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 The river below Shasta Dam is one of the top tailwater trout fisheries in the West!
Val Atkinson photo
Our wild Sacramento River rainbows are big, tough, and plentiful every month of the year ‘round season!
 MOUNTAINS AND VOLCANOES border Red- ding to the north, east and west. The Pit River, McCloud, and Sacramento (and all their tributaries) converge and form Shasta Lake just upstream of our city limits.The deep, cold water of the Sacramento pours from one of the tallest dam in the United States, and for the next 50 or so miles is one of the West’s premier tailwater rainbow trout fisheries.
Both the volume and the temperature of flows on the Lower Sac are controlled year ‘round. Consistently cool, near-53-degree river water temperatures were designed to improve the river’s anadromous salmon and steelhead populations.The unintentional by-product of that salmon restoration effort (consistently low water temperatures) is that Sacramento River rainbow trout now enjoy a year-long growth cycle, and grow fat on a high-protein diet com- prised of a combination of salmon eggs, mayflies, stoneflies, caddisflies, and midges.There’s always something nutritious for the fish to eat, and they grow to wonderfully large pro- portions. Average rainbows measure about fifteen inches and trophy-sized trout aren’t uncommon.Those larger fish produce exponentially more spawn, and have created an upward spiral of more trout, faster growing larger trout, and a constantly improving fishery that is now rated as one of America’s finest trout fisheries!
In the end, the combination of controlled flows from Shasta and Keswick Dams, and our very temperate Redding climate add up to near-optimum trout fishing conditions on the lower Sacramento River nearly 365 days a year. There is literally no bad time to fish our river!
Another effort by DF&W fisheries biologists to enhance the salmon fishery in the Sacramento is the closure of a small portion of the river (below Keswick and above the Hwy. 44 Bridge) each year from the beginning of April to the end of July. It is intended to protect spawning salmon and the annual Independence Day end of that regulation signals one more spike in trout fishing productivity each summer.
The “Lower Sac” is a big river, similar in size to the Yel- lowstone. It has limited public access, flows through mostly private property, and the most effective and productive way to fish the river is from McKenzie-style drift boats.Their speed is approximately identical to the flow and make a natural presentation of both dry flies and and nymphs ef- fortless and much more effective than wading.
The Fly Shop’s guides work as a team, sharing informa- tion each morning regarding the most effective methods and flies as well as the most productive sections of the river.Their days on the water are peaceful and surprisingly private.With more than 50 miles of productive trout fishing and a number of different float options, guides on the Lower Sacramento are pretty spread out.
Weather conditions, the season, and river flows occa- sionally alter the fly fishing methods (ranging from dry flies to indicator nymphing) but seldom change the results.
Terminal tackle and techniques developed by The Fly Shop’s guides for the Lower Sacramento River have be- come the model for many of the other large tailwater drift fisheries in the American West. s phone 800-669-3474 13

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