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
Every so often in the fly fishing game you come across a particular fish or run that will haunt you. The haunting often comes because the fish can’t be caught or because maybe you’ve managed to trick the fish into eating your fly only to have it break you off or throw the hook. Either way, the proverbial fish that got away keeps you coming back if it doesn’t drive you crazy first. One of our good friends Chuck has a particular run he likes to fish at a particular time. There is one fish that has eluded Chuck many times so he comes to visit his fish for about a week straight and studies him as he begins to slurp down caddis in the surface film when the the sun leaves the water. It’s a love affair that has grown over the years and as Chuck has become a proficient angler, the fish in this run to say the least have become very savvy to any angler attempting to even get close. The fish that resides on the far bank is not the biggest in the river but because of the location in the current it is a very difficult spot to get a good dead drift. With a dry fly it requires getting the fly at least 10 to 15 feet upstream with a series of perfect mends and line feeds while also allowing the fly to drift well past the target before being picked up. One bad cast or missed mend and the fish usually go down and its worthwhile to pick and move to another location . Typically, like pictured below after a good presentation one of the unseen rainbow minions grab the offering which offer a consolation prize but also spooks the run and put the wiser fish down.
Meet Chuck, and the fish he wasn’t going for although Chuck is delighted with anything pulling on the other end of the line. Chuck enjoys the pursuit and everybody involved loves the Chucky factor.
One evening Chuck was making crisp casts and presenting the fly cleanly to the far bank with impeccable precision. As Chuck took his time watching the rhythm of the rises we took some video knowing it was finally going to happen. Chuck took 3 or 4 minions from the edges and patiently waited for the nose he was hunting to show back up while letting the run rest and watching the insects drift down the far seam. After numerous attempts we started running out of storage on the memory card and it appeared that Chuck was going to have to come back tomorrow and try his hand at another river poker game. With the camera off of course Chuck’s next cast just like the one before that and the one before hit the target and drifted flawlessly into the impossible seam. Boom! Fish on! Watch what happens next….
Fish Kennedy Brothers
Professional Fly Fishing Guides
Northern California Trout and Steelhead
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.
A sweet specimen tackled by Lowell on the Lower Sacramento River on 6 weight and light tippet.
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
Here is the latest newsletter from the Wild Steelheader March 30, 2016
-PLUS 4 things you can do right now to help wild steelhead! Continue reading
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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?
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.
Illicit Streamer Sales Are on the Rise.
Underworld streamer dealers are turning peaceful dry fly towns into hot beds of streamer activity. It’s not getting any better.