Century health enthusiasts. With many natural mineral springs bubbling up in, near, and around the river's canyons, the headwaters of the Sacramento were believed to help fend off disease as well as rest the mind.
Craig Ballenger writes, in Shasta's Headwaters: An Angler's Guide to the Upper Sacramento and McCloud Rivers: "The Sacramento River canyon, in particular, has been blessed with an abundance of mineral springs, each with variations in the contents of the waters. As early as 1857, the virtues of these waters were being expounded, 'There are numerous soda springs in the country. Most or all of which, we believe, possess valuable medicinal properties...during the present summer, especially the sick season, many of our townsmen, ourselves among the number, have tested the benefits of the water and the unrivaled mountain air, as it floats down, pure and uncontaminated, from the snowy summit of Mount Shasta which overlooks the spot... The active medicinal properties of the water combined with the pure mountain air, the excellent trout fishing in the Sacramento and the small streams putting into it in the neighborhood, and plenty of game in the mountains and hills, make the Soda Springs a very desirable resort during the summer season for invalids and persons of leisure who can afford time for a little healthful recreation." (Sacramento Union 9/24/1857)
Of course, in the 150+ years since much has changed along the Sacramento, but the trout fishing remains spectacular and continues to draw recreationists to the region.
In 1991, the entire Upper Sacramento River watershed received a deadly shock when a train accident caused a chemical tank car to fall into the river, spilling 19,000 gallons of the herbicide metam sodium and killing nearly every living fish and plant in the river. Fortunately, the Upper Sacramento River – in a true testament to the overwhelming power of nature – has recovered remarkably since the spill. Aquatic insect hatches have returned to pre-spill conditions, and anglers fishing the river today will find the fishing for the river's resident rainbow trout to be as good as ever.
The Upper Sacramento River re-opened to fishing in 1994, and every season since has shown us prolific insect hatches and healthy, hungry rainbow trout in every section of river from Box Canyon downstream to Lake Shasta.
The most distant access points (Upper Ney Springs and Cantara Loop) on the Upper Sacramento are about 50 minutes from our front door, and the great fishing in the popular sections above Lake Shasta are only a half an hour away. When our guide staff isn't working hard on the Lower Sacramento River, this is where they spend their fishing time, and some of our guides specialize in fishing this wonderful river. They know the river well, and have figured out the secrets to success for all the different seasons. Despite the easy river access on the Upper Sacramento, utilizing one of our river guides can dramatically increase the learning curve, saving hours of guesswork and frustrating lost time. Our guides are all excellent instructors, so your day on the river will be a great learning experience, not only about the river itself, but also the various techniques that can be successful there.