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!
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:
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.
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.
Shannon’s first day in a drift boat and fly fishing stayed into the fish all day!
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! 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.
Reservoir Storage Compared to Last Year
Fish Kennedy Brothers
Northern California Fly Fishing Guides
If April showers bring May flowers then December storms bring sea-run steelhead home! Currently a heavy “pineapple express” weather system is lowering its crosshairs into Northern California and bringing heavy precipitation and deep snow over the upper elevations. Look for high and off color conditions in most of the rivers also with some roadways being closed or with major delays throughout and after the system. Although this new front will blow out most of our rivers for steelhead, minus perhaps the very upper reaches, there is good news. The severe storm fronts that blast the State of Jefferson bring in fresh fish from the ocean and allows fish already in the river system to get up into the tributaries and spawn safely. After five years of drought this is just what we needed. And although it’s not the best for fishing this week it may prove to make the New Year and without question years to come successful for steelhead and other anadromous friends.
This is what December storms can equate to come Jan/Feb/Mar and this is what chrome looks like. Michael Mcgahan captured this amazing shot of shots last year of elated Marty Welsh and this spectacular shiny specimen. Does he look excited or what? Do you know what those marks are on the fish between the dorsal and adipose fin?
So what is happening with the weather? We find ourselves explaining the situation via e-mail, text, phone and social media outlets. As much as our job requires us to be on top of the weather it’s better left up to the professionals. Here is a short video clip with some diagrams explaining the basics of the storm system that is slamming Nor Cal through the week and possibly into the weekend.
One road condition which has plagued us most of the last several weeks has been the rockslide on Hwy 299 west of Weaverville and just east of Del Loma on the Trinity River. Known as the Big French Creek slide this area is highly unstable and doesn’t look to improve anytime soon. Currently it is closed and will be at least into next week. Although one lane traffic may commence eventually, until this mountainside is stabilized it will be a reoccurring event like many slides on Hwy 299 have been in the past. Plan ahead and ensure enough time to go the long way around.
Look for Hwy 299 to be closed at the area indicated on the map. Travelers are urged to take other ways around and avoid Hwy 299 until the mountainside stabilizes and debris is removed. Highway 3 is the closest detour but can be treacherous in wet and snowy conditions so plan for extra travel time.
A monster of a storm is about to come out from under the bed and tackle 14,172′ Mt. Shasta. The weather service is calling for 58-80″ of snow for Mt. Shasta in the next 3 days. This year has been a banner one compared to the last five with a 176% of average precipitation to date (17.5″).
Our hope is always to write more and share more photos detailing our adventures but as usual we find ourselves utterly buried in working the river and enjoying its critters. We would like to thank all the people who made this past fall season and the ones previous unforgettable. We are truly blessed and constantly amazed to be surrounded by such great people, from our families, friends, clients, anglers, fellow guides, co-workers and everybody else behind the scenes. The fishing family here in Northern California is truly special and our life would not be nearly as enjoyable as it is without the faces behind it. You make it possible and we are grateful. Sending the best wishes to all those who make the river flow.
Fish Kennedy Brothers
Northern California Fly Fishing Guides
You can’t make the river flow any faster, so you might as well slow down and enjoy the view. Fish Kennedy Brothers
“Look, do you see that?” I said while breaking the quietude as my client remained laser focused, head down with extreme execution staring into Continue reading
It’s been an enjoyable Fall as small weather cells brought in much needed moisture and lent Nor Cal a brief and temporary reprieve from the West Coast drought. It’s far from over and we need more precipitation and snow on the peaks to rescue us but in the meantime, the conditions don’t get any better for Northern California river systems. The general trout season still has a little over a week left and you couldn’t ask for better weather.