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Lower Sac & Trinity Fly Fishing Report

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Dave Neal Reports on 3.17.2016

UPDATE*** Flows are set to increase on the Lower Sac from 5,000cfs to 20,000cfs beginning this Friday 3/18/16 at 2am. This is a substantial flow increase and will certainly affect the fishing conditions for a few days, once the river stabilizes at this flow it should return to fishable conditions and accessible with drift boats. Water clarity may actually improve with the increase…

Shasta Lake has been filling at a rapid rate these past few weeks and we are not “out of the woods” just yet, El Nino may have more in store. Mandates on certain reservoirs in California have maximum capacity levels during winter season. Once these maximum levels are reached, the Bureau of Reclamation must release water to ensure adequate storage capacity remains in case of another major storm system (rain on snow events can create enormous runoff) overwhelming the engineering of the dams, levees, and other hydro infrastructure.

I’ll have more to report in a few days… I’m still going fishing somewhere and it will be exciting to explore the options we have in Nor Cal

It’s been a beautiful here in Redding these last few days. We’ve experienced mild & sunny weather with highs in the mid 70’s. Perfect fishing weather coming out of winter mode.The river is not in bad shape… it’s the color of split pea soup flowing through Posse Riffle, but absolutely fishable in the upper reaches.

I floated Bonneyview to Anderson on Tuesday with my buddy AC and we saw the river a bit dirtier below Clear Creek confluence. Clear Creek is pushing with additional flows out of Whiskeytown Reservoir, which I would guess is around 600-1,000cfs entering the Sac right now. When Clear Creek clears up, this should improve water clarity downriver. In fact, many of the bigger tribs downstream will contribute cleaner water as they drop and clear from that last serious of storms.

Keswick is releasing 5,000cfs so the Lower Sac as you get closer to Anderson is moving along nicely at around 6,000cfs below the confluence of Clear Creek. This is a fantastic flow for drift boat fishing right now. The river is poised to come into fine shape by this weekend.

As far as bugs, on any given day there can be smorgasbord of spring hatches … dark caddis, along with mayflies like pmd, bwo, March browns, we’ve even spotted some dark Drakes, which were all over the surface in the afternoon.

On the top float, the fish have been responding to the usual suspects. Spring caddis are still popping up here and when these bugs get active the fish go crazy for darker caddis patterns. There are a variety of mayflies showing up by afternoon. The egg bite can be good in certain areas and with the dirty water conditions, running eggs and big rubber legs are logical choices to hang in the mix.

I am very excited about the Lower Sac over the next few weeks. Spring season is a great time to experience this river and probably my favorite time of year here. Typical days include sunny & warm afternoons with a variety of interesting bug hatches to play with; we’ll even have some dry fly opportunities for those who hunt for noses.

Currently, I’m sitting on some open days I’d love to book next week: March 22-27 lets get after it.

Trinity River:

I feel that the best days are probably behind us, for this season, on the Trinity River. The flows have been sustained high for a long period of time, and the water has been fairly turbid in all sections. The wild fish that are in the system are most likely up in the tribs spawning, or returning as downers (and I don’t enjoy snakes).

With a period of high pressure and little rain, the river may recover for a few more sessions. Fly only water opens April 1st for good dry fly opportunities… 

With all the rain and snow the drainage received this season and the impressive snowpack in the Alps - it looks like Trinity Lake will recover and hopefully fill to capacity once the runoff gets going. This lake is dependent on snowmelt runoff, while Shasta relies more on rainfall to fill. Both are getting what they need.

The wild steelhead have had wonderful conditions this winter season to work their magic. We look forward to meeting their future offspring in a few short years and we should hope the ocean conditions produce some magical monsters!



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