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.

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  1. Bjorn,
    I was glad to see your report. I am headed to Dunsmuir this weekend and was told that the river was unfishable. Would you recommend fishing above or below Dunsmuir to find some slower water? Thanks for the help. Good luck fishing tomorrow. I’ll look for your report.

  2. bonefishbjorn

    It is fishable, it will just be tough. This is some HIGH water. I understand the McCloud is silted up, as Mud Creek has starting doing its thing. I like the water above Dunsmuir when the water is high… but there is less water to access too… going to be less than ideal, but that’s the way it goes. I might check out the Pit or Hat Creek… at least you know Hat won’t be running high and the stones I saw here today should be coming off over there as well. I have no idea what these flows are going to mean for the Hex hatch on the Fall or Lake Siskiyou, but it would still be early for both of them.

    The Upper Sac can fish well in high water. For me, it all comes down to the color of the water. Brown water = go somewhere else. This water isn’t brown.

    Good luck and I’ll post up any other outings I manage.

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