Jun 10

High Water Home Water

I managed a few hours of fishing today while my daughter was either napping.

The water continues to be just silly-high.  Places I’ve had locked for high water were under water.  Drifts I’ve come to depend on in difficult times were nowhere to be had.

This willow normally isn't 2 feet under water...

This usually isn't under water in June either.

On a day like this you are forced to look at the river through fresh eyes and let go of the mental map you have of the river.  I don’t think it was a coincidence that as soon as I came to that conclusion I caught the first fish of the day.

Lip hooked with a Mercer Stone.


Dunsmuir Tail

On the journey along the tracks I also took maybe the best picture I’ve ever taken of the Upper Sac.  This particular vantage shows my favorite water on earth.  It isn’t a bonefish flat.  It is my home water.  To the left, I caught my first trout on a fly by myself.  To the right, my favorite riffle.  Of course, there is about 3-4 feet more water in the river right now, but this water is just dear to me.  I want to share this spot with as many people as I can.


This is where my fly fishing life started.

I don’t think I’m going to be getting out on the water tomorrow, but that’s OK.  My dad and I have a day on some private water on Thursday before we head back South.  The weather is supposed to turn with showers showing up on the weather outlook.  I noticed snow still under the trees as we went over the summit to McCloud this evening.  There is a lot of water still to come down.

These are classic rainbows in their native range.

I ended up landing 6 fish today, losing a handful of others.  That is probably about as much as I could hope for and probably better than most would expect, given the rather challenging conditions.  Still… you go fishing in the river you have, not the river as you might want it to be.

Jun 10

Upper Sac Trout and HIGH Waters

I headed off North today with my 3.5 year old and dog.  My wife was on her way to NYC for business, so I went to go spend some time with Grandma and Grandpa.

The drive… well… there was a lot of screaming…

Yelling... a lot of yelling (see the flies in the back corner?)

Eventually, she got tired of screaming and let herself go to sleep.  Luckily, she only screamed for about 2 of the 5 hours.

We’ve had a really wet winter/spring here in Northern California and we needed it.  Driving over Shasta Reservoir and seeing all that water made me happy.  There should be some water left over for salmon and steelhead this year.

A full lake = happy fish

Always love this sight…

Mt. Shasta in her white blanket.

Luckily,  my daughter has grown to love fly shops.  Had to stop off at the Ted Fay Fly Shop for a few odds and ends.

An institution in Dunsmuir.

After arriving at my folks place and watching my daughter run to say hello to her grandparents I made a little scouting trip to see just how high the river was… WOW!  I’ve never seen the river with so much water at this point in the year.  That’s a LOT of water for the Upper Sac.

That there is a whole mess more water than is normally flowing in June.

Still… it wasn’t brown, just high.  When the river is high like that the amount of river you can fish is greatly reduced, but the amount of river the fish can find shelter in is also greatly reduced.  You just have to find a seam and go deep.

Could have used a couple more, really.

Hmmm… what should I throw?

Maybe a stonefly nymph?


Not big, but pretty.

Few folks would likely even try to fish the river at these flows… but it can be done.  I didn’t even put on waders, just stood on a rock and fished the same water for an hour.  Caught 2, lost 2.  On a normal day that would be a little bit of a slow strike rate, but, given the conditions, I’m pretty happy about it.

This isn’t a fishing trip, it is a family trip, so we’ll see how often I get to fish, but it was fun to see the river when it was angry and still manage to sweet talk a couple trout from her fast flowing currents.