my road trip

Discussion in 'Trip Reports with Pics' started by ray helaers, Jul 19, 2004.

  1. ray helaers

    ray helaers New Member

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    In appreciation of the tips I recieved last week, I thought I'd offer up a report for anyone on their way to CA who could use a couple-hour break from driving.

    I had decided that the McKensie sounded like an intriguing and practical option, being close to the interstate (shout-out to whoever that was). I stopped for last minute advice and directions at a shop in Eugene called the Caddis Fly. For the cost of a few flies (and a very useful little local map for only $3)the staff was courteous and helpful, if a little guarded, probably as it should be.

    They actually steered me toward the Middle Fork Willamette, above a couple anadromy-blocking dams.It took about a half hour from downtown Eugene to reach the water they directed me to. The river was pretty, a little steep, and not at all small (It may have been a little high, but very clear). I had time (about 2hrs) to cover one hole pretty thoroughly, and hooked several smallish rainbows with a peacock and partridge soft hackle under a medium size stimi. It was fun. I'm not sure but I think the stream may be stocked. At any rate, it wasn't exactly the Williamson, or any other of the southern OR destination streams, but certainly worth the detour for a short break before getting back on the road. I would definitely do it again. (BTW the steelhead fishing in the mainstem Willamettte right in Eugene was supposed to be fantastic; I had not brought any steelhead tackle, and I was looking for smaller water where I wouldn't have to keep such a close eye on my eight-year-old.)

    We went on and slept in Grants Pass. Sat morning we drove on into Yreka to get a CA license and some info. The Klamath sounded very enticing, but ultimately I decided to push on to Dunsmuir where I could fish the Sacramento essentially without having to leave the interstate. First fished in the City Park at Dunsmuir. Caught a few stockers. I don't know, but wonder if the river would have done better left to recover itself after the disaterous chemical spill that wiped out the trout back in the early nineties(?).

    The heavy trout stocking to appease the Dunsmuir chamber of commerce since the spill might create some "fishing" but it seems to have left the river a pale shadow of its former self, aruguably one of the four or five best trout streams in the Pacific west (I would say even better than Montana because in the Sac the fish were native, but I'm an idealogue). The sad part is that CA acknowledged that stocking resident trout depresses wild populations, would in the long run jeopardize the recovery of wild rainbows in the upper Sac, but caved to Dunsmuir anyway. Stocking the river got people fishing (and spenidng money) right away, but I can't help but think the fishing would be better by now than what we've got if we had just let nature fix itself.

    Moved downstream to the area outside the stocked region and caught a couple more, nicer but still not the Sac fish I remember from my salad days. I guess you can't go home again. Still, the water and the country is as beautiful as ever, a textbook mountain trout stream with access right off I-5, and spectacular views of Mt Shasta and the Castle Crags. My recommendation is to fish below Sweetbriar, the downstream end of the planted region. There is some very good water right below the Sweetbriar bridge, but I think the farther you can get from the planted section, the better.

    One thing the Sac had over the Willamette was lots of teenage girls in bikinis. Now of course I'm old enough to appreciate their mothers in bikinis (an opportunity that presented itself as well), but I thought I'd throw it out for the consideration of some of you younger chaps.

    The boy played in the water on the Willamette and waded with me in the Sac, standing right at my feet while I held his shirt collar in one hand and cast with the other. I was fishing a double nymph rig under a big bobber, not very conducive to casting lessons. But before we left I switched to a biggish parachute Adams and let him at it. He actually was casting pretty well and even mending, getting some decent drifts. If it hadn't been 3pm on a July afternoon, he might have risen a trout.

    Got to our destination Sat eve (we were delivering their car to my parents in Walnut Creek), and flew home Sun afternoon. Quite a whirlwind, but actually kind of fun. The fishing, if a little pedestrian, sure didn't hurt, and broke up what would otherwise just have been a chore.
     
  2. Nailknot

    Nailknot Active Member

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    Ray, as a kid (and I'm not that old) I hooked "dollies" near Dunsmuir, in the Trinity Alps. They are now extinct now.
     
  3. Jason Decker

    Jason Decker Active Member

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    I regularly travel to Walnut Creek to visit my Mother-In-Law. Is there any good fly fishing near there? We've driven around the area a bit...... the only water I know of is from the Bay..... Thus I never bring my rod & gear with me...
     
  4. Jake Smulkowski

    Jake Smulkowski Throwing hoppers into baetis falls

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    Lotsa folks go for stripers in the Delta, and that's just over the hill from Walnut Creek really. The Delta is pretty amazing - huge, beautiful, stark. I don't think the East Bay would really qualify as a hotbed of suitable trout streams, though.
     
  5. jabseattle

    jabseattle jabs

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    Yeah I grew up in the East Bay and I would vote to explore the Delta if I was in the area. Pretty amazing maze of a waterway.

    Ray-Thanks for sharing
     
  6. Dylan D

    Dylan D Member

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    Ray, nice report -- it reminds me that I need to get out and do some exploring.

    As far as trout around Walnut Creek, you may want to look into Putah Creek if the NZ Mud Snail issue has subsided (be sure to read up on how to avoid carrying those guys around).

    There are a few other rivers within an hour or so drive from WC -- PM me and I can share a little of what little I know. :confused:
     
  7. Curtis

    Curtis New Member

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    .....
     
  8. TFugitive

    TFugitive New Member

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    Also in the East Bay is the Lafayette Reservoir. There is limited shore access except for the occasional floating fishing pier, but you can rent rowboats to get around to the more interesting cover.

    Or you could always hit the bluegill pond at Heather Farms Park. I used to haul out bucketloads of them there with my Zebco when I was little. My first fish. :D