Monday, August 13, 2018

California Heritage Trout Challenge #5: Goose Lake Redband Trout

The last species that I needed to complete my heritage trout challenge was a Goose Lake Redband Trout. These trout are endemic to the Goose Lake watershed. Goose Lake is a body of water that has had quite an interesting history. Goose Lake is a large shallow turbid alkaline lake that shares both the California and Oregon border. The lake is rarely full although it has had times in the past where it would fill and allow an abundance of Goose Lake Redbands to inhabit the lake. These fish are normally less than 8'' however when they are able to travel into the lake freely they are known to get hefty up to 24''. The lake has also dried up in the past during severe droughts threatening both the fish and wildlife in the surrounding Goose Lake area. A trout that is able to survive in both extremes is truly amazing and I was looking forward to catching one.

Lassen Creek

The Warner Lakes Redband and the Goose Lake Redband inhabit waters just a few miles from each other however they are still considered separate sub-species. There are several streams that feed Goose Lake and the most well-known stream to catch a Goose Lake Redband is Lassen Creek on the eastern side of Goose Lake. The drive was nice and short which was a rare godsend. As I drove on the route parallel to the stream I noticed a sign for Lassen Creek campground. Campgrounds are usually great places to wet some line therefore I settled there to try my luck.

More Small Stream Fly Fishing

Log Jam Pool

Lassen Creek is a decent sized small stream that appeared to be a more traditional stream with riffles, runs, and pools surrounded by overgrowth and vegetation. There appeared to be some stream work done years ago to improve the habitat for these fish. Log jams that created small pools could be found all throughout the creek in campground. This is where I spotted my first target, a decent size Goose Lake Redband cruising around in the pool. My first cast appeared to spook it a bit and I watched as it darted away only to make a quick U-turn and grab my dry fly. Fish on! My first California Heritage Trout Challenge completed.

First Goose Lake Redband

The Goose Lake Redband Trout was more beautiful than what I had seen from pictures on the internet. With a bright pink lateral line and several big blue parr marks, they were quite the sight to behold. I continued fishing and easily caught several more redbands that were also just as pretty.

My challenge had finally come to an end and I clocked in almost 700 miles of driving for all three of the heritage trout I caught. To celebrate my success I ended my trip at Baum Lake where the fishing is always fun.

And The Release


  1. Congratulations!!! That is so awesome you completed the challenge!!!

  2. Congrats Matt! Keep up the good work on the blog - I enjoy reading it!

  3. Matt, shoot me an email please:
    John Shewey, EIC Northwest Fly Fishing magazine