Another two day trip to Hat Creek this past week as the “bug season” is well under way up there, and I just can’t pass up a good hatch or two. Hooked eight with four to the net from 10-15”, including a very nice and active 15” rainbow who put on a great show in, out, and above the water. Also raised in excess of 25 risers between AM fishing at the Powerhouse and the evening fishing down at Carbon Bridge; all on dry flies so a very active two days with lots of casting to rising fish.
Typical situation at Hat Creek with the most activity in the early AM until noon, very slow mid-day, and then really active hatches with the mosquito attacks at sunset. So I started with E/C Caddis “leftovers” in the early AM which enticed the largest fish of the day; switched to Parachute Adams around 9, and then on to PMD’s when the hatch came off in the riffles around 10 AM, just like clockwork. There were only four of us in the PH#2 riffles until they all left at noon and they were all fishing under indicators and skunked. I think that the fish in the riffles see so many nymphs flung at them that they are very skittish, hence my move to dries to take advantage of the rising hatches.
The evening was a spectacular sight down at Carbon Bridge with multiple hatches coming off just about 8 PM. The Little Sister Weedy Sedges are in full flight right now, and I was on to to them with Henryville Down-wing Caddis. Landed two, but the rest of the fish must have been on to me as they were a real challenge to get on the hook. And as quickly as the Caddis came they left 15 minutes later, to be followed by a blizzard of Pale Evening Dun mating swarms above the shoreline with the spent spinners falling and collecting in the shallow quiet water. Quite another very quick but spectacularly thick hatch that caught me by surprise, and by the time I had tied on a Rusty Spinner it was over. Easy come, easy go I guess. Next time I’ll be rigged and ready for that hatch.
Weather is still a major determinant up at Hat Creek, and it seemingly changes every hour this time of year. I had sun, overcast, periodic wind, rain, rainbows, and occasional thunderstorms so one has to be prepared for what you are going to get. Got cold the previous night and local Mt. Burney and the pass over to Redding both had fresh snow in the morning. But the bald eagles were out fishing too; fresh new families of Mallard ducklings (one with 11) as well as Canadian Geese families were also in the creek with deer on the hillsides so it was a National Geographic type of trip. A nice time of year to be up there if you can handle the weather changes.