WEST SLOPE NORTHERN SIERRA
Lower Sacramento River
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Current River Conditions: Water is clear and at normal flows
Fishing Report-Good: The Fly Shop in Redding CA reports that the intensity of hatches will increase as the weather warms up this week. Make sure you have PMD cripples in addition to high sitting parachutes. Try a partridge and orange soft hackle on a dropper. Size ##14 & #18 rusty spinners will do for the spinner fall. When no hatch is happening, swing an olive leach or a scud pattern can dredge up some big fish.
Recommended General All Around Patterns
Parachute PMD/yellow #16 & #18, Humpy/yellow #16 & #18, Elk Hair Caddis #16, #18. Quigley Cripple/gray #18, Baetis (Blue Wing Olive) Parachute #18, Hackle-Stacker/Baetis #18 & #20, Hackle-Stacker/PMD #18 & #20, Hackle-Stacker/Trico #20, Spinner/Trico #20, Spinner/rusty #18.
Pheasant Tail #12, #14 & #16, San Juan Worm/passionate pink, Copper John/red or copper #14, #16, Prince Nymph (various sizes), Wooly Bugger/olive #8, Zebra Midge/black, brown, red, Fox's Poopah #16 & #18, Hale Bop Olive #8, Mercer's Micro Mayfly #18. Vinci's "Depth Charge Bird's Nest"/olive, black, or natural, Bead Head Prince (various sizes)
About the Fall River
The Fall River is the legendary spring creek, that along with close by Hat Creek, was the seminal gestation point for the development of some of some of the finest fly tiers and most effective fly patterns of our time. The challenging reputation that the Fall River has earned over the years is true to say the least. In its slow moving crystal clear water the trout have plenty of time to give your fly a good look before making a decision to grab it. Matching the hatch isn’t as difficult on the Fall as it is on some of the other spring creeks as there are usually only one or two bugs hatching at any one time. During the summer months on the Fall River the bugs most commonly found hatching are either PMD (Pale Morning Dun) or BWO (Blue Wing Olive). Sometimes they both come off at the same time, but you still only have to pick from two when making a pattern selection.
If you’ve done your homework, you’ll have patterns in your fly box that can cross over between the two species, such as the neutral colored Adams Parachute in addition to more specific patterns such as tan Parachutes in size #16 & #18 to represent PMDs. You will also have patterns that represent transitional stages of these insects such as the Quigly Cripple or EC Caddis for example, in addition to their adult stages. Spinners are an important stage in the mayfly lifecycle that freestone fishermen often ignore, but on spring creeks it is imperative that you recognize their presence and fish accordingly.
In normal years, by the middle of June, the Fall River’s river bottom is a carpet of weeds and the currents create lanes in the weeds where the fish hold so feeding your line and fly down that lane is where you are going to get the most grabs. Downstream presentations will give you the most success.
As with dry flies, patterns for fishing below surface on the Fall River are simple as well. Two of the most successful patterns over the years have been local guide Carl Jaeger’s Fall River Leach and the venerable Hale Bop.