Battle Creek is an intimate, wild, terraced freestone stream that is best suited to the physically fit fly fisherman.
These six miles of fish-rich Battle Creek opened for the first time in 1999. Battle Creek averages twenty feet across, and tumbles down an often narrow canyon that has one pool and riffle after another full of native rainbows, and sometimes steelhead at certain points in the season. It's a rugged wilderness atmosphere, and little has changed in years in what was once home to Ishi and his California Indian ancestors.
Planting trout is prohibited in these lower reaches of Battle Creek, as it is the primary spawning tributary for salmon and steelhead from the Lower Sacramento River. Battle Creek's resident rainbows, therefore, are completely wild, native fish that have grown big and tough, full of fight, and usually die of old age without ever being fooled by a dry fly or nymph.
Like all healthy streams, Battle Creek has a large population of all sizes of trout. Fish average ten to fourteen inches, while a trophy on this boulder-strewn stream is two or three pounds. These big Battle Creek rainbows are not uncommon, though the big fish don't rise as aggressively to dry flies and usually fall more easily to one of many effective nymph
(or streamer) patterns.
The Fly Shop® purchased the lease to Battle Creek Ranch nearly a decade ago, and we've spent every season since exploring the property. We divided more than six miles of water into six different fishing beats. Any one of the beats is more fishing than any two anglers could cover completely in a day, and still there are parts of the creek that haven't been fished. Because of the physical nature of hiking down into the canyon, very few adventurous anglers make the effort to fish these fabulous freestone waters, making Battle Creek quite possibly the least-fished section of stream in California. These fish are wild, and un-touched.
Sections of the stream are periodically rested to ensure as little impaction as possible, and help guarantee a quality fly fishing experience. Battle Creek Ranch is about forty-five minutes from either Redding or Red Bluff, and can be easily combined with other nearby private fishing at Bailey Creek, Rock Creek Lake, or Lake Christine. There is an overnighting possibility very close to this stream. Please call for more information (800-669-3474).
Reservations & Rates
Our Battle Creek Ranch accesses include over 6 miles of Battle Creek previously inaccessible to the public.
The 6 miles of water are broken up into 6 different fishing beats: Baldwin, Wall, Canyon, Barn, No Man's, and the Spring Branch Beat. In addition, the Coleman Canal runs through the ranch property, providing nymph and occasional dry fly opportunities to rising trout in the man-made, creek-like stream channel.
When making a reservation for Battle Creek, you are reserving a beat for a day. Each beat contains more water than a pair of anglers can fish in a day, and groups of more than two anglers can reserve more than one beat each day. The beats are rotated to ensure that they are fresh and have not been recently fished when you arrive. Anglers choosing to fish more than one day – there are camping and cabin rental options nearby – will be assigned to different beats each day, guaranteeing that they get to see different sections of the stream.
The Department of Fish and Game does regular snorkel surveys on these sections of Battle Creek. What they've discovered is that the upper beats (Baldwin, Wall, Canyon) contain more resident rainbows, although the average size is 10-12 inches, while the lower beats (Barn, No Man's, Spring Branch) contain less fish overall but the average size is considerably higher (14-16 inches).
Battle Creek Ranch is about forty-five minutes from either Redding or Red Bluff. Fishing the rugged river canyon is not for the faint of heart, and we recommend it only for anglers in good physical condition. Most of the different beats require about a 15-30 minute hike to get to the water, and to get back to the truck at the end of the day. The physical nature of fishing this beautiful section of Battle Creek helps to limit the amount of fishing pressure it sees, making it quite possibly the least fished section of stream in Northern California.
Package Price: The cost of the daily rate for the Battle Creek Canyon package is:
• $135 per day (per person)
Inclusions: Included in your Battle Creek Canyon package is a reserved beat for the day.
Non-Inclusions: Not included in your package at Battle Creek Canyon are fishing license, waders, rods/reels, and terminal tackle (flies, tippet, etc.)
The Fly Shop® is not in the insurance business, but we recommend Travel Guard coverage as a service with a desire to see your best interests protected. It is impossible to know when an unfortunate situation (loss of luggage, fly rods, illness in the family, or an accident) may occur. However, such things can and do happen, and this insurance can provide a means of recourse against non-refundable financial losses. Click HERE for Travel Guard's Policies and more information
Seasons at Battle Creek Canyon
Battle Creek opens to fishing the last Saturday in April, and can be fished until November 15.
May/June: May and June are runoff period on Battle Creek, with snowmelt from the flanks of Mt Lassen often making the stream too high to comfortably access, wade, and fish. On dry years, Battle Creek can start fishing as early as mid-May, while on wet-winter years we sometimes can't access the stream until mid-June.
If we're lucky enough to have fishable flows in May, we can get into some memorable salmonfly hatches on Battle Creek, as well as a smorgasbord of smaller mayflies. By mid-June the salmonflies are done, but they're quickly replaced by thousands of golden stoneflies hatching and buzzing through the river canyon throughout June and into early July. The golden stonefly hatch is the best hatch on the river for anglers, with fishing rising to dries throughout the day and especially in the late afternoon and evening. Generally this time of year Battle Creek anglers can raise plenty of fish on stimulators and other big bushy golden stonefly adults, while those fishing dry-and-dropper rigs with a stonefly nymph dropper do even better, and those angler's into catching as many fish as they can will dead drift stonefly nymphs under indicators and quickly loose count of the numbers of fish they hook.
July/August: July continues the golden stonefly hatch, which is joined by little yellow stoneflies and caddis in the evenings, and as long as the water temperatures remain cool (typical on most years) the fishing remains good to great. On dry years, the creek temperatures can get warm by late July, and once those temperatures heat up we quit fishing the ranch to protect its native trout.
August generally shows us warmer-than-comfortable water conditions, and we prefer to rest the water. On really wet years, however, with heavy snowpack, Battle Creek will run clear and cold all through the summer and when that happens the fishing can be great all summer long.
September/October/November: As soon as we start to get the first cool nights of fall, usually in the first week or two of September, the fishing starts to turn on again on Battle Creek. There aren’t the hatches that we see in the early season, but the trout gorge themselves daily on the river’s dense macro-invertebrate populations, including stonefly, mayfly, and caddis nymphs. The fall season really does show us some of the absolute best fishing of the year, and is one of the reasons it’s the most popular time of year at Battle Creek.
As a bonus, we see the occasional steelhead making its way upriver through the small creek canyon water, and there's little in the angling world that can compare to hooking one of these powerful sea-going rainbow trout in the wilderness and intimate creek waters of Battle Creek.
With the recent removal of the four lowest dams and fish barriers on Battle Creek, the future forecast looks optimistic for increased numbers of steelhead in the river in the fall, as well as healthy returns of Chinook salmon migrating upriver and someday even spawning in Battle Creek. As these anadromous fish returns, we expect even better fishing in the fall, with Alaska-style trouting for Battle Creek’s feisty rainbows feeding aggressively on salmon eggs and flesh.
Getting To Battle Creek Canyon
Where resident rainbows are completely wild, native fish.
From Red Bluff:
• Travel east on Antelope Blvd-Hwy 99E for three miles to Hwy 36.
• Turn left (north) on Hwy 36 and go 11 miles to The Dales.
• Turn left at Dales Cafe onto the Manton Road (A6). You will travel north and east 7.5 miles to Wildcat Road (it's just past the bridge over South Fork of Battle Creek).
• Turn left onto Wildcat and proceeded 1.7 miles to the turnoff to Darrah Springs State Fish Hatchery (just past the bridge over the North Fork of Battle Creek).
• Drive into the hatchery and follow the paved road for 1 mile. At this point take the left fork leading past the houses. The pavement will end just past the houses and then you will come to a fork in the road.
• Take the right fork and drive over Baldwin Creek (it is a small reservoir at this point) then look a little to the right and you will see a gate.
• Drive up to the gate, open with the combination (The combination is changed each year, and will be provided to you with confirmation of your trip deposits) and, please, lock it behind you.
• In about a half mile you will come to a cattle guard and another gate. It's not locked, but be sure to close it behind you.
• The road leading to the Baldwin Beat and The Wall Beat is just a few yards down the road. If you are going to the parking areas for Trout Camp or the other beats continue on the main road. There are prominent signs posted for all beats and parking areas.
• Travel east 22.5 miles on Hwy 44 to Black Butte Road (across from the county store).
• Turn right (south) and go 7.3 miles to the Darrah Springs State Fish Hatchery entrance.
• Turn onto the hatchery road and follow the detailed directions above.
From the Burney Area:
• You will need to travel to the Old Station area and pick up Hwy 44 heading west. Stay on Hwy 44 through Shingletown and go 6.5 miles to the Black Butte Road turnoff.
• Now follow the directions from Redding and Red Bluff shown above from this point on.
Battle Creek Ranch Beats:
After you pass through the second gate you will need to continue on for another ½ mile. A sign will indicate the road leading to the camp. Turn onto this road and follow the signs to the parking area. You can access some of the upper ranch beats by walking over the foot bridge by the camp and striking off across county.
If you chose to drive to the parking areas for the different beats just be sure you park in the assigned parking areas. Baldwin Reach: This reach includes portions of both Baldwin Creek and Battle Creek. After you go through the gate proceed one half mile to a cattle guard and a second gate. Let yourself through this gate (no lock involved but please close it behind you), and look for the sign on the road (just a few yards past the cattle guard) to the
Turn left on this road and follow it to the parking area by the canal. Although it is not as easy to access and fish along as the Coleman Beat, it takes much less effort to get to and fish than the Wall and Canyon Beats do. You can walk down to Baldwin Creek by going over to the above ground water pipe, and follow that down into Baldwin Creek. From here, you can follow the creek down to Battle Creek. At this junction fish downstream all the way to the start of the Wall Beat.
You may elect to start at the top of the Wall Beat and fish upstream to Baldwin Creek and then hike up this stream to the parking area. See Wall Beat directions.
The Wall Reach:
Follow the signs just past the second gate and proceed to the end of the road and park by the bridge going over the canal. Walk over the bridge and down the road. Go through two gates (close them behind you, please) These two gates are directly above a underground gas pipe that runs south-west. There are two orange and white signs (/////) that signal where the pipe is buried.
You will want to angle to the right after going through the second gate, to the buried gas pipe and follow it down to the stream. Keep an eye out for the orange and white barred signs. This reach is from the pipe downstream to the third bend, which is the start of the canyon reach.
Follow the main access road for approximately 1 mile after you go through the second gate. You will cross over a canal at this point. Proceed along the canal road for ½ mile and look for the sign leading down off the canal road. The road leads across a flat and into the trees and winds it way down towards the creek.
This can be a bad road Just remember this is for the adventurous fisherman. A trail of ribbons will show the way to a gully leading down to the beat area Whatever you do when you finish make sure you save enough daylight time to get all the way back to your car. Remember, if you get confused as to where you are the canal is always above you. Always carry the map with you.
Burton Ranch Beats:
Follow the instructions on how to enter Battle Creek ranch. Check your odometer as you get to the second gate that is about ½ mile from the ranch entrance gate. You will proceed 1.8 miles west to a locked gate. You will be driving right along the canal for much of this distance. Using the combination provided (The combination is changed each year, and will be provided to you with confirmation of your trip deposits), let yourself through this gate and look to the left for the sign to the barn beat parking area. Follow this road down off the canal road and on to the parking area.
You can park in the corral or even under part of the barn if you wish. Walk to the west,
through the corral and you will be in a meadow. Follow the tule ditch through the meadow. The ditch will bend to the left and go over the edge of the canyon. Cross over the ditch (it should be a little swampy) and look for the trail of ribbons leading from the canyon's edge down to the stream. You can follow these ribbons, or create your own route. You are near the upstream end of the barn reach at this point. From this point you may fish a short distance upstream, but most of this beat is downstream. You may prefer to walk along the canyon's edge for a mile or so, and then go down into the canyon and fish back up to the ribbon trail. Then climb out to the meadow where you are parked.
No Man's Reach:
This is the easiest of all the beats to access from a parking area. Check out the directions to the barn beat. After you go through the locked gate on the canal you will need to proceed 1.4 mile more along the canal to get to the turn off to the No Man's reach. The turn off is just as you reach a rock wall along the edge of the canal. It's a sharp turn to the left that may require a bit of jockeying to negotiate. You will need a 4-wheel drive for this road. There is a green gate at this point and if it is locked, the combination (The combination is
changed each year, and will be provided to you with confirmation of your trip deposits) will open it. There is a sign and trail of orange ribbons marking the road over to the parking area. The parking area is approximately ½ mile from the canal. You will be parking right next to the canyon's edge. Follow the ribbons down to the stream and fish downstream to the S- curves or walk along the canyon edge to the curves and fish back up to the ribbon trial and climb back out to your vehicle.
Spring Branch Reach:
To reach the parking area for this beat follow the directions to No Man's. Just as you reach the No Man's parking area you will see a trace road leading to the right. Follow this road to the end- about 1/3 of a mile. Walk along the ridge until you see the big S cures at the top of the Spring Branch Beat. You can then drop
down to the stream and fish downstream or keep walking along the ridge towards the bottom of the beat. Now you can fish back up through the cures and then retrace your route to your vehicle. You will need a 4 wheel drive or posi trac to travel this road.
Itinerary for Battle Creek Canyon
It takes a little less than an hour to drive to Battle Creek Ranch from either Redding or Red Bluff.
When you've reserved a beat at Battle Creek for the day, it's your own private piece of stream from daybreak to dusk. You are welcome to arrive as early as you like, and leave whenever your angling day is over. We do strongly recommend that you give yourself ample time to hike out of the canyon at the end of the day BEFORE it gets dark.
The trails are not well-traveled and can be difficult to find at the end of a long day, so you want to have several visible landmarks to help track your way back to the truck.
The fishing at Battle Creek Canyon is best suited for the self-reliant, physically fit angler. Those willing to make the trek down into the canyon are rewarded by wild rainbow trout that only see a handful of fishermen during the course of each year. Some of the middle, steeper canyon beats only get fished once or twice a year, if at all!
A variety of different techniques will work at
different times on Battle Creek. There are almost always a few trout willing to rise to dry flies, while dry-fly-and-dropper combinations are very productive and indicator nymphing is perhaps the most consistent producer of the bigger fish in the stream. Casting weighted streamers on sinking lines in the deeper pools has even been known to result in some behemoth rainbows (or steelhead) putting a bend in the rod of Battle Creek anglers.
There are some lodging and camping options nearby. If you'd like to learn more about the possible options for lodging or camping near Battle Creek Canyon, please give us a call at The Fly Shop at 800-669-3474.
A few points to remember:
Watch out for poison oak and rattlesnakes. Although rattlesnakes are not seen regularly on the ranch, they are around and something to be aware of. Poison oak is one of this ranch's best crops, but it can easily be avoided if you're watching out for it.
Making Reservations to Battle Creek Canyon
To make a reservation, please give us a call at 800-669-3474 during business hours any day of the week, or email us at email@example.com anytime. We can give you the answers you need, detailed explanations to questions you might have, or check on availability and confirm your reservation in minutes.