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.


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 This week, due to the outdated infrastructure, the spillway flowing out of Lake Oroville and into the Feather River has failed and will probably be completely eroded in the next few days.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.


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?


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?



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


*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


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.


*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


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:


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!

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.


Reservoir Storage Compared to Last Year


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Northern California Fly Fishing Guides


11th Annual Redding Community Creek Clean-up on the Sacramento River

Come join our local community on Saturday, October 1, 2016, from 8:00 AM – Noon, as we tackle the litter and invasive vegetation that has become overgrown and reduces visibility of the Sacramento River.


Creek Cleanup 2016 will focus on the north side of the Sacramento River Trail, between the Market Street Bridge and the Arboretum Trailhead.

During these four short hours, hundreds of volunteers will gather to help remove trash and invasive vegetation, opening up the view of the River along this section of the Sacramento River Trail.

This year, the Shasta Trinity Fly Fishers will lead a river-based clean-up effort. Volunteers with jet boats will be on the water retrieving debris from areas not accessible by land.

Bring your water bottle, wear closed toe shoes, long pants, plenty of sunscreen, and come out and help restore the riparian savannah along the Sacramento River Trail. You can make a substantial contribution in the heart of Redding during a single morning of labor involving hundreds of your fellow citizens.

Event organizers will have gloves, safety goggles, buckets, and garden tools available for use.  Please bring your own if you have them.

ph: (530) 225-4512


Sacramento River Trail
Registration/Check In – 1500 Quartz Hill Rd.
Redding, CA 96003

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Refreshments sponsored by Shasta Association of REALTORS and Dutch Bros.


Shasta Trinity Fly Fishers logo

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Fly Fishing Guides in Redding , CA

Lower Sacramento River Cleanup in Redding, CA

Have you ever wanted to help out and work together with others who are interested in keeping our rivers clean and pristine?  Now is your chance.  Can you spare 3 hours this next Sunday?  With the creation of a new Trout Unlimited Chapter in Redding the process has started uniting the people in the community and surrounding areas to help protect and preserve our watersheds here in Northern California.  Whether you love fishing or just enjoy walking the edges of the river, this event is for you.

Bring your boat if you have one or we will have transportation for you.  We will split up into groups that will either walk the river trail or float down the river and pick up trash on the way.  Please bring a water bottle and gloves if you have them.  Trash bags, water, and cleanup gear will be provided.

Please help spread this information to anybody you know who might be interested in helping.  Thank You!


Sacramento River Clean up in Redding CA

What:  Lower Sacramento River Cleanup

Where:  Boat Ramp at the Posse Ground above the Sundial Bridge

When:  This Sunday. April 24th 9am-12pm

If you have any questions please contact  Sam Sedillo: or 408-718-9897

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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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.


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?



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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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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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