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Lower Sacramento Fly Fishing Report

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Dave Neal, Reel Adventures Guide Service

The Lower Sac continues to be a good option for anglers travelling to or through the Redding area. Fishing has certainly not been lights out - 40 fish days - like we often see in the spring and fall seasons, but the river remains cold, clean, and the trout are fat healthy in this system. The L Sac remains a top choice for CA anglers looking to satiate their fishing bug this summer.

Hatches have not been robust but we are still seeing consistent a (small sized) pmd emergence along with hydropsyche caddis moving around doing their thing throughout the afternoon. The fish seem to be most active from about 10-3pm and then again late in the evening till dark-thirty. Good flies to have are the usual suspects such as #14 tan Fox’s Poopah, #14-16 Bird’s Nests, and other common caddis emerger patterns along with very small #18 brown or olive mayfly patterns like sparse PT’s, Hogan’s S&M or Mercer’s glass bead Micro Mayfly, even WD- 40’s in grey, olive and black. For late evening fishing try skittering a #12 tan or orange Kaufmann’s Stimulator, Elk Hair Caddis or Mercer’s Missing Link.

Water flows remain very cold and clear and have dropped slightly to mid 9,000 cfs level. A great idea right now would be a half-day float for the a.m. or p.m. session, or a full-day float, allowing time to jump out of the boat in some key spots, in order to wade fish mid-day to cool off. There are a few spots that dry/ dropper rigs can be a lot of fun and wearing shorts - you will not feel the 100- degree valley heat and a guided drift boat trip will get you to the goods effectively and efficiently.

Last night, Buster and I floated the late shift and hooked a number of typical fat Lower Sac fish nymphing the listed caddis patterns. We concluded the evening throwing dry flies, stalking quail (he was) and swinging #12 emerging pupa patterns during a fantastic flurry (one of those in the nose and ears, behind the sunglasses caddis-swarming-everywhere events) that continued long after we were off the water. Some awfully large trout were working over caddis coming off in the soft water below riffles - pinning them on a skated dry fly was exciting and challenging! It was the sort of conclusion to an evening where you may only count fish eats on one hand, but the excitement, anticipation and force of the grab is so electric and unforgettable that you can’t wait till tomorrow night.

Hogan Brown, Hogan Brown Fly Fishing

Striper on the Lower Sac: Lower Sac Striper fishing is fair to good. Salmon season opened around Chico, CA a little over a week ago and areas where salmon fishermen were blasting up and down the river the stripers are a bit in shell shock but there are still plenty to be caught. I had to move around a bit this week to find grabby fish but there are plenty of fish in the 18-25" range to be caught and most days we are getting a shot at a big fish. Lost a few monsters last week to snags, bent out hooks, and just bad luck. Striper fishing will remain good through September. 

Trout on the Lower Sac: Floated from Barge Hole to Bend Bridge a few times and fishing was fair to good. Fish are in their standard summer spots in the lower river and eating caddis and stonefly nymphs pretty good. Changing the depth that you are running your nymphs to fish around and over the clay and rocks is key in the lower river. 

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