Our local waters are still under the influence of a wet wet, wet winter and early spring. Our definition of fishability has changed a bit. We can’t wait any longer, its time to go fishing. Our best bets in and around Mount Shasta are the Lower Sacramento, McCloud Reservoir, and Lake Siskiyou.
With the most celebrated holiday of the year “Opening Weekend” of the McCloud River just over a week away, its time to get ready for that annual pilgrimage.
The Lower Sacramento in Redding is running at 30,000 cfs, with some greenish brown water. It looks pretty rough out there… but its spring and springtime on the Lower Sac is as good as it gets. Regardless of the flows and color change, its fishing as good as can be expected. Chuck has been out there most days this week and reports plenty of fish being caught.
The McCloud Reservoir is seldom showcased on our fishing reports but is always a surprising underdog. This place is a virtual fish factory and a wonderful place to not only catch a bunch of fish, take kids fishing, but even a great place to harvest a couple trout for dinner. We had some grand fun with these kids and were able to bring our bounty to The Wild Waters Lounge in Mt Shasta and have Damion cook them up for us. We taught these kids the virtues of catch and release on full bellies while picking our teeth with the bones.
Lake Siskiyou in Mt Shasta is a ridiculously serene lake to spend the day fishing. Many fly anglers fish the Upper Sac that flows out of Lake Siskiyou but few have targeted Lake Siskiyou as a destination. This place does have a dedicated local following, and they all hate the fact that I’m writing about it. Casting streamers and swimming nymphs to the outcroppings and stump fields with an intermediate clear line and long leader will certainly be rewarded. For me there is no better place to cast a 5 weight again after a winter with the big sticks. Tuning up for the trout season.
OPENING WEEKEND on the McCLOUD RIVER
On April 29th the McCloud opens to us trout fishermen. An annual pilgrimage that rivals any spiritual journey. However, this year we have a few issues to deal with. Winter storms commonly blew out the McCloud and the high water changed the river substantially. The banks have been ripped of their vegetation and replaced with down trees, gravel beds were displaced, even huge boulders seem to have turned in the heavy flows. This may sound devastating but its not an unusual event, you can never dip your toe into the same river twice. Nature also has played a card in limiting access. Currently and most likely till mid May the road to Ah Di Na and the Conservancy is closed. Not far from the turn off the gravel road washed away and is in need of serious repair. From what I know, the Forest Service and private timber land owners are debating on who’s responsibility it is.
It seems the river will be left to the dedicated anglers willing to hike in from Ash Camp. Before you get your waders all wadded up in a bunch, know that there is a group of lady power hikers who are known to often hike from the dam to the rope on the conservancy… and back. From the PCT bridge to Ah Di Na is only an hour hike. Many anglers take pride in their vehicles that can drive them down the Nature Conservancy’s bumpy road in comfort, both the AC and AC/DC cranking, but this spring we hike.
We also expect some pretty high flows this spring and early summer. Quick safety talk…. she’s way stronger then you, be careful! Knowing where to fish and how to fish at high flows takes years of experience and many days of trial and error. We’ve seen these flows many times in the past. My humble opinion is that the river is fishable at anything below 2000k which allows about 10% of accessibility.
At 1200 cfs about 25% of our spots are fishable.
800 cfs = 50%
600 = 75%
400 cfs = 90%
and at 250 cfs 100% of our spots are fishable. As far as flies to use…Go big when its big.