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

www.FishKennedyBrothers.com

 

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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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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Nor Cal’s Weather and River Update: March 6th 2016

Nothing haunts me more than the beasts that live in the emerald green waters.  But the hunt is going to have to wait.  At least for now.

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The mysterious unicorn.

Much of the West Coast has received copious amount of rainfall in the past 48 hours.  Currently, most rivers are high and not fishable, except for a small handful of tailwaters fisheries up near the dam. Oh and lakes too.  There are a few dandies out there right now if you’re willing to partake in the changing weather conditions.  The Trinity was hardly fishable at the top end of the drainage above Rush Creek and the Lower Sac was fishable today but saw severe winds which made boat accessibility down right dangerous.  Brutal beyond belief.  The Lower Sac had fishable water down to I-5 but saw extremely dirty water from the mouth of Churn Creek down.  More moisture is on the way and it will determine the outlook for this next week.  So far it’s looking like a great week for more rain which we still need.

It might be a good time to find a great book and sit by a warm fire!  Has anybody read these?

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Got Trout and Steelhead?

The two weeks of delightful hiatus free from the wicked clenches of El Niño’s wet spell was an unspeakable dream, but we are ecstatic to report he’s back again and hopefully with a vengeance.  For those of you who joined us on the rivers during the short sleeve section of February, you lucked out, and we hope you appreciated the fantabulous fishing and the warmest winter steelhead fishing known to man.  The surplus of both vitamin D and chrome unicorns was truly a special event.  We apologize for having you bring all that Gore-tex and quality Simms gear, but maybe next time we’ll have to use it.  It’s common for El Niño years to harbor warmer weather in the Winter months; it doesn’t always translate for the hardcore weather sessions that we envision.  You never know, so always be prepared for any weather condition Mother Nature can wheel at you when you are outdoors this time of year, regardless of the forecast.  Speaking of water, how much do we have?

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Overview:

In this report we are going to be looking at current conditions for fly fishing Northern California, including the Lower Sacramento River and Trinity River for both trout and steelhead.  We’ll also take a peek at drought stats, road conditions, river flows, fish hatcheries and at an exciting new chapter of Trout Unlimited starting in Redding. There’s some river news and a little something addressing  “on the water” ethics as well.

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Eastern Sierra: Owens River Short Film

Our life in fly fishing was embedded at a young age before we could whistle or even blow a bubble with gum.  Without these experiences in this landscape of the Eastern Sierra our life today would be much different.  It was these landscapes that created dreams and sent our imaginations into the wilds.

Here is a beautiful short video from Aaron Kupferman on the waters that baptized us.  It’s only two minutes so take the time and watch it.

Frozen Owens River under the Sierra Nevada:

(hit full screen for best viewing)

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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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Northern California Trout and Steelhead Report

The predicted El Niño of 2016 has shown it’s soaking potential, dropping much needed precipitation across the West Coast. Rain, sleet, and snow and typical winter storms have had their affects on waterways and roads leaving a trail of swollen rivers and treacherous highways in their wake, confirming that winter steelheading is not for the faint of heart. If you are up to the challenges and ready to face the caveats, rewards are present for the taking.

A fresh California Steelhead that was caught on a dropping river after a large storm

A fresh California Steelhead that was caught on a dropping river after a large storm

We’ll try to keep this one cut and dry, unlike the current weather forecast for the State of Jefferson. The Trinity river has been Continue reading

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

Buzzing Drones and Northern California’s Trinity River: An evening with the Kennedy Brothers

It’s been an absolutely perfect fall, complete with boats full of fish and happy clients.  Not to mention the weather allowed shorts and sandals which came to a overnight halt this week  We have been guiding all over Northern California chasing wild trout and steelhead without many breaks in between and enjoying this time of year.  As the general trout season closes November 15 on many of California’s waters, our focus is turning to our staple fisheries like the Trinity River.  We will still be doing the Klamath River, Upper and Lower Sacramento River, Pit River and awaiting for our coastal systems to open up but in the meantime the Trinity River is our office for the next period of guiding.  We have been working on getting some video footage out but its been a slow process.  Thanks to our friend Doug, we’ve been able to get some drone footage of a classic afternoon floating the river.  If you’ve been there this time of year then you know what we are talking about.  Check out this video and take a look from a different perspective.  We hope you love it!

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Northern California and Beyond

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Fly fishing for Steelhead on the Trinity River with the Kennedy Brothers.

Fly fishing for Steelhead on the Trinity River with the Kennedy Brothers.