Sunday, July 17, 2016

California Heritage Trout Challenge #2: McCloud River Redband Trout

McCloud River Redband Trout

Out of the six heritage trout on my list the one I looked forward to catching the most was the McCloud River Redband Trout. I had already caught a Lahontan Cutthroat from the Upper Truckee and now I was off to my second heritage trout. The McCloud River Redband was once the only trout native to the McCloud River system above Middle Falls. Natural barriers in the form of impassable waterfalls have separated this sub-species from their coastal rainbow cousins for thousands of years. This allowed Mother Nature to take her place on the easel and paint the bright red band we see today on these beautiful fish.

The McCloud River Redband is one of rarest sub-species of rainbow trout in the world due to it's small population. I would categorize the McCloud River Redband as the second rarest trout in California after the Paiute Cutthroat. Unlike the California Golden Trout and the Little Kern Golden Trout, many of the tributaries that hold populations of McCloud River Redbands are closed to fishing all year. The only place in the world where you can catch a McCloud River Redband legitimately is Trout Creek and Swamp Creek.

McCloud Redband Territory

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Summer Visit To BCC & Meadow Valley Creek

Big Chico Creek All To Myself

This weekend the missus and I spent the weekend with her parents in Quincy. Along the way we stopped in Chico for her haircut and some smallmouth fishing. With all the water flowing throughout the state's tributaries this summer the fishing has been on point.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Changes Coming & Yuba River Check Up

Hammon Grove

I'm currently working on a new feel for the blog. It's going to be a lot more earthy. I'm looking forward to revealing it soon.

The Yuba has been lowered to 1600ish CFS which is a big difference from 2,200 CFS. The river isn't quite crossable yet but wadeable. I had a hard time finding fish this visit. The big flows evened out a lot of river so good holes are almost nonexistent. The hours of hiking and fishing the Yuba yielded a nice little Yuba bow on a FMM nymph in the morning and a gnarly big bow on a Hero Sculpin that I lost.

Pretty Parred Yuba Bow

Once the Yuba hits 1200 CFS it'll be prime-time for river crossing and streamer fishing. As of right now it's tough out there but if you want to check out the new look of the Yuba these flows are a good preview.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

California Heritage Trout Challenge #1: Lahontan Cutthroat Trout

The California heritage trout challenge has always been an interest of mine since I started fly fishing. The challenge involves catching and photographing six different trout species from their native watershed. Easier said than done. Each species of trout lives in a different area of California ranging from the rocky Northern Coast to the remote High Sierra Nevadas. As a trout heritage challenger expect long hikes, curved and sloped roads, and beautiful Golden State wilderness.

The Lahontan Cutthroat Trout was once the only trout native to the Eastern side of the Sierra Nevadas other than the Eagle Lake trout. Historical documents recall LCTs that were over ten pounds living in their native Truckee, Susan, Carson, and Walker riversheds. However with the introduction of dams, logging, over harvesting, mining, and non-native species, the LCT lost over 90% of their native habitat. Today only small populations of LCT reside in their native range. The Upper Truckee is one of the few LCT fisheries in California where these are fish are self-sustaining. Independence Lake is also a note worthy achievement in LCT conservation.

After careful planning and consideration, I decided that the LCT would be my first qualifying heritage trout. A visit to the Upper Truckee drainage could easily be made in a day trip since the drive to Tahoe was only three hours. Time to get my first heritage trout.