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Fishing Reports by Andrew Harris

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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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I am heading down south tomorrow to kick off a ten-day tour of seven fly fishing clubs in southern California.  My presentation is called "Five Rivers in Five Days" and is about all the great fly fishing destinations in the Redding area.  I will focus on the Lower Sac, Fall River, McCloud River, Pit River, and Upper Sac but will also touch on the Trinity River, Eagle Canyon, Battle Creek, Manzanita Lake, and Burney Creek.  Those of you who have fished up here know you could easily spend 10 days up here and fish a different quality destination every day.  SoCal folks, come to your local fly club and see me!  My presentation includes maps, tips on techniques for our local rivers, and some great photography.  Here are the stops on the tour:

Tuesday May 9th: Santa Barbara Fly Fishers

Wednesday May 10th: Fly Fishing Club of Orange County

Thursday May 11th: Pasadena Casting Club

Monday May 15th: Golden State Flycasters, San Diego

Tuesday May 16th:  Wilderness Club, West Los Angeles

Wednesday May 17th: Sespe Fly Fishers, Ventura

Thursday May 18th: Sierra Pacific Fly Fishers, Encino 

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Red Hot
Flows are dropping quickly on the Lower Sac and the fish are responding in a big way!  The river was around 15,000cfs yesterday and down to 13,500cfs today.  As the flows drop a lot more water becomes fishable for us.  We had excellent fishing the last two days for rainbows up to 20".  There were a few small fish in the mix, but most of the fish landed were between 15 and 17".  Rich and Kathleen from Amador had a blast.
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Rich with a nice rainbow trout
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Kathleen with a big one
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Great

Report by one of our regular guests Dave:

"High winds made parts of the day tougher but we had a fairly consistent bite throughout the day. About half way through action on stripped flies slowed but the fish got grabby when we switched to nymphs under indicators.  We all caught fish and landed about 25 fish between the 3 of us with a couple in the 28” range. The fish looked at fought well with plenty of LDR's too. This was my third trip this year  and was my best in the 2017 season."

 

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Great

It's getting buggy at Eagle Canyon!  I stopped by for an hour this afternoon and the mayflies were really coming off.  A lot of fish were rising in both ponds.  I saw a few big fish in some very skinny water hunting for hatching mayflies.  There were a lot of baetis and callibaetis, plus a few terrestrials.  Not sure if they were termites or flying ants, but they were big and I'm sure the fish were eating a few.

This is the best time of year to catch a huge Eagle Canyon rainbow on a dry fly.  I like to sight-fish in the shallows with a parachute adams and a small nymph dropper just about 10 inches below. 

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Callibaetis
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Baetis
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Mating flying ants
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Great

Skip from southern California had this to say about his trip to Eagle Canyon today:

"We all caught fish and had an excellent time.  Lower lake was hot.  Heater got us warm for lunch.  Coffee in the morning was a nice touch.  We would do it again in a heart beat. Thanks Skip.  By the way....The Fish were gigantic and made for big smiles"

 

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We have just set the dates for our 2017 Guide School.  It will start Memorial Day Weekend and runs Saturday to Saturday, May 27th through June 3rd.  Dax Messett, Gino Bernero, and Andrew Harris will be the primary instructors. 

Our goal is to give our students a solid foundation of fly fishing skills, the ability to teach those skills in a guided fishing or clinic environment, and the knowledge to chart a course toward becoming a successful fly fishing guide. During this intense 7-day program you will be exposed to many guides with varying perspectives on their profession. You will learn the techniques used to catch selective trout wherever they’re found. Most importantly, you’ll get plenty of chances to be the guide and learn what it’s all about.

During the week we spend time on many of the great fisheries of northern California, including Hat Creek, the Pit River, McCloud River, Fall River, the Lower Sac, and various smaller streams.

The cost for the week-long program is $1595 and includes the school, accommodations, all lunches, and two dinners.

 

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Good
Gino just sent these photos from his guide trip today in southern Oregon.  His guest Ted landed an amazing wild buck.  Great fish, and it's nice to see that there is fishable water somewhere within 500 miles of here!
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Gino's guest Ted with a huge steelhead
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Ted's big fish
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Slow
Sam Robinett and I spent a few hours this morning scouting the Lower Sac.  It is still very muddy, with somewhere between 12 and 18 inches of visibility.  We floated Posse Grounds to Bonnyview and did not hook a single fish.  We did see fish jumping, though, so I think they're still in there!  We were also amazed by some of the changes to the river that resulted from the very high flows in the past two months.  There are some new gravel bars, some missing landmarks and a lot of devastation along the banks.  It will be fun to learn how to fish some of these new spots when the water clears up.  We'll keep you posted on conditions.
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A very lonely Posse Grounds boat ramp
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