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Northern California Fishing Report

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After a week on a remote island near the equator, I came to a truly hot climate here in the Fall River valley.  
The hex hatch has been a little erratic, but worth the effort.  It is starting late, around 9:20.  Many of the fish have been tight to the banks, so you actually need to cast to these fish to get the big grabs.  As always, opportunities to catch large fish are there, Bob from Chicago landed a fat one over 20 inches last night.  Daytime fishing on Fall is a bit scratchy and hot...
The Mac is fishing decent, with some lingering salmonflies around and some mayfly hatches in the afternoon, especially when clouds are around.  Dry dropper rig and covering water will work very well, Fish the shady spots in the afternoon, or nymph the deeper buckets and pools, or get out of the agonizing sun and nap until it cools off!
View All Reports by Dax Messett    |    View Dax Messett's Calendar    |    View All Fall River Reports
Great
Brian Kohlman and I guided three great guys on the Lower Sac Tuesday and Wednesday.  The air temp was a little warm (one reading said 114), and the second day we had some strong morning winds which gave us a few challenges.  The guys did great and the fishing was really good.  Being on the water provides a nice breeze all day and plenty of cold water to cool off with.  Our group had lots of hook-ups both days and we put a lot of good, quality fish in the nets.  The fishing was consistant all day and the fish were grabbing a variety of nymphs.  Don't let the weather scare you, the Lower Sac is a great place this time of year.
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Dave with an 18" dandy. Wind took his hat. Small Sacrifice for the picture
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Mark keeping cool with a hot fish.
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Wally's hard work pays off!
View All Reports by Mike Wright    |    View Mike Wright's Calendar    |    View All Lower Sac Reports
It's time to fish the epic Hex Hatch on Fall River.  I have a few nights available on June 26 & 27 and July 11 & 12.  I've been fishing this unique hatch for 15 years, and it still is as exciting for me as it was on day one.  The good thing about this hot weather coming up is that the hatch should go off!
View All Reports by Dax Messett    |    View Dax Messett's Calendar    |    View All Fall River Reports
Good
Well...it was pretty darn hot today, but reasonably comfortable on the water.  Fishing has been up and down the past few weeks, but the fish were very grabby this morning, then it slowed down late-morning, but then picked back up this afternoon.  The key is to start early on these really hot days.  Everything landed today was over 16 inches!
View All Reports by Brian Kohlman    |    View Brian Kohlman's Calendar    |    View All Lower Sac Reports

I'm on the eve of heading north to Alaska for what promises to be an adventuruous summer of guiding and backpacking, but before I go, I wanted to share some flies and thoughts for targeting Trinity River Steelhead. 

Every summer we all have to hold our breath in anticipation of the first returning summer run fish who make their way to the Trinity by way of the Klamath. There are fish in the river all year long, but it usually isn't until some time in mid-August that they start to show up on the Trinity en mass. By October the river is loaded from top to bottom. During this time finding water that hasn't been pressured can become as difficult a task as bringing one of these storied fish to hand. While most guides prefer to focus on the upper river, my favorite beats are mainly between Hawkins Bar and Willow Creek. I like this stretch for two reasons:

1) It doesn't get anywhere near the amount of pressure that the upper river does.

2) It offers the perfect venue for presenting a swung fly to Trinity River steelhead. 

This river, and specifically this stretch of river, offers one of the best places in the lower 48 to find success fishing a traditional down and across method with a classic pattern tied onto the end of your leader. To borrow a well worn phrase, these fish come to the fly well. Grabs are explosive, on or near the surface, usually accompanied by an acrobatic display that'll leave you grinning ear to ear.  Coupled with mild weather and the beautiful backdrop of fall, come October, there is no place I would rather be then on the Trinity. 

 A quick word on tackle. For swinging flies on the lower Trinity a scandi line with an assortment of floating versi leaders will get the job done 9 times out of 10. There are times when I like to fish an intermediate tip, especially if the sun is high on the water.  3x tippet or 8 pound Maxima Ultragreen is as light as I'll go (I had to learn that lesson the hard way). To bring a Skagit head or not? Sometimes the afternoon thermals will make you wish you had, especially earlier in the season when the mid day temps can climb into the 90's and the fish are in the dumps. Rods. A 7wt in my opinion is too much rod for 90% of the fish you're likely to catch on the Trinity. A 5wt spey up to 12'6 ft is perfect. Switch rods ranging from a 4wt to a 6wt are perfectly suited to TR Steelhead. 

Now, A few flies for your consideration. Part of what makes this fishery so unique is that these steelhead really love eating flies. They aren't particularily choosy either. This gives the angler a unique opportunity to fish different methods and try flies that normally would stay in the box. For me, there is nothing more exciting than trying to entice a surface grab on a waked or skated fly. The Trinity also presents the angler with the perfect venue to fish the timeless patterns that make fly fishing for steelhead such a unique sport. Tie on a Silver Hilton, a Royal Coachman, or a Greaseliner and never think twice about your fly. 

I'll be back from AK just in time for the Trinity to really start heating up towards the end of September. I offer both walk/wade and float trips out of a 13 ft raft.    

Looking forward to getting on the water with you!

 

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The Copper Coachman. When sun's on the water, throw copper
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A simple feather wing for early and late in the day
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The Peacock Hilton. A variation of the timeless classic.
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Bretts Klamath Skater. For toilet bowl flush grabs on the surface
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Soft Hackles, the bread and butter of the Trinity
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A traditional Spey Fly. Nothing says classic like a feather wing.
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A hidden gem deep in the Trinity River drainage.
View All Reports by Drew Griffith    |    View Drew Griffith's Calendar    |    View All Trinity River Reports
We have just set our 2017-18 schedule for Eagle Canyon.  Last year was so busy that we couldn't fit in everybody that wanted to come, so this year we're adding an extra month to our season.  Opening Day is December 9th, 2017 and we will be open through mid-April of 2018.  We are taking reservations for the 2017-18 season now, so jump on your preferred date soon!  Everything other than the schedule is the same as last year - same rates, same rest day before every party, and plenty of big trophy trout!
View All Reports by Andrew Harris    |    View Andrew Harris's Calendar    |    View All Eagle Canyon Reports
Good
The river has been fickle recently.  One day the fish are super grabby - and the next day you're working hard for every hook-up.  All and all, the river is fishing well!  With the closure of the upper section, I expect the fish to be in great shape and very willing to eat flies in August.  Today, we had the pleasure of guiding a Project Healing Waters group coordinated by the Golden Gate Angling and Casting Club.  Everyone in the group landed fish, and some landed quite few!  It was a positve experience for everyone and I look forward to working with them all again in the future.  All our area waters are fishable now, so let's get out and go fishing!
View All Reports by Brian Kohlman    |    View Brian Kohlman's Calendar    |    View All Lower Sac Reports
Great
No need to travel all the way to the Deschutes or Montana to fish the Salmonfly hatch...it is going off on the Upper Rogue and Klamath Rivers right now.  The fish are just starting to look for them these past few days on both rivers.  The Klamath has finally dropped down to a very fishable 1500 CFS at Iron Gate.  The upper Rogue is at perfect flows to both fish big drys from the boat, and get out and swing trout spey rods to very eager fish.  I floated with Ashland Fly Shop's John Hazelett on Monday, we hooked dozens of trout on big Salmonfly patterns and swinging stonefly patterns on 4wt spey rods.  Most of these fish are between 9 to 12 inches, but we hooked a half dozen or so in that 15 inch range.  All these fish were nice wild rainbows or beautiful cutthrout trout.  The hatch should go for a few more weeks.
View All Reports by Dax Messett    |    View Dax Messett's Calendar    |    View All Klamath River Reports
Great
The Lower Sac fished great for us today.  I guided Tom from the Diablo Valley Fly Fishers club.  The nymphing was red-hot from the start and stayed that way most of the day.   We had good luck on a variety of patterns, including PMD nymphs, caddis pupas, rubberlegs, and egg patterns.  The average size fish was just under 18" today.  It seems like the bug life is getting better every day.  We had a front come in this afternoon and the PMDs started to hatch in good numbers.  We even saw a few rising fish.  The next 3 days are supposed to be cooler and rainy, so we might bring some good dry fly fishing...
View All Reports by Andrew Harris    |    View Andrew Harris's Calendar    |    View All Lower Sac Reports
Great
Fall River report courtesy of Scott Saiki: Fall River is in prime condition and yesterday's atypical cloud cover brought the most prolific PMD hatch I've seen in years.  During the hatch, angler skill was unimportant as the sheer probability of fish taking your fly instead of the 30 other naturals within a 2 foot diameter made our odds almost laughable.  Before and after the hatch however, fishing was solid.  Mike from Chico landed fish on dries, nymphs and streamers.  The quality of the fish in the system right now is superb and it's still early enough in the season where the trout are actually hanging on to your fly a while before indelicately spitting it out.  Come on up before 7x becomes the rule of the day.

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Mike from Chico with a great Fall River rainbow
View All Reports by Andrew Harris    |    View Andrew Harris's Calendar    |    View All Fall River Reports
Great
I had my first Fall River guide trip of the season yesterday with Mike Wright and his fun crew.  Fall River is in the best shape I've seen it in for June 1 in years.  The fish are spread out through the whole system, but there still are more fish up high that will be coming down as the season progresses.  
We absolutely pillaged in every spot we fished from 9 to 5, with no breaks in the action.  It was pretty hard to beat.  Not a ton of rising fish, but there were some baetis and pmds around.  Damsels will get going soon when the weather starts to heat up more, and hatches should get more consistent as the weed beds grow in.  
I'll open my schedule to guide some select days in late June and July.  Contact me if you're  interested.
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Dr. Wright with a beauty
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We hooked many, many of these fatties yesterday
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Shasta looking beautiful covered in snow
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Upper Mac is finally wadable
View All Reports by Dax Messett    |    View Dax Messett's Calendar    |    View All Fall River Reports
Okay
Did some scouting with Brian Kohlman yesterday and found some shad in the Red Bluff area.  Not many, but they were good size, in the 2# range.  No sign of stripers near Red Bluff yet.
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View All Reports by Andrew Harris    |    View Andrew Harris's Calendar    |    View All Lower Sac Stripers Reports
Good
I floated the Lower Sac today with Dan and Frank from the greater Sacramento area.  Fishing was good in the morning with a couple fish over 18" and decent numbers of normal-size fish.  The bite totally shut off around 2pm and we only hooked a couple more fish in the afternoon.  We saw some good bugs hatching including caddisflies and PMDs.  The river is around 9000cfs now and clarity is good.
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Dan's big fish of the day
View All Reports by Andrew Harris    |    View Andrew Harris's Calendar    |    View All Lower Sac Reports
The Lower Sac above the Highway 44 Bridge is now officially closed.  The two-year emergency closure is now an annual 4-month closure each year from April 1st through July 31st.  According to our local game warden the closure went into effect on Friday but won't be enforced until tomorrow (Tuesday).  This closure doesn't affect our guide program very much.  I still enjoy launching at the Posse Grounds and floating the river for 15 minutes before getting down to the 44 Bridge.  Another popular option is to launch at the McConnell Ramp near Aqua Golf, which is right below the Highway 44 Bridge.
View All Reports by Andrew Harris    |    View Andrew Harris's Calendar    |    View All Lower Sac Reports
We're down to just 2 spots left in our 2017 guide school.  The dates are July 8-15 and the location is the intermountain area of northern California.  Our students spend time on the Pit, McCloud, Hat Creek, and Lower Sac as they learn what guiding is all about from the senior members of the Confluence Outfitters guide staff.  This is a great class if you're curious about guiding as a career or have already made up your mind that guiding is for you.  The on-the-water sessions are balanced with classroom sessions on logistics, administration, permitting issues, and marketing.  We also spend a lot of time working on our students' casting skills and helping them to teach casting skills in a guided fishing context.
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Guide School 2014 on the Pit River
View All Reports by Andrew Harris    |    View Andrew Harris's Calendar    |    View All Northern California Reports
Good
Brian Kohlman and I had the pleasure of guiding two father and son teams for two days in the Intermountain area.  Chris and Todd brought their sons Ian and Davis up for a great weekend of learning and fishing the streams of Northern California.  Every member of the group caught fish and learned a lot.  The improvement over two days was incredible and I know this group will soon be back.  We fished Hat Creek, Burney Creek, and Baum Lake with success on dry flies and nymphs.  The heat made for a little tougher fishing in the afternoons, but we had some success everywhere we fished. Todd and Chris both hooked fish on dries on Hat Creek and the boys really hammered 'em on Burney Creek.  The success of this trip wasn't measured in fish.  Thanks guys. 
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Great Crew!
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Entomology time for Davis!
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First fish on a fly rod!!
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Proud Pops!
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Ian working hard casting to risers on Baum Lake. Pretty good form!
View All Reports by Mike Wright    |    View Mike Wright's Calendar    |    View All Northern California Reports
Great

I spent the last two days guiding longtime clients Frank & Doug in the 1st annual Cast Hope Gabe Duran Memorial Lower Sac fly fishing tournament.  The weather was hot and so was the fishing!  Competition was pretty fierce as there were 22 boats and a lot of very good anglers on the water.  To give you an idea of the quality of the fishing this weekend, our boat averaged about 19" for the ten fish we were able to record each day and we landed a 24" rainbow, but we still placed 4th and missed the big fish trophy by a half inch!

Fish are in their happy place right now with flows steady at 13,000cfs.  We did best on egg patterns, brown rubberlegs and also caught a few on caddis patterns size 14.  Look for fishing to improve and for the lower parts of the river to start fishing better over the next few weeks. 

View All Reports by Andrew Harris    |    View Andrew Harris's Calendar    |    View All Lower Sac Reports
Great
The past five days has been very productive.  Most of our hook-ups have been above Bonnyview, but the water down to Anderson is starting to fish much better.  We're also starting to see a lot of PMD's, so the fish are really starting to eat the nymphs.  Weather has varied from hot, to mild - but it looks like we are in store for some hot weather beginning this weekend.  Here are some images from the past few days.
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Bob with a beautful rainbow!
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Cliff starting his day out right!
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Here's another beautiful fish for Jesse!
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Julian with another great fish!
View All Reports by Brian Kohlman    |    View Brian Kohlman's Calendar    |    View All Lower Sac Reports
We are rescheduling our 2017 Guide School to July 8-15.  We still have room for 3 participants.  This one-week course is a great way to get your feet wet in the world of guiding.  The course is based in the Burney/Fall River Mills area and the field sessions take place on the Pit River, Hat Creek, McCloud River, and Lower Sac.
View All Reports by Andrew Harris    |    View Andrew Harris's Calendar    |    View All Northern California Reports
Good
Spent another day scouting the conditions in Northern California. Spent an afternoon and evening walking and fishing Hat Creek. The water level was higher than normal for Hat Creek, but didn't present any issue with fishing except for wading the upper end of the Powerhouse #2 riffle. Walked the entire new access trail from the 299 bridge to the parking lot at Powerhouse #2.  It was good to see anglers spread out all up and down the river and not just packed into the riffle.  There was an abundance of weeds, bugs, and a consistant amount of fising fish at the lower end of this section.  Some anglers I watched were successful on dries.  I spent about an hour or so fishing and had success on dries over weed beds and behind structure, and then ended the night catching a number of fish nymphing the riffle.  Good things ahead for Hat Creek.
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The new access trail allows for anglers to access all of the river.
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Good weed beds.
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Such a great place to spend the day.
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Beautiful colors on the Hat Creek Rainbow
View All Reports by Mike Wright    |    View Mike Wright's Calendar    |    View All Northern California Reports
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