Clearwater Lodge Home Waters
The 100 miles of forested mountain country between the volcanic peaks of Mt Shasta to the north and Mt Lassen to the south hold the finest concentration of wild trout waters in California. Two remarkable spring creeks and three freestone rivers offer a range of fly fishing opportunities unmatched on the west coast. In addition to these five rivers, we have a number of smaller spring-fed creeks and stillwaters that grow rainbows of impressive size and beauty. Because these rivers are all within easy driving distance of each other, Clearwater guides often take guests to fish two or more fisheries a day.
The Pit River
Described by fisheries biologists as the finest naturally-occuring wild trout fishery in California, the Pit River offers over 30 miles of beautiful, remote canyon water. Below Lake Britton, the river is divided into three reaches by dams and powerhouses. Wading can be challenging, but the beauty of the canyon, the miles of productive pocket water and pools plus the high catch rate of bright wild rainbows make it perfect for the angler seeking solitude and adventure.
The Fall River
This renowned spring-fed river rises clear and cold from Thousand Springs, in the shadow of Mt. Shasta, and meanders nearly thirty miles through the lush Fall River Valley. Its large wild rainbows come readily to a well-fished dry fly or nymph. Fall River's legendary hatches range from the tiny #22 Trico spinner to the giant #6 Hexagenia mayfly. All flatwater, the Fall is fished only from aluminum prams with small motors. Big wild rainbows and extraordinary hatches mean great fishing all season.
The most famous spring creek on the west coast, Hat Creek is California's version of the chalk streams of southern England where fly fishing was born. In 1968, it became the west's first fishery to be managed exclusively for wild trout. Clear and weedy, Hat's rich waters support a diverse insect population and thousands of trout per mile in the three miles of Trophy Water. There are 16 fishable hatches. The fishing is tough on the flats, with large fussy trout, small flies, and 7X tippets. There is also over a mile of productive riffles and runs for nymphing. The evening caddis hatches often bring the fish to the surface.
The McCloud River
Northern California's most famous freestone fishery. The McCloud is a classic pool and pocket water river in a magnificently wooded canyon. In the late 1800s, it was the source of rainbow stocks now found around the world. Special regulations protect this fishery and it produces trout to 24 inches, typically on nymphs and streamers. The three miles of Nature Conservancy water is zero-kill and limited to ten rods a day. We fish both this water and the six miles of public water above the Conservancy. We also fish the upper river, above the reservoir, where the wading and access are easy and the many small fish quite willing.
This is another of the little-known gems of Intermountain fishing. Within McArthur Burney Falls State Park, vast springs flow from the porous basalt and create a sparkling little spring creek just a couple of miles long in a setting of extraordinary beauty. Teddy Roosevelt called Burney Falls one of the wonders of the world. Over 6 million gallons of water a day flow over the falls, to support a fishery of wild rainbows mixed with occasional browns. Not to be missed!
The Lower Sacramento River
The Sacramento River below Redding has become recognized as a world-class rainbow fishery. Since we use drift boats on the Lower Sac, you can get out and wade or spend the whole day in the boat - it's up to you! The water between Redding and Anderson is close to Clearwater and has some of the best trout fishing in the state. While it's mostly nymphing, there are good caddis hatches from spring to fall.