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Stories from the valley

World Class Fishing Right in Our Backyard

Contributed by Tim Johnson

What if you could drive a few hours, float leisurely down a river and have a great chance to catch huge rainbow trout? Join people from all across the country and experience the Lower Sacramento, one of the best fisheries in the Western US. It is a destination for fly fishers and nature lovers, known for its beauty and abundance.

Ann and I drove to Redding this week for our second float down this amazing river. On the way up, we stopped at Bartels Giant Burger in Corning just off I-5 for a great burger and shake! A worthy road trip destination in its own right and a must if you are headed fly fishing. 

After a great night’s rest in one of Redding’s abundant hotels, we stopped by to pick up our guide at The Fly Shop. This place is a road trip worthy destination too, known all over the world as a fantastic place to check the condition of the region’s rivers, buy flies and book a trip of a lifetime. 

two people fishing on the Sacramento river

This time we floated the river from Anderson to Cottonwood. The eight-mile trip took us about 5 hours and revealed a section of river almost impossible to see except from a boat. The guide pointed out the towering red bluffs that give the town its name. We saw both bald eagles and a golden eagle along with otters and osprey. Best of all, we had the river all to ourselves in the middle of the week. 

Oh, and the fishing was fantastic, as well. We landed about a dozen fish and lost as many more. One big rainbow straightened a hook! 

Our guide said it best, “I take people on this river from all over the country, yet most people in Sacramento don’t even know what a gem they have right in their own backyard.” 

view of the Sacramento River from a fishing boat

Call the Fly Shop or another guide service and take advantage of one of the best rivers in the West. Beginners are always welcome and they can walk you through the basics of nymphing. Seasoned anglers will be amazed at the number and size of the trout. You don’t even need to fish, bird watching and just enjoying a day on the water all make for a memorable day.