The Lower Sac is one of those rivers with ungodly numbers of trout per mile. On a good day, it can be nearly non-stop. The fish that come out of the upper stretches of the river can get huge too! The guide I go with has landed three rainbows over 25 inches this year. All healthy fish with big shoulders. To make it even more fun, the fish fight hard and know how to use the river flows to their advantage. They also eat small bugs, so they're not easy to keep on the line. They're truly amazing trout.
The few times I've fished this river in the past, it's been from a drift boat. Although a drift boat isn't mandatory, it sure makes access easier. It can be an intimidating river on foot. This last weekend, I spent two days up in the Redding area fishing on my own. Since the steelhead rivers were blown out, I took some advice from one of the guys at The Fly Shop and decided to wade fish some sections near Redding.
Upon approaching the river, I wasn't exactly sure where to start. You know that feeling when you have an insurmountable about of work on your desk, or a filthy house to clean? Yeah, that's the feeling. With a little trepidation, I stepped into the river and started throwing drifts in likely holding spots. For some reason I wasn't riding high with confidence about the approach I was taking, but I stuck with it anyways. About 15 minutes into the session, a big (probably just over average for the Lower Sac) rainbow came up and took a look at the dry fly floating over it's head. Just as it was about to take the fly, it quickly retreated to the depths of the run. With that, I knew I was doing something right and my confidence started to move in the right direction. A few minutes later, I was hooked up. Unfortunately, this fish ran left, then right and snapped my 5x within a few seconds. With a huge smile, I kept working the run, knowing I was going to get a good one eventually.
Just then, bugs started coming off the river in earnest. It was time! With a nice long drift, right on the edge of a current seam, a solid fish crushed my dry fly and started running down stream. Wading in the fast current made it difficult to control where the fish was going without breaking off again. Eventually, I was able to get it into some softer water to land it. From there, the flood gates opened and I had a good series of fish that owned me and few more that came to rest in my net. After a several hours of wading in some serious current and landing a solid number of strong wild fish, I made my way to the bank. Once back at the car, I realized it was only 1:00. With Christmas a day away, I reluctantly unlaced the wader boots and packed up for home. I'm regretting the decision to leave early, just a little...