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McCLOUD RIVER
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FISHING REPORT
Updated
12/13/22

Scroll down for information about lodging, up to the minute
stream flows, and interactive map
 

Current River Conditions: 229 CFS and clearing.  

 

Fishing is ?:  Report remains the same as last week as as far as we know, no one has fished it lately so last week's report will have to do . . . Bob Grace at the Ted Fay Fly Shop in Dunsmuir says that the road into the canyon will probably be difficult to negotiate do to snow. As it does not get plowed, the end of fishing season on the river may be over soon if not already.  If you do find a way (don't try it without a 4x4) to get in there small dark nymphs to imitate BWOs and Midges are your best bet.  For an anchor fly in a nymph rig, you can never go wrong with a black Rubber Legs.  Very few fishermen on the water right now.  He also said that the Conservancy water is closed for the time being.  Lastly the road construction continues and is expected to reopen in the spring.   

Recommended General All Around Patterns

Click Here to Go To Our Fly Catalog

Nymphs:

Bead Head Pheasant Tail #12, #14 & #16, San Juan Worm/passionate pink, Bead Head Golden Stone Nymph #8,, #10, & #12, Copper John/red or copper #14, #16, Bead Head Prince Nymph (various sizes), Wooly Bugger/rusty, black, Glow Bug/red, Mercer's Z Wing Caddis #13 & #16, Vinci's "Depth Charge Bird's Nest"/olive, black, or natural, tungsten bead Zebra Midge/black, brown, red, Fox's Poopah #14 & #16. Scud/pink #14. Black Rubber Legs #8, Bead Head Prince (various sizes).

Dries: 

Stimulator #8-#12, Adams Parachute #14 & #16,  PMD Parachute #16, Elk Hair Caddis #14 & #16, Parachute PMD #14 & #16, Quigley Cripple #16.

See Hatch Chart Below
Lodging
McCloud, CA
Where to get what you need
before you go at
Kiene's Fly Shop
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About the McCloud River

 

The McCloud River is arguably the holy water of California Fly Fishing.  If anything it is the mother of Rainbow Trout fishing around the world, as it was the eggs from its fish that were transported to many places in the world that had been previously barren of trout. Today the ancestors of McCloud Rainbow Trout can be found from Europe to Australia, New Zealand to Argentina and Chili and of course, throughout the United States. 

 

The McCloud’s watershed is located in the Southern Cascades about 50 miles south of the

California/Oregon border.  The McCloud flows west and roughly parallel, to Hwy 89. Before the highway reaches the town of McCloud the river turns south and flows about 30 mi to where it meets the Sacramento and Pit Rivers at Lake Shasta. 

 

For fly fishermen, the river can be split into two sections.  The upper section above McCloud Lake, can be accessed from several roads that peel off from Hwy 89 that roughly parallel’s the river for several miles. There are several sections of great pocket water and a good population of wild Rainbows that are supplemented by hatchery fish during the summer.

 

The Holy Water section of the river begins at its outflow from Lake McCloud and continues to Lake

Shasta. Because this section is a tailwater, flows stay relatively consistent most of the summer. 170 to 200cfs flows make the river wadeable from spring to summer.  The fact that the McCloud flows through a deep canyon means that the water stays cool even during the hottest days.  The most popular section is from Ash Camp to Ah-Di-Na Campground and from the campground to the McCloud River Preserve which is owned by the Nature Conservancy. 

 

The McCloud has strong hatches of Caddis, Mayfly, Stonefly and Midges.  Probably the most looked forward to, is the October Caddis hatch each fall.  The first major hatches in the spring (river opens the last Saturday in April) are March Browns and Golden Stoneflies Flies that hatch from May through June.  There are some giant Salmon Flies too. 

 

As temperatures warm up in May the Pale Morning Dun’s and Caddis begin to hatch.  Caddis can be quite active at dusk.  It should also be mentioned that early in the spring, the Blue Wing Olives are still hatching and can be quite prolific on cloudy days.  They can continue hatching into July.

 

If you are a California fly fisherman the McCloud is one of those rivers that needs to be on your bucket list.  It’s contribution to the history of our sport makes it not only a special place but an opportunity for a very quality fishing experience.

HATCH CHART - McCLOUD RIVER

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