Hat Creek Fly Fishing In California
If your looking for trout with higher degree’s in fly fisher management and consistent fooling techniques? This is the place and you my happy go lucky fly fishing associates will be taken to school and turned into potential golfers and birdwatchers. Hat Creek trout see more shiny new waders then almost any other trout in California. So what is the fascination with this easy access almost chalk stream like water?
Water clarity and constant temperature combined with an unwavering volume of creek flows, allows one to fly fish here almost year round under the exact same conditions! Of course there is a price to pay for this park & throw wonderland. You can be sure of plenty of company and rest assured that will be the case regardless of the time of year. If you are new to the sport and want an education in presentation and technique, Hat Creek may be perfect. Many of the most skilled California fly fishers make the trek to Hat Creek and test their skills against each other. One can simply park and walk and learn everything from casting long distances to understanding the use of fifteen foot tippets and flies so small only superman can tie them.
The Wild trout section is only three miles long starting at the Hat Creek Powerhouse #2 ending at a fish barrier above the confluence of Pit River and Lake Britton. The upper area is about two miles worth of near perfect spring creek flat water. Those looking for riffle action can head to the lower section where riffles rule. Mt. Lassen is the giant snow machine that feeds this creek on the eastern side of the Lassen Volcanic Park. Before this sparkling clear water has run it’s course local farmers welcome constant reinvigoration.
Two Hat Creek Choices
Fly fishers have a no brainer when it comes to choices within this popular fishery. Fast water and flat water are on the menu, fast water gets most of the fly pressure of course and that area is about a 450 yard area below Powerhouse #2. This area north of Hat Creek Park near Hiway 299 is always home to many bug tossers. It is the flat-water section where the real skill and patience pays off big dividends. If you can repeatedly hit a two- foot circle at forty feet and feel hits without gaudy strike indicators. This may be your cup of tea? If on the other hand you cherish solitude and endless vistas, well friend keep driving north toward the California border for peace and quiet. The flat-water area is about as majestic as it gets with wide-open meadows and fleets of ducks cruising on windowpane glass water. Bring your camera and take along a screen for sampling local insect populations.
Hat creek has an exceptional pedigree; it was the first western fishery to be designated for wild trout in 1967. The ratio of rainbow’s hovers around 80 percent and brown trout at 20 percent. A word of caution for waders working grassy banks, muskrat holes everywhere have made the going a bit dicey. Be careful and use a wading staff when you’re not sure of footing. If you love to work streamers along the grassy edges and sneak up on browns holding in these hideouts, prepare for sudden thrills. The need for highly developed casting skills here cannot be over emphasized. As far as seasonal catch rates are concerned, six fish mornings and evenings are common. If you can only throw flies from 10am till mid afternoon, well you know the answer to that quiz?
Parachute Mayflies #16-22, in colors brownish, black or tan. Mayflies hatch almost everyday of season until late November. In the fast area a bushy Elk Caddis will make the fat guys stand up and take notice. If the wind is up and it is at times in the fall, weary aqua citizens have less time to check your offering. It never hurts for those who like to tie their own flies to buy local flies and copy them. In fact local bars and restaurants may be the best place to find guides or experts on what works and when. You can put all that floatant you been hauling around to good use as well as your line prep gear. Tippets in the 5.6 and 7x range are standard. Fly rods 3/5 weight or even lighter will get the thrill machine cranked up! But, remember, presentation, presentation, and presentation… If all else fails and your arm is about to fall off, search out those size #22 Mosquito’s or ants or spiders. Remember all meetings of the over weight senior citizen trout club are conducted about a half hour before the sunsets.
Pacific Gas and Electric own the land surrounding wild trout water. Begin at junction of Highway#299 and 89, then go east on 299 about two miles to Cassel Road turn off, follow two miles south to Crystal Lake State Fishery, go east about a mile to get to Baum Lake. To get to Hat Creek Powerhouse #2 follow south on paved road for about 2 miles ending in Powerhouse Parking area. This area is the start of a trail for a large section of the creek. If your looking for bathroom facilities and company, head north to Hat Creek Park turn off, if your disabled this may be best area to get on the action.
Picnic tables and scenery abound along with plenty of company. The catch and release manifesto is the only way to fly here and absolutely must be adhered to. One last fly thought, if your into spinners, cripples, exotic tiny midges, wacky self tied bushy terrestrials, stuff your pockets till the cows come home. Depending on the wind, hatches, ripples, almost any well tied tiny bug will get a look see from these over educated trout! Remember always check local regulations and ask questions, taking along a couple of bottles of single malt scotch for bribes usually works.