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Fishing Report

Brian Clemens Reports 05/29/24: Northern California Fishing

Brian Clemens Reports 05/29/24: Northern California Fishing


Northern California Fishing:

We are finally seeing a huge drop down in flows as well as a flattened curve in flows across the board. This latest drop has brought with it even better fishing than what we were having just a few short weeks ago. Most Northern California rivers, lakes and streams are in prime shape right now and if you are looking to fish over the next few weeks to few months, you will not be disappointed. If you are looking to book a trip, we have plenty of days left to book shad trips, steelhead trips, striper trips and trout trips, or go big and try for the trifecta or qua-fecta. Its has happened more times than not over the past few weeks. 


Here is your current up to date Nor Cal Fly Guides Fishing Report


Feather River

Low Flow Channel 700cfs

Clarity 10ft clear

Fishing is good to great

High Flow Channel 2100cfs (PRIME TIME)

Clarity 10ft with slight green tint

Fishing is good to great

With the huge drop in flows and the flows being steady now for about a week, the steelhead have settled into their new feeding lanes and are on the chow. Our clients and guides have been having good to great success with both indicators and swinging streamers. Don’t let the summer season fool you, the Feather River is a year-round steelhead fishery and one that’s well worth the trip. We finally had a good push of spring run steelhead show up, a well needed rotation of fish that are eager to take any fly you put in front of them. Look for this river to fish good to great for the next month or 2. Besides the awesome steelhead fishing, we are getting both shad and striper too. One of the few rivers where we are targeting 3-4 species in one day. Steelhead from 16-24” have been the norm and are full of piss n vinegar, what youd expect from a spring run steelhead. Shad are your typical 16-22” and plenty of them to go around. The stripers have been all over the board as well, from shakers to arm breakers. We have been putting in a ton of time on the river and there's no better time than now.

If you have never hooked into a Feather River Spring Run steelhead, do yourself a favor and give it a go.

We still have availability to fish this awesome year-round steelhead fishery. 

Nymphing: Prince nymphs, sucker spawns, copper johns, caddis, mayflies, PTs, worms

Swinging: Sculpins, olive woolybuggers, small olive or rusty colored trout speys, euphorias, alevins, fry patters



Yuba River

Above Daguerre 4500cfs

Below Daguerre 3700cfs

Flows have been on the YOYO curve up till this past week, when we finally saw flows below 5k. 5k is still too high to wade fish from hwy20 bridge down, but there are fish to be had if you have a drift boat. We should see a slow drawdown flow over the next few weeks and this river is going to be on fire once it hits 2500cfs or less. DRY DROPPER ANYONE. We feel with the higher-than-normal flows this year, these fish will be more reluctant to look up at dries, so bust out those dry fly rods and let's get some epic dry fly eats. I have been doing a ton of Lower “Lower” Yuba trips for shad and striper and been hooking some decent stripers and the shad fishing is off the charts.

SHAD SEASON IS ON. More about this below.

Nymphs: rubberlegs, caddis, mayflies, worms, eggs, sucker spawns, pmds, March browns, skwalas and wingless stones.

Swinging: alevins, sculpins, small leech style patterns, woolybuggers in olive, brown, or fry colored 

Drys: skwalas, stonefly patterns, stimulators, hoppers, phat alberts, mays, caddis

Stripers below Daguerre: Anything Adachi clousers, white/chartreuse, white/gray, rainbow/shad colors

Shad below Daguerre: shad crack, mini pinky, Chings bloody maria, Chings too sexy, Chings Ronald McDonald, Chings Red Lipstick, Chings firecracker, Orange comet, Red comet, Pearl comet, Big D's BeadHead Banger, Dave-Os wet pinky
More Shad Info Down Below



Eagle Lake:  If you are interested please contact us

Lake Almanor:
Rating: ON FIRE
Lake Level: 4493 - 8" from full pool

Water Clarity: 8 - 10 ft.

Water Temperature: 58° F

Hot off the water report from our Lake Almanor guide. Now is the time to book your stillwater session! Fishing remains good up here at Lake Almanor. Healthy 20"+ rainbows were the main staple the last week and a half with a handful of 25"+ browns. The East shore, East and West sides of the Peninsula have been producing good numbers (8 - 16 fish per trip). Blood Midge, pond smelt and balanced leeches continue to be the main staple. We have had several opportunities to throw midge dries at some risers in goose bay here and there. There is still plenty of snow melt coming into the lake from the tributaries, as well as the super ditch and springs with a lot of snow still on the mountain tops. If the weather continues to stay warm look for the Hex Hatch to start earlier than the last 2 years. Fish are already starting to seek out our balanced Hex nymphs. The smallie bite has slowed significantly since post spawn and the pressure from all the bass tournaments. 

Hot Flies: Balanced Leech and Blood Midge

Guide tip: When casting small midge dries to risers, use 4x/5x 12' tapered leader. Midge risers spook easily.
Open Dates: Booking Chironomid hatch in May and the Hex Hatch in June. We have a handful of Hex Hatch dates left. Call or email for availability



American River

Dropping to 2500cfs on 5/30

Clarity is perfect 10ft slight ting
Fishing is good to great

We are finally getting into those flows that really rock on the American River. With a good amount of tweener 18-22" steelhead throughout the system it makes for a great day on the water. But with stripers and shad in the river too, you can have a hoot of a time hooking into the trifecta. This river is a great place to play for a day from the Bay and it will fish good to great for the next few months.

Its definitely SHAD TIME on the American!!! More about that down below.

Nymphs: Prince nymphs, eggs, copper johns, PTs, poxyback hares ears, hares ears, worms, sucker spawn, caddis, mayflies

Swinging: hobo speys, euphorias, sculpins, alevins, fry patterns

Stripers: Anything Adachi clousers, white/chartreuse, white/gray, rainbow or shad colors

Shad Flies: shad crack, mini pinky, Chings bloody maria, Chings too sexy, Chings Ronald McDonald, Chings Red Lipstick, Chings firecracker, Orange comet, Red comet, Pearl comet, Big D's BeadHead Banger, Dave-Os wet pinky

Lower Sac

Flows: 8800cfs (PRIME TIME)

Clarity 8ft typical lower sac green

The fishing has been good to great one day fair to good the next. The extreme drop and rise in flows we have seen over April and May were definitely creating unhappy fish. With Shasta Lake being 200,000-acre feet of water from a full pool, I don’t think we will see anymore crazy spike in flows. Hatches have been pretty sporadic and after another big winter, a lot of guides have been saying that the hatches are so poor because of the 40k flows we saw in February, washing a lot of bug life downstream (Information and thoughts from a lot of guides in the area). Good days are finally here and if flows stay steadier, look for this river to heat up and be much more consistent. Warmer weather in the forecast will also turn on the caddis hatches too.  and with warmer days in the forecast, look for the caddis hatches to really pop off. We will start seeing better hatches, more bugs means less selective fish and maybe even some dry fly fishing/hopper dropper action. Cant wait. If it keeps fluctuating up and down like a yoyo, fishing will stay tough till the snowmelt is almost done. Lets keep um crossed.

Nymphs: Coffee, black, brown rubber legs(beaded and non-beaded), light olive Weiss nymph, Chile Verde perdigon, PMD perdigon. Egg patterns have been working here and there, but still inconsistent.

Guide Tip: Patients pays off, we are fishing much harder to get our fish than usual, but put the work in and you will be rewarded. Remember August 1st is the upper river opener and for those that have never fished this crazy day, its pretty cool to fish. So if you want to fish that upper stretch on the opener, give us a jingle.

Stripers: Anything Adachi clousers, white/chartreuse, white/gray, rainbow or shad colors


Putah Creek


Clarity 8ft Putah Creek Green River

Fishing is good to great

Putah Creek has been fishing extremely well and despite the bump from 300cfs to 570, it hasn’t slowed the fishing down. This is the perfect place to fish close to the Bay area and if you want to learn how to unlock the secrets of Putah Creek give us a ring. Its also a great place to hone your skills due to its technical fishing. When it comes to this fishery, with us, its all about teaching and showing you the ins and outs. We have been hitting this river a few times a week as some of our Sac Valley rivers have been a tad too high to wade fish. 

Nymphs: small midges, small mayflies, small caddis, small hares ears. small small and small.



Fall River

               Our NCFG Fall River Guide has been putting some days on the Fall lately and here is what he has to say. Fishing remains good. A lot of little fish are being caught in the upper stretches of the system right now with around 3-5 good fish(18”+) to the net a day on average. The main hatches still start around 11am and last anywhere from 1-3pm. Little trico’s earlier in the morning with larger BWO and PMD’s for the main hatch through the afternoon. Dry fly opportunities have been great as long as the wind doesn’t pick up too strong, with nymphing being the best chance for the most grabs. Leeches on a sink tip or intermediate sinking line has also been producing good numbers. The Hexagenia Mayfly hatch is almost here so fish are starting to migrate downstream in preparation for the big bugs. Normal timeframe for the HEX is June through the beginning of August.             

Nymphs: olive nymphs in the morning(Chile Verde perdigon with a silver or copper bead), black, brown, and tan nymphs in the afternoon(Sweet Pea, 2-bit-hooker, PMD perdigon).

Guide Tips for the Fall: - Having a proper dead drift presentation feeding line from anchor is really what the fish want, and at the end of each drift make sure you let the flys swing through the column for 5-10 seconds before retrieving your drift for another round.

Shasta Lake:
              The Lake is nearing full pool creating a lot of floating debris hazards for boats, but it is also in peak form with numbers exceeding 50 fish a day. "Float and fly” is the preferred method winter through spring, but with warm weather on the horizon, the fish have been eating streamers well and they have started to eat topwater flys more consistently as the weather gets warmer. Currently the lake is slipping out of "pre spawn" and into “spawn” with fish moving into shallow water and making beds. Current Water temps are mid 60’s, but with warm weather coming in, we expect to see the main body heating up quickly. The Pit arm is still very dingy with water clarity fluctuating between 3ft-6ft. All other arms and creek inlets are starting to clear up all the way to 20ft visibility. A lot of fish have been suspended in the 10-15ft range in 30-40ft of water, but still our best success is float and fly up against the bank in the first 10ft of water. Still haven’t seen the big groups of threadfin shad moving around or getting busted by fish, but its only a matter of time before we can hunt bait balls away from the bank chasing the groups of shad and bass around in deeper water. Here very soon the main body is going to heat up and the spots and smallmouth are going to move down into the depths for cooler conditions, or they will push up into the tributaries where the water is cooler. Come July, I'm targeting the tributary water for the remainder of the summer until water temps start to recede in the main body.

Flies: olive and brownish/red crawdads and threadfin shad patterns in the water with better clarity, low visibility, purple crawdads have been the best fly for the past 2 months with Float-and-Fly, or a black or purple leach.

Guide Tips for Shasta: - Using rattles in your flys, especially in dingy water, has proven to get more grabs throughout the day vs a fly without a rattle(mainly crawdads, but also works with baitfish).



Other Local Lakes

Lake Oroville, Rollins, and many others are fishing extremely well right now and are definitely worth the drive if you want to try something a bit different than what your Nor Cal Rivers offer. 





We offer shad trips on rivers throughout Northern California.

Nor Cal Fly Guides and Fly Fishing Specialties has a phenomenal guide crew that cover our Nor Cal Rivers for shad which include:

Yuba and American (main rivers)

Feather and Sacramento Rivers (back up rivers)


With that being said:


NCFG & FFS are offering a 2024 SHAD SEASON special


American River ONLY

Morning or Evening (evening is best)

$375 3hr SHAD Fishing Session

Full day and half day trips available on the Yuba, Feather, American and Sacramento


$600 full day

$475 half day

My 2024 Shad season full days are all booked up, but I am available for evenings trips on the Yuba River for the 2024 season. (reserve your 2025 dates NOW)


We have several guides that will have you covered for all your shad fishing needs. Book now while prime dates still remain.

Don’t forget about the Striper season. We are already seeing good numbers on the Sac with stripers slowly trickling on our colder rivers like the American and Yuba with a few on the Feather too.


There you have it folks, your Northern California fishing report hot off the press. We hope you are able to get out in the next few weeks and enjoy some of the best fishing we will see all season long. Time to get out and get bent. 


Here's my personal calendar and availability

Only 29 days remaining in 2024

Local Waters - Yuba, Feather, American, Lower Sac

August 12, 21

Oct 18 28 30

Nov 26

Dec 21 28 29 30

Evenings: May June July for 2024 Shad season


Northern Waters Trinity & Lower Sac

Sept 3 4 10 11 26 27

Nov 22

Dec 1 2 3 4 10-17


If you’re looking to book with me in 2025, dates are available for Local/Northern Waters upon request.

I am also now booking Swing Only Coastal Trips. Some walk and wade and some float trips.

I'm highly recommending to everyone who would like to book with me, booking at a minimum of 6-8 months in advance for prime-time dates.


Please don't be discouraged that I am more booked up this year than ever before, we can get you booked up with me for future dates if needed. If you would like to book now or in the near future, I am proud to announce that I have hand selected some of the finest guides in Northern California to assist me in the higher demand of bookings for Nor Cal Fly Guides. These guides work "with me, not for me”, and I couldn't be happier with the team of guides that lend a helping hand to NCFG clients. From ex-teachers, to full time guides, ex-fly shop owners, shop workers/guides to part time guides that have been fly fishing all their lives, these guides are the best. The biggest asset these guides have is they all have the same "teaching" mentality as I do. We are teachers first and guides second.


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Captain Brian Clemens

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California Steelhead Report

California Steelhead Report

Aaron Grabiel Reports on 2.17.20


The trinity is low and clear but the warm weather has got the fish eating,  lots of 17-22” half-pounders around as well as some very respectable adults in the 23-28” range.  Black rubber legs and size 12-14 pts are working well.  Bring a dry fly rod with some 14-12 Parachute Adams for the afternoon hatch. 

Lower Sacramento

Fishing is steady with fish eating drys and swung soft hackles.   This is a great time of year to explore the “lower Sac” as with the low water wading is effective in many areas.  Get out and fish this place it’s a trout factory.  Size 12-16 tan poopahs, peaches and cream, size 16-18 black micro mays, various May flies.   On top the Mercer’s missing link in black size 16 has been great. 


Been very good but the rivers are getting a little low.  If you know a low flow spot this is the time.  Swinging 2-3” black and blue or black and purple stuff in the 3-5’ deep runs has been good.  As for nymphing eggs and polar shrimp have been the top producers. 
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Coastal Steelhead Fly Fishing Report

Coastal Steelhead Fly Fishing Report

Rick Cox Reports on 2.13.2020

We have chasing steelhead frantically since January and finding some very nice steelies. We’ve been on all over northern California and southern Oregon where conditions have been perfect and remain so. Swinging and bobber has produced with a lot of chromers coming to the net. Unlike last year when the rain was relentless the weather has been holding just enough and that steelhead green has prevailed on most rivers. We will continuing pursuing these bad boys the remainder of this month and March so if you got the itch give me a shout.

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Coastal Steelhead Report

George Revel Reports on 1.30.2020

Coastal steelhead season is well under way, and the returns have certainly been underwhelming. There have been some fish caught, but not may to speak of. On my second trip up I managed to go 1 for 2 on the swing with another couple of grabs. It was nice to run into a pod of a few fish. The rivers are on the drop and should be "fishable" by the weekend. A nice dry couple of days should have the weekday anglers primed for great conditions.  

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Coastal Steelhead Report

Coastal Steelhead Report

Rick Cox Reports on 1.15.2020

This is our favorite time of the year to be chasing chrome. January and February are THE months to be getting with it. We’re already cranking it up and getting out there from the Eel River up to the Umpqua River in southern Oregon. A major storm is just starting to begin its snow dump here in Mt. Shasta which equates to big river flows on the coast and a surge of fresh steelhead booking it into the rivers and creeks. Once it passes look for the coming weeks to be prime for getting yourself into a fresh chromer. Rivers like the Smith and Chetco will drop and get into shape within a couple of days with the other rivers to follow. Further inland we also expect to see fresh fish showing up on the Trinity, Klamath and Rogue Rivers. So far this year we haven’t had the blown out conditions of last season so the next couple of weeks will be your window to get on any or all of these rivers. Give us a shout our guides have an intimate knowledge of all of these.

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California Steelhead Report

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Anthony Carruesco Reports on 1.7.2019
We're smack dab in the middle of our Winter Fishing season. It's been cold in Northern CA and fairly wet - all great things for the coming Spring season. The breakdown:
The Lower Sac has been "fair" at best the past month or so. Don't expect huge numbers up in town this time of year. You can expect solitude, though and the chance to throw the dry fly during unpredictable afternoon Baetis hatches. The Lower reaches have been fishing best for quantity of fish but you will expect those big shouldered winter trout to be closer to town. There are still a few Steelhead around in the Lower River (Anderson down) as well. Some of the year's best fishing can start to happen in Late February when we get some of those warmer days. Spring time "Brachycentrus" Caddis hatches can create some insanely good trout fishing.
Most of our Attention right now is on Winter Steelhead fishing. From the Klamath and Trinity, to the coastal rivers of the Lost Coast, we've had some highs and lows chasing these fish the past few months. Overall the Klamath has been a STELLAR option since late October. There are a lot of fish around in the upper reaches and not many folks around fishing. The perfect combination. The Trinity has been a different story, unfortunately. Not a lot of fish in the system this year due to aggressive harvest practices from the tribes on the lower end of the river. Not many fish were able to bypass the nets and weirs set out in the Fall so that has put a damper on the fishing on the Trinity for us quite a bit. There have been some very nice winter run fish caught here recently though so things are looking up on the Trinity. The Winter Steelhead rivers of the North Coast have been fishing since Mid-December. There have been some very good days mixed in over the past few weeks but plenty of days where you're working hard for 1 or 2 opportunities a day. As we continue to get rain and the rivers swell, we will expect more fish to move in. This is some of the most rewarding and challenging fishing we have in California. We will be chasing these fish into Mid-March.
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This is the time of the year I like to hop in my car and head north to go Steelheading. Planning the trip from afar can be daunting. I am going to share a few tools I use to plan my trip. Information is key in this game. It looks like there is a window. 

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Winter Steelhead Fly Fishing Report

Wildwaters reports on 3.14.19

Winter Steelhead.

We have been all over the Northern California and Southern Oregon and finding some fabulous steelhead. Many of the rivers are in prime shape after some severe high flows a only weeks ago. 

Hatchery and wild fish are being caught on most outings and it will remain good through March and into April. This is the time of year when we pull out some secret...

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