This year again there are two separate 2-day LTFF Novice - Hat Creek fish-outs being held back-to-back. Group 1 will have mentored fishing on Friday-Saturday, July 19-20; and Group 2 will have mentored fishing on Sunday-Monday, July 21-22. Students may sign up for either group as available, but not for both, unless advised later that this is permissible if there are still spots unfilled.
Unless announced otherwise, this mentored Hat Creek fish-out is only being offered to a limited number of this year's enrolled Novice students in the club's "Learn to Fly Fish" (LTFF) Program on a first-to-register basis. Do not register for this event if you are NOT in this class, or risk losing your registration fee.
There will be only two days of mentored fishing for each Group, but a few of the more experienced students may be allowed to tag along with the mentors on Thursday evening or choose to fish on their own on Monday evening -- should they wisely choose to drive home the following morning after a long day of fishing.
We have a new fish-out leader, Jessica Grey, who is taking charge of the logistics this year. Jessica is a LTFF alum who loves to fish the Burney area rivers, especially Hat Creek and the (much more difficult) Pit River. She will be assisted by one of the club's excellent casting instructors and most experienced fly anglers, Brian Endlich, who's led this fish-out in past years since he's extremely familiar with Hat Creek — having fished it for probably some 40 years! Jessica has recruited 4 other club mentors to help with this outing since we hope to be providing about a 3:1 student-to-mentor ratio in order to be able to give you better instruction.
Hat Creek is one of California’s most renowned trout streams and a favorite dry fly water for many of the state’s best fly fishers — especially on the Wild River section and other famous stretches of this special river that we expect to fish. And since this is a spring-fed stream, it should have a good water level regardless of run-off.
Limited Registration: This fish-out will be limited to 12 students in each Group in order not to over-crowd the river. The class will be notified by email exactly when the online registration will open. You may register for either Group, but not for both --unless otherwise notified.
Campground: Although our campsites are not all together this year, we were still able to reserve a total of five campsites (#22, 23, 24, 25, & 26) for 4 nights (Thurs, & Fri. nights, 7/19 & 7/20 for Group 1; Sat. & Sun. nights, 7/21 & 7/22 for Group 2) at PG&E's public Cassel Campground (off Hwy 299 east of Burney). We have campsite #26 on Monday night also for those wanting to stay in camp that evening.
In past years, we've been able to pitch 2-3 tents per campsite at Cassel without objection (the area mgr. actually suggested these particular "back loop" sites for us to do so). There are no group camp sites in either this or any other nearby campgrounds, but this arrangement should work to allow most of the students (for each Group in turn) to camp together in adjacent campsites in the two groupings rather than being spread out throughout the campground. We have paid extra for up to 2 vehicles per campsite. Any more than that and we may have to park some vehicles at the gate to the campground (after unloading) -- or pay an extra $5/night for additional vehicles if there is space to park them off the loop road -- but the area mgr. may decide that when he sees how many vehicles we have (another good reason to carpool, if possible).
Each group will need to break camp right after breakfast on the morning of the second day in order to make room for the next group (or next party with reservations) to arrive anytime that afternoon. If you are not using your vehicle to follow your mentor around, you can park it near the campground main gate or across the street in the Cassel Post Office parking lot.
Should you prefer to reserve a campsite of your own though to perhaps stay longer, then go to pge.com and under the "Find A Park" tab, search for Cassel Campground and book your own site very soon. (Another, but much smaller, PG&E campground in that area is North Shore Campground, if you can’t find any more open spots in Cassel.)
Motels: For those who prefer not to camp, the motels in nearby Burney include:
Charm Motel (ph 530-335-3300, www.charm.burneylodging.com)
Green Gables (ph. 530-335-3300, www.greengables.burneylodging.com)
Shasta Pines Motel & Suites (ph. 530-335-2201, www.shastapinesmotel.com)
Meeting Place: Everyone will need to meet at Jessica's campsite (UON) in Cassel Campground at 7:00AM each fishing morning to figure out who is going with which mentor, to make up your lunches, to get your flies, instructions, etc. This early start is intended to get everyone on the water as soon as possible each morning — so please don’t be late.
Driving Directions: Google "Cassel Campground”: the shortest route is to follow I-5N to Redding, from there take CA-299E to Cassel Road — about 5 hours total drive time without traffic (from Redding it is about 1 hr. 15 min. without traffic)
If you need them, follow these directions: Take Exit #680 off of I-5 for CA-299/Lake Blvd., keep right at the fork and follow signs for Burney/Alturas/CA-299E, follow CA-299E for 50 miles to Burney, continue east of Burney on CA Hwy 299E for 7 more miles (to 2 miles past the junction with Hwy. 89), turn south (right) onto Cassel Road, drive 3.6 miles and turn left at paved access road into the campground (just before the bridge and across from Cassel Post Office).
Our five campsites (#22-26) are in the back loop to the right -- just after you veer off slightly to the right from the main campground road at the first fork. Choose one of these shared camp sites as you arrive, but leave tent space for at least one more tent in that site.
Camping Equipment: It is suggested that you have your own tent (with tent stakes, footprint/plastic tarp, and rainfly) or an agreement to share a tent with someone. Also be sure to bring: sleeping bag; sleeping pad (or air mattress, or cot); headlight or flashlight; cooking stove; water container; cooking pots / cooking utensils; camp dishes / eating utensils; wash basin; biodegradable soap; butane lighter or matches; paper or cloth towels; garbage bags; and a cooler with ice for perishables. All dry goods should be stored in the supplied camp boxes to keep away from rodents and jays. Optional equipment might include: lantern; camp chair; firewood; hand axe; coffee pot; small folding table; table cloth for picnic table; etc.
Meals: There will be NO hosted group dinners for anyone on this fish-out. You can cook dinners in camp, or there are at least two possible restaurants on Main St. in Burney that smaller groups may decide to use: Rex Club (ph. 530-335-4184, they also have cabins) Art’s Outpost (Steak House & Italian, ph. 530-335-2835)
There are also other diners, a Subway for sandwiches, pizza joints, and other fast food options in Burney: (www.reddingcentral.com/Dine/dine-Burney.htm)
We will be providing groceries for making your own sandwiches for sack lunches on each Group's two fishing days only. Lunches will most likely be held in camp with a chance to rest from the heat of the day and to reorganize mentors' groupings if requested.
NOTE: Other than the two sack lunches on your Group's fishing days, you are on your own to bring (and prepare) your own food, or buy dinners or other meals out.
Fishing Gear: We recommend bringing a 3-5wt fly rod with floating line (6wt rod max!). For dry flies, bring 9’ tapered leaders to 4X or 5X, with mono (nylon) tippet spools in 4X-6X (these fish can be picky!) Also be sure that you bring both a liquid (or gel) dry fly floatant and a dry shake floatant (dessicant-type) for treating your dry flies. For indicator nymphing, bring indicators, split shot, one spool of say 0X to 3X mono tippet material (to use 5-7' of this for indicator/ depth adjustment), and spools of both 4X & 5X fluoro tippet for connections to nymphs. Bring foam hoppers or Chubby Chernobyl pattern flies for hopper (dry) / dropper rigging if you prefer this rather than indicator nymphing, or simply tight-line nymph instead (although Hat Creek has very little pocket water where tight-lining works best). "Swinging" of soft-hackled flies is another very good choice.
Flies: We will be providing at least a dozen flies to each student -- some dries, a couple buggers, and a few nymph patterns, as suggested by Brian for this water. These flies will likely only be packaged in sandwich bags for distributing to you, so you will need to put them in your own fly box along with your other flies -- and be sure to pinch the barbs! We will not be doing this for you. Also, bring your own flies, especially any that you picked up for (or tied for) this particular trip on a fly shop's or someone else's recommendation.
If you still need more of your own flies, or forgot some other gear after you leave town, there is "The Fly Shop" on your way up there (located just south of Redding on east side of I-5 backed up to the frwy.: take the Churn Creek Road exit, then head north about a 1/2 mile or so on the frontage road to see the shop on your left). There's also the "Shasta Angler" in Fall River Mills, which is 5-10 miles past the Hat Creek area on CA-299 (for good local knowledge from owner Matt).
Other Stuff: In addition to forceps, nippers, vest or pack for fly boxes and other gear, sunhat, sunscreen, bug repellent, waders, boots, belts, water bottle (or other means to carry, or filter, drinking water), don’t forget your wading staff! A small net is always optional for trout, but it really helps in landing them with minimal stress and keeping them in the water while unhooking—both of which are extremely important for the fish’s survival. Camping gear should include headlamps or flashlights —the former is especially good for tying on flies during late evening fishing.
Wading: As a spring creek, Hat Creek can be pretty cold, but you may decide when you get there and test the water that you might prefer to wet-wade (not me!) instead of wearing waders. If so, just be sure that you have sturdy closed-toe wading sandals or, better yet, use neoprene guard socks (or other neoprene socks) plus polypo liner socks to help fill-out your wading boots. Lightweight (i.e., nylon) long pants are recommended (in lieu of wearing shorts) for wet-wading to better protect your shins from scrapes on rocks, scratchy brush, poison oak, etc.
Registration Fee: The registration fee is $125 per student. This fee is needed to hopefully cover the cost of all the campground fees, the purchase of flies, groceries for lunches, etc. It does not include the cost of transportation, lodging, meals (other than 2 lunches), or any other expenses.
Communications: The LTFF program director, John Murphy, will not be available for any questions about this fish-out after July 8. Please communicate with Jessica directly.
Fish-out leader: Jessica Grey, firstname.lastname@example.org cp 206-612-1466
Questions about river only: Brian Endlich, email@example.com cp 415-601-0070
Note: There is only spotty to very poor cell phone service in the Hat Creek area -- try texting up there instead, which is also hit-or-miss.