Upper Sac Spring Fishout Report
by Tony Jelinek – Fishmaster, Rivers & Streams
The fifth annual “Spring” Upper Sacramento River Fishout finally took place at the beginning of July. Thanks to the suggestion of club member Ron Rabun, we pushed the fishout back to later in the year from the original beginning of June date, and the river was in good shape. This year the flows were around 435 cfs about what they were during the fish-out at the beginning of June last year. The big run-off from the snow melt from Mt. Shasta (snowfall of 220% of normal) changed the river somewhat creating new spots to hunt for fish. Home base was Sacred Springs, a house on the river in north Dunsmuir.
The Upper Sac was its usual self, making the anglers work for the fish and rewarding persistence. Wet wading was in fashion. The river was a cool 58 degrees, which was a great cooling system and made one forget that it was 97 degrees outside (still much cooler than in the valley). Everybody caught fish, including first-time “short-line nymphers” Bill Grigsby, Mark Pinski, and Bobby Simpson. Chris Warren even decided to give in and get rid of the thing-a-ma-bob and caught fish on short-line. Dave Fujiyama and Tony Jelinek did some Tenkara fishing and brought in a few fish. Michael Biggs showed that having decent wading boots (last year his boots fell apart) and persistence pay-off, breaking the ice on the final day of the fishout and landing several fish. Leaman Houston ventured up to the McCloud and brought in some nice fish. Dark nymphs around size 14 to 16 were working well. The old standby, the “Dark Lord”, was a productive fly.
Dry fly action was good, also, mostly in the evening but even in the early morning. There were not a lot of rising fish, but they were taking a dry – a Stimulator, Hopper, Yellow Humpy, or Caddis pattern. Success is usually being at the right place at the right time. Frank Stolten enjoyed a rain of Salmon Flies while catching fish at the Cantara Loop on dry flies. Several members fished one evening south of the home base and picked-up fish on Caddis patterns in the nice pools below the house.
It was “open mike night” at Dunsmuir Brewery, and, once again, that meant that not only our own Michael Biggs would be singing, but also, somebody would strike it big on dries. Last year during open mike night, Leaman Houston and Bill Corbin, had the time of their life catching trout on dries. Bill’s fly was so frayed that it was nothing but thread but still catching fish. This year, Steve Pitts struck it big, catching 20+ fish on a hopper with a Yellow Humpy combination in a deep cut and long run-off. He got so carried-away with the fishing that he had to stomp back through darkness to make it back.
We enjoyed a tri-tip barbeque the final evening of the fish-out before the evening dry fly action. The next day, Saturday, most headed home. We weren’t sure what to expect as far as fishing pressure on the river, as it was the week of July 4th, and we thought there might be a lot of anglers on the water. We only saw 3 other anglers outside of our group the entire time. If you are looking for a good time on the river, head up to Dunsmuir.