UPPER SACRAMENTO RIVER
Updated - 6/15/21
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Current River Conditions: 229 CFS
Fishing is Fair to Good: Bob Grace at the Ted Fay Fly Shop in Dunsmuir says the river is moving into its summer mode with most of the action between sun up and noon and then again late in the day till dusk. Hatches of PMDs, Little Yellow Sallies, and Caddis are going strong. Goldens are hatching so a Golden Stone pattern such as an Epoxy Stone in size #8 or #10 should be apart of any rig. Best dry fly fishing is in the morning and evening. Bob says that nymphing is catching most fish right now.
Generally Recommended Patterns for the Upper Sac
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 Micro Mayfly #16 & #18
tungsten bead Zebra Midge/black, brown, red, Fox's Poopah #14 & #16. Scud/pink #14. Black Rubber Legs #8, Vinci's "Depth Charge Bird's Nest"/black, or natural
Stimulator #8-#12, Adams Parachute #14 & #16, Elk Hair Caddis #14 & #16, Parachute PMD #14 & #16 Parachute Ant #14, Dave's Hopper #10, Fat Albert #10
About the Upper Sacramento River
The Upper Sac located north of the City of Redding is one of California’s most legendary trout waters and is one its most accessible too as I-5 parallels the river for about 35 miles of its length. There are many opportunities to exit the interstate with each having very productive water.
Being that the most accessible section lies below the 3,500 foot elevation, the climate is warm enough to be hospitable to prolific quantities of aquatic insects and consequently very healthy fish.
It is also one of the relatively few northern California waters that draws fishermen for specific and predictable insect hatches that they look forward to each year as it is famous for its Salmonfly, Golden Stone, Caddis and October Caddis hatches to name a few.
Over the years, the fishing in the Lower Sac has remained quite good due to relatively consistent cool water flows made possible by springs that originate from a volcanic aquifer at the base of glacier covered Mt Shasta.
Once the spring runoff is over, flows are as such that most of the river is very wadeable. The fish species are predominantly Rainbows with a few Brown Trout thrown in.
The water type would be characterized as freestone with some slow moving flats and a lot of pocket water mixed in. As the river gets near its confluence with Shasta Lake, there are sections with very deep holes that hold some very large fish.
Fortunately, much of the best water can be accessed all along the river at the many off ramps on I-5 between Shasta Lake and Dunsmuir. Off ramps with good water are Delta, Lamoine, Pollard Flat, Simms Rd, Conant Rd., Sweetbriar Ave., Castle Creek Rd., Soda Creek Rd., and Dunsmuir Ave. Being that the RR tracks parallel the river, they provide a handy foot path between the freeway accesses. Of course do so at your own risk as the tracks are used very heavily.
The Upper Sac is open all year and in the winter the primary bugs that hatch are Blue Wing Olive and Chironomidges, but once the water begins to warm up the many bugs that fly fishermen most look forward to such as Caddis, Golden Stones, Green Drakes, Pale Morning Duns and Little Yellow Stones begin to hatch. Caddis will start showing in late May and continue all summer until the October Caddis emerge in late September and October.