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photo by Greg Vinci

pesticide metam sodium into the river.  Consequently about forty miles of the river downstream from the spill was sterilized of all aquatic life forms.  On a one to ten scale of ecological disasters, this was close to a ten.  The doomsayers proclaimed that the river was ruined for good, and it was closed to fishing for the next several years in the hope that it would recover.  When fishing was again allowed, it was as good as it ever had been as it was apparently found that enough of the fish escaped the pollution in the main stem by finding safety in th tributaries.  The upper Sacís recovery was a true testament to the resiliency of mother nature.  The one good thing that came out of this was that regulations were changed to turn the upper Sac into a special regs. fishery mandating catch & release.  Since then the regulations have changed with some possession of fish now being allowed.  Regulations can vary in different sections of the river so itís best to check regulations (www.california-flyfishing.com/SacUpper.htm) before you go.  Fishing is allowed year round. 

  One of the best things about the upper Sac is the easy access.  Interstate 5 parallels the river for most of its length and there are many off-ramps that will take you to the river.  The 2000 foot elevation change between the section above Dunsmuir down to Lake Shasta, can affect the fishing during different times of the year.  Early in the spring, the lower elevation sections near Delta and Mc Cardle Flats have better fishing due to the warmer water at that lower elevation.  As the summer progresses water temperatures are more fish friendly the further upstream you go.  Once you get into July, the water temperatures throughout the river can warm up to the point to affect fishing.  That doesnít deter local fly fishermen as they know that the fish move into the well oxygenated riffles and pocket water and become very opportunistic feeders.  Early morning and late evening brings awesome spinner falls and hatches of Caddis and various mayflies. 

  The upper Sac is one of those rivers where generic attractor patterns work fine, though be prepared with some more bug specific flies as the fish can increase their IQ s as the summer progresses.  For dries, high floating flies like Royal Wullfs, Yellow Humpies and Irresistibles are good in the riffles and pocket water.   Parachute patterns and cripples are good in the slicks.  Make sure you have some spinners, both black and rust colored, to be ready for the occasional spinner fall.  In the spring size eight Stimulators, Madam Xs or Soan Persuaders work great for what usually is a significant Stonefly hatch.  In the fall the river if famous for its October Caddis hatch which the above patterns will work also but make sure there is some orange visible on the fly.  Speaking of October Caddis,  their large larva are very apparent on the rocks throughout the year so size #8 & #10 cased Caddis patterns or tan (uncased) larva patterns are good calls as anchor flies in a two fly dropper rig.