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Countdown To The Opener: The Upper Sacramento & McCloud Rivers

By Tom Chandler 4/23/2012

The countdown to California's General Trout Season Opener is underway (it's this Saturday, 4/28 for those of you who lack a sense of drama), and unlike some people I'm not about to go all postal on my co-workers. But I am willing to say I'm planning to bypass the places where the popular kids hang out in favor of something more remote.

In fact, I'm cooking up an improbable plan to access one stream (with a fallback stream in mind if I can't) which one friend described as "hair brained."

I'm tempted to agree with him, but fly fishing's history is riddled with hair-brained ideas (Fly a light plane to fish undiscovered waters? Fish fulltime and write about it for a living??).

One more can't hurt.

For those of you looking for bigger waters, here's the wholly unguaranteed skinny on the local flows:

A couple of 80-degree days means the runoff has started, though cooler temps for this week (50s and 60s) might knock the flows back just a little bit.
The Upper Sacramento is running around 4,000cfs, but with temperatures in the 50s and 60s forecast for the week (a lot cooler than the 80 degree temps of the last couple days), it will likely fall some, though I doubt it's what an effete dry fly snob would consider prime.

The Lower McCloud River is more regulated, and at this moment, the flows at Ah-Di-Nah are below 420 cfs. Not great, but not bad. The dam is releasing 165 cfs, so Hawkins Creek is pushing out a couple hundred CFS.

The Upper McCloud River

Interestingly, we now see a flow gage for the McCloud "near the town of McCloud" -- which is interesting given the river never really gets that close to the town.

As near as I can tell, this is a flow gage for the Upper McCloud below Big Springs but above the lake, and I haven't experienced it enough to know how to translate it back to the Upper McCloud, though a simple extrapolation (subtract 800 cfs for Big Springs) suggests the Upper McCloud is rolling awfully high.

Hey, I'm not Carnac or anything.

More as it happens from your Leading Opening Day News Source
("We Report, You Go Somewhere Else."), Tom Chandler


Tom Chandler

As the author of the decade leading fly fishing blog Trout Underground, Tom believes that fishing is not about measuring the experience but instead of about having fun. As a staunch environmentalist, he brings to the Yobi Community thought leadership on environmental and access issues facing us today.

Good knowledge. Thanks, Tom.
As high as I can get off Hwy 108! The studs on my new rubber soled boots make pretty good crampons, plus w/size 15 feet, I never worry about snow shoes!
I'll bet a lot of that's gone. We're at 4K and there's nothing left here.
Yessir. I'll be up somewhere north of Weaverville to get away from everybody. Apparently they had 10' of wet pack at 5k a couple weeks ago. Hopefully that's mostly melted off by now. If not, I'm snowshoeing!

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