LTFF Upper McCloud River Fish-outs -- Level 1 Students
These two Upper McCloud River Fish-outs on May 14-16 (Group 1, guided fishing on May 15th) and May 15-17 (Group 2, fishing on May 16th) are exclusively intended for currently registered Level 1 (former Beginner) students in the GGACC's "Learn to Fly Fish" (LTFF) program. Online registration will be opened at a date and time to be announced to the entire LTFF Level 1 Class via email. Registration for these fish-outs is limited and based on a first-to-register basis only. There will be 16 openings for each group. Registration is limited to only one group initially, with 2 day options open as availability allows (per LTFF Program Leader discretion).
No doubt you have heard of the McCloud River if you have talked with many fly anglers in Northern California, since it is truly one of our state's most treasured fisheries for rainbow and brown trout. However, most of that reputation comes from the larger Lower McCloud River that comes out of the McCloud Reservoir and runs down to Lake Shasta through some picturesque but rugged canyons that cross both public and private lands, including limited access into the Nature Conservancy waters and members-only access to some very exclusive club water. The Lower McCloud is particularly well-known for big browns that come out of Lake Shasta in the fall to spawn. But the Lower McCloud is not a good river for teaching Beginners how to fly fish, especially in the spring, so we are headed to the smaller Upper McCloud River instead, in the section of the river best known to campers, sightseers, and hikers for its scenic Lower Falls and Middle Falls.
Since much of the water for the Upper McCloud River comes from springs, we're hoping to find a little less run-off and high water than currently expected on Sierra streams, giving us a chance to teach you dry fly, dry-dropper, and indicator nymphing techniques as well as how to read water and wade safely. We have hired professional guides from Confluence Outfitters. These guides will be primarily teaching and not acting as normal guides would -- meaning that they are not going to be doing everything that they would normally do for you (except casting or catching and landing fish), especially since they will have four of you to be working with and not the usual limit of just one or two anglers per guide. We have selected Confluence Outfitters and these guides specifically for their teaching expertise. We plan to have 4 guides with a guide to student ratio of 1:4.
Under the watchful eyes of these guides, the students will be deciding how and where to start fishing, rigging up their own rods, selecting and tying on their own flies, untangling their own casting messes, and landing their own fish (hopefully). The guides will be helping to instruct you wherever you need it and offering suggestions about the required casting techniques, how to approach the water and what to look for there, while helping you select a target for your cast and suggesting how to move safely into position for that cast. You learn best by listening carefully and then attempting it on your own with subsequent critique from your guide about your mistakes. Wading safety will be emphasized, as well as other safety precautions. We will hold several preparation sessions (likely Zoom meetings) prior to this event to prepare you as well for the outing.
Meeting Location EACH morning at 8:30AM: You will meet and check in with your fish-out leader on your guided fishing day in Fowlers Campground at a specific location there still to be confirmed with the guides. The leader will be sure you receive your flies and then assign you to a guide for the day. Following COVID safety guidelines, each student will bring their own lunch/snacks and water for the day. You are expected to arrive, wader up, and be ready to listen/learn at 9AM and, after some instruction in rigging from your guide, head to the water soon afterward to start fishing.
Fowlers Campground is 5 miles east of the town of McCloud on CA Hwy 89 and about 1 mi. south of the highway on Fowler Public Camp Rd. Look for a sign "Fowlers / Lower Falls" and turn right just after the sign to go another mile south. Once you cross River Loop Rd., the left fork goes to the campground and the right fork goes to the day use area for the Lower Falls. Watch for further info about where to park. GPS Coord. for the campground: Lat. 41.2448556, Long. -122.0232556
Camping or Lodging Options: We have reserved group campsites at Lake Siskiyou Camp Resort, which is off I-5, a short distance first west and then south of the town of Mt. Shasta, about 4-1/2 hours north of SF (without traffic) and about a 30 minute drive west of your fishing day's meet-up location at Fowlers Campground. (Use Google or other online map app for the I-5 exit and street directions to the lake resort.)
Group 1 and Group 2 each have separate, 2-night overlapping reservations at the campground (overlap is Saturday night). Fees for these campsites are included in the registration fees. Lake Siskiyou Camp Resort will have restroom facilities available for campers. You must bring your own camping and cooking gear and food/drink for your stay at Lake Siskiyou. Students are strongly encouraged to stay at the group camp and enjoy the opportunity to get to know your fellow anglers. But, if you are absolutely opposed to the idea of camping, motel accommodations can be found in the nearby towns of Dunsmuir, Mt. Shasta, Weed, or possibly McCloud.
Gear Needed: Other than any camping gear that you may decide to bring, your fishing and other gear should include: a 4 or 5 wt fly rod with floating line, at least 2-3 9ft. 4X tapered leaders, mono tippet spools in 3X-5X, fluoro tippet in 4X-5X, a few medium sized indicators of your choice, split-shot in at least AB & BB sizes, forceps, nippers, gel (or liquid) silicon fly floatant, dry-shake dessicant floatant, and a small or medium sized fly box (preferably watertight). Your registration fee includes a selection of both dry flies and nymphs for the Upper McCloud. We will be discussing entomology and fly imitations during our preparations meetings to help you purchase flies or tie your own to bring with you besides the limited number of flies being provided.
Bring a pack of some sort, or a fishing vest with large back pocket, suitable to carry your fishing gear, lunch, and at least one liter of drinking water, plus a packable rain jacket or water resistant shell if there is any chance of rain or cool weather. Other items that you MUST have include a wading staff with a lanyard, a hat with brim or bill, polarized sunglasses, and at least one wading belt for your waders.
Bring waders and wading boots (either felt-soled or studded rubber-soled, or even studded felt soles) and, if you really think that you might prefer to wet-wade (if it's very hot), a pair of neoprene guard socks (to wear over cotton wading socks to both fill your wading boots and help keep sand out of your socks). Be forewarned though, a spring-time alpine stream -- whether spring-fed or snow-melt -- can be quite cold when you need to stand in it for more than a few minutes to make casting easier.
Don't forget your 2021 fishing license (guides are required to record your license into their guide log, it's a steep fine if caught fishing without one on your person, and it's a long drive back to get a duplicate copy), sunscreen, and bug repellent. Optional gear includes sungloves, a buff, a landing net on a stretchy lanyard, a marine safety whistle, tiny first aid kit, small toilet paper or kleenex pack, and a little note book & pencil -- and maybe a stream thermometer and small fishnet or sieve if you are really getting into it.
We will follow Covid safety guidelines as well. If you have not already received a vaccination, plan to have at least your first vaccine completed before this outing. Bring your masks and hand sanitizer lotion.
Registration fee of $190.00 is non-refundable and covers the guides' fees, flies, and campground fees. It does not cover travel costs, lodging (if you decide not to camp), food, or the guide's gratuity / tip. (Suggested gratuity is $25-$35 cash per day per student for this particular trip)
Students should remember to personally thank and tip their guide at the end of each day (based on how much you learned from him, not how many fish you caught).
Registrations must be completed by paying the fee online within 15 minutes of beginning the registration process to entitle you to a spot. There are no refunds possible if you are unable to go after having completed your registration unless there is someone on a waitlist willing to pay that fee to replace you.
As soon as the registrations are mostly filled, you will be getting rosters of the registrants in each group and their contact info so that you may choose to reach out to your group about further plans, etc.
For questions, contact: Bruce Greenwood (email@example.com)