Friday, August 13, 2010

The Epic 2010 Native Road Trip Part 4 - The Northern California Redbands

The drive across Rt 50 to Sacramento and north on I-5 was pleasant. I was amazed at the amount of agriculture north of Sacramento: the size of some of the fruit tree, nut, and grape orchards was incredible.

We made it to our destination with about an hour of daylight. Unfortunately the gazetteer and my GPS did not match the logging and USFS roads, so we made it to the campground with only minutes of fishable light remaining. Nathan caught a respectable McCloud River redband almost immediately. I caught a couple pretty quick too but mine were only 3-4”.

The decision was: do I take my 3” fish and push on toward our next destination or set up camp and hit the stream first thing in the morning? I chose both. I was not satisfied with my small redband as these were some of the more colorful redband sub-species on the CHTC, so I wanted something larger. I also didn’t want to set up camp so I slept in the vehicle.

I was again up before daylight, so I milled around and took a baby wipe bath. Does this count as shower #3 for the trip? So I was on the water with just enough daylight to see my fly and I did pick up a little more respectable McCloud River redband – about 6”.
I caught a few more but nothing larger so I returned to the vehicle to roust Nathan out of his tent and we were on the road again at 6:30 AM.

With Mt. Shasta in our rearview mirror for about 60 miles we were headed to the extreme northeast corner of California. We now had sub-species 5 of 6 for the CHTC!
This is where the intel from Gary Marsten came in very handy. He said: for the Goose Lake redband go beyond the meadow section to the higher gradient water. No problem! We both had our Goose Lake redband in a matter of minutes and both from the same pool.

We had also just completed the requirements for the California Heritage Trout Challenge.

The fishing in this section of stream was very good as we both picked up 5-10 Goose Lake redbands before we packed it in on this stream.

While planning we were told if you’re in this area you will kick yourself if you don’t go ahead and pick up the Warner Lakes redband too. So, it was down and out of one drainage then up the road ten miles and up into (and over) another drainage.

It took us a little longer to get into this stream and the road was a little rough & tight in places, but we made it in one piece. Again we found the location that was described to us and again within minutes we both had another species – the Warner Lakes redband.

The fishing in this stream was also very good as we picked up another 5-10 fish each before calling it quits.
I loved the wide open, small stream fishing. I now had three sub-species under my belt for the day and it was only 11:30 AM! We also were sitting pretty with 9 of 10 sub-species, with only the Paiute eluding us.

If I only knew what was ahead of us in Oregon and Nevada’s high desert…


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