This past week I had the chance to fish all over Northern California and Southern Oregon, and had some great times along the way. I had to head to Medford to pick up some rods from a custom shop I will be working for in the fall, and along the way there is so much good water that I had to stop and fish.
My first stop along the way was at the home of Craig Neilsen, the owner of Shasta Trout, a Nor Cal fly fishing outfitter that I will be guiding for this fall. We had a great dinner, and then decided to fish the McCloud river, a short 30 minute drive from his home. We woke up fairly late, picked up lunch and drove to the river.
The McCloud is one of the most beautiful rivers I have seen in my lifetime. While I haven’t been all over the world fishing, I have gotten to experience some special places and this was definitely in the top few.
We had a great day together, and I learned a massive amount about the McCloud and its residents.
After fishing with Craig and spending another evening at his home in the shadow of Mt.Shasta, I took a side trip on my way north to Oregon and fished a run on the Upper Sac before finishing the drive. Hooked a few fish, lost a few and had some really good eats on big dry flies. After that quick session was over, I once again pointed my truck north up I-5 to Southern Oregon, where I will be replanting my roots this coming fall.
I rolled into the shop mid afternoon, and instantly was in the thick of back and forth trips to the nearby Rogue River to test rods with lines, and re-test them with other lines, and cast other rods as well. Tough work, but someones got to do it i guess?
That evening a friend of mine and rod building Jedi took me out to the upper Rogue to have my first Salmon fly experience, and it was something. We fished a few spots, and the bugs weren’t coming off all that hard, but the fish were still being very responsive, and my buddy had what seemed to be an early summer run steelhead come up and try to attack his stonefly. After fishing down lower, we went up to the “Holy Water” and had a fun few hours. We both hooked and landed fish, and I lost a seriously large fish.
The next day was more of the same, playing with rods, casting, casting, casting, casting……Playing with new tapers and lines is always fun. These rods are really incredible, not only is their design amazing, but they could sit on display in any fine art gallery and look 100% at home. That evening I went back out to chase the big bugs around yet again, while they were active, the fishing was not as productive. Later that night my buddy, his wife and I went to Ashland for dinner and had a great meal in a really cool town. Southern Oregon is a really special place that is just saturated with “good energy” if you believe in that sort of thing.
That evening a phone call came in from a good friend from school, Alex. He had been craving some good trout fishing, and on a whim decided to meet me on the McCloud as I was headed back home. Well that “stop” turned into a 3 day trip. I left medford with a bevy of new rods, and turned off I-5 onto Hwy 89 and the McCloud River. The following three days were by far the best trout fishing I have ever experienced in California. Its really difficult to put into words, so I will just let the pictures do the talking.