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Lower Sacramento River Fly Fishing Report

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David Neal Reports on 7.28.2016

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I’m getting back into the swing of things after taking a nice 10-day road trip with the family all around southern Oregon. We had a great trip camping and visiting, fishing, rafting and swimming in many of the regions fantastic waterways: Williamson River, Klamath River, Crater Lake, Metolius River, McKenzie River, Umpqua and the Rogue. I could spend a month easily doing this same loop again and fishing more!!

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Since arriving home I’ve spent all of my time on the Lower Sacramento River right here in Redding. The river has been fishing well beginning late morning through the afternoon and then again in the evening. Some days there can be a lull from 3-5pm. As the sun gets lower in the sky the evenings can pick up again, including some dry fly potential after sunset. We’ve had remarkable days this week with several fish daily over the twenty-inch mark and lots of hard charging average fatties throughout the day. The fish average 16” in this system and pull like they are professionals.

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The prolific caddis are the main bugs on the menu right now. These bugs seem to be getting more and more active with the return of “summer like” weather (We sort of got spoiled with a week or two of cooler weather there in mid July). There’s also a very small, light colored mayfly of the baetis variety coming off in the late afternoon – fishing sparse, light olive or grey emergers and nymphs should get some love in addition to your caddis patterns.


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A very common and effective way to fish the L Sac is dead drifting cadis pupa under an indicator while side drifting with a very long, weighted leader. However, its also fun to mix it up by swinging soft hackles and pupa patterns through the shallow riffles. The grabs are electrifying and a good enough excuse to cool-off while wading in the very cold water that comes from Lake Shasta. The key is learning where these wadeable spots are and few good ones are not reachable without a boat. At 10,000cfs plus the river is a different animal. It’s awesome!

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August 1st the top section (Caldwell Park and Posse Grounds/Sundial Bridge) opens up to fishing again. Probably going to be a zoo those first few days, but it will be nice to be able to fish the whole river again. 

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My next open dates are mid August: 4-5,12, 15-19, 23, 24, 28-30 and I’d love to show you some of these amazing wild rainbows on the Lower Sac! Also, the fall season is approaching and many local guides are beginning to book solid for the October egg bite. Better get your dates now…

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