Pit River Fly Fishing In California
If in the beginning before all the forests in California were designed and built to work in perfect harmony with all the rivers and streams. A lone fly fisher was asked to build the perfect trout-regenerating habitat; it would almost certainly end up looking, tasting, and smelling like this crown jewel in the California Wild Trout Utopian Crown!
This special trout fishery exists within the thirty or so miles that the Pit meanders, divided into five separate reaches. The distance between each dam and powerhouse is about 7-14 miles of fishable water. It is the uniqueness of the constant flows managed at around 200 feet per second. Exceptional clarity, steady temperatures create near perfect regenerating conditions.
This water with its PH balance and thriving insect populations in concert with the alchemy that has blessed this ecosystem. This water is near perfect in reference to regenerating and self-sustaining. An argument continues as to why the state often stocks many local lakes and rivers, which are lacking in basic self-sustaining base line elements. This water could easily pass as the benchmark to which all sustaining rivers ought to be measured! That said, it can also be fragile and susceptible to very low water releases by accident or natural causes. The odds on predicting California drought years are slim to none.
The great news is moments of unbelievable fly fishing bliss await those who know the holly grail. The grail consists of basic stealth; nymphing, stalk techniques with long tippets and tiny bugs. Moving like an Egret on medication as your waders barely move water and your shadow is safely out of the way. If you can throw fifty foot casts into three-foot circles over and over. If you can understand the most minute temperature change and surface film current structure? You will catch ten to 20 very healthy big trout and experience a once in a lifetime trip because, you’re an expert
So You call your self a pretty good deep nympher?
If you’re into deep diving nymph work and learning the many weight systems from split shot to sink tip lines that drop faster then you can react and able to position your nymph three inches from the bottom? Or on the more gentle hand, dry fly atmosphere is your dream come true very late or very early or within a hatch. Throwing in all directions with shattered fractured lighting, this kind of atmosphere can get quite sublime when all the elements in concert with hatchs going off almost all the time. This is such a nutrient rich place, you will be slapping midge;, damsels, bees, and ants off your face all day. It is not just the hatch that fuels this engine. It is the water flow and light shadow effects, the invisible challenges only savvy fly fishers with many miles under their waders can relate to.
Beginner fly fishers tread easy here and watch and learn as legions of seasoned masters of the air ballet have sampling the air before you. In fact a three day session with a good guide teacher here can prepare a novice to successfully fly fish wet or dry anywhere in the world! If you’re the kind of beginner who wants to start near the top in regard to difficulty, then grab your map and find the ” Perfect Pit ” Here, there are no excuses for not understanding the wild natural behavior and uncanny wariness of trout. You will have to move about carefully, try to at times when it is very late or early to throw well back of river edge. Staying out of water and becoming the hunter who possesses the gossamer thin thread with the irresistible meal!
These trout have seen the best come and go and beat most of them over and over.
Before you head for the “Perfect Pit”, better spend some time working on your wading technique with a sound staff and keeping your balance and paying attention. Many have paid difficult prices underestimating the treacherous nature of even a shallow running river of three to four feet?
In April and may take along Salmon flies and Golden Stones. Later in the hot summer months bring tiny midges and tricos, spinners. Late fall is dark nymphs and big flies bouncing off rocks and ledges. The river edges here are special and filled with big hiding educated fish that can be fooled with well tied and worked ants, bees, spiders, rubber legged concoctions, yellow humpy’s, black AP Nymphs, Beaded Prince Nymphs, sofa pillow type flies, all the Caddis family. Fly rods 2/4 weight for thrills, if you can can cast then well? Weights 5/6 if your still learning how to throw consistent 60-foot lines in moderate wind? Season as in most of California, last Saturday in April till mid November.
Remember the Pit is also the perfect nymphing river and you can sharpen your technique on the shoreline. Learn how to short line your nymph, letting it drop just under the end of your rod is a skill in its self. Special near perfect nymphing opportunities for those that know how. Bring along a good assortment of wolly buggers and exotic streamers, this is the place for them when atmosphere is just right?
Take Hiway # 89 west about ten miles north of Burney to access below Lake Britton Dam. This begins an area of about 30 miles worth of different reaches or access areas. The areas of both Pit #4 & #5 have much water to explore. The Pit Canyon Road that goes from Lake Britton Dam to Pit #5 Dam continuing on to little town of Big Bend, runs near river and is catch and release prime area. There are over 15 miles of really prime area, so access here is not impossible. If you hire a local guide for one day and then spend the next two on the water, you will be well rewarded. Maps and local fly patterns can bought in the town of Burney. Remember catch and release and make sure you release carefully, respectfully.
Locals frown on non-residents not observing standard fly fisher common sense and streamside respect. If you come upon a fellow fly fisher enjoying his or her stretch blissfully ignoring you, move along and find your own area, even if the splash of a just caught three pounder has cemented your feet! You will come across many such scenes depending on time of year and water flows. On the road to Pit #4 powerhouse, those who like to hike can climb down steep ridges to the water. Best to tell someone where you’re going and about how long you’ll be gone when fly fishing new areas. This river is fairly cut and dry, but weather can change in a flash late fall. Come prepared according to the season and brush up on all your deep nymphing techniques and strike indicator preferences. Better bring a camera and take a few notes, school begins the moment you see this perfect river.