Upper Sac – Fly Fishing Guide – Trout and Steelhead – Northern California

Upper Sac


Just up the hill from Redding, with over 35 miles of crystal clear freestone river to explore – the Upper Sac is one of California’s top wild trout streams! With lots of access off I-5 and utilizing trails along the RR tracks, anglers can easily escape crowds while hiking into remote sections of this amazing river

The Upper Sacramento begins below Lake Siskiyou on the south/west side of mighty Mt. Shasta, a 14,000 ft volcano and part of the southern Cascade Range. This freestone river flows south through the town of Dunsmuir and along I-5 and Union Pacific Rail Road until it spills into mighty Lake Shasta little over 35 miles downriver.

The Upper Sac is one of the best rivers in this region for escaping crowds while hiking into remote sections of the Shasta-Trinity Forest to fish for wild & native rainbow trout and occasional big browns. The Upper Sac is open to fishing all year long and can be a great walk & wade river option during the winter and early spring, especially in drier years.

The river boasts numerous deep pools, fast pocket water sections, riffles and lots of fishy runs. It’s very similar to the McCloud River in the upper reaches with giant green elephant ears overgrowing the banks and shady stands of pine, fir and cedar along the canyon walls.  As the river descends from it’s high altitude alpine headwaters towards the valley below, scattered black oak and live oak are more common in the open and rocky lower reaches.

The Upper Sac is well known for the same deep nymphing techniques that are often utilized on the nearby McCloud River and Pit River. The river will also provide great dry fly fishing opportunities especially in the early summer months when the salmonflies, golden stones, little yellow stones, and mayflies such as pmd’s & drakes get active. The water on the Upper Sac is much clearer compared to the McCloud and Pit Rivers; we often spot monster trout lurking from high perches or while walking along trails above the river… a team approach with a spot & stalk can be a lot of fun!

For more information on fishing the Upper Sac and accommodations please visit my Planning A Trip Page, or email me or call me. I recommend visitors support one of the local motels, cabin/home rentals along the river or B&B’s in the Towns of Dunsmuir (closest), Mt Shasta or McCloud. Local Fly Shop is the Ted Fay Fly Shop in downtown Dunsmuir; they are a great source of information and gear. We regularly drive up from Redding to fish the Upper Sac for the day; driving time is between 30-60 minutes depending on where we fish.

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Dave Neal
PO Box 990496
Redding CA 96099

(760) 914-0465


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