Just a quick post as we move into the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
My program was canceled by the government about a month ago and I've had to move on to a new job inside the company. The biggest thing I will regret about the change is that I will no longer have the business trips to California that I can extend on my own dime to investigate the great trout waters in Northern California. Likewise, my late afternoons of fishing in Gaithersburg on the Upper Potomac while I wait for the traffic to die down are also done. A sad state of affairs....
On one of those extended California trips, I enjoyed fishing the Upper Sacramento off I5 at Castle Crag. Unlike most of the River, this location is stocked by the state and the entrance to the fishable water is through a state park. After paying the honor fee to use the Park, I parked the car and walked about a mile up the well defined trail that parallels the River on the southern bank. Once I got a mile upstream, I figured I'd put most of the pressure behind me and began to fish my way back down. Although you can use bait and any other type of equipment in this area, I saw little evidence of other humans once I got about a quarter mile upstream.
I worked my way down starting with nymphs and switching over to dry flies once the sun hit the water and I began to see trout feeding on the surface. Even though I was there two years ago and have just now gotten around to documenting this trip, I can see it in my minds eye with crystal clarity.
This section of the Upper Sacramento is Northern California at its best. There was plenty of rocky structure poking up through the crystal clear water framed by deep green trees and high blue skies. As I sit here, I can still feel the crisp, cold water pressed against my waders pushing me downstream a little bit faster than I would've preferred to go. A light wind kept it cool even though this was the middle of summer. About halfway down, I remember crawling out of the stream and sitting on a flat rock with my face to the sun to catch a few warm California rays in a feeble attempt to darken my office white skin. The only thing that broke the tranquility was the sour smell of the beef jerky that was my lunch... Geez... what a great place.
While the action was not spectacular, it was good enough to make for an enjoyable day.
Bottom Line: The entire upper Sacramento River north of Redding is a classic trout fishing destination. From here, you can launch out to the Trinity, the McCloud and the Pit River -- all of which are famous in their own right. Although I hated those five-hour plane flights to the West Coast, I didn't mind the five-hour drive from the San Francisco area to get this heaven on earth. If you are in California and can take the time, you have to fish here.
Remember to refer to my rating explanations - these are based on what I look for - so RED for Physical Fitness translates to easy physically - you do not need to be in shape to fish this section. I prefer terrain that is tough to get into and out of.
Getting There: Just go to the Fly Shop in Redding and pick up the tourist brochure - it will provide exceptionally detailed driving directions on how to get here. There is also a special map you can buy that is huge and shows every access point on the brochure as well as some others. The map also has guidance on what to use and a description of the type of water to expect.
GPS Coordinates: 41.150062,-122.307701
Date Fished: 6/10/2007