Evening Sessions: Valley Heat, Caddis and the Great Mind Suck.

We never thought social media would turn into such a chore and mind suck. Following this and following that, working for that next sweet image or grip n grin just to keep traction and continuing growing. Sounds fun right? Then you learn that if you post too much or not enough or at the wrong time or if your fish isn’t in the water you are penalized or reprimanded by the ever changing algorithms or the authorities in charge of the circus that so many of us seem to be addicted to. Did you tag everybody, what about hashtags? Were they the right ones? Why is that person bashing us, we don’t even know them? What’s a troll? Ugg. At first it was entertaining and actually amusing seeing what our friends, family and other fly anglers were doing in the fly fishing community. It slowly turned into a job, a slow burning addiction and a quest to make our posts look as good as possible and keep up. Keep up with who though? Does anybody really care? When it comes down to it, how real is this stuff? Is the quality of life now measured by how many followers you have? Or how many likes you get from a post? Is the”need to belong” and stay up to date, perpetuating a fear of missing out? Having a business, people will tell you its mandatory to have social media and to be honest if we didn’t have our guide service we would probably abandon it all together. But for what we do it is necessary, to a point. But where does that point end? We try to keep our posts positive and celebrate the experience. That part is fun, creative and enjoyable because we love our job and we most definitely love our office. The experience we share with our guests, friends and with ourselves on the water is truly precious. No words or images can ever convey what that is besides being there. But where does this endless cycle become overwhelming and too much in this modern 24 hour world with social media dominating the lives of so many of us? Like many things in life, balance is critical. Do you have a balance with social media? Do you wake up and check it? How about before you go to bed or have a spare second? So we started tracking how much time we were spending on social media. We were completely surprised by how many wasted minutes, turned into hours and were exhausted for what? Nearly all of our phones currently have ways to track usage and the amount of time spent at each place. We challenge you to track it for one week and see how much time you spend and where. You might be surprised as well. So here we are, writing some random words for a paradoxical post on a media site telling you not to do it so much. Like our stuff, follow us, tell your friends but stop using social media and your phone so much (laughing). If you don’t find the absurdity in that Catch-22 funny, we are 100% making up for you as we write this conflicting and laughable blog post. With that, we leave you with an evening photo session on the Lower Sacramento River at the finale of a hot summer day. The caddis were popping and instead of trying to get the perfect shots that people would love on the intraweb, we took some snapshots. So go, get outside as much as possible, even if you’re busy, capture it and share it! But do it with good people and try to turn off your phone as much possible. Social media and your phone are a huge mind suck. Find your balance, whatever that may be and go fish.

Caddis, see? Will it work?
Yep.
fly fishing the Sacramento River
Bent.
River fishing in Redding California for trout
Tip up.
Happy campers.
The obligatory Grip and the Insta Grin.

So go, get outside as much as possible, even if you’re busy, capture it and share it! But do it with good people and try to turn off your phone as much possible. Social media and your phone are a huge mind suck. Find your balance, whatever that may be and go fish.

Nevada County- Gold, Grass and Fly Fishing.

Nearly 170 years ago in the Sierra foothills, hordes of immigrants flooded to the famed gold fields and rich mineral deposits nestled near the Yuba River and its hills in hopes of striking it rich. The gold dust has settled and the scurry for its bounty has busted. Dusty and unwashed gold miners are nowadays traded for often dread locked and tie dyed marijuana cultivators and trimmigrants. But that misleading cliche is not exactly the truth currently, even by a long shot. Tourists, retirees and residents dominate and roam the quaint downtown streets. The gold rush has been replaced by the pot industry’s green rush. And even that entity is fading with changes in legalization and stricter regulation. The renewable resource that has taken a stronghold on the area and isn’t going away anytime soon is tourism and it’s a flourishing enterprise.  This doesn’t come close to painting the entire picture, but this is a hasty slice of the post California Gold Rush-era town of Grass Valley and surrounding Nevada County.

Grass Valley Downtown
The Wild and Scenic Film Festival is just one of many festivals held in the area that attracts the outdoor enthusiast. The Fly Fishing Film Tour hosted in nearby Nevada City is another venue the fly angler in the area shouldn’t miss out on.

The town is a modern hodgepodge affair and supports a wide assortment of locals and visitors alike, boasting a variety of businesses and events, acclaimed festivals, restaurants and boutiques. Some visitors come for the historic downtown accoutrements and fabled celebrations vigorously touted by the likes of Sunset Magazine. Some come to the area for an entire different reason.

Grass Valley is situated only 56 miles from Sacramento and approximately 88 miles from Reno which makes it the prime jumping off point for the Yuba River watershed and various other fly fishing locations full of hungry trout and bass.

Looking down, approximately 2,500 feet to the Central Valley floor from the vast pine forests and outdoor enthusiast haven, there is one other critical element besides the gold laden hills that brought people to this area and still continues to do so. Water! The area is surrounded by rivers, streams, lakes and reservoirs. Some are easy to get to and many lay hidden off of the numerous dirt roads and old trails that riddle the mountainous terrain in the adjacent vicinity. If you’re looking for a basecamp to go get lost from, this just might be the right area to commence your fishing or outdoor adventure.

Map of Yuba River Watershed
Grass Valley is situated only 56 miles from Sacramento and approximately 88 miles from Reno which makes it the prime jumping off point for the Yuba River watershed and various other fly fishing locations full of hungry trout and bass.

Late in July, my girlfriend Chelsea and I had a trip planned to take her mother fly fishing for the first time. Looking at 108 degree temperatures on the Lower Sac in Redding, we opted for a closer option and possibly a shorter day from her mothers residence. The weeks prior we had been bouncing all around the West doing overnight float trips with friends on rivers that weren’t typically doable this time of year thanks to a monstrous winter season which left the Sierra loaded with a colossal snowpack. We definitely didn’t have a recent finger on the pulse of a particular section of river in the area so we made a quick call to the local fly shop in Grass Valley, the only one in the county.  The owner, Tom Page answered the Reel Anglers line, a friend I’ve known for a while from industry events and outings but somehow had never been into his shop to visit. He gladly gave us the low down on the current conditions over the phone that he and his guides had been recently experiencing. His willingness to share and assure our trip was successful was unparalleled and a throwback to what use to be standard for fly shops of the past. After giving us the skinny, he recommended some specific flies. I had most in my umpteen boxes with me. But the hopper patterns I knew I didn’t have. When I asked him if he had some of those patterns in his shop he simply replied, “Nope, I am all out.”

Reel Anglers Fly Shop Grass Valley

When I asked him if he had some of those patterns in his shop he simply replied, “Nope, I am all out.”

We arrived the next morning with all the hopper and dry fly imitations we could muster, from fly patches on the boat and random ones we had put away into the wrong fly box. Many had been clearly abused and probably put away wet at the end of a day some time back. Neither of us could remember for sure but the tooth markings on the foam from some of the flies indicated a past story of trout hammering dries on a summer day, somewhere West of the Mississippi and East of the Pacific. Most were faded, mangled, missing legs and had old pieces of tippet still attached. Upon entering the shop we were immediately greeted and Tom had something in his hand. He rolled them out onto the fly shop counter and said, “These should work.” They were flies he just custom tied the night before for our trip!

The Reel Anglers Fly Shop is your one stop shop for all your fly fishing needs in Nevada County.

Neither of us could remember for sure but the tooth markings on the foam from some of the flies indicated a past story of trout hammering dries on a summer day, somewhere West of the Mississippi and East of the Pacific.

Owner Tom Page helps local angler Chelsea Baum pick out some fly fishing equipment for our day floating the Yuba River in Grass Valley, California.

I’ll be honest, it doesn’t always work out this way. Growing up in a fly shop since I was a kid and working in the industry for over 30 years, this is above and beyond. Most of the time, on such short notice, fly shops or owners, can’t just whip up some technical flies. But this is a testimony to the Reel Anglers Fly shop and owner Tom. A good fly shop will do anything they can to get you what you need or improvise. If you are able to give plenty of lead-way before your trip, whether it be a fly that is out of stock or a specific product they don’t carry on hand. These guys can probably take care of it for you. Just let them know ahead of time and they will try and accommodate your needs.

Reel Anglers Fly Shop

760 South Auburn Street

Grass Valley, CA

(530) 477-5397

Local fly shops are a critical resource for the fly angler and if we want them around in the future, we have to support them in any possible way we can. Wherever your travels take you, always make it a point to stop in the local fly shop and show your support, even if that means buying a few flies to add to your fly box or replacing a spool of tippet. The first hand information you find here is irreplaceable and cannot be replicated, period.

Wherever your travels take you, always make it a point to stop in the local fly shop and show your support, even if that means buying a few flies to add to your fly box or replacing a spool of tippet.

So we loaded the boat with tasty bites, cold beverages and some custom tied flies and took off for a float on the Yuba River starting out near the famed Highway 20 bridge. We had a little bit of a breeze with some summer heat, which proved to be a perfect combination for hopper fishing up on the flats and in close to the graveled banks. Unfortunately, Chelsea’s mother wasn’t feeling well so it was just us on the float. We had the river to ourselves, minus a few kayaks and a couple of families visiting a local swimming hole.

fly fishing the Yuba River near highway 20
Above the bridge setting up a dry-dropper rig. Big hats, sunscreen and buffs are great additions on a summer day anywhere in Northern California while fly fishing.

Although this section of the Yuba is easily accessed from rutted roads paralleling the river on the south side, hiring a guide to learn this section can help tremendously and be invaluable to the first time visitor or the returning angler. The Yuba can be a tricky river for the wading fly angler as seasons and river conditions change. Like most places, a local expert like the Reel Anglers Fly Shop or hiring a guide can save many frustrating outings and give you information that may take numerous visits to acquire.

Yuba River Rainbow Trout
A classic Yuba River rainbow trout taken on a hopper during the summer months. Compared to most other rivers flowing into the Lower Sacramento River, the Yuba can host some the best dry fly fishing in state some say.
fly fishing yuba river for trout out of a stream tech boat
We typically use a drift boat for floating the Lower Yuba but we had the StreamTech in tow from our previous whitewater trips which made for a enjoyable float down to the takeout at Sycamore Ranch.

Although this section of the Yuba is easily accessed from rutted roads paralleling the river on the south side, hiring a guide to learn this section can help tremendously and be invaluable to the first time visitor or the returning angler.

Woman fly fishing landing a fish on the Yuba River in a hat
A four or five weight rod with floating line is a perfect setup for either dry fly or nymph fishing this section of the Yuba. Make sure to have a good selection of flies from the local shop before you go.
Rainbow trout in hand halfway under the water
We fished a dry dropper most of the time and the trout continued to pound the dry fly and completely ignore the caddis nymph dangling below. This isn’t always the case. Having a strong nymph fishing game here can prove to be very effective on many days while targeting drop offs and shelves. These fish can occupy the smallest of depression that aren’t always visible to angler at first glance.
CherokeeFlyGirl Instagram post holding fly fishing the Yuba River
Chelsea’s post from her CherokeeFlyGirl page on Instagram

When I decided to learn how to fly fish a few years ago, Tom’s shop (Reel Anglers) was right down the street. I took a casting class and a few float trips later was all she wrote. The addiction began…

Chelsea Baum, fly fishing enthusiast



Unfortunately, it’s been a bit of a reprieve from our blog as much of our engagement has flocked towards other forms of social media. But there is something more inviting and intimate with this format here in our opinion. We are not waiting for likes or comparing how our post does in relation to others. It’s also not just a trophy shot with a few words typed in to add to the hype filled with hashtags etc.. Although places like Instagram, Facebook and others all have their place. We feel we can present information via Fish Kennedy Brother’s blog in a more useful way that is more authentic and informative. One thing is for sure, although it is significantly more laborious, there is some personal enjoyment in showcasing photography from the rivers edge, sharing local information and tips and telling stories. What happened to story telling? When we are guiding full time, seven days a week and don’t have the time, others social media sites definitely make it easy and quick to share but not devote as much time as a blog post requires. We can’t promise or guarantee but we are going to try and dedicate some more time and energy here. We are always open to suggestions and want to know what stuff interests you. Love it, hate it? Want to see more of this and less of that? Please let us know, we always enjoy hearing from our loyal clients, occasional cruisers and the random reader. Whether it be your first time visiting or hundredth. Wishing everyone an awesome summer!

Warm Summer Floats Trips and Rising Rainbows,

The Kennedy Brothers

For those who still want the snapshot or from our adventures or highlight reel, if you will. You can still find us on Instagram: @FishKennedyBrothers

Fish Kennedy Brothers Instagram

Northern California Fly Fishing Guides

Fish Kennedy Brothers

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What book is the best for Fly Fishing Beginners? Need a last minute Christmas gift for a fly angler?

This is a common question that comes up quite often.  Our first experiences tackling this question happened on a daily basis while growing up in our families fly shop in the Eastern Sierra.  The answer was a book that we ended up carrying case upon case of in inventory and literally sold thousands of copies.  We still get the question today as fly fishing guides and we still after all these years have the same answer.

Sheridan Anderson photo with fly rod

Author of the number one source of information for the first time fly angler.

To be honest, there is no such book on the immense and broad subject of fly fishing that covers everything you need to know for the first time angler. The book would have to be several hundred pounds and come with its own gurney.  There are a plethora of books and articles out these days that are aimed at the beginner fly angler.

Sheridan Anderson sketch Yvon Chouinard

In fact, the massive fly fishing resources available to the modern angler is astounding compared to not that long ago. Online magazines, blogs, podcasts, schools, classes, clubs and guided fly fishing trips seem to fill every drop of water across all fifty states.   Some of the books are too short and touch on the need to know subjects but content wise they are almost worthless and can discourage somebody looking to get into fly fishing.  Other publications are in depth and too technical to the point of often overwhelming novice fly anglers. If I had to recommend one book for the beginner fly angler that is easy to read and straight forward in it’s approach it would be without question Sheridan Anderson’s, Curtis Creek Manifesto.  It’s a practical and informative for beginners thats contains spot on content and illustrations combined with brilliant wit and humor.  Between the covers encompasses fly rods, fly reels, fly lines, how to select a fly, how to read different types of water, fly casting, entomology, hook sets and fighting fish, fly tying and how not to take this thing called fly fishing so serious.  Since being published by Frank Amato in1978, the book has lodged itself as an eternal pillar in the fly fishing world where we are confident as are many others that it will remain.  It is estimated that over one million copies have been sold.

book cover Curtis Creek Manifesto Sheridan Anderson

Need a last minute Christmas gift for any fly angler? This is a great addition for even the accomplished angler.

http://www.FishKennedyBrother.com

The Mac Attack

We had the pleasure of guiding four consecutive days on the McCloud River with our friends from Cal Trout. We had beautiful conditions with the fringes of fall starting to show and settle in. Wet wading season is over on this river until next year. The october caddis are starting to make appearances and the browns are headed up river to the spawning grounds. Take a minute to watch the clips from the McCloud River but also take a moment and look at CalTrout and learn how you can join in on the fun!

Arguably The Worlds Most Iconic Trout Stream

The mountains are stacked and packed in resplendent white and the lower valley’s are tasting the first flavors of spring as Northern California slowly inches out of the clenches of a truly heavy and wild winter.  Many rivers are still high or too muddy to fish.  But in the months to come that will all change as the weather settles down.  The parched State of California has water for the first time in five years which should make for great fishing and adventures through summer and into the fall season.  With the massive onslaught of precipitation, we have lost the old reliable Lower Sacramento River in Redding to dirty water as Lake Shasta is filled to the brim with muddy water.  It may be a while before it gets back some of its clarity.  When that happens is anybody’s guess, even though the Bureau of Reclamation reports that the water releases out of Keswick Dam will be reduced to 13,900 cfs by Saturday, March 11th.

Our mainstay for guide trips the last month or so, has been the Trinity River.  Although, overall fish numbers have been down compared to previous years, it has been a godsend and has produced fantastic days for our guests.  If we had to choose a bunch of fish with a bunch of fisherman or fewer fish with fewer anglers, we choose the latter.  To be honest, fishing has been challenging on the Trinity some days, but its been real steelhead fishing, giving us opportunity to teach our craft and do things differently. It has been a welcomed change.  The Trinity River looks to be the best option for float trips this March, which is one of our favorite months over there.  It is truly a magic time as insect hatches increase and spring starts to pop.  Grab you’re favorite guide this month and book a trip with them.  This winter has been rough for the guide community and we know a trip with their favorite clients can help tremendously.  Get outside and put in some river time, you’re soul will thank you.

Middle Falls on the McCloud River Painting by Janet Franco Velez

The point of this post wasn’t intended as a fish report but it was about the famous McCloud River, America’s iconic trout stream.  This time of year as seasons change, more rivers open and become viable opportunities.  This is when we start dreaming about the change in venues.  Currently we are planning excursions for our own adventures.  The Green River float/camp trip, the Owyhee River 6 day upper float and a multi-day whitewater adventure on Oregon’s Illinois River are in the crosshairs.  It also includes floats on the rivers flowing into Lake Shasta as they typically have a short window for being floatable and prime for fishing conditions (click for a closer look at the Upper Sac Float Trip).

Mt. Shasta, from McCloud River Painting by Thomas Hill

One river that never seems to go away is the McCloud.  Imagine what it might have looked like before the dams changed the river forever. Imagine an Alaska type scene being played out, a river teeming with thousands of salmon and steelhead, swimming and spawning in its mint Listerine colored water. Doesn’t that sounds like a special kind of heaven?  We didn’t know the river as it used to be, in fact very few are alive today to share the first hand stories about what the river used to be.  Recently we lost one of our clients and good friend Peter, who shared stories about fishing the McCloud River in the pre-dam era.  Young Peter would take a train up the valley from the city and spend 2 weeks every year exploring the untamed McCloud River canyon with a fly rod.  They would go up and fish the Sacramento River and at Simms they would take a pack train of mules and horses and tote their gear over the mountain into the mysterious waters of the mighty McCloud.  His stories were something out of a dream and they captivated us beyond explanation.  But the sadness in his eyes of watching a wild river shrivel up and change forever was painful.  You could feel the enormous weight of loss as he told his stories about one of the most magical rivers of the world.  Take a minute and watch the video below from CalTrout that shares the story of the McCould River today and what it used to be.  There is currently a big movement to deregulate the laws in place to protect many of our rivers and the clean water that ensures their existence.  When is enough, enough?

 

How Can I Get Involved?

-Join CalTrout and help produce more awareness and protection for our rivers in California like the McCloud River  CalTrout.Org

-Join Trout Unlimited. We currently have a new chapter in Northern California: Shasta Trinity Cascades.  We need your help. TU.org

Fish Kennedy Brothers

Northern California Fly Fishing Guides

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Trinity River February 2017

Take A Look at the Lower Sacramento River from Keswick Dam to Bend Bridge

The Lower Sacramento River at 45,000cfs

Word of flooding rivers and streams has been blasted across the Northern California region like wildfires in the summer, and this morning brought a rare sight of sunshine.  So we decided to grab the cameras and go for a drive to give you all an idea as to what’s happening on our world famous trout river: The Lower Sacramento River.

The releases from Kesweick Reservoir into the Sacramento River through Redding, CA is scheduled to reach 50,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) later today, and by Sunday it is slated to peak at a massive 70,000 cfs.

The releases from Kesweick Reservoir into the Sacramento River through Redding, CA are scheduled to reach 50,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) later today, and by Sunday it is slated to peak at a massive 70,000 cfs.

At Bend Bridge on the Sacramento River, just miles above Red Bluff, the local community has been battling the threat of flooding and on Tuesday February 7th the river surpassed it's flood stage, breaking the 100,000 cfs mark. Since then the flows have receded a bit, but with more precipitation expected to fall on a drenched canvas, high water possibilities loom on the horizon.

At Bend Bridge on the Sacramento River, just miles above Red Bluff, the local community has been battling the threat of flooding, and on Tuesday February 7th the river surpassed it’s flood stage, breaking the 100,000 cfs mark. Since then the flows have receded a bit, but with more precipitation expected to fall on a drenched canvas and reservoir releases scheduled to nearly double, dangerously high water possibilities loom on the horizon.

We set out south initially crossing the river on the North Street Bridge located above Anderson River Park, a frequented boat ramp.  Chances are that if you have floated the river, putting in at the Posse Grounds above the Sundial Bridge, you took out here.

Stepping out onto the sunny North Street Bridge in Anderson, CA, a bicycle wheel came floating down, warning any passing cyclist to keep your distance.

Stepping out onto the sunny North Street Bridge in Anderson, CA, a bicycle wheel came floating down, warning any passing cyclist to keep your distance.   Just one piece of many that have been washed away by the raging floodwaters.

Hopping onto I-5 heading southbound, toward Red Bluff, we noticed the smaller creeks in the area were still swollen compared to the norm, but given the brief break in storms they ran clean.  Many even showed signs of full remission.  We exited the freeway at Jelly’s Ferry Rd. and headed into the community of Bend, where the river, as expected, was high, muddy, and ran all the way into the trees along the banks.  Even the boat ramp, where recently the flows had exceeded 100,000 cfs, displayed water running in its’ parking lot.  The ramp, usually a long corridor dropping down to the river edge, was covered by the brown waters.

2 locals also came down to inspect the affects of the Sacramento River at the boat ramp under Bend Bridge. Normally there is a 10 foot change in elevation from the top of the ramp to the edge of the river.

2 locals also came down to inspect the affects of the Sacramento River at the boat ramp under Bend Bridge. Normally there is a 10 foot change in elevation from the top of the ramp to the edge of the river.  Just days before, the river had been running through the parking lot.  Mud and sand bars displayed the previous high water mark.

Here is a view of the river looking upstream of Bend Bridge. Notice the water running through the trees along the banks.

Here is a view of the river looking upstream of Bend Bridge. Notice the water running through the trees along the banks.

The road from there consisted of a backroads tour of boat ramps and lookouts headed back into Redding.  Any major tributary to the Sac was similarly high and dirty.

The ramp at Jelly's Ferry Bridge was completely submerged with water all the way up to the trash cans and recycling bins. When this photo was snapped, a beaver angrily slapped his tail, where normally the ground is dry and we would park our trucks and trailers, as if to say,

The ramp at Jelly’s Ferry Bridge was completely submerged with water all the way up to the trash cans and recycling bins. In a spot that is normally dry where we would park or trucks and drift boat trailers, a beaver angrily slapped his tail, as if to warn, “you better not even think about coming out here!”

The Old Mouth of Battle Creek or commonly known as the Barge Hole is normally characterized by a large gravel bar you could drive out to from the right side of this image. There's not a chance in making it out there now as the river has breached the bank on the other side of the river, flooding much of the land of Lake California.

The Old Mouth of Battle Creek or commonly known as the Barge Hole is normally characterized by a large gravel bar you could drive out to from the right side of this image. There’s not a chance in making it out there now as the river has breached the bank on the other side, flooding much of the land of Lake California.  The vehicle access now hides under many feet of water.

Flooding rivers have plagued roadways and communities over the last week in Northern California. This photo shows the road in front of Gover Ranch struggling to keep dry as the waters of Battle Creek rise.

Flooding rivers have plagued roadways and communities over the last week in Northern California. This photo shows the road in front of Gover Ranch struggling to keep dry as the waters of Battle Creek rise.

Just days ago when the river flows were at their highest (so far), the RV Park across from Roosters Landing at the Ball's Ferry Bridge in Cottonwood, CA had river waters flood into it's community displacing many homes. The fish cleaning station is going to need some major repairs now that this tree has become entangled within it.

Just days ago when the river flows were at their highest (so far), the RV Park across from Roosters Landing at the Ball’s Ferry Bridge in Cottonwood, CA had river waters flood into it’s community displacing many homes. The fish cleaning station is going to need some major repairs now that this tree has become entangled within it.

With 45,000cfs coming out of Keswick Dam, the Bonnyview boat ramp shows water close to the top of its' access. Normally there is a steep, lengthy decent to the river from where the river is seen here. With the flows scheduled to see 70,000cfs and possibly more, the parking lot is likely to flood.

With 45,000cfs coming out of Keswick Dam, the Bonnyview boat ramp shows water close to the top of its’ access. Normally there is a steep, lengthy decent to the river from where the river is seen here, and with the flows scheduled to see 70,000cfs and possibly more, the parking lot is likely to flood.

The earth was shaking as Keswick pumped out some massive volumes of water. Can't wait to see what this view looks like when nearly double that is scheduled to be released.

The earth was shaking as Keswick pumped out some massive volumes of water. Can’t wait to see what this view looks like when nearly double that is scheduled to be released.

As we reached the upper reaches of the river the storm clouds moved in and the rain came down, harder and harder as we ultimately reached the Shasta Dam lookout. It doesn't appear that the worst is over, especially since the releases to the Sacramento River from Keswick Dam is slated to reach 70,000 cfs, numbers that the river hasn't seen since the 90's.

As we reached the upper reaches of the river the storm clouds moved in and the rain came down, harder and harder as we ultimately reached the Shasta Dam lookout. It doesn’t appear that the worst is over, especially since the releases to the Sacramento River from Keswick Dam is slated to reach 70,000 cfs, numbers that the river hasn’t seen since the 90’s.

Scheduled Releases out of Keswick Dam near Redding, CA.

-Friday:               50,000 CFS

-Saturday:          60,000 CFS

-Sunday:             70,000CFS!

*Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko has closed the Sacramento River to boating and other recreation due to higher than normal water releases from Shasta and Keswick dams.  The closure does not  apply to lakes and will be rescinded once conditions are safe.  

Fish Kennedy Brothers

Northern California Fly Fishing Guides

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Is Lake Shasta Going To Overflow?

Unless you live somewhere else other than the West Coast, then you’re fully aware of the recent deluge and so-called “atmospheric river” that has blasted many parts across the western front of the United States.  In the five-year, drought stricken State of California, water is flowing incessantly from every nook and cranny, gushing water into the parched and thirsty landscapes.  It is a welcome reprieve but at the same time is it too much? Can our archaic water systems and infrastructure take it?  Lake Shasta, from water officials, say the reservoir received approximately  73,472,653,908 gallons of water in 24 hours! Yep, that’s billions.

waterflow

Widespread flooding, road closures, mud slides and evacuations have plagued much of the state this week with even talk of many reservoirs overflowing as more water is flowing into them than is physically able to flow out.  Some dams and spillways are going to be able to handle the almost biblical proportions of water coming downstream and some are not.

APTOPIX Damaged Dam

The Oroville Dam Spillway in California is a prime example of a reservoir that is unable to release enough water to accommodate the amount of water coming in. This week, due to the outdated infrastructure, the spillway flowing out of Lake Oroville and into the Feather River has failed and will probably be completely eroded in the next few days. Time will tell.  There is an emergency spillway but there is no concrete and it’s never been used, so officials are only guessing what the outcome will be.

16602812_1624537130896984_4169749890546162455_n

The image on the right shows the damage done to the spillway after the hole was noticed and flows were sent down to test the spillway.  As you can see the hole is massive and is eroding under and the sides of the spillway.  Although we have no hard facts to back up this was actually 2013 but it looks like there were known issues with the spillway previous to the recent damage.  Hindsight is always 20/20.  There is going to be a lot of finger-pointing going on but lets just hope the damage downstream in minimized for all involved.

The newscast below goes over more details on the Oroville Dam situation regarding the damaged spillway and emergency spillway that possibly will be used to mitigate and direct overflowing water away from the dam if needed.  What is going to happen to the people, infrastructure and ecosystems below?

emergencyspillway

A great glimpse of what is going on for those not familiar with the Oroville Dam Spillway situation. The latest news briefings say that they may not have to use emergency spillway if rain stops and increasing water from the power plant which has been running below it maximum output.

 

In the next video notice the fresh clearing of trees and brush on the top of the emergency spillway path.  This will give you a better real-time aerial look at the current damn dam ( or rather spillway) situation.

Lake Shasta

Now that we’ve taken a look at Oroville lets take a look at whats going up at Shasta Lake.  We are going to start this one off with a look back in the 1970’s when Shasta Lake filled up and came over the top.

“This is archival footage from KIXE from I believe the Spring of 1978 (or was it 1979?) when Shasta Lake overflowed the dam after the infamous 1976-1977 drought. At the time experts had said Shasta Lake could never recover in just one year, but it did.”

You gotta love the music and over feeling to this oldie.  This is an absolute classic! Sit back and enjoy!

Early this morning the lake passed the 10′ foot to the top mark on Shasta Dam.  Between midnight of Feb 8th and midnight of Feb 9th, the lake shot up 10′ and it continues to steadily climb about a 1/4 of a foot an hour for the past several hours. Some interesting facts from the previous storm(s) near Lake Shasta:

– Highest inflow this season was recorded was midnight last night at the rate of 171,700 CFS (1,284,405 gallons per second)!

– 10′ Increase between 00:00 02/08 and 00:00 02/09 at an increase of 225,479 acre feet of water (73,472,653,908 gallons of water in 24 hours)!

– The last time we were at this level was June 2, 2012  (Came within
2.5 feet from full pool in 2012)

– McCloud location has received 19.12″ of rain month to date, 47.26″ year to date.

It’s unlikely that Lake Shasta will overflow in the next few days but the future will be in the hands of Mother Nature and the amount of precipitation we receive after this event. Commencing today, the Bureau of Reclamation will start ramping up flows out of the dam in order to make room for the incoming flows.  Unlike Lake Oroville, Shasta Dam was designed to overflow due to the excessive amounts of rainfall the area above the dam can receive in wet years.  If you have ever experienced one of these events you know how impressive they can be. The releases from Shasta into Keswick and into the Lower Sacramento River will jump to 50K cubic feet per second today, 60K by Saturday and  70K by Sunday. This is in order to meet the regulations for flood control and allow more water to go out than is coming in and keep Lake Shasta from overflowing while also giving flood protection from below Shasta and Keswick Dams.

Scheduled Releases out of Keswick Dam near Redding, CA.

-Friday:               50,000 CFS

-Saturday:          60,000 CFS

-Sunday:             70,000CFS

What do you think? Will Lake Shasta Overflow?

…………………………………..

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A current look at reservoir conditions for the State of California. There is more blue than we have seen in a long time!

SACRAMENTO RIVER NEWS

*Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko has closed the Sacramento River to boating and other recreation  due to higher than normal water releases from Shasta and Keswick dams. The closure does not  apply to lakes and will be rescinded once conditions are safe.  

 

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Northern California Fly Fishing Guides

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Lower Sacramento River Goes Huge!

After a five year drought for much of the West, we have finally received copious amounts of precipitation in Northern California. Is it time to start building an ark? Perhaps. We have been getting hammered with more water than we know what to do with.  The reservoirs are filling faster then they can let water out.  So in order to meet flood space regulatory requirements in Shasta Lake, flow releases will be increasing to extraordinary high levels.

keswick-dam

*These flows will make the Lower Sacramento River below Keswick Dam through Redding to to the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta extremely dangerous!!*

“People recreating in or along the lower American River downstream of Folsom Dam to the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers can expect river levels to increase and should take appropriate safety precautions,” the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said in a news release.

Releases to the Sacramento River have ranged from approximately 3,300 cfs (DWR, 2011) during drought periods and 79,000 cfs during flood events (DWR,1974) so this a major event we have not seen too often.

The Bureau of Reclamation has scheduled flow increases ramping up from today, February 9th, through this Sunday.

Scheduled Releases out of Keswick Dam near Redding, CA.

-Friday:               50,000 CFS

-Saturday:          60,000 CFS

-Sunday:             70,000CFS!

 

*Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko has closed the Sacramento River to boating and other recreation due to higher than normal water releases from Shasta and Keswick dams.  The closure does not  apply to lakes and will be rescinded once conditions are safe.  

Fish Kennedy Brothers

Northern California Fly Fishing Guides

www.FishKennedyBrothers.com

 

State of Jefferson Steelhead and Trout Outlook

We hope everybody had a safe holidays and enjoyed Christmas and the seasons celebrations.  Maybe some received new fly fishing gear or had the chance to wet a line.  We didn’t fish for a few days but spent our time with family and friends in a well needed break from the winter season.  But just as quickly as it started it has come to an end and we creep into the wee hours of 2016.  So whats happening and what does the near future look like?  It’s looking pretty good overall and the break in heavy precipitation has brought many rivers into or close to go time.  Here is a quick peek:

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Light rain and high elevation snow is expected across our northern counties today, including Del Norte, Humboldt, and northern Trinity counties. Other than being mildly inconvenient for outdoor activities, minimal impacts are expected. Dry weather is expected Wednesday and Thursday.

 Lower Sacramento River

Our staple river for guide trips and life source for the state of California overall has been fishing well as we transfer into the winter season.  The major change as detailed in the graph below occurred on December 20th by doubling the flows overnight from about 5,000 to 10,000 CFS.  The biggest obstacle for these flows is going to be for wade anglers.  Not only does this highly limit the areas accessible via wading boot but it poses a serious threat if you were to fall in.  There are still some wade spots available but use caution.

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Notice the flow increase on the 20th and then notice the stable flows.  The Lower Sac is always a good bet this time of year and is best approached with a drift boat at these flows.

Eggs, alevins and small mayfly patterns have produced the best in the last few weeks.  If you don’t feel like braving the higher flows this is a great time to use your favorite guide with a drift boat as these next few months are some of the best and lightest in traffic.  Need a guide? We can help.

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Shannon’s first day in a drift boat and fly fishing stayed into the fish all day!

The Coast

Although some rivers have remained high and off color there are some sections falling into shape in both Oregon and California.  These next storms don’t look like much at this point but keep an eye out as forecasts become more detailed.  There looks to be some good to excellent fishing conditions for some of the rivers in the State of Jefferson.  Take a look at the Smith River below:

The Smith River is typically the first to provide fishable conditions and right now she is looking pretty good!

The Smith River is typically the first to provide fishable conditions and right now she is looking pretty good!  Have you ever visited the Smith in the winter?  You should, its magical.

Although the next storms don’t look like they are going to bring much in precipitation at this point but definitely be prepared for cold conditions.  Always bring an extra change of clothes and have a way to warm up in case of a spill.   Also be careful on the roadways as cooler conditions like this also create black ice, which the only way to combat is by driving way slower than normal.

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Reservoir Storage Compared to Last Year

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Fish Kennedy Brothers

Northern California Fly Fishing Guides

www.FishKennedyBrothers.com