Lower Elevation Still Waters
VALLEY TAIL WATERS
HATCH CHART - McCLOUD RIVER
Scroll down for information about lodging, up to the minute
stream flows, and interactive map
Current River Conditions: 260 CFS and clear.
Fishing-Fair: The Fly Shop in Redding www.theflyshop.com reports : "The gage at the lake shows the river is flowing at or around 1,800 CFS and the turbidity has been below 2 or so on the gage for the past week. With the storms this weekend, we will have to see what goes on, but the river has remained surprisingly clean this winter. There has been some good midge and Blue Wing Olive hatches, nymphing with the small, black flies is the best way to hook up. The BP Weiss, Two-Bit Hooker, and black Micro May are all working. Other good flies to throw right now are Rubberlegs, brown or black in #6 or #8, Perdigons and Olive Hotspots. Get in on the late season action on the McCloud before the rains come and blow it out.."
Now is the time to be fishing , Stick Caddis #8, (or Rubberlegs), midge patterns and Fox's Poopah/olive #14 or #16.
About the McCloud River
The McCloud River is arguably the holy water of California Fly Fishing. If anything it is the mother of Rainbow Trout fishing around the world, as it was the eggs from its fish that were transported to many places in the world that had been previously barren of trout. Today the ancestors of McCloud Rainbow Trout can be found from Europe to Australia, New Zealand to Argentina and Chili and of course, throughout the United States.
The McCloud’s watershed is located in the Southern Cascades about 50 miles south of the
California/Oregon border. The McCloud flows west and roughly parallel, to Hwy 89. Before the highway reaches the town of McCloud the river turns south and flows about 30 mi to where it meets the Sacramento and Pit Rivers at Lake Shasta.
For fly fishermen, the river can be split into two sections. The upper section above McCloud Lake, can be accessed from several roads that peel off from Hwy 89 that roughly parallel’s the river for several miles. There are several sections of great pocket water and a good population of wild Rainbows that are supplemented by hatchery fish during the summer.
The Holy Water section of the river begins at its outflow from Lake McCloud and continues to Lake
Shasta. Because this section is a tailwater, flows stay relatively consistent most of the summer. 170 to 200cfs flows make the river wadeable from spring to summer. The fact that the McCloud flows through a deep canyon means that the water stays cool even during the hottest days. The most popular section is from Ash Camp to Ah-Di-Na Campground and from the campground to the McCloud River Preserve which is owned by the Nature Conservancy.
The McCloud has strong hatches of Caddis, Mayfly, Stonefly and Midges. Probably the most looked forward to, is the October Caddis hatch each fall. The first major hatches in the spring (river opens the last Saturday in April) are March Browns and Golden Stoneflies Flies that hatch from May through June. There are some giant Salmon Flies too.
As temperatures warm up in May the Pale Morning Dun’s and Caddis begin to hatch. Caddis can be quite active at dusk. It should also be mentioned that early in the spring, the Blue Wing Olives are still hatching and can be quite prolific on cloudy days. They can continue hatching into July.
If you are a California fly fisherman the McCloud is one of those rivers that needs to be on your bucket list. It’s contribution to the history of our sport makes it not only a special place but an opportunity for a very quality fishing experience.