LTFF Upper McCloud River Fish-outs -- Level 2 Students
These two Upper McCloud River Fish-outs on May 28-30 (Group 1, fishing with guides on May 29th) and May 29-31 (Group 2, fishing on May 30th) are exclusively intended for currently registered Level 2 (formerly Novice) students in the GGACC's "Learn to Fly Fish" (LTFF) program. 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 and catching the 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 skills. 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 along with other safety precautions. We will hold several preparation sessions (likely Zoom meetings) prior to this event to prepare you as well for the outing.
These Level 2 fish-outs will be distinguished from similar Level 1 fish-outs held 2 weeks prior with the guides covering more advanced topics including presentation techniques. Don’t overlook this chance to fish these beautiful waters with great guides and the opportunity to catch trout on dry flies. We will look to challenge you on these waters.
Meeting Location EACH morning at 8:30AM: You will meet up and check in with your fish-out leader on your fishing day morning 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 at least a liter of drinking water for that day. You are expected to arrive, wader up, and be ready to listen/learn starting at 9AM, before rigging up as instructed by your guide.
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: For Group 1 only, we have reserved a group campsite for both Friday and Saturday nights 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.) Fees for the Group 1 campsite is included in the registration fee. 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.
Unfortunately, any group camping accommodations were no longer available for Group 2. Therefore, if you wish to take advantage of this fish-out event on Sunday, May 30th (Group 2), you will need to arrange for your own camping site among the various NFS, State Park, and private campground options along I-5 or for motel accommodations in the nearby towns of Mt. Shasta, Dunsmuir, Weed, or McCloud. Correspondingly, Group 2 registration fees are lower for not including camping fees. (Note: Fowlers Campground and others along the Upper McCloud River do not allow reservations and will likely already be full for the full week before this Memorial Day weekend.)
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 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 desiccant 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 or tie other flies to bring with you.
Bring a pack of some sort or a fishing vest suitable to carry your fishing gear, lunch, and at least a liter of drinking water, plus a packable rain jacket or water resistant shell if there is any chance of rain or cool weather. You must have 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 (felt-soled or studded rubber-soled) and, if you think that you might prefer to wet-wade if its 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).
Don't forget your fishing license (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 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.
Group 1 Registration fee of $190.00 is non-refundable and covers the guide's fee, a selection of flies, and group campground fees. It does not cover travel costs, lodging (if you decide not to camp), food, or the guide's gratuity.
Group 2 Registration fee of $175.00 is non-refundable and covers the guide's fee and a selection of flies. It does not cover travel costs, lodging, campground fees, food, or the guide's gratuity.
Students should remember to personally thank and tip their guide at the end of each day (suggested gratuity for these particular fish-outs is $25-$35 cash per day per student based on how much you learned from your guide, 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)