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The Pit River

Wild, Rugged Freestone Fly Fishing
  • The Pit is loaded with wild rainbows
    Pit River Wild Rainbows The average fish on the Pit is 12" and the typical range is from 9" to 16". Pit River rainbows are very fat and strong, so a 14" fish can be difficult to land. Monsters up to 20" are caught occasionally, especially in the spring and fall.
  • Get away from the crowds
    Get away from the crowds It is rare to be fishing within sight of other anglers on the Pit River. There are 35 miles of pulic water between Lake Britton and Lake Shasta, so there is plenty of room to find some solitude.
  • Pit River rainbow trout with a fly in its mouth
    Dry Fly Opportunities The Pit River is known as a great nymphing river, but we catch plenty of good fish on dries each year, too. The best times for dry fly action are during the stonefly hatches April through June. Grasshopper patterns work well mid-summer, and summer evenings can be fantastic.
  • Spiked Boots and a wading staff
    Challenging wading The Pit is a difficult river to wade. Low visibility combined with uneven slippery rocks puts a lot of stress on ankles and knees. Felt-soled wading boots (spiked are even better) and a wading staff are a must.
  • Wild Pit River brown trout
    Wild Brown Trout The vast majority of the fish caught on the Pit River are rainbow trout. Every year we catch some very nice wild browns, too. Pit River brown trout are wild and wary but can be fooled by large nymphs and streamers.
  • Pit 1 Powerhouse
    Dams & Powerhouses The flow of the Pit River is highly regulated by dams and powerhouses. The free-flowing stretches of river consequently have consistent and predictable flow levels.
Quick Links:
Flies

The Pit River below Lake Britton dam has the highest catch rate and most consistent fishing of all the streams in northern California. Thirty miles of river provide endless opportunities to get away from other anglers. There are parts of the river right alongside a paved road as well as portions that require a strenuous hike to access. No matter where you choose to fish, you are likely to be rewarded with strong, wild rainbow trout pulling on the end of your line. The Pit fishes best from April through mid-July and again from mid-September through December. Mid-summer can be excellent, too, especially if the weather is not overly hot. Dry fly fishing is good mid-day early and late in the season and is excellent on summer evenings. Most of the time we fish with nymphs on the Pit. This river is an excellent place to learn various nymphing techniques, including indicator and indicatorless techniques.

Pit River Guide Availability
May 31: Mike Wright
Jun 12: Mike Wright
Jun 13: Mike Wright
Jun 14: Mike Wright
Jun 15: Mike Wright
Jun 16: Mike Wright
Jun 26: Mike Wright
Jun 27: Mike Wright
For more Pit River dates, please visit our Online Booking page!
Gear Recommendations for the Pit River
Rods, Reels & Lines: Five-weight nine-foot rods are ideal on the Pit River. We primarily use floating lines. Nymph or Double Taper Lines are best for versatility. We occasionally use fast-sinking sink-tip lines to fish streamers.
Leaders, Tippet & Indicators: We usually use 3X-5X tippet on the Pit River. Come prepared with 7.5' 3X or 4X leaders. We use a variety of indicators on the Pit. Corkies and yarn work well. For indicatorless nymphing we like the nymph taper fly lines with the bright red tip. Attaching a permanent butt section of 25# red amnesia also works well. We use split shot in sizes BB and larger on the Pit.
Waders & Boots: We use chest-high breathable waders on the Pit River. Spiked wading boots are an advantage, but aren't an absolute necessity. Wading staffs are required and are provided. Make sure to bring your own wading belt. All fishing on the Pit River is done while wading. In the middle of the summer we frequently wet-wade.
Hatches & Seasons
The Pit River below Lake Britton Dam is open year-round. Some of the most popular hatches include the golden and giant stoneflies, caddis on summer evenings, and the Isonychia and October Caddis hatches in the fall.

Pit River Hatch Chart
Flies:
Nymphs:
• Bird's Nest, black, 12-14
• HBI, 14-18
• Amber Prince, 14-18
• Black Rubberlegs, 6
• Pettis' Pulsating Caddis, olive, 14-16
• Copper John, all colors, 12-18
• Mercer's Micro Mayfly, all colors, 14-18
• Isonychia, 10 (August-October)
Dries:
• Parachute Adams, 12-18
• Cutter's E/C Caddis, olive, 16
• Elk Hair Caddis, olive 12-16
• Burk's Extended Body Yellow Stone, 14 (mid-summer)
• Stimulator, Brown, 10 (May & June)
• Rogue Foam Salmonfly, 6 (May & June)
• Rogue Foam Golden Stone, 8 (May & June)
Streamers:
• Crayfish patterns, 6-10
• Woolhead sculpin, black, 4
Sample Itinerary
Meeting Time & Place: We typically meet our clients at their lodge or hotel at 8:30am. On some trips we may arrange to meet on the river.
Vehicle Considerations: We typically have our clients ride with us in our vehicles. However, be prepared to follow us in your own vehicle.
Wading difficulty: All trips on the Pit River are wading trips. The wading is very challenging, and we require that all guests use wading staffs. Spiked boots can be helpful, but aren't essential.
Multiple Fisheries in one Day: The Pit River is very close to several other fisheries, including Hat Creek and Burney Creek. It is very common for us to fish two or even three different fisheries in a full day.
Length of the Day: Most full days conclude around 5:30pm. Half days end around 12:30pm. On many full days we take a break around 2pm and reconvene around 7pm to fish the evening hatch.
Lodging & Travel Info
Please visit our Fall River Mills and Redding pages for local hotel and restaurant recommendations.
Public Lands
Some of our Pit River fly fishing trips are conducted on public lands administered by the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Confluence Outfitters operates under permit from the Shasta/Trinity National Forest on a non-discriminatory basis.
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