The Fall River is the largest of California's spring creeks, fed by several icy aquifers coming from the snows and glaciers of Mount Shasta.
It is the nation's largest spring system, creating a wonderland of crystal-clear, 50-degree rainbow trout habitat. At the same time it is both the finest spring creek fly fishing opportunity in California and one of the best in the United States. It is certainly the angling showpiece of the entire Shasta Cascade region and one of the richest spring fed rivers in the world.
Fall River itself is some fifteen miles long with an average depth of 7 feet of icy cold water, making it impossible to wade. The entire river bank, from where the headwaters bubble out
of the ground to its confluence with the Tule River is privately owned, making public access along the river difficult even though the water itself is open to the public. Millionaires and savvy sportsmen have bought up every piece of river frontage creating exclusivity and privacy to be reckoned with. A notable lawsuit in 1971 declared the river navigable if you can get a boat in the water, and Cal Trout's limited access point near the Island Road Bridge does allow for some accessibility for small prams or other watercraft, though gas motors are not allowed through the Cal Trout Access.
The Fishing on Fall River
For the most part, Fall River is wide, slow moving, and it is the waters in the mid section of the river that provide the best fly fishing opportunities for both nymphing and dry fly action.
The combination of the character of the river and the limited public access make this an equipment intensive experience. Specialized, shallow-draft John boats, equipped with both small outboard and electric motors are absolutely necessary to navigate the river. Once a pod of selectively feeding trout is located, guides and anglers anchor the boats upstream of the fish and cast slack-line presentations downstream to the feeding trout.
Limited public access is only one of the many reasons that Fall River is so popular with spring creek fly fishermen. The valley that the river winds through is spectacular, with the visages of both Mt. Shasta and Mt. Lassen to the west and south. The river bank abounds with wildlife, as waterfowl, otter, muskrat, eagles, osprey, heron, and deer all make
regular appearances during a typical fishing day. Nature lovers, bird watchers, duck hunters and wilderness-oriented fly fishers covet this exclusive California resource. Bing Cosby, Clint Eastwood, and Walton Powell have all navigated and savored this natural spring fed ribbon of glass-like waters. The wild rainbow trout in the river, however, are certainly the main attraction.
The fishing on Fall River is technical and demanding because of its gin-clear water and slow-moving currents, but with a skilled and properly equipped guide these incredible fish and the full length of Fall River become accessible to anglers of all skill-levels. This fantastic spring creek is located only an hour and a half east of Redding (75 miles) near the small (population 648) historic community of Fall River Mills.
Reservations & Rates
Fall River requires both specialized equipment and experience to be successful, and our guide team has both.
Our guide staff is among the best in the industry, and our guide and Private Waters management team will work hard to make sure that you're placed with the right guide for your specific needs. We've been putting together guided fishing trips for three decades, and have the experience to coordinate a memorable day on the water for just about any group. Over the years, we've developed a few guidelines to help ensure that your trip is as successful as possible.
We can work with you to select a guide that's matched to your skills, interests, their
specialty or, perhaps, the equipment involved. Some of our guides are more instruction-oriented than others and are better suited for the novice wanting to combine a day of guided fishing with a learning experience, while others just plain know how to catch fish.
If you have a specific request or have been with us before, we can help reserve guide dates with one of your favorite guides based on that guide's specific availability. If not, we're happy to hook you up with one of several of our guides who specialize on our Northern California freestone streams.
Package Cost: The cost of the full-day Fall River guided package is:
• $450 per day (1-2 anglers per boat)
• $500 per day (Package deal, including flies, tackle, & equipment)
Inclusions: Included in your guided angling package on the Fall River is 8-10 hours of guided fishing with lunch provided.
Non-Inclusions: Not included in your guided angling package on the Fall River are fishing license, waders, rods/reels, and terminal tackle (flies, tippet, etc.)
Package Deals: If you are just getting started in the sport, or will be traveling and don't want to hassle with dragging along all of your gear, you may want to consider our guide trip "Package Deal." This inclusive option is only an additional $50 per day, and with it the guides will provide the necessary rods, reels, flies, tackle and equipment to ensure that you have the right
gear and flies for the day. If you're an experienced angler and/or fly tier, call ahead and we'll let you know exactly what flies are producing so you can be sure to tie them beforehand or bring them along.
Lodging Options: Guests staying at Circle 7 or SpinnerFall Lodge often use one or more of our guides to orient themselves and familiarize the individual angler or the entire group with the geography, techniques, and choices of terminal tackle necessary for success on this spectacular spring creek system.
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 of the Fall River
The Fall River opens to fishing on the last Saturday in April and remains open through November 15.
The Fall is a spring creek, its flows mostly un-impacted by runoff, running clear and cold consistently almost every day of the season.
May through Mid June:
May and June are generally considered the "prime time" months on the Fall River because of the daily morning and evening hatches and profuse spinner falls. The largest spinner fall on the river is a heavy hatch of PMDs that begin to hatch in the morning and fall spent to the river and drift placidly down to pods of rising trout throughout the middle of the day. This epic PMD spinnerfall hatch occurs near the headwaters of the Fall upstream of Island Road Bridge.
It's not uncommon to see hundreds of finicky rainbow trout throwing caution to the wind and rising simultaneously during the heart of the intense PMD spinner fall on Fall River.
Mid-June through July:
June and July are two of the most popular months of the year on Fall River, largely due to the famous Hexagenia mayflies hatching at dusk and bringing the biggest fish in the river to the surface every night. Many anglers in the know plan their entire angling season around the arrival of these giant, bright yellow mayflies. Hexagenia are the largest of the mayfly species, yet are only available to the trout for a short window of opportunity from the middle of June through July when they emerge, right at dusk, to mate. Their nymphs are burrowing insects, living in the silty river bottom until their emergence each summer.
In spite of the hype and excitement that always surrounds the Hex Hatch, there are still some great midday mayfly hatches and blankets of caddis that swarm the river every afternoon. Often the best fishing of the Hex hatch event is actually casting emerging caddis patterns in the hour or two before the big Mayflies begin to show.
In addition, there are consistent spinnerfalls
every morning through the summer of a tiny species of mayfly. The Attenella, or tiny blue winged olive, hatch and mate at night throughout the warm summer months, falling to the river to waiting trout in the early to mid morning.
Our Fall River guides will put you on the water during the most productive times of day. Sometimes this means fishing early in the morning and taking a midday siesta before going out again in the evening to fish the Hex Hatch, while at other times they'll pick you up at midday and fish straight through till it's so dark you can't see any more.
August & September:
August and September is "trico time" on Fall River. These tiny mayflies hatch most mornings and provide a couple of hours of action casting tiny dry flies on even tinier tippets for some of the most challenging and rewarding spring creek fishing anywhere.
Callibaetis mayflies and small caddisflies are also prevalent at times on Fall River throughout the late summer months and early fall. August and September are sometimes considered the doldrums of the season, but our guides have discovered that these may be two of the best months of the year on Fall River. Hatches are less consistent, but nymphing and swinging wet flies and streamers on intermediate lines is very productive and angling traffic is light.
October through November 15:
October and November also don't get much attention from anglers, but have great hatches of tiny Tricos and Baetis mayflies, and larger Callibaetis mayflies, too. Trout will consistently feed on a variety of dry flies, nymphs, and even slowly swung wet flies or streamers throughout the course of a fishing day. Fall River regulars don't talk much about the fall season, mainly because they don't want everyone to know how good the fishing can be at that late time of year.
Lodging for Fall River
Fall River Mills is approximately 75 miles east of Redding on California Highway 299.
To get to the river take a left off of Highway 299E on either McArthur or Glenburn roads. Most of our guided Fall River trips start by meeting the guide either at Circle 7 Ranch, Spinner Fall Lodge, our private boat launch at Bob Wilson's Riverside House, or at the Cal Trout access. For lodging opportunities, the communities of Fall River Mills and Burney offer the best options, while the city of Redding is still within striking distance and offers more accommodations.
Directions to Cal Trout Access:
From Redding, travel east on Hwy 299E to Fall
River Mills. Just after you pass the golf course on the west edge of town County Road A20 (Glenburn Road) heads north. Turn left (north) on A20 and go 5.5 miles to a stop sign. Turn right and go 1/4 mile to the Glenburn Church and turn left on McArthur Road (A19). Go 1.2 miles on A19 at which point Island Road will go off to the right. At the 1/2 mile point you will cross Fall River. Immediately after crossing the river two dirt roads lead off to the right (east). The first enters the Cal Trout parking lot.
Motels, Lodges, and Rentals:
Circle 7 Guest Ranch
Website: Circle 7 Guest Ranch
• Circle 7 Guest Ranch is located across the river from Bob Wilson's Riverside House near Island Bridge, offering accommodations, river access, and boats.
Website: Spinner Fall Lodge
• Formerly Rick's Lodge, Spinner Fall has been completely renovated and offers lodging, a lounge, restaurant, and boat rental.
Clearwater Lodge on the Pit River
• Tucked away in a hidden corner of north eastern California is Clearwater Lodge. Nestled in a canyon along the Pit River, this 1920's era classic western fly fishing lodge is in the heart of the west coast's best fly fishing.
Fall River Mills Hotel
24860 Main St
Fall River Mills, CA 96028
• Centrally located in the town of Fall River Mills, only 20 minutes from the heart of the river, with a fine dining room and quaint accommodations.
Himont Motel & RV Park
Bridge Street & Hwy 299E (PO Box 353)
Fall River Mills, CA 96028
• Convenient location in the town of Fall River Mills, only 20 minutes from the heart of the river and next to the Fall River Mills Golf Course.
Shasta Pines Motel & Suites
37386 Main St
Burney, CA 96013
• Easy to find in downtown Burney right on Hwy 299E, a long-time favorite for Fall River and Hat Creek anglers.
Green Gables Motel
37385 Main St
Burney, CA 96013
• Easy to find in downtown Burney right on Hwy 299E.
Burney Falls State Park Campground
• Great campsites, outhouse facilities, cabin rentals, hiking trails to majestic Burney Falls, fishing access on Burney Creek.
Hat Creek Hereford Ranch RV Park & Campground
41397 Opdyke Ln
Hat Creek, CA
• Located on upper Hat Creek, this campground and RV park is approximately 30 minutes from Fall River, but does have some nice sites and access to upper Hat Creek.
Booking a Guide for Fall River
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.