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Everyday of the year around here!
Northern California has a year ‘round angling calendar!
California’s angling calendar technically begins on the last Saturday in April with the opening of General Trout Season. However, regulations have changed recently and many of our rivers are now open all year long.The tailwater of the Lower Sacramento River leads the way as Northern California’s premier trout fishery nearly every day of the entire year.
A P R I L : A wet winter and above-normal rainfall is creating a lot of runoff in the mountain streams; the Upper Sacramento, Pit, and McCloud will start the season high, with anglers focusing on the edges and slower mov- ing pockets and pools. The spring creeks (Fall River, Hat Creek) remain consistently clear and are always a good early-season option.The tailwater of the Lower Sacra- mento is fishing great and a reliable option for hearty, hefty rainbow trout.April is prime time on low and mid- elevation lakes (Baum Lake, Lewiston Lake, Luk Lake, and Rock Creek Lake)
M A Y : Spring weather triggers phenomenal hatches of mayflies, salmonflies, PMD spinners, and a smorgasbord of caddis and mayflies on Hat Creek and Fall River. Morning hatches of Trico are often phenomenal in May.
Salmonfly patterns are effective on most of the freestone rivers – including the McCloud, Upper Sac, and Pit – and the smaller rivers and tributaries usually develop into great shape by the middle of the month. Higher elevation still- water fisheries in the shadow of Mt. Shasta become uber- productive targets during the first month of the season.
J U N E : The month begins with all the rivers in the North State in shape, bug hatches in full swing, and the early summer weather is wonderful. Normal agricultural irrigation releases increase flows in the Lower Sacra- mento in June, but the river is generally very clear and the trout fishing should be “over the top”.
JULY: Northern California summers are hot, and there’s no better place to be than on the water. Regulated, temperature-controlled Lower Sac releases from Shasta Dam are ice-cold and the river fishes well all summer long with awesome evening caddis hatches and ultra-consistent nymphing, The Turtle Bay salmon closure ends on August 1st, and fishing in the city limits is at its mid-summer best.
The famous Hexagenia hatch on Fall River is in full swing. Mountain stream temperatures are perfect for wet- wading,andlow-elevationbasslakesaresuper duringthe early morning and long, lazy mid-summer evenings.
AUGUST: It’s still hot, but the first hint of fall marks the arrival of king salmon in both the Sacramento andTrinity River toward the end of the month.Trout fish- ing remains good on the Lower Sac and Fall Rivers with caddis pupa and dries, and wet-wading the Upper Sac, Pit, and McCloud is a great morning or evening diversion.
Fall River caddis action and late evening hatches on the Upper Sacramento are top options.Wet wading on the Pit is cool, and the McCloud’s a great producer in August.
SEPTEMBER: Cooleveningtemperaturesarea welcome change and the Lower Sacramento kicks into high gear about the time school opens.The first steelhead arrive right behind the salmon on both the Lower Sac and Trinity. Early Fall fish are super-aggressive, and it’s a great time to swing flies on both rivers.With fewer dry flies in the higher elevations, fish are less selective and many guides say September is their favorite month of the year.
OCTOBER: WhenAutumnisintheair,thenights are cool, the days are perfect. trout are hungry, and salmon and steelhead are everywhere.Temperatures drop usually by just a couple of degrees on most of the rivers, creeks, and stillwaters, and the slight change is all it takes to create a feeding frenzy.The October Caddis hatch sig- nals great trout fishing on the McCloud and Upper Sac and a horde of Chinook salmon begin spawning in the lower river between Redding and Red Bluff. Trout and steelhead queue up in the chow line. Sac fishing is terrific. Fall is the time to head to the Klamath for half pounders
NOVEMBER: GeneralTrout Season closes on November 15th, while the Lower Sac, Upper Sac, and Pit remain open and continue to fish very well.This is the most popular month for steelhead on the Klamath and is the peak of the Trinity hatchery steelhead escapement. November is also the best month to sample the steelhead on the Upper Klamath near Iron Gate Dam.
DECEMBER & JANUARY: Wild steel- head continue to pour into the Trinity, and the trout of the Lower Sac are fat and strong after feasting on salmon eggs for two months. Low elevation lakes like Luk Lake are a great wintertime option.Weather is unpredictable, but usually very temperate. Less than an hour separates the Lower Sacramento and Trinity river and one of the two is usually fishing well.
Even in the worst winter conditions the rivers and low elevation lakes surrounding Redding remain safe bets.
FEBRUARY & MARCH: As the North State shifts from winter to spring, the Steelhead fishing on the Trinity remains good, including days where adult steelhead are taken rising to emerging caddis and mayflies. Flows on the Lower Sac remain low, and hordes of brachycentrus caddis take over the river, and the attention of its trophy rainbows. It’s a favorite time of year for many local lakes, too, especially Baum, Lewiston, Keswick, Luk, Sugar Creek, and Iron Canyon Reservoir.
Conditions are going to be terrific this year! Don’t hesitate to call us with any questions!
Val Atkinson photo

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