Trip Report NorCal Trouting

This past week I got a little relief from the Shack Nasties and took a drive North from the Bay Area to the Redding area and visited the Pit, Lower Sacramento, and Trinity rivers. All three rivers are pretty reliable this time of year so I went into the trip with high hopes and I wasn’t disappointed.

Day 1: Pit River

The Pit is generally deserted because the Lower Sac soaks up a lot of the local and visiting anglers, and because wading and river access can be challenging. If you don’t have a wading staff you’ll be going for a swim. The river’s high pH so the bugs are plentiful and the boulders are slimy. Luckily the fish hold near the banks and most every lie holds a few nice fish, so you don’t have to move too much to find them. I’d been looking forward to getting back to try out a new euro-nymph rod I just finished building and a bunch of bugs tied for the trip. I’m glad to report the fish were cooperative and the rod was a blast to fish. Here are few shots of the typical healthy and strong Pit fish.
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Day 2: Lower Sacramento River

There’s plenty of information online about the Lower Sac, so I’ll keep this brief. This river has a ton of huge fish. For any of you who aren't familiar, the average fish on the Sac would often be the fish of the day on the Yakima. The outflow from Shasta is designed to keep the river at a temp that's conducive to king salmon spawning and just happens to be right where aquatic insects like it too. They’re pretty much only bottom feeders in the Spring despite the fact that there are abundant and reliable hatches. So there’s a lot of bobber watching and thankfully hook sets. I managed a few really nice ones and the big one got away so I’ll be headed back in a few weeks.
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Day 3: Trinity River

I rented a raft and floated a section of the Trinity near Lewiston. We received a little rain the night before so I had high hopes. My partner in the boat had never rowed before so I had tempered expectations and thought of the day as more of a mellow float with a friend and not my typical manic frothing steelhead s-show. And that turned out to be a good choice because while a saw a lot of fish I didn’t really get a shot at any of them. I was basically coaching him stroke for stroke to keep us from wrecking. Exciting stuff, but not conducive to a good drift. It was great seeing a lot of healthy fish, a family of otters, a beaver lodge and no other boats, but I’ll probably have a few nightmares about the missed opportunity before I get it out of my system. The Trinity is a great river to pay for a guide. I have in the past and will again the next time I have the opportunity to fish it.

Thanks for reading!
 

Steve Kokita

FISHON206
Glad you got out and into some nice fish! Any bugs hatching? Just a few midges in the lakes we’ve been fishing here......still cold! Did you use your bamboo?
 
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Ryan Janos

Active Member
Glad you got out and into some nice fish! Any bugs hatching? Just a few midges in the lakes we’ve been fishing here......still cold! Did you use your bamboo?
I didn't get to use the bamboo rod and that turned out to be a good choice. With an inexperienced person on the oars we were in the bushes a few times and our gear took a beating.

There were some nice hatches on the Trinity and in some of the slower tailouts there were steelhead sipping in the afternoon. I did get a shot at a few of them but I couldn't get it done. All in all, I've got a number of excuses to schedule another trip!
 

Robert Engleheart

Robert
WFF Supporter
The Sac is a gem, fish remind me of Deschutes Redlands in color and they know how to use the current. Guides tell me there is so much food they don’t need to look up. A fellow who lives in Redding fishes streamers, less fish but bigger average size.
Glad you saw some steel, reports I’ve had are less fish but more wild. They will look up this time of year.
 

troutfly1

Member
Haven't fished the Pit but a couple of times since PG&E raised the flow. This is not a place for folks without extensive wading experience and a hardy constitution. Best to go with a partner. Pit River fish are special and pound for pound fight better than most. Nice to see someone writing about NorCal waters for a change.
 

Travis Bille

Active Member
Haven't fished the Pit but a couple of times since PG&E raised the flow. This is not a place for folks without extensive wading experience and a hardy constitution. Best to go with a partner. Pit River fish are special and pound for pound fight better than most. Nice to see someone writing about NorCal waters for a change.

I was fishing the Pit alone in the winter a few years ago and it started snowing. I looked around and had the thought "if I break my damn ankle I am going to die down here". Hiked out and went to Baum lake. I don;t really like going down to the Pit alone anymore. But god what a great river.
 

Travis Bille

Active Member
I didn't get to use the bamboo rod and that turned out to be a good choice. With an inexperienced person on the oars we were in the bushes a few times and our gear took a beating.

There were some nice hatches on the Trinity and in some of the slower tailouts there were steelhead sipping in the afternoon. I did get a shot at a few of them but I couldn't get it done. All in all, I've got a number of excuses to schedule another trip!

Awesome report, thanks! I'm hoping to get to Lewiston or the Trinity this weekend.

Were the callibaetis hatching on the Trinity? I saw such an intense hatch in March a few years ago
 

Ryan Janos

Active Member
Awesome report, thanks! I'm hoping to get to Lewiston or the Trinity this weekend.

Were the callibaetis hatching on the Trinity? I saw such an intense hatch in March a few years ago
They were and the fish were looking up with the rain we'd had the night before. There were also a surprising number of large stoneflies swimming around. I really thought we'd pick up a few browns on those but no luck. The number of steelhead in the drift was really impressive. I wasn't really looking for them as much as they were making themselves known. Good luck if you make it over there.
 

Flying99fingers

WFF Supporter
I'll be in the Redding area in late May. Any suggestions on what would be best fishing? I'll be mostly solo....while the Pit sounds fab it now also sounds like maybe beyond me. I'm experienced at wading but not foolhardy.
 

Ryan Janos

Active Member
I'll be in the Redding area in late May. Any suggestions on what would be best fishing? I'll be mostly solo....while the Pit sounds fab it now also sounds like maybe beyond me. I'm experienced at wading but not foolhardy.
By late May the Striper and Shad combo days are really fun.
 

troutfly1

Member
The Upper Sac and the McCloud are available from Redding although they are a drive. I have only fished them in the Fall so check to see if late spring fishes well. Fall River is an easy to do option but is an even longer drive from Redding and return. Again, check whether fishing is normally good on this river in May.
 

Flying99fingers

WFF Supporter
The Upper Sac and the McCloud are available from Redding although they are a drive. I have only fished them in the Fall so check to see if late spring fishes well. Fall River is an easy to do option but is an even longer drive from Redding and return. Again, check whether fishing is normally good on this river in May.
Thank you! Will check in with local fly shop.
 

Travis Bille

Active Member
I'll be in the Redding area in late May. Any suggestions on what would be best fishing? I'll be mostly solo....while the Pit sounds fab it now also sounds like maybe beyond me. I'm experienced at wading but not foolhardy.

The Trinity isn't great in May but everything else around here should be pretty good. Last memorial day weekend I headhunted big rainbows at Baum Lake in Burney and then fished salmonflies in the evening on Hat Creek. The McCloud and Pit should be awesome too, although the McCloud is a haul from the Bay area.
 

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