegs. The river has been fishing well from Caldwell Park all the way to Red Bluff.
Summer Caddis (Hydropsyche) hatches are building each afternoon and should help extend the good bite later into the day. Flows were raised last week to 11,000 cfs which usually hampers the bite but we enjoyed banner days despite the increased flows and some windy conditions. Flows this week increased to 12,000 and are holding steady, great for fishing from a driftboat but these flows limit wading to very few spots. We have some guide availability in the coming weeks including access for anglers confined to wheelchairs. Drop us a line for the latest.
Hatches on the Fall River have been sparse and the dry fly fishing has been limited. Fish are podded and once they are located, they have been taking nymphs and streamers well. On most days fishing on the lower river has been better than the upper river where many Rainbows, particularly the larger ones are still likely on the spawn. We expect hatches to build in the coming weeks and the dry fly fishing to take off and guide availability will become limited, we recommend scheduling a great local guide now.
The Pit River has been fishing well though few anglers are visiting as the new flow regimen limits the pocket water fishing that made this river famous. Those who have learned the new productive spots are enjoying success nymphing with rubberlegs and small mayfly and caddis droppers. No exceptional dry fly fishing to report, yet. We have not received a report from Hat Creek, stay tuned.
Drop us a line if you are headed our way, we would enjoy sharing what we can about local conditions whether you are seeking a great local guide or not. We hope to see you soon!