Planning Your Trip – Fly Fishing Guide – Trout and Steelhead – Northern California

planning a trip

Planning Your Trip


Checklist for Summer Fishing

  • CA Sport Fishing License
  • Steelhead Report Card (needed for Lower Sac, Trinity, Klamath)
  • Sunglasses – Preferably polarized
  • Waders/wading boots… for wade trips
  • Wet wading shoes or river sandals… for drift boat trips
  • Fishing vest or pack… for wade trips
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat, wide brim or ball cap
  • Recommend long sleeve shirts for sun protection
  • Buff headwear or sun mask
  • Bug Spray
  • Camera
  • Rain jacket (always a good idea)
  • Personal water bottle
  • Wading stick (a must on the Pit, McCloud, Upper Sac) I have loaners

Notes on Summer Fishing… For drift boat trips bring footwear/sandals you can get wet getting in/out of the boat. We usually don’t wear waders in summertime while fishing in a drift boat, unless the weather is cooler or rainy. Always check weather reports and pack clothing/gear accordingly. Redding and surrounding areas receive snow/rain to 100+degree days. The sun can be intense on the water, hydration, sunscreen, and hats are important items.

Checklist Winter Fishing & Steelhead:

  • CA Sport Fishing License
  • Steelhead Report Card (needed for Lower Sac, Trinity, Klamath)
  • Waders/wading boots (studs are OK in my boat)
  • Sunglasses – Preferably polarized
  • Gore-Tex fishing jacket, or high quality waterproof jacket!
  • Insulation jacket, I recommend Patagonia micro puff jacket or Simms Primaloft models
  • Quality long underwear, Merino wool, Capilene, etc
  • Extra wool or fleece sweater
  • Thick wool socks
  • Wool or fleece beanie (I wear mine over a ball cap)
  • Ball cap or hat
  • Disposable hand warmers (preferred instead of fingerless gloves)
  • Camera
  • Sunscreen (it can be warm and sunny, too)
  • Personal water bottle or beverages other than water, Gatorade, iced tea

Notes on Winter Steelheading… Winter weather is often foggy and damp in the morning. This can make it feel a lot colder than the temperature suggests. When it’s 40-50 degrees in Weaverville… it feels colder! Dress appropriately. The clouds/fog usually burn off by lunchtime, afternoons are often warmer and sunny.

A quality rain jacket is a must. Do not skimp and purchase a good “fishing specific” model from a reputable brand such as Simms, Patagonia, Orvis, etc. Fishing jackets have good sealed wrist cuffs to keep water out, large pockets, and hoods. This will add warmth to your system and will be indispensible if you end up fishing in the rain all day long!

Fishing Equipment Checklist

  • For trout wade fishing trips in the summer we usually fish 4-6 weight 9’ rods. For nymphing specific rivers we commonly use longer 9’6” – 10’ single hand rods, and 11’ switch rods for swinging flies.
  • For drift boat trips on the Lower Sac I’m a big fan of 5-6 weight rods in the longer 9’6” – 10’ lengths. I usually have rods in my boat for use…
  • For Trinity steelhead drift boat trips I recommend a 9’6” for a 7 weight, although 6-8 weights also work in 9’-10’ lengths.
  • For fall swing trips 5-6 weight 11’ switch rods and 5-7 weight 12’6” Spey rods for winter steelhead
  • Leaders and flies… I will provide these items but feel free to discuss and bring your own
  • Bring a wading staff for walk & wade trips
  • Studded wading boots are great, you can wear them in my boat

Notes on Scheduled Guide Trips

  • A 50% deposit is required to complete booking and save your dates in our calendar
  • Remaining 50% trip balance shall be due upon completion of our fishing date(s). Cash or checks for final payment, please. If you prefer to use a credit card or Pay Pal for final payment — please pre-pay entire trip amount ahead of time via PP or credit card (I’m often unable to run a credit card or PP on the river).
  • Tips/gratuity are very much appreciated. Separate cash is preferred.
  • When organizing group trips w/ multiple guides I use independent contractors, separate payments to each guide is preferred. Tips/gratuity should go directly to your guide.
  • I like to chat on the phone 2-3 days prior to our trip date in order to discuss details; meeting time/location, weather, equipment, destination, lunch menu, etc. Please feel free to call me (evening’s best) to go over final prep 1-3 days in advance of trip date.
  • We have a 14-day cancellation period on single day trips. We have a 30-day cancellation on multi-day, multiple-guide trips. Cancellation inside the 30-day period results in forfeiture of your deposit if we are unable to re-book the dates with another client.
  • Cancellations made outside the deadline period of your scheduled trip can either have deposit forwarded to a future trip, or fully refunded, whichever you prefer.
  • Fly fishing is an outdoor activity and adverse weather conditions do not constitute cancellation of a trip. Your guide reserves the right to cancel the trip the morning of your scheduled outing if the weather is atrocious or otherwise deemed unsafe or not conducive to fishing
  • Booking a fishing trip confirms that our cancellation policy in accepted

Please feel free to discuss any equipment needs or questions with me. See my Lodging Page for recommended accommodations close to our designated fishing river.

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Dave Neal
PO Box 990496
Redding CA 96099

(760) 914-0465

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