Clear Creek Ranch

Clear Creek is a narrow, mountain stream that begins in the snow-capped Trinity Divide and runs more than fifteen miles through a rugged canyon before it ever hits a paved road.

Much of this property is on the Kutras Ranch, protected behind locked gates since the gold rush, and opened for the exclusive use of The Fly Shop® clientele for the first time in 1989. We have been associated with the ranch owners (Kutras Family) since the 1960’s and have had the pleasure of fishing there from time to time since then. You can imagine our joy when the family asked The Fly Shop® if we would like to develop a private water program there. It has been one of our venues since the early 1990’s. Just recently the family asked us to take a more active role in managing the fishing program and we eagerly agreed. We are going to be working all winter and spring to make an already great fishery even better. What fun!

In the center of the ranch, less than an hour from The Fly Shop®, there are 3 cabins for guest use. They’re isolated from one another and when you rent one of the cabins it comes with the exclusive use of two miles of the stream. The Upper and Lower Cabins have comfortable bunks, and are furnished with a propane stove top, utensils, dishes, pots and pans, and picnic table insides, as well as a gas barbecue and deck chairs plus benches on the deck outside. There are flush toilets and showers only steps away from each of these cabins. The Middle Cabin is the owners’ cabin and has an upstairs loft with two twin beds. and a fold-out couch on the main floor. The bath room is inside this cabin. The downstairs area is quite spacious and most or our big groups do all their cooking and eating here. There is a gas-fired fireplace, a swamp cooler and a remote start generator for lights. A propane refrigerator and micro wave oven round out the middle cabins amenities. You just need to bring food, a sleeping bag or blankets, pillow and fishing gear and you will be ready for a most enjoyable experience.

Clear Creek has a variety of water. Long, open pools, riffles, and pocket water lined with trees. There is classic dry fly fishing almost every day of the season in the bigger pools and one can ply the shallower water in between with bushy dry flies. Nymph and streamer fishing fill in the rest of the time. Expect the highest water levels in June and the warmest weather in August. Whatever the conditions, the trout are always there.

There are numerous small, spring fed tributaries and several springs on the property adding cold water to the creek and keeping Clear Creek in fishable condition all summer. Fish and Game biologists tell us it’s a very rich system with excellent populations of Stoneflies, Caddisflies, Mayflies, Midges, Terrestrials, and awesome numbers of baitfish, all resulting in a healthy population of trout from minnows to 20″ plus monsters.

The ranch road parallels the stream in places and there is a well developed trail system offering easy access to most of the three beats. Some sections of the creek are open and easy to cast and get around in, other sections are completely tree lined and require wading and fishing from somewhere in the stream, and a lot of water is somewhere between these two extremes. In all cases there will be lots of tempting targets, and you should never see another fisherman outside your group during the stay at this idyllic mountain stream.

Clear Creek is a popular, remarkable summer and fall fishing destination. Cool and quiet, with reliable dry fly and nymph fishing all season long. Early reservation requests are suggested. The cabins can accommodate up to four people, making it ideal for families or small groups. Groups of four fishermen can have two beats to fish and if your group is 6 anglers or more the entire ranch is yours.

It is a solitary experience that is truly far from the maddening crowd

The Fly Shop Private Waters Image

Reservations and Rates

The cost of the daily rates (costs shown are per person) for the Clear Creek Ranch package are:
• $175 per day (double occupancy - upper & lower cabins)
• $195 per day (double occupancy - middle cabin)
• $250 per day (single occupancy - any cabin)
• $25 per day (double occupancy - non-angler in cabin)

Included in your lodge package at Clear Creek Ranch is cabin access, use of cabin supplies, and the fishing beats that go with your cabin.

Not included in your lodge package at Clear Creek Ranch 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.

Travel Guard Insurance

The Fly Shop Private Waters Image

Seasons at Clear Creek Ranch

Clear Creek flows right through the middle of the ranch and offers nearly 7 miles of freestone fishing for rainbows and resident browns.

June to mid-July:
Clear Creek itself is one of, if not the longest stream in California. Because of its long drainage it can suffer from snow melt right on into June. We usually do not open this ranch until the second weekend in June. The water volume and temperature will be higher in June than in the rest of the season. Normally, the stream will drop to summer lows by July, although in some years we haven't been able to open this ranch until July.

The elevation of the Lower Cabin is 1800 feet and that of the Upper Cabin is 2200 feet.

June fishing at Clear Creek Ranch means Golden Stones and various Mayfly hatches. This is the best time of the year for using buggers of one kind or another and larger nymphs that mimic the stoneflies. The water is quite wadeable, there is just more of it, and you will have an easier time not scaring the fish as you work around and in all the various pools. Many different types of nymphs will work this time of year and you can use the larger patterns easier in June than later in the season. The days can be warm, but the nights will cool down making those evenings on the decks a real joy. We encourage you to use fluorocarbon leaders and tippets, as you will be scraping stream side vegetation and rocks while casting. Be sure to practice your roll casting techniques before coming to Clear Creek. It will make your time here much more enjoyable.

Mid-July to mid-September:
This period is the warmest time anywhere in Northern California. Clear Creek Ranch lies in a deep canyon and that has it advantages and disadvantages. The warmth can linger on into the early evening, but it still usually cools down eventually so one can sleep comfortably. The deep canyon gives you the advantage of the sun striking the canyon bottom later in the morning and leaving shadows earlier in the day. This is especially true with those portions of the stream that run north and south. Fishing the shady portions as it gets warm or as the sun starts to drop can bring you more success. That said, do not think the fishing will be slow because of the summer warmth.

We have found that all you need to do is drop down in tippet size and be much more stealthy, and of course use smaller flies, except for the grasshopper patterns. Many of our regulars fish early and late in the day, then take a good swim in the middle of the day. I mentioned Grasshopper Patterns, but don't forget the other terrestrials like ants and beetles. Also, this is one of the best midge streams around. The rocks can be black with them in the larva stage.

Using a dry fly and a couple of midge droppers can be deadly. One last combination to consider is using any type of hopper pattern or a mid sized down wing fly like a stimulator and a small bead head pattern as a dropper. This may be all you will need almost anytime on Clear Creek or any other stream you care to fish.

September to November 15:
As fall starts to arrive the nights will be decidedly colder, the early mornings frosty and late evenings down right cool if not cold. Fishing is best late morning to late afternoon, all of which means you can sleep in just a bit more and start those steaks sizzling on the barbeque earlier. Terrestrials will work right on in to October and as the days get shorter and shorter the bugger action will pick up. The dry fly with dropper technique will continue to work and lastly there is a hatch of October Caddis on Clear Creek to finish off the season with. Midges will produce almost right to the end.

The Fall colors in this canyon are spectacular and worth time on the ranch just to enjoy. We only use the Middle Cabin in November. Its fireplace and wall heater keeps the cabin toasty and those giant rainbows are looking for that last morsel before winter arrives.

Clear Creek Ranch closes on November 15th for the year and reopens the following Spring.

The Fly Shop Private Waters Image

Lodging at Clear Creek Ranch

In the center of the ranch, less than an hour from The Fly Shop®, there are 3 cabins for guest use. They're isolated from one another and when you rent one of the cabins it comes with the exclusive use of two miles of the stream.

Lower Cabin:
This secluded cabin consists of one main room with 2 double bunks (4 beds total), a propane cooking top & table with benches, and a deck that

stretches almost to the creek banks. There is a propane barbeque on the deck, too. There are separate buildings for the bathroom (complete with sink and flush toilet) and a shower house with hot/cold water, both just a short stroll from the cabin. There are huge pools in this lower beat that can capture your attention for hours. In fact it has more of these pools than the other beats.

Middle Cabin:
This is the only cabin right by the main ranch road, so you may see anglers or ranch hands drive by occasionally, although it remains incredibly secluded by normal standards. It is the nicest cabin, however, and because the bathroom is located inside the cabin, it is a favorite for those guests looking for a little more comforts of home, and especially those with non-angling companions. The cabin has a propane stove & refrigerator (the only cabin with a refrigerator), propane lamps, a swamp cooler for those hot summer days and a fireplace for those cold fall evenings. A propane barbeque sits on the deck. The water on this beat is slightly easier to access than that of the other two beats.

Upper Cabin:
This is the most secluded cabin of the three. It is a carbon copy of the Lower Cabin, with the same amenities and features. The fishing beat at this cabin is higher up in the canyon, so the terrain is a bit more rugged and strenuous. That said, the absolute seclusion and scenery up there is spectacular, and combine that with the additional miles of available water above the cabin makes this remote wilderness experience one of the more popular destinations at the ranch. If you want to disappear for a few days, and catch some quality trout, this is definitely the place for you.

The Fly Shop Travel Image

Getting to Clear Creek Ranch

Clear Creek Ranch is located west of Redding, past the town of French Gulch, approximately an hours drive from The Fly Shop®.

From Redding:
Travel west on Hwy 299W for approximately 15 miles to the turnoff to French Gulch, which is the Trinity Mt Road. You will drive past Whiskeytown Lake and cross over Clear Creek before you come to the turnoff. Trinity Mt Road is just after you cross over the creek.

Drive north on Trinity Mt Road, through the community of French Gulch (3 miles), and proceed another 8 miles to North America Wilderness Academy (NAWA). You will be following right along Clear Creek until you reach the school.

At this point the road will begin to leave the stream and start to climb. You will go just 3/4 of a mile up the mountain to reach the ranch entrance marked by an orange blaze on a tree at the start of the ranch road.

Allow 45 minutes from Redding to the ranch. It is approximately 30 miles, but the road is winding, especially the last 12 miles. There is quite a bit of history along this drive, not to speak of the wildlife(watch out for the many deer and wild turkey), so go slow and enjoy!

Ranch Entrance:
The main thing to remember is to lock the gate behind you. We will be mailing a key to you before your trip. Please mail it back to us using the envelope provided.

Getting to Your Cabin:

Lower Cabin:
Just down the road from the gate the road forks- take the left fork. Keep on the main road until you cross the first bridge. Now take a right and follow the road as it slowly climbs up the side of a ridge. At the top of the grade the road splits. Take the right fork which will take you down to the cabin.

Middle Cabin:
Just down the road from the gate the road forks- take the left fork. The road drops gently down the mountain, and as you come near the creek, the road will fork- again take the left fork! You will be driving along the creek for a bit until you come to a bridge. Just after you cross the bridge turn left. The road will continue along the creek, with assorted up and down grades. You will climb up over a ridge and from the top you can look down on the ranch barn. Soon after that the road will fork again- take the right fork which will take you to the cabin. The middle cabin sits right by a bridge.

Upper Cabin:
Follow the directions to the middle cabin and cross the bridge by the cabin. You will go by a long meadow, through a stand of trees, and then come to another meadow. The road will fork about half way through this meadow. Take the right fork- it will go down to the creek. After crossing the bridge, you will go by another meadow on your left, and just after crossing a small creek above the meadow, you will turn left into the cabin area. Do not drive past the upper cabin!

Additional Information


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Making Reservations to Clear Creek Ranch

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 bryan@theflyshop.com or zmiller@theflyshop.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.