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N. CA in February

753 Views 9 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Trout Master
Looking to do some ff in northern California this month. Thinking about Sacramento and above somewhere. Anyone have an experience with such areas this time of the year and think it worth the trip - probably do a four day weekend.
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Trinity Steelhead should be good if riverflows remain decent. No cal is not getting rain we had here in Central and South. Feb is peak for wild steel. You can get'em on a dry line or rarely a type III tip. 6-7 wt. single handers are fine or spey/switch if that's your thing.Think low, clear water & sparse spey patterns and smaller leeches/bunnies. I like a #6 purple Bunny, #10 golden stones swung on dry line. Some epic hatches all winter in the upper stretches and some BIG browns. Watch the water!
The Sac from Keswick Dam outlet (Redding) downstream is excellent if we don't get a major rain event. Recent fires have made it suseptible to muddy up. Bows still on eggs from Winter Chinook. I'd check the Fly Shop stream report (online) and stop in if you are in the area. Good guys and free with info. Caution; the sac has some wading available in the winter low-flows (<4000CFS now), but it's still a big river and most success is from a boat ('toons are perfect) and indicator fishing. You may get lucky and hit a BWO hatch, depending on weather; you'll be about a month early for the epic caddis hatch. Very few people on the river in Feb.
I know a guide or two who're running a $275/day special; times are tough. PM me for details.
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Depending on how far you want to drive the Lower Sac in and down from Redding is always a good choice. Make sure to check the flow though, it can be waded in the winter at low flows around 4000 cfs around Redding. Otherwise if you want Steelhead you could drive a little farther and hit up the Trinity around Lewistion. There is a lot of public access and the fishing this time of year is always good.
I live in Sacramento and fish all the time here and north. No, I don't think it would be worth it to come in February. Fishing is at best fair, there is no globugging to speak of anywhere this year due to the poor salmon run (and certainly not for the miserable return of winter run), and it is no better (probably not as good) in Redding compared to Sacramento. At least in Sacramento, we can poke around the American for hatchery fish; and go an hour north to the Yuba (there are sometimes skwala's, some years, but again - flow/clarity/weather factors).

The upper Sac can be good but it usually isn't in February.

A shot in the dark might be the smaller coastal streams, west of here (gualala, garcia, navarro, not the russian, some others); and some are gaged; but sheet, it's not something I would plan a trip on.

Go ahead, check fishfirst.com; the redding fly shop (theflyshop.com); and get the scoop.
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There's always Pyramid if the wind cooperates, November-May:
Smith River for Steel should be good, not the best w/o a boat for newb's.
If you ever go to speypages, pm "Grampa Spey." He lives in the area.

Baum Lake (50 miles east of Redding, near Burney) fishes well throughout the winter.
trust me, you're not missing much in February in any of those places. There are a few bluebird days on Pyramid but it's always an iffy proposition, especially now. I have known people who came for the first time from Florida and knocked them silly but it's rare.
Finally made it to N. CA this past week and here is my report. Dunsmuir, CA City Council is considering an item by the mayor to construct two greenhouses across from the PD to grow medical marijuana to sell to the public. Might want to get that application in if you have 15 green thumbs (whoa dude).

Fished mostly the Pit River. Dammed to hell that river is, that is, it has like 6 dams within about a 90 mile reach. However, the river has nothing but large fish in it. Caught several 18-20 inch rainbows and suckers and also caught one 5 pound bow and a 10 pound carp (first one for me ever, hang on baby). Sucks when you drive for an hour and the power company decides to raise the water level without warning. Pit has excellent access and some very difficult access that contains awesome-looking water (difficult to reach - steep hillside). Tough walking but worth it, good hatches. Hit the lower Sacramento out of Redding, so-so (reports claimed it was hot!). Again, lots hatching especially on the warmer days. Saw a few large jumpers (5-pounders+) but didn't catch those, caught 16-inchers. Gets hot in June, 120 degrees, go now. Also fished upper Sac but water was high and did a lot of casting practice.

Had success on leach patterns and sulphur mayfly. The Fly Shop has excellent selection of flies and other goodies to drain the billfold. Redding has great accommodations and fun town. We stayed at Super 8 for $54/night. About 46 miles to the Pit from Redding. Other rivers/creeks closed this time of the year but all opens this Saturday and it might be fun to hit the numerous spring creeks in the area.
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