In life and on the River

There are times where you might find yourself with a definitive goal in mind. Or perhaps, focused on a specific prize or result. Often while in the pursuit we come across something that wasn’t in the scope of our intended target, whether in life or on the river. Some may scoff and others may rejoice. In this particular instance depicted in the photo we had already experienced an epic day chasing trout and the occasional steelhead while enjoying the bounties of Northern California in the springtime. Yes, we target trout and steelhead. But don’t forget about the other species that inhabit our waterways. And remember, when you focus on a specific prize, don’t ignore all the other wonderful discoveries that may go unnoticed. In life, or on the river.

fly angler lands huge carp on Lower Sac river

A sweet specimen tackled by Lowell on the Lower Sacramento River on 6 weight and light tippet.


carp lips and smiling angler

In 1653 Izaak Walton wrote in The Compleat Angler, “The Carp is the queen of rivers; a stately, a good, and a very subtle fish; that was not at first bred, nor hath been long in England, but is now naturalised.”


Fish Kennedy Brothers

Fly Fishing Guides in Redding , CA

Trout, steelhead, salmon, bass and anything that swims

The Sacramento River is Closed to Fishing?

Don’t believe the headlines, because just like that, shear terror is unleashed and countless dollars in revenue are lost and never recovered as fraudulent stories circulate.  It’s not just fishing guides who miss out on their prime time to make ends meet, but the trickle down economic factor sends shock waves all the way through the communities and tourism based businesses that thrive on this ridiculously rich and renewable resource of catch and release fishing that the City of Redding has become home to.  “Redding has some of the best fishing I’ve seen anywhere in the world, and I use to live in Montana and Alaska,” Robert Bailey remarked, as we strolled down the Sundial Bridge snapping photo’s of the drift boats hooked up on wild rainbow trout under our feet.

Don’t believe the headlines, the media is going to try to shove this one down your news feeds, but don’t buy it.  Is it true there is a fishing closure? Yes, there will be a temporary emergency closure for a very small section of the river and we’ll give you the details below, straight from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).  Is this going to effect my fishing trip on the Sacramento River?  Absolutely not.  In fact, after a prosperous wet season with many of our drainages receiving above average rainfall and snow pack totals, this is going to be one of the years fishing in Northern California that you will not want to miss out on.

winter run chinook salmon i

Plagued by years of abuse from dams, mining, agriculture, drought, commercial fishing, hatcheries, extreme habitat loss and poor ocean conditions the Sacramento River winter-run chinook salmon face extinction.  Chinook salmon, also known as “king salmon,” are without question the undisputed royalty of California waters.

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Spring is here, fish you must

It’s no longer getting close, spring is here.  To put it in Yoda terms, “Spring is here, fish you must!”  It’s been a wild and wet winter and for the first time in five years the State of Jefferson has received above average water.  El Niño may not have lived entirely up to it’s ominous reputation, but it has brought life back to the parched landscapes of Northern California.  The temperature outlook has indicated an increased probability of above-normal temperatures across much of the United States in the coming months.  In fact, the chance is highest for the West, exceeding 50 percent.Image of Yoda saying go fishing you must  The weather outlook notes that while the El Niño event is weakening daily, the important question going forward is how quickly its impacts dissipate and what the likelihood is of a transition to a La Niña event.  The weather service says La Niña is characterized by anomalously cool water in the central and eastcentral Pacific (thus the reason the La Niña phenomenon is sometimes referred to as a “Pacific cold episode”).  It’s overall effects also tend to be less predictable than those for El Niño, with seasonal precipitation impacts generally opposite as well.  But women, weather and fish kind of do what they want and right about the time you think you have them figured out…well you know.  Don’t even try.

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Fly Fishing Northern California in the Wettest Winter in 5 Years

Recent downpours of heavy rain for the month of March so far have sent lake levels in the Northstate through the roof and still we are not done yet.  Will Shasta Lake overflow?  There is a good chance if we can keep pace.  Officials said it would take at least three years to fill up California’s largest reservoir but it’s happening at a much quicker rate than expected.

rainbow trout on Sacramento River during rain

We endured monsoon like conditions during the storm events and even found some nice trout and solitude.

Early Monday morning, Shasta Lake was at 79% of capacity and 103% of historical average for this time of year which puts us on a good path towards reaching peak levels and possibly over flowing it’s spillways with future storms and snow melt.

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Trout Unlimited Redding Chapter!

Have you ever wanted to help local rivers and meet others with similar interests?  If you live in true Northern California than this for you.  Come out to Woody’s Brewing Company which is a great spot in Redding even if there wasn’t a TU meeting.


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Proposed Fishing Closure: Sacramento River

So once again, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is proposing a closure for 5.5 miles of the Sacramento River near Redding, California. The proposed temporary closure would take place this year from April 1st to July 31st 2016.  Are you for it? Or against it? Read below and vote!

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Downtown Brown Trout- Redding, CA.

It all started off in the eye of a severe storm system, in the middle of a sopping wet January in 2016.  It was a three boat, guided fly fishing trip, with 6 anglers total in the group.  Our target river for that day was the Trinity River in Northern California and steelhead were on the brain as the last of the group downed the final sip of coffee.  The light reluctantly etched its way into the soggy and drenched landscape, the fog hung in eerie suspense almost as another Continue reading

Sacramento River Restoration Project Commences in Redding

Has anybody notice the heavy equipment in the Lower Sacramento River downstream of the Hwy. 44 bridge? Well, we have. And since we are in the middle of a heavy storm system our attention was immediately perked and curious as to what exactly is going on. The Lower Sacramento received ample amounts of rainfall this week especially tributaries entering from the Eastern watersheds. Battle Creek went to around 14,300 CFS which is a enormous amount for this watershed. Heavy equipment in the river? Dozers and front end loaders working into the eves of night? What is going on? Who is doing this? And why now? Continue reading

Take Kids Fishing, Take them Fly Fishing!

Do you remember that moment when you realized you were going to have to make your own decisions in life?  You’re nine years old, and you’re new to the whole fly fishing thing.  You’re not exactly a rookie in your eyes but you catch more fish than your dad.  You’re at a point where you know your guide is going to teach you how to handle your own fish, that slimy creature that peers into your soul just before you release it back into the shadowy depths.  You finally break through the fear and muster up enough courage.  Just be cool and go with the flow.  Then it happens.  You did it!  Pure excitement, the whole family and the Kennedy Brothers are cheering.  You make one last look at the camera for dad’s photo as he calls over for you and suddenly to your surprise you notice your guide.  Your mentor and buddy who is also twice as big as you, he fishes with ex-KGB agents, the one who ducks through doors and has hands bigger than your head. You’re cradling your fish delicately with both of your dripping wet hands and… he’s going for the high five!  What would you do?  Do you remember that moment?  I do.


The weather after the rain has been delightful and it has forced an early emergence of caddis.  Not quite the blanket hatch yet but it’s been close some days. March brown’s, baetis, pmd’s, stone’s and midges are also abundant with some dry fly fishing showing up.  It’s a great time on the Lower Sacramento and it’s only going to get better.  With the way the water situation is shaping up it’s looking like we may have one of the best spring seasons in history.   The media may highlight the drought and it’s severe consequences but there are some upsides.  The Lower Sac is one of them.  Steelhead fishing on the Trinity River is the other.   We are currently focused on our spring bookings and although were are not full, the holes are starting to fill in.  Get your dates before it’s too late.

Fish Kennedy Brothers

Northern California Fly Fishing Guides

Sacramento River Reveals Great Trout Fishing Especially in Drought Years

The lack of rain in California has left some of the West coasts largest reservoirs under 50% capacity, and as a result, the Lower Sacramento River is the lowest we have ever seen: a whopping 3000 cfs (cubic feet per second). At these levels there are features showing that are normally hidden below feet of water. It’s almost like fishing a different river, and a sense of adventure accompanies the newness of it all. The weather has obviously been unusually dry and warm, yet the crowds are thin. I guess everybody thinks that there aren’t many good fishing opportunities out there without rain? Guess again. The fish still have to eat and the weather is about as good as gets. Come see for yourself.

WOW! A beautiful Northern California rainbow trout!

WOW! A beautiful Northern California rainbow trout!

We fished in Redding yesterday from the Posse Grounds, under the Sundial Bridge, down to Bonnyview. It seemed as though the recent drop in flows had the fish a little off, but with the help of some midday, mayfly hatches, we were rewarded for our efforts. As the morning temperatures began to rise, we encountered a small baetis hatch, nothing major, but it was just enough to get the fish active. The best flies during these moments were size 18 Hogan’s S&Ms in an olive color, Mercer’s Trigger Nymphs, olive Pheasant tails, and Mercer’s Poxyback BWOs, fished in the deep runs, from the end of the riffles all the way down to the tail-outs.

Another day on the Lower Sac and not a soul around.  Wanna fish?

Another day on the Lower Sac and not a soul around. Wanna fish?

In the heat of the day, the action slowed, but we began to see birds flying out over the river to flutter for a moment, then return back to the branch from which they flew. They were clearly feeding on some aquatic insect emerging from the water. A quick back row and a dropped anchor in the chop. All eyes on the surface. Small pale orange mayflies were bobbing through the waves headed downstream to dry their wings and fly away. We quickly changed our setups from olive to brown and yellow mayfly patterns and we were back in the water. Our first drift through the run informed us we were on the right track. Double! The best patterns during this hatch were brown S&Ms, yellow Flatulators, Poxyback PMD’s, and yellow Mercer’s Glint Nymphs, all in a size 16. The lesson here is to always be aware of your surroundings. As conditions change, so do the bugs and ultimately what the fish are eating. In an environment as large as the Lower Sacramento River these hatches can change run to run so stay on top of it. Sometimes it takes slowing down and observing rather than continuing to flog the water.