We met our guide for the day, Matt Dahl from The Fly Shop in Redding, at the Chevron at the Castella exit off I-5. We’d already fished with Matt over on Hat Creek and were looking forward to another day with him on another river. After a quick discussion about where to fish, we headed off to Dunsmuir, CA, to a local park with several plaques commemorating anglers who’d made contributions to the community and to the sport. One of the biggest names in fly fishing in this area is Ted Fay, a master fly fisherman and guide. A fly shop in Dunsmuir still bears his name.
While the park in Dunsmuir was beautiful, one look at the cascading waters of the Upper Sacramento, or Upper Sac as it’s known, told us all we needed to know; don’t fish here, but, if you do, don’t step into the water for fear of getting swept away. We quickly decided to look for another spot on the Upper Sac we might approach. Down I-5 we went to the Sims exit, out by some railroad tracks, and we found the same situation, a raging river.
At this point, Matt indicated that finding fishable water on the Upper Sac was going to be difficult, so we headed down to Redding to fish the Lower Sacramento. Matt went and grabbed his drift boat and we met him at the famous Sundial Bridge. After getting our steelhead licenses (no we weren’t fishing for steelhead but because steelhead might be in the river we had to get them), we oared our way out into the Lower Sac that was flowing pretty fast itself, at 13,000 cfs. It wasn’t anything you’d want to try and wade into, but in a drift boat, it was safe and we were off.
Nymph fishing was the order of the day on the Lower Sac, so with a 3 fly rig, we starting searching for the big rainbows the Lower Sac is known for. Luckily, we found a few along the way and had a great day fishing with Matt.
Our interview with Matt was done right on the banks of the river with the Sundial Bridge in the background, along with some wind and noisy horses. We hope you enjoy our interview with Matt on fishing the Sacramento. We even tried to coax him into revealing some of his favorite “nunya” streams, but to no avail. Cheers Matt!