Upper Sacramento River Fly Fishing Report: 01/15/2016

Water conditions on the Upper Sacramento river are poor. The lower section below Dunsmuir gets increasingly muddy as you explore downstream. So, best water to fish in up in the Ney Springs area. You will have the river to yourself. Solitude.

We have a vacation rental – Click here: Stay at the Vollmers House on the Upper Sacramento River.

Hot Flies: #14-16 Black A.P. #14-18 Gordon Prince, #12-18 Pheasant Tail Nymph, Pat’s Brown Rubber Legs, #12-14 Birds Nests, Zack’s TB Brown Pseudo May,  #16-18 Brown Micro Mayfly, #10-14 Black A.P.s, Mercer’s Dark Stone #6, Zack’s Thermanator Dark Stone #6, Mercer’s Helgramite, #8 Orange Stimulator, #8 Turck’s Tarantula.

“…35 miles of riffle, runs and pools. The Upper Sacramento River never disappoints!” Call 800-669-3474 to book a trip or send me an e-mail.

All flies listed above can be found here: The Fly Shop


This Upper Sacramento River is open all year long! Spring is popular thanks to hatches of stoneflies and mayflies. Autumn produces caddis  and baetis hatches. Skwalla stones come off in the late winter months. As long as water conditions are at least fair, you should be able to find good fly fishing.

Winter 2012/2013 on the Upper Sacramento promises to kick out good days of fly fishing along the entire river. Sometimes, the best fishing occurs during rainy weather as tributaries pump warmer water into the main stem of the Upper Sacramento, allowing the wild shasta strain rainbow trout to feed aggressively.

Upper Sacramento River
Upper Sac. Northern California

35 miles of freestone stream, all of it accessible to the wading angler. Solitude can be found by walking just a little ways downstream or upstream of the occasional angler(s). Sometimes, conditions can be crowded in spots, but don’t worry, just move as I said. Plenty of fishing to go around!

The upper “Sac” is my favorite trout stream in N. California! Interstate 5 runs along most of it’s entire length.  Less remote than the McCloud or the Pit, I can easily take a break from fishing and enjoy lunch in downtown Mt. Shasta or Dunsmuir.

You will find 100% wild rainbow trout on the upper Sacramento!  DFG does plant trout in Dunsmuir, CA., but these fish typically run their course in a few months time.  Moving up or down stream by foot can be as easy as following the railroad tracks to more remote, uncrowded water that sees few if any anglers all year!  But be careful!!  Union Pacific trains routinely travel up and down the tracks all day!  Be alert!

This river is known for it’s thick golden stone hatches in the spring and October caddis hatches in the Fall.  The rainbows run the gamut for size: small to 25”!  Lake run fish from Shasta move in during late summer and behave like steelhead!  This river offers a great opportunity in December, just before the first major winter storm roles through, to sample some solitary trout fishing.  When everyone is on the Trinity, this river provides a similar fishing experience without all the hype!  The Upper Sacramento offers a scenic experience, wild “shasta strain” rainbow trout and solitude.  Unlike the Lower Sacramento, Trinity river or Fall River,  we will wade this river.  During spring and fall, bring your waders.  Mid to late summer, we can easily wade in shorts, surf trunks and wading boots.  A wading staff can come in handy.

My equipment list for this river looks like this:

  • 4/5 WT Rod
  • Floating line
  • Tapered leaders 7.5′ 3-4X
  • 4X & 5X tippet
  • Thingamabobbers, medium size.
  • #6-8 brown rubber legs, #18 Gordon Prince, #16 brown micro mayfly, Various stimulators, Turks tarantula in mid October.
  • SSG split shot.