Battle Creek Canyon Ranch

Battle Creek is an intimate, wild, terraced freestone stream that is best suited to the physically fit fly fisherman.

These six (6) 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 impact 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 Rock Creek Lake or Lake Christine. There is an overnighting possibility very close to this stream. Please call for more information (800-669-3474).

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Reservations and Rates

The cost of the daily rate for the Battle Creek Canyon Ranch package is:
• $150 per day (per person)

Included in your Battle Creek Canyon Ranch package is a reserved beat for a full day of fishing (6 beats total).

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 (AIG) and Global Rescue (IMG) 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 Insurance Information

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Seasons at Battle Creek Ranch

Battle Creek opens to fishing the last Saturday in April, and can be fished until November 15.

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 can easily be avoided.

May and June are runoff period on Battle Creek, with snow-melt 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 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.

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.

Battle Creek Canyon Ranch closes on the 15th of November and opens again the last Saturday of the following April.

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Fishing Battle Creek Ranch

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.

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Getting to Battle Creek Ranch

It takes a little less than an hour to drive to Battle Creek Ranch from either Redding or Red Bluff.

Upon your confirmed booking we will provide directions to the ranch in your confirmation paperwork.

Additional Information

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Making Reservations to Battle 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 or 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.