• James Garrettson

Lessons From NorCAL


A rainbow trout from a not so secret spot on the Sacramento River


One of the greatest things about fly fishing is the people. I have been blessed to fish all over the US and abroad and if one thing stays the same, it's all the amazing folks who have this sport in common. Recently, I found myself in Northern California in the boat of my friend, Luke Geraty. We laughed, we cried, we got into 2 boat ramp brawls, and fish were netted. Okay, the crying and fighting was obviously a joke but we did have ourselves a grand old time on two of Nor Cals primer rivers.


Northern California is unlike anywhere else I have ever fished and it was the first time in a long time where I felt totally out of my element trout fishing. This is why I love fly fishing so much, it is a life long pursuit and there is always something else to learn. My guy Luke broke down the fisheries into easy to understand chunks and I was able to adapt accordingly. On the Sacramento for example, the fish tend to hold in the lower third of the water column and thus the guides fish deeper heavier rigs. With a flow more than 10x my home water, isolating the holding locations of the trout took some time to learn. I have often said, "trout are trout" and while this is very true on a biological level, all rivers have their quirks. The Sacramento River is huge and learning where the trout hold and how to feed them was made easier by having a fellow guide break it down for me. The trick on the "Sac" was keeping presentations low in the water column and working softer currents on the edges of runs as well as targeting mid river shelves and drop offs.




One of the coolers parts of the trip was catching a Steelhead on a euro rig. I felt very much at home on the Trinity River and Luke suggested we give it a try. We found some likely holding water and rigged accordingly.



The second fish we were able to land using tight line techniques.


The trip to Nor Cal was truly one I'll never forget, for all the right reasons. It was fun to push the boundaries and experience new techniques and rivers. I learned a ton on the trip about steelhead and bigger water nymph rigs. I can't wait to go back. If you ever have the opportunity to fish around the Redding, CA area, you should.


If you want a knowledgeable guide for the areas waters, look no further than my friend,

Luke Geraty






- James

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