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Fishing Reports by Andrew Harris

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Check out Ashland Fly Shop's new "Spey Fishing with Jon" video installment https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJf74AnyYAs. Jon Hazlett and Andrew Harris swing for trout on the Lower Sac and talk trout spey gear and technique.  If you're interested in trout spey on the Lower Sac, this video will answer a lot of questions you may have.
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Katie and I are hosting a trip to El Pescador Lodge in Belize in April of 2019.  We reserved a 4 night/3 day trip during the middle of prime-time. At El Pescador you can achieve the fly anglers' ultimate dream - a Grand Slam of bonefish, tarpon and permit. Belize's shallow water contains the only classic tarpon flats outside South Florida. Their flats are world renowned for offering the opportunity to sight cast to tarpon 12 months a year. This trip will be a great fit for couples with non-angling partners as well as solo anglers. The lodge has many non-angling activities available, including swimming, kayaking, bicycling, massages, SCUBA, snorkeling, cave tubing, jungle river cruises, mainland excursions, and more! We have reserved this 4 night/3 day trip at 2017 rates: $2585/angler or $1685/non-angler.  April 23-27, 2019.

 

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Okay
Today was my second day fishing Dave from SoCal and we opted for a striper trip on the Lower Lower Sac.  Fishing was challenging with high winds all day, but Dave managed to land his first striper ever right off the bat.  No big fish today, but we had some action on schoolies and a few pikeminnows.  With all the wind I had to use my A (anchor) button on my Minn Kota remote control a lot today!
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Dave with his first striper ever
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Good
My client Dave and I spent the second half of our day on our private beat on North Battle Creek.  It was my first time in there this year and I was amazed to see the changes caused by last winter's high water.  Some of my favorite spots were totally remodelled.  Lots of downed trees, too.  The fishing was good, though!  Dave's first fish was a 12" rainbow, which is about the biggest fish we ever catch on this section.  Dave had a blast with his 3wt rod and miraculously did not lose a single fly in a tree!  We fished dries all afternoon and had the best luck with size 8 grasshopper imitations.
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This fish chowed a big grasshopper dry
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Dave with the best fish of the afternoon
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killer mayfly. Mahogany? Anyone?
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Good
I did a morning half-day on the Lower Sac today and fishing was good.  There were some very small mayflies around in the morning, but most of our fish were landed on stonefly nymphs.  Fishing pressure is pretty light below Anderson.  My client Dave landed a few nice fish in the 12-15" range and we had a lot of action on small fish, too.  I talked to some salmon fishermen who limited out today, so that was encouraging.
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The road to Ah-Di-Na will be closed for construction on Sept 13/14.  For more information, call the Shasta-Trinity National Forest McCloud ranger station at 530-964-2184.  
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Great

Here is a report from our guest Steve who fished Fall River with guide Art Teter on Thursday:

"My wife and and I had a great day on the Fall River...  all that a 72 year old Veteran could ask for.

Art Teter was a very good / helpful and friendly guide. We caught lots of smaller fish and one 23"+ rainbow."

Great fish, Steve! 

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Steve's big Fall River Rainbow
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Good

Today was the big "Re-Opener" on the Lower Sac, when the top 5 miles of river from Keswick Dam to the Highway 44 Bridge re-opens.  There is now an annual closure from April 1 to July 31 to protect spawning winter-run Chinook salmon on this short stretch of water.  The fish in this stretch are some of the biggest in the river and they usually get pretty fat and forget some of their wily habits during this break in fishing pressure. 

I'm not sure what happened today, but the fishing was not very impressive.  There wasn't really a noticeable difference above or below Highway 44.  Fishing was about average at best, plus there were about 50 boats on the water.  Flows came up 500cfs last night, and that might have put the fish off a little.  We're going to give it another shot tomorrow and I expect fishing to be better.  We did hook some quality fish today, including one huge one that we couldn't land. 

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Caught some nice fish like this today
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Jet Boil makes a great fly line spool!
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Good

I spent the last few days on Fall River.  The hex hatch is good if not a little on the heavy side.  There were plenty of fish working the surface from about 8:50pm until dusk, but sometimes so many bugs that our chances at a grab were limited.  Most hex fish are in the 16-21" range and put up a great fight.

Daytime fishing on Fall River is up and down.  We had a very difficult day on Saturday and then a pretty good day on Sunday.  You have to keep moving to find fish, and some of the fish in big pods aren't very interested in eating.  Go around the next bend, though, and it can be a whole other story.  On Sunday we landed quite a few fat rainbows in the 17-19" range, all on nymphs.  My clients Frank and Doug had a double where they landed matching 18" rainbows.  We were able to do some sight-nymphing on the shallow shelfs and weedbed edges and we caught plenty of fish on blind casts, too.  There is a smorgasbord of PMD and callibaetis duns and spinners, some trico spinners, damsels, and water boatmen on the surface during the morning and mid-day timeframe.

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I caught this one!
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The evening caddis hatch is thick right now
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Hex floating down Fall River with Soldier Mtn in the background
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Moonrise on Fall River
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Frank with a nice one
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Doug with a great fish
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Good
I fished a lot of water in the last 3 days here in the intermountain area.  Fishing has been tough in general with slow outings on the Fall River and some of our local small streams.  Fortunately, there has been some good fishing mixed in.  The hex hatch is really thick right now, sometimes too thick.  The fish seem more enamoured with the hex hatch some nights than others.  Tonight we had our best evening yet with guests Bill and Harvey both landing a couple of fish in the 20" range.
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small stream fishing
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wet wading is the best
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Landed a few fish like this tonight on the hex hatch
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Good
Here are some photos from Peter Santley's Lower Sac trip today.
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Nick with a nice one
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We have just set our 2017-18 schedule for Eagle Canyon.  Last year was so busy that we couldn't fit in everybody that wanted to come, so this year we're adding an extra month to our season.  Opening Day is December 9th, 2017 and we will be open through mid-April of 2018.  We are taking reservations for the 2017-18 season now, so jump on your preferred date soon!  Everything other than the schedule is the same as last year - same rates, same rest day before every party, and plenty of big trophy trout!
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Great
The Lower Sac fished great for us today.  I guided Tom from the Diablo Valley Fly Fishers club.  The nymphing was red-hot from the start and stayed that way most of the day.   We had good luck on a variety of patterns, including PMD nymphs, caddis pupas, rubberlegs, and egg patterns.  The average size fish was just under 18" today.  It seems like the bug life is getting better every day.  We had a front come in this afternoon and the PMDs started to hatch in good numbers.  We even saw a few rising fish.  The next 3 days are supposed to be cooler and rainy, so we might bring some good dry fly fishing...
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Great
Fall River report courtesy of Scott Saiki: Fall River is in prime condition and yesterday's atypical cloud cover brought the most prolific PMD hatch I've seen in years.  During the hatch, angler skill was unimportant as the sheer probability of fish taking your fly instead of the 30 other naturals within a 2 foot diameter made our odds almost laughable.  Before and after the hatch however, fishing was solid.  Mike from Chico landed fish on dries, nymphs and streamers.  The quality of the fish in the system right now is superb and it's still early enough in the season where the trout are actually hanging on to your fly a while before indelicately spitting it out.  Come on up before 7x becomes the rule of the day.

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Mike from Chico with a great Fall River rainbow
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Okay
Did some scouting with Brian Kohlman yesterday and found some shad in the Red Bluff area.  Not many, but they were good size, in the 2# range.  No sign of stripers near Red Bluff yet.
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Good
I floated the Lower Sac today with Dan and Frank from the greater Sacramento area.  Fishing was good in the morning with a couple fish over 18" and decent numbers of normal-size fish.  The bite totally shut off around 2pm and we only hooked a couple more fish in the afternoon.  We saw some good bugs hatching including caddisflies and PMDs.  The river is around 9000cfs now and clarity is good.
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Dan's big fish of the day
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The Lower Sac above the Highway 44 Bridge is now officially closed.  The two-year emergency closure is now an annual 4-month closure each year from April 1st through July 31st.  According to our local game warden the closure went into effect on Friday but won't be enforced until tomorrow (Tuesday).  This closure doesn't affect our guide program very much.  I still enjoy launching at the Posse Grounds and floating the river for 15 minutes before getting down to the 44 Bridge.  Another popular option is to launch at the McConnell Ramp near Aqua Golf, which is right below the Highway 44 Bridge.
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We're down to just 2 spots left in our 2017 guide school.  The dates are July 8-15 and the location is the intermountain area of northern California.  Our students spend time on the Pit, McCloud, Hat Creek, and Lower Sac as they learn what guiding is all about from the senior members of the Confluence Outfitters guide staff.  This is a great class if you're curious about guiding as a career or have already made up your mind that guiding is for you.  The on-the-water sessions are balanced with classroom sessions on logistics, administration, permitting issues, and marketing.  We also spend a lot of time working on our students' casting skills and helping them to teach casting skills in a guided fishing context.
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Guide School 2014 on the Pit River
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Great

I spent the last two days guiding longtime clients Frank & Doug in the 1st annual Cast Hope Gabe Duran Memorial Lower Sac fly fishing tournament.  The weather was hot and so was the fishing!  Competition was pretty fierce as there were 22 boats and a lot of very good anglers on the water.  To give you an idea of the quality of the fishing this weekend, our boat averaged about 19" for the ten fish we were able to record each day and we landed a 24" rainbow, but we still placed 4th and missed the big fish trophy by a half inch!

Fish are in their happy place right now with flows steady at 13,000cfs.  We did best on egg patterns, brown rubberlegs and also caught a few on caddis patterns size 14.  Look for fishing to improve and for the lower parts of the river to start fishing better over the next few weeks. 

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We are rescheduling our 2017 Guide School to July 8-15.  We still have room for 3 participants.  This one-week course is a great way to get your feet wet in the world of guiding.  The course is based in the Burney/Fall River Mills area and the field sessions take place on the Pit River, Hat Creek, McCloud River, and Lower Sac.
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