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Thread: Guide Reports: Upper & LSac, McCloud, Pit, Fall Rivers & Lake Siskiyou

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Mount Shasta
    Posts
    259

    Default Guide Reports: Upper & LSac, McCloud, Pit, Fall Rivers & Lake Siskiyou

    With fall just a few weeks away, we are enjoying some exceptionally fine weather and the final sunny days of summer, enabling us to wade wet on our local freestones, the McCloud, Upper Sac and Pit Rivers. The weather has cooled and smoke from local fires has disappeared with bright blue skies framing Mt. Shasta today. As is typical of summer, this is not the time of year we expect epic days catching loads of trophy fish, though on a few days recently our guests have been pleasantly surprised.

    This is the time of year we enjoy the simple pleasures of fly fishing and perhaps even a streamside nap. With flows at their lowest we can chose a water type and technique to suit our mood, whether it is high sticking pocket water, fishing a dry dropper through a classic run, or casting tiny dries to selective evening risers. This is also a favorite time of year to target the larger fish with streamers. Though not a numbers game, anglers who cover a good deal of water can enjoy productive days for big Rainbows on the Upper Sac, Fall and Pit and as well as trophy Browns on the McCloud River.

    Fishing on local freestones has been best early and late in the day when the sun is off the water. Evening hatches on the Upper Sac and McCloud have been unusally reliable, lasting from the time the sun goes off the water until dark thirty. The last half hour of light provides the best opportunities to target larger fish. Small to tiny mayflies along with a few caddis are bringing fish to the surface, fishing a soft hackle emerger can be the just the trick to fool the most selective fish. Most anglers are nymphing fast oxygenated water during the day but fishing dry fly attractors with droppers, has been as much or more fun and equally effective.

    Lake Siskiyou is a local sleeper that continues to provide non stop action with poppers for Smallmouth Bass. Most of the fish are little but don't know it. A few brusiers have come to hand along with some nice sized hold over trout. Our typical outing is to pound the banks and tules with poppers until the sun goes off the lake and then set up for the Hex hatch which continues to linger when the wind is off the water. The best fish of the day often come just as the huge dry flies we are casting become difficult to see. It is a magical experience to watch the alpenglow make it's way down the flanks of Mt. Shasta while casting to fish rising to these Jurassic bugs.

    The Upper Sacramento River has offered up some very fine fish recently as some Shasta Lake run fish have joined the mix. These are hot acrobatic fish, typically in the mid to upper teens who make their way upstream this time of year, much like summer steelhead to winter over and spawn in spring. Similar to steelhead they are not highly selective and can often be found traveling in pods providing great action with multiple hook ups possible in runs where you find them.

    The McCloud has produced exceptionally well throughout the day with a steady grab, though the majority of the fish have been on the smaller size, with occasional larger fish mixed in. Evening hatches have been good, starting from the time the sun goes off the water until dark. Flows are low and clear with a bit of glacial tint, nearly ideal with four to five feet of clarity. On earlier trips this week, we had the place to ourselves and the weather was great, there were no campers at Ah-Di-Na or Ash Camp and we were the only guests on the Nature Conservancy water. Both dry flies with droppers and nymphing produced well, though for those in the know, it can be an ideal time to cover a lot of water with a streamer to find some trophy Browns, just pick the water type to match your favorite technique and enjoy!

    The Pit River has been outstanding but due to the Bagley Fire, we have not visited in the past week. There are fire fighters staged in the Big Bend area. Nymphing the fast oxygenated water in Pit 3 with small nymphs kept guests who are able to manage wading in the new higher flows very pleased with a good number of fat football shaped 'bows coming to hand. Again, we have enjoyed a good deal of solitude. Do take a thermometer with you to check water temps on the lower beats (Pit 4 & 5) as temps in the upper sixties and seventies can create mortality rates too high this time of year to safely catch and release fish wild trout.

    The Forest Service has issued a warning that with the encroachment of the Bagley Fire the road from Ash Camp to the Pit Rivers is closed. At this time both the Pit and McCloud Rivers are open for travel to fish. They have a website set up: http://inciweb.org/incident/3188/ to update travelers on conditions and closures. We suggest you check the latest reports before making travel plans.

    Those who like it hot have enjoyed some fine catches on the Lower Sacramento River of late with good numbers of fish along with a few big 'bows. Daytime temps have been in the nineties, not scorching by Central Valley summer standards, and with steadily lowering flows, hatches of summer caddis and mayflies have been predictable. A good place to visit after sleeping in, the grab has been best later in the day with some slower early mornings and an afternoon lull between the early caddis frenzy and later mayfly bite.

    The Fall River has been fishing well though the valley has been smokey. The overcast the smoke creates has improved the dry fly fishing, which has been generally poor overall this season. Callibaetis can be found hatching on the lower river with some lingering PMD's and Trico's on the upper river. Nymphing before and after the hatch has been exceptional. This is the time of year that you can often have the place to yourself, particularly on weekdays. On most days the fishing drops of completely mid-afternoon and doesn't pick up again until the caddis hatch during the last hour of light. As soon as the weather cools we expect Blue Wing Olives and PMD's to reappear along with some Mahoganies providing good top water action.

    For a complete report with pics, visit our website. Do drop us a line if you are headed our way, we are always pleased to share all we can about current conditions.
    Craig Nielsen
    __________________________
    ShastaTrout
    Legendary Rivers, Local Guides

  2. #2

    Default

    All,

    I wanted to provide a correction to Craig's post that the Forest Service will be closing the McCloud River Campgrounds at Ash Camp and Ah-Di-Na, including the Pacific Crest Trail, due to the Bagley Fire.

    This area is under a Forest Closure. As such, I would highly recommend seeking other areas to fish if you are considering coming up this way, as the Lower McCloud River will be closed until further notice.
    Last edited by Tfisher; 08-28-2012 at 02:59 PM.
    Carpe Piscis!

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    CO, and loving it.
    Posts
    160

    Default A link for verification?

    Must be a public notice available from the appropriate agency/body?

    Otherwise you'll just have to get up a little earlier to beat everyone else to one of those five tags!

    JGB

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Mount Shasta
    Posts
    259

    Default McCloud River Closure

    TFisher:
    You are correct Ah Di Na, Ash Camp and the Fisherman's Loop on the McCloud are now closed. The order went out this morning, I received an email from the local Forest Service office. I called and the special uses officer who forwarded the closure memo (dated today) said she didn't receive an email until yesterday at 3:45. She expects the closure to continue at least until late September. Best to call the Mt. Shasta Forest Service office before venturing to the McCloud or Pit Rivers 530-926-4511. Wondering how you got the scoop on the closure before she did ;>) ?
    Well done!
    Craig Nielsen
    __________________________
    ShastaTrout
    Legendary Rivers, Local Guides

  5. #5

    Wink

    I'm guessing its because I received it at about 2:00pm that day, probably before she did.


    Here is the notice:

    FIRE CLOSURE UPDATE
    U.S. Forest Service ● Shasta-Trinity National Forest
    Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area

    14225 Holiday Road, Redding, CA 96003 ● Voice (530) 275-1587 ● Web: www.fs.usda.gov/stnf


    Contact: Andrea Capps, (530-242-5546) FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 8/29/2012
    FS12-082812-26
    Fire officials would like to advise visitors and recreationists such as Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) users, hunters, fisherman, boaters and campers about road and area closures in the vicinity of the Bagley Fire which is located about 3 miles west of Big Bend, CA on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest and private land.

    The Bagley Fire Emergency Closure, Forest Order NO. 14-12-02 previously announced that there were several road closures in the area of the Bagley Fire. The Order has been modified, as Amendment 1 effective Tuesday, August 28, to include additional area, roads and trails in proximity to fire activity. The area included in Order NO. 14-12-02, Amendment 1 will be completely closed to the public, for both vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
    These closures are due to several safety concerns, for both the public and firefighters. The fire is active within portions of the closed areas. Steep terrain, rolling materials, thick smoke, and very active fire behavior are making firefighting efforts challenging. Additionally, all roadways listed are being used for heavy fire traffic attempting to access the remote areas of the fireline. Public safety is a top priority for the Forest Service and area firefighters. These closures are to ensure safety, and to allow firefighters to focus their efforts on aggressively containing the fire. The Bagley Fire Emergency Closure, Amendment 1 area includes:

    1. Going into or being upon National Forest System lands within the Bagley Fire Closure Area. The Bagley Fire Closure Area begins at the intersection of Forest Road No. 34N17 and Forest Road No. 35N46, then continues west along Forest Road No. 34N17 to its intersection with Forest Road No. 35N56, then continues north along Forest Road No. 35N56 to its intersection with Forest Road No. 35N55, then continues northerly along Forest Road No. 35N55 to its intersection with Forest Road No. 36N67, then continues north along Forest Road No. 36N67 to its intersection with the section line between Sections 22 and 23 of Township 36 North, Range 3 West, Mt. Diablo Base and Meridian, then continues north along the section lines to its intersection with the McCloud River, then continues northeasterly along the McCloud River to its intersection with the township line between Township 37 North and Township 38 North in Range 2 West, then continues north along the section lines between Sections 32 and 33 of Township 38 North, Range 2 West to its intersection with Forest Road No. 38N53, then continues northeasterly along Forest Road No. 38N53 to its intersection with Forest Road No. 38N11, then continues east along Forest Road No. 38N11 to its intersection with the Forest boundary, then continues south along the Forest boundary to its intersection with the section lines between Sections 16, 17, 20 and 21 in Township 35 North, Range 1 West, then continues south along the section lines to its intersection with the Pit River, then continues west along the Pit River to its intersection with Forest Road No. 34N17, then continues westerly along Forest Road No. 34N17 back to the starting point, as shown on Exhibit A. 36 CFR 261.53(e).

    2. Being on any National Forest System trail within the Bagley Fire Closure Area. Additionally, the Pacific Crest Trail is closed beginning at the intersection of Interstate 5 and Soda Creek Road in Township 38 North, Range 4 West, Section 11, continuing east on the trail and ending at the intersection of Forest Road No. 39N05 with Forest Road No. 38N10 in Township 39 West, Range 1 East, Section 35, as shown on Exhibit B. 36 CFR 261.55(a).

    3. Being on any National Forest System road within the Bagley Fire Closure Area. Additionally, Forest Road No. 39N21 is closed beginning at the intersection with Forest Road No. 38N11, and includes Forest Road Numbers 39N21A, 38N94, 38N56, 38N95, 38N97 and 38N98, as shown on Exhibit A. 36 CFR 261.54(e).

    All Shasta-Trinity National Forest recreation facilities and trails within the closure area, including Deadlun, Madrone, Chirpchatter, Ash Camp and Ah-Di-Na Campgrounds, and Fisherman’s Loop Fishing Access will be closed. Additionally, the PG&E operated Hawkin’s Landing Campground will also be closed. A portion of the Pacific Crest Trail will be closed beginning at the intersection of Interstate 5 and Soda Creek Road and ending at the intersection of Forest Road No. 39N05 with Forest Road No. 38N10 in Bartle Gap. The closure area will remain in effect until it has been determined by fire officials that the area is safe for public entry and Forest Order (No. 14-12-02, Amendment 1) has been rescinded. The boat launch for Lake McCLoud is currently open.
    Highway 299 East and Big Bend Road will remain open. However, motorists are advised to drive with caution and to anticipate congested roadways. Forest Service 34N17 Road (commonly known as Fender’s Ferry Road) will be closed between Forest Service 35N46 Road (commonly referred to as Reynolds Basin Road) and Forest Service 35N56 Road near McCLoud Bridge.
    For any additional questions, please contact the Bagley Fire Information line at 800-923-7316 between the hours of 8AM to 7PM, or visit www.InciWeb.org.
    Carpe Piscis!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    ><((((º>
    ><((((º> ><((((º>

    ********************

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Granite Bay, CA
    Posts
    230

    Default

    How is this affecting the Pit? It appears to be "in the heat of things" as well.
    TroutSource.com
    we deliver the river

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Truckee California
    Posts
    397

    Default Yes Indeed...MOODS

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Nielsen View Post
    This is the time of year we enjoy the simple pleasures of fly fishing and perhaps even a streamside nap. With flows at their lowest we can chose a water type and technique to suit our mood, whether it is high sticking pocket water, fishing a dry dropper through a classic run, or casting tiny dries to selective evening risers. This is also a favorite time of year to target the larger fish with streamers.
    Craig---I've taken the liberty of excerpting a few sentences from your introduction to your report. Which I thoroughly enjoy since your area is where I focused my first 10 years of fly angling...last century. I have relatives that live in Weed.

    Reason for the selected quote is because I recently wrote an article entitled "Moods" for the thus far unprinted and not-on-line-yet Fall 2012 issue of Sierra Fisherman magazine (www.sierrafisherman.com).

    The publisher said it OK I post it here:

    Moods

    When was that last time you looked down from a high river bank & viewed a widening gap/gullet of an 18”-20” Rainbow as it inhaled a freshly emerged Green Drake at the surface? Or you tracked the smooth drift of a brightly colored yarn indicator and witness its “pull-down” surge into the depths of a deep run; lift, then feel the head throbs of a strong fish? Both of these scenarios can fulfill the desires of a specific “mood” we as fly anglers will occasionally get into. And, yes, we fly anglers can get in moods; for a specific moment, day or extended period during the season. Admittedly, these moods can overshadow what may be a more pragmatic approach that will produce more hook-ups, but there is no way we will be moved away from that mood.

    We fly anglers are of myriad personality types. Some of us are loners, at-all-costs-crowd-avoiders, essentially anti-social. Some of us not, savoring interaction, "fish gossiping" and seeking-out communal group angling; camaraderie is what it is about.

    Regardless of where you're button-holed within the above two extremes, we all experience fishing moods; whether seasonally, day-to-day or spur of the moment. Each mood fits our current state of mind. Yes, moods can be fickle, prolonged, short-lived and attract us to different types of water.
    Moods take many forms.

    Tight-Lining: Also called “short-lining”; this technique was popularized by Ted Fay on the Upper Sac during the late-60’s. No indicators here. Zen-like, we watch for any subtle movement at the leader’s entry into the water. For us native Californian fly anglers this method is the precursor to Europe’s late ‘90’s, imported Czech-nymphing. The difference as I see it is the leader set-up and the use of a “brace” of flies in lieu of two patterns. Both incorporate the weight in the fly. When in this mood we relish probing the close-in holding water, leaning on our wading staff and reaching out into the troughs of runs, eddies and “soft-water” pockets; all within a few feet of us.

    Dry/Dropper Fishing: Watching your indicator-dry dip down as your bead-head trailer gets eaten is one of the pleasures of fishing boulder-strewn stretches of pocket-water. This is “picking-pockets”, short-line, quick-tempo fly angling. We show flies to as many opportunistic drift feeders as possible. Late-summer through fall on freestone waters is a good time to opt for this fast-paced mood.

    High-Stick Indicator Fishing: There is pleasure in tracking an indicator and seeing a sudden “take-down”. If you like kaleidoscope fishing there are numerous manufactured and self-made indicator options. Early season in the Sierra, whether a mood or no option, is when we practice this art. It is also prime-time of hooking large trout; having not been harassed by anglers for 4-5 months.

    Small Creek Angling: Jon Baiocchi calls this “creekin”. I too am a life-long “creek-junky” and this mood provides me a nostalgic look-back at my entry into fishing in the small creeks of Marin county; plying every kind of bait available to a 7 year-old. Take-out a topo map and look for obscure, thin, blue lines with gradient. These small, intimate brooks and creeks feed larger running waters and are generally found at headwaters and higher Sierra elevations. Here we encounter diminutive, willing, wild trout and lots of solitude. A “hog” may be 12”. This is classic, fast-action, dry fly angling.

    Midge-Fishing: Presenting tiny flies at/in the surface film and watching your greased tippet, indicator-putty or fly zing or sag, dip or stop…lots of times very subtle...can become an addictive mood. This is flat, quiet-water activity. Most of the fishing is in the upper-water column, but, drifting larva or emerging pupae can be done at all levels. It is your chance to join the “20-20” club and the challenge of netting hefty, late-season trout on 6x tippets.

    Long-line Indicator Fishing: When in the mood for long-lining; we especially enjoy the challenge of making that perfect, long, drag-free drift. Generally, this is done in larger streams with steady flows, deep slots and troughs. Northern California steelhead waters are also perfectly suited for this mood. Perfecting that stack-mend will determine who has the highest probability of getting the tug and absorbs that first big surge or head-down, head-shakes.

    Head-Hunting: There have been times when I have walked a river for three hours without casting once. I did not did not see a single trout rise. We are entitled to being a total “purist” whenever we wish.

    Moods allow us to fly fish in many ways. All provide a certain pleasure.

    Frank R. Pisciotta

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Mount Shasta
    Posts
    259

    Default Thanks for offering us "Moods"

    Frank:

    One of the primary reasons I moved to Mt. Shasta was the variety of fishing we have and the ability to suit my "Mood" on any given day.
    Your essay captures this quite well, thanks for the offering, well done!

    PS I grew up fishing creeks, myself, growing up on a ridge between Butte Creek and the many branches of the Feather.
    Craig Nielsen
    __________________________
    ShastaTrout
    Legendary Rivers, Local Guides

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