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Fishing Reports for Northern California

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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
View All Reports by Andrew Harris    |    View Andrew Harris's Calendar    |    View All Northern California Reports
Good
Brian Kohlman and I had the pleasure of guiding two father and son teams for two days in the Intermountain area.  Chris and Todd brought their sons Ian and Davis up for a great weekend of learning and fishing the streams of Northern California.  Every member of the group caught fish and learned a lot.  The improvement over two days was incredible and I know this group will soon be back.  We fished Hat Creek, Burney Creek, and Baum Lake with success on dry flies and nymphs.  The heat made for a little tougher fishing in the afternoons, but we had some success everywhere we fished. Todd and Chris both hooked fish on dries on Hat Creek and the boys really hammered 'em on Burney Creek.  The success of this trip wasn't measured in fish.  Thanks guys. 
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Great Crew!
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Entomology time for Davis!
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First fish on a fly rod!!
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Proud Pops!
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Ian working hard casting to risers on Baum Lake. Pretty good form!
View All Reports by Mike Wright    |    View Mike Wright's Calendar    |    View All Northern California Reports
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.
View All Reports by Andrew Harris    |    View Andrew Harris's Calendar    |    View All Northern California Reports
Good
Spent another day scouting the conditions in Northern California. Spent an afternoon and evening walking and fishing Hat Creek. The water level was higher than normal for Hat Creek, but didn't present any issue with fishing except for wading the upper end of the Powerhouse #2 riffle. Walked the entire new access trail from the 299 bridge to the parking lot at Powerhouse #2.  It was good to see anglers spread out all up and down the river and not just packed into the riffle.  There was an abundance of weeds, bugs, and a consistant amount of fising fish at the lower end of this section.  Some anglers I watched were successful on dries.  I spent about an hour or so fishing and had success on dries over weed beds and behind structure, and then ended the night catching a number of fish nymphing the riffle.  Good things ahead for Hat Creek.
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The new access trail allows for anglers to access all of the river.
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Good weed beds.
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Such a great place to spend the day.
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Beautiful colors on the Hat Creek Rainbow
View All Reports by Mike Wright    |    View Mike Wright's Calendar    |    View All Northern California Reports

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 

View All Reports by Andrew Harris    |    View Andrew Harris's Calendar    |    View All Northern California Reports
Good
Just got back from a great weekend of scouting and fishing on some of my favorite water in Northern California.  Took my son, JT and his first timer buddy Gavin.  They did a great job of catching fish everywhere we went. There is bigger and dirtier water than we have seen in the past few years, but the fishing was still productive.  I stayed off of Hat Creek as everyone visiting the area seemed to be fishing there.  Some other waters proved to be challenging, but rewarding.  Both Burney Creek and the Pit River provided great opportunites for our group young anglers with nymphs and a great golden stonefly hatch.  Yes, Dry Flies!  We even caught a few fish on Fall River in our evenings.  With all of the water, I think things are shaping up for a great spring and summer up north.  Get out and fish.
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Big water everywhere. Lake Britton spilling into Pit #3
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How long you been fly fishin'?
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First time for the big left hander!
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First fish on a fly rod for Gav!!!
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Success on a dry!
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The edges of the Pit were very productive!
View All Reports by Mike Wright    |    View Mike Wright's Calendar    |    View All Northern California Reports

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.

 

View All Reports by Andrew Harris    |    View Andrew Harris's Calendar    |    View All Northern California Reports
Okay

The countdown is on for one last shot at a winter steelhead as we near the March 31st deadline. After that the Smith and Trinity Rivers will remain open. We had a brief window last week that saw almost all of our South County rivers come into play. I spent two hard days fishing the South Fork Eel with father and son team Tim and Dominic. We had everything you could hope for minus the fish. Great color, mild weather, and no pressure. Currently we're seeing another bout of wet weather that has everything turing brown, everything except for the Smith. These are some of the most enjoyable days to target these powerful sea run fish. Warm mild weather and light angling pressure make March a unequally special time to venture north in hopes of swining one up before the closing bell tolls. 

If you're curious about more in depth fishining info or looking to book a trip feel free to call. 602 717 0315.

Tight lines!

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Father and son duo Tim and Dominic Bruno swinging the S. Fork Eel
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Surveyor
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Fresh lilies usher in Spring
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Perfect color over the weekend with non existent pressure made for some relaxing days on the water
View All Reports by Drew Griffith    |    View Drew Griffith's Calendar    |    View All Northern California Reports
Okay

I fished the Smith earlier this week with a few friends and while none of us hooked up we were able to spot a few fish from the bank. It's getting to that point in the season where it can really pay off to focus on the upper river. Lot's of fish have made it in at this point and are queuing up to spawn. We even spied a few who were actively spawing and got to sit back and watch the show! The boat guys were doing well fishing the main stem below the forks with averages of 2-4 fish per boat. 

We all had our fingers crossed for a prolonged dry spell letting some of our other rivers come into play, but just like that another system is projected to sack the coast this weekend keeping everything high and muddy. The Smith looks to rise several feet over the weekend with another push early next week. It should fish well as it falls through the end of next week into the weekend. Early spring ushers in some of the most enjoyable days to be on the water here on the North Coast. Warm day time temps and the first blooms of the season make those dreary winter days feel like a distant memory. I have open dates for those who are looking for a late season shot at sea run chrome! 

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Manzanita blossoms. The first signs of Spring.
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Neil punches a cast on the upper Smith River
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Spey rods and dry bags taking a load off after another hard day of fishing
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Searching for signs of life
View All Reports by Drew Griffith    |    View Drew Griffith's Calendar    |    View All Northern California Reports
Good

Yesterday I had the opportunity to get a day of fishing in on the Smith River with fellow angler and friend Colton Schwenning. It's been a wild winter season to put it mildly. We've had an unprecendented amount of rain, leaving most coastal rivers completely blown out for weeks on end. The Smith, which can rise and drop within a 24 hour cycle, has become our saving grace for a chance to swing up the much coveted winter run steelhead. Yet that is no easy propostition, especially on the Smith. The river is notoriously challenging to fish. It guards its secrets well, and I'm not just talking about the fish. Half of the battle on this system is finding the right water for swinging flies. The Smith is an incredibly deep river and has some extreme hydrology. Having an assortment of heavy sinking tips to really get that fly down to where the fish are is paramount to success. What do I mean by heavy tips? I like 13.5 ft of T-17 for most of the runs I'll cover in a given day, but I've gone up to 15ft for when I really want to dig em out! 

Back to the other day. Bad weather was imminent. We could see the storm churning off the coast as we descended into Crescent City. We fished the lower river first, both hoping that after the recent rise and drop we might intercept a fresh push of fish coming out of the estuary. After an hour we decided to save ourselves the hassle of jockying for good water on the lower river and go above where the guide boats can access the river. The rain started coming down heavy and the temperature was falling rapidly, but the river was in perfect shape. It had fallen just below 12 feet at the Jedediah Smith park gauge and was holding color beautifully. Nothing can raise the spirits of a weary steelhead angler like the emerald glow of this river. We fished our way up the middle fork and lucked out on scoring a few choice runs to ourselves. Suddenly the rain turned to snow. It came down in big fluffy flakes through the canyon and soon it was hard to make out the ridgelines. We fished until our hands were frozen and we were soaked through and through. It had been a good day. 

You don't always find them, but it's the pursuit and anticipation that make this sport so special. It can take you to places that you would never find yourself in otherwise. Always in the back of your mind is the memory of the last time one grabbed and the hopes that some day you will find that big scary fish to remember for a lifetime.

I have open dates through March for guided steelhead trips on the coast. There is still lots of great fishing ahead!

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Colton firing another cast to the far bank on the Smith River.
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Braving the elements. Steelheading in winter is like working for the postal service. Rain or shine.
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A perfect Smith River hen. Fish like this are what its all about.
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Snow day on the Smith.
View All Reports by Drew Griffith    |    View Drew Griffith's Calendar    |    View All Northern California Reports

We have just set our dates for Spey Camp 2017 on the Lower Klamath River.  We are expanding our offerings to include shorter 2-night camps as well as our signature 4-day, 3-night camps.  The 2-night camps are scheduled for Friday/Saturday/Sundays with arrival mid-day on Friday and mid-day on Sunday.  The price for the "weekend" spey camps is $1495 vs $1795 for the regular 3-night camps.  Each camp is limited to 6 anglers.  We will add additional dates if these first four scheduled camps fill up.

Camp #1: July 21-23, 2017 - 2 nights: $1,495 (Fri-Sat-Sun)

Camp #2: July 26-29, 2017 - 3 nights: $1,795

Camp #3: August 4-6, 2017 - 2 nights: $1,495 (Fri-Sat-Sun)

Camp #4: August 9-12, 2017 - 3 nights: $1,795

For more information, visit www.SpeyCamp.com

View All Reports by Andrew Harris    |    View Andrew Harris's Calendar    |    View All Northern California Reports
Okay
I finished up 2016 and started 2017 fishing and guiding the Eel River drainage, parts of the Eel droped in nicely for about a six day window. There were Early Winter Run  Steelhead about, a few grabs and one epic battle with a Chrome Bruiser in the mid teens, the Steelhead Won. Parts of the North Coast of California arguably have some of the best swing water anywhere and are inhabited with Dime Bright Steelhead throughout the Winter months. These fisheries are ideal for the dedicated swing angler, this is not a numbers game but one in which you are hunting beautiful water often amongst ancient Redwoods, looking for the fish of a life time ! Happy New Years !  
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the one that will haunt you...
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just another epic swing run
View All Reports by Randy Hamann    |    View Randy Hamann's Calendar    |    View All Northern California Reports
Okay
Happy New Year!  Fished the Calfornia coast under an indicator over the New Year under relatively high water conditions.  Fished two days with fish around and gear chuckers makin' me look bad pullin' fish out of deep runs.  Drew landed this beautiful, wild hen with a full belly that did some moonlighting as an acrobate. Water looked great for swinging! Nice way to bring in the New Year.   Happy 2017 to all!  
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Drew's Hen
View All Reports by Tyler Lee    |    View Tyler Lee's Calendar    |    View All Northern California Reports
Both indicator and spey fished the main stem of the Eel on Tuesday, December 6th.  Client got one grab swinging.   On Wednesday, December 7th, to avoid what I thought would be a windy day, we left the main stem for the sanctuary of the South Fork and while the water was perfect, it was a bit early to find steelhead that high up.   The following day the coast was blown.  
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View All Reports by Tyler Lee    |    View Tyler Lee's Calendar    |    View All Northern California Reports

The Fly Fishing Film Tour is coming to Redding this Thursday November 3rd.  Confluence Outfitters is proud to be one of the main sponsors of the event which benefits our local Shasta-Trinity-Cascades Chapter of Trout Unlimited.  The show is at the Redding Convention Center and begins at 7pm.  

We have donated a great raffle prize, a free trip for two to Eagle Canyon!  Come enjoy a good show, support a good cause, and buy some raffle tickets! 

View All Reports by Andrew Harris    |    View Andrew Harris's Calendar    |    View All Northern California Reports
Good
I hosted a group from Sacramento on a great trip to the Burney/Fall River area.  The guys had a great time fishing the various waters that the area provides. We fished Burney Crrek, Hat Creek and the McCloud RIver. The only disappointment of the weekend was that the McCloud River was full of silt and off color enough to put the fish down.  Amazing Salmonfly hatch though.  Fishing was slow, but as always, the scenery was magnificent.  Every where else we went, the fishing was very good.
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The beautiful fall colors of the McCloud
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Literally, white water.
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Lots of smiles all weekend
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The beautiful fall colors of the rainbow trout
View All Reports by Mike Wright    |    View Mike Wright's Calendar    |    View All Northern California Reports
Took my two favorite "clients" out for a day of chasing trout on one of the most beautiful streams in the world, Burney Creek.  Kids and I had a ball casting and catching fish all day with dry flies.  If you have a youngster that wants to get started in fly fishing, this is a great way to spend the day.  Sometimes, the best days aren't measured in fish.
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Plenty of Trophies to be had!
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Lots of casting practice.
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Very Serious!
View All Reports by Mike Wright    |    View Mike Wright's Calendar    |    View All Northern California Reports
Good
This afternoon I had an unprecendented and highly entertaining experience at the Powerhouse Riffle on Hat Creek.  Clients Mark and Mike enjoyed about 45 minutes of unproductive fishing before a group of about 40 people floated through on a wide variety of floating devices.  In aluminum boats, floating rubber ducks and flamingos and good old truck tire tubes, a happy entourage of Shasta Beer Weekend folks floated, scraped and bumped their way through the riffle.  They were very curteous and apologetic, but they turned out to be our good luck charm.  We started hooking fish as they went by us, and I could actually see the bigger fish swimming around eating all the bugs dislodged by this crew.  Fishing was much better after they went through.  We landed a couple of quality fish up to 13" - remember that every fishery is measured differently - and quite a few smaller fish on nymphs.  Cheers to Shasta Beer Weekend!
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San Juan shuffle times 50
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The powerhouse riffle has changed...
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Lots of bruised tailbones...
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Shasta Beer Weekend meets the Powerhouse Riffle
View All Reports by Andrew Harris    |    View Andrew Harris's Calendar    |    View All Northern California Reports
Great
Here are some pictures from my trip Thursday on one of my favorite small streams in the intermountain area. Brothers Scott and John had a great morning fishing hoppers to rainbows and browns. We had some classic moments trying to entice fish hiding under the cut-banks and watching them swim out to consider our flies. The hoppers were thick and the fish were looking for them. Tons of fun. The last four days really exemplified the allure of fishing in the intermountain (Mt Lassen to Mt Shasta) region. In three full days and one evening trip I fished five different fisheries with two groups of clients. We fished the Fall River, Hat Creek, the Pit River, McCloud River, plus a great small stream. It's pretty common to fish two fisheries in a day up here.
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John fishing a classic trout spot
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More classic trout water
View All Reports by Andrew Harris    |    View Andrew Harris's Calendar    |    View All Northern California Reports
I spent a few days working and scouting the Hat Creek area over the weekend.  There are many changes that I think anglers will benefit from (and a few that they might not).  I visited and walked the entire length of Cal Trout's restoration project on the trophy section of Hat Creek.  There were many additions to the area including a trail improvement project for angler access, various plantings of shorline vegetation, wooden structure added to the creek for fish habitat, and the most notable, a pedistrian bridge for creek crossing at Carbon Flats.  The project is quite extensive and is progressing nicely.  You can read and view a video at Cal Trout's website if you would like more information.  One addition to the area that I didnt' care for was the addition of some fencing at the Cassel Flats area.  I know that safety comes first, but fly anglers will be challenged with access to a couple spots that typically are good spots for catching planted trout.  Your nets will really need to be long now!  Anyway, excited to see what the project at Hat Creek brings to the area.  Been fishing there since I was a kid and can't wait for it to return to its former self.
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Bogey doing fish counts!
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Pedestrian Bridge at Carbon Flats
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Hopefully the home to a new crop of z grass and wild rainbows!
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Nice and wide! The new trail starting at Powerhouse #2 and wandering all the way to Carbon Flats
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Lots of new plantings to someday catch a fly on!
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What? Safety first at the Cassel Flats!
View All Reports by Mike Wright    |    View Mike Wright's Calendar    |    View All Northern California Reports
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