Fly Fishing The Upper Sacramento River
By George Revel
North of Redding, The Upper Sacramento River consists of 35-ish miles of trout filled river that is open all year long. Plenty of public access, created by the train tracks that parallel the Upper Sacramento, make it a fly fisher’s delight. Diverse in features, the Upper Sacramento River boast breath taking waterfalls, trout filled pocket water, and crystal clear pools. Below Lake Siskiyou, the Upper Sacramento is much smaller gaining in size from springs and creeks. The upper river has carved out the steep Box Canyon which creates a much more treacherous wading environment than the lower reaches.
The Upper Sacramento River fills Lake Shasta with help from The McCloud River, The Pit River, and various other creeks. Lake Shasta supplies the water for the Lower Sacramento River and most of the power in the Northern Ca.
The Difficulty Rating of the Upper Sacramento River – Intermediate
The Upper Sacramento River can be so kind, yet so cruel sometimes. During the heat of the incredibly hot summer days the Upper Sacramento can be quite cruel, while the cool mornings and evenings can be very productive. The wading and access is pretty easy with I-5 paralleling much of the river. Fishing in the town of Dunsmuir is perhaps the best place for beginner anglers as it is stocked often.
Tips for Fly Fishing the Upper Sacramento River:
- Fish the soft edges of the river during high water and spring runoff months. (spring)
- Look out for rattlesnakes on the bank of The Upper Sacramento River. Here is a link on avoiding a rattler bite.
- Fishing is best during the mornings and evenings of the hot months (July and August)
- Fish terrestrials like grasshoppers during the heat of the day.
- When nymphing, if you are not snagging bottom you are fishing a long enough leader or enough weight.
- Fish smaller flies and light tippet to catch more fish.
- Make short cast and high stick the pocket water without an indicator
Camping and Lodging near/on the Upper Sacramento River:
- Sims Flat Campground – On the Upper Sacramento River 530-926-4511
- Castle Crags Campground – on Castle Creek a fishable feeder creek of the Upper Sacramento River (530) 235-2684
- Lake Siskiyou Cabins and Camping- On Lake Siskiyou great stop for families and fishing the upper reaches of the Upper Sacramento River. 530-926-2610
- Cave Springs Vacation Rentals- I have rented the Rivendell House which has some good fishing right behind it. The Tree house is pretty cool too! 530-235-2721
Access on the Upper Sacramento River- Too many to list
- Ney Springs- You can wade about 2 miles upstream. This very unique section of the river is enclosed by canyon walls. Wading is tough but the scenery and fishing can be pretty amazing.
- Cantera- This is one of my favorite access points to the river. You hike up toward Ney Springs of walk the train tracks down river. While the water is small I have hooked some nice fish here.
- Mosbrea Falls- While I have never experienced too great of fishing here the 1-ish mile hike on the train tracks to falls is well worth the trip.
- Sims Road- This will take you to Sims flat campground and access to some great fishing. I prefer to hike a mile or so up stream on the tracks.
- Delta- This is a great spot during the hot summer months. Large trout and even bass will come up from Lake Shasta.
Hatches on the Upper Sacramento River-
- Blue Winged Olive- Spring-Fall
- Midge- Year round
- Golden Stones- May- June
- Salmonfly- May and June
- PMD- May- June & September-November
- Little Yellow Stone- June and July
- Caddis- Spring-Fall
- October Caddis- Sept- October