Upper Sacramento River Fly Fishing Guide Beats the Summertime Blues

One of many midday summertime Upper Sacramento River RainbowRipe BlackberriesI had a few cancellations this week, which are a part of guiding but they felt a little odd.  I had taken some time off from our busiest season ever to vacation with my family in Yosemite, and visit with friends in the Rockies, so found myself anxious to get back to guiding.  When I got a phone call to cancel a multi day group trip I was very bummed to say the least.  While it did provide time to take care of some much neglected book keeping (my least favorite task), this bright spot did little to lighten my spirits.  So…I went fishing for a few days of course.

Fortunately this doesn’t take much, the Upper Sac is a few minutes from my door and some of the closest water, the canyon section between Dunsmuir and Cantara as well as the Box Canyon are a couple of my favorite stretches.  I guide these rarely as they are exceptionally rugged and not for the faint of heart.  The Box requires some rock climbing down vertical walls (including a rope and ladder) to access and the canyon section is a long walk from anywhere and includes some challenging wading.  The good news is that they get less traffic as a result and the steeped walled canyons mean you can find shade most anytime of day, including midafternoon which is the time I had free.

I opted to nymph, mostly high sticking as I find it is the most meditative form of fly fishing for me.  The fishing was not  spectacular by any means but I found fish in most the places I tried, including half a dozen in one run, again nothing of exceptional size but hearty, wild Rainbows full of life.  Many of the fish came on a black #16 Micromay but several prefered a #14 tan Fox Poopah with a few (including some of the largest ones) on a #10 Beadhead Prince Nymph. Most of the fish were found in fast water, often at the head of a run.

The Blackberries tasted better than I can ever recall, big and juicy and SWEET!  Perhaps the long wet spring we experienced made them juicier, or maybe it was just my much improved mood?

PS  Local guide Rick Cox has enjoyed great fishing on the middle and lower river as well.

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