Unless announced otherwise, this Hat Creek fish-out is again only being offered to a limited number of the 2017 year's enrolled students in the Novice class of the club's "Learn to Fly Fish" Program on a first-to-register basis. Do not register for this event if you are NOT in this class, or risk losing your registration fee.
There will be only two days (Sat. May 20 & Sun. May 21) of mentored fishing, but a few more experienced students may be allowed to tag along with the mentors on Friday evening or choose to fish on their own on Monday -- should they wisely choose to drive home that evening to beat weekend traffic.
We have one of the club’s best casting instructors and a very experienced fly fisher, Brian Endlich, offering to again lead this fish-out since he is extremely familiar with Hat Creek — having fished it for probably 40 years! Many of you will know Brian already from the club's 2nd Sat. casting classes. Brian and I will be looking for other mentors to help us with this outing since we hope to be providing no more than a 3:1 student-to-mentor ratio in order to be able to give you better instruction.
Hat Creek is one of California’s most renowned trout streams and a favorite dry fly water for many of the state’s best fly fishers — especially on the Wild River section and other famous stretches of this special river that we expect to fish. And since this is a spring-fed stream, it should have a good water level regardless of run-off.
This fish-out will be limited to 12 students in order not to over-crowd the river.
Campground: I have been able to book four campsites (#22, 23, 24, 25) for 2 nights (Fri. & Sat. nights, 6/19 & 6/20) and a fifth campsite (#26) for 3 nights (Fri.-Sun. nights, 6/19-20) on the back loop at PG&E’s Cassel Campground (off Hwy 299 east of Burney) with the past understanding that we can pitch 3-4 tents per site there. There are no group camp sites in either this or any other nearby campgrounds, but this arrangement should work to allow most of us to camp closer together than being spread out throughout a campground. I have paid for up to 3 vehicles per site. Any more than that and we may have to park some vehicles at the gate to the campground (after unloading) or pay an extra $5/night for additional vehicles, but the area mgr. will decide that when he sees how many vehicles we have (another good reason to carpool, if possible).
Should you prefer a campsite of your own though, go to pge.com and under the "Find A Park" tab, search for Cassel Campground and book your own site soon. (Another smaller PG&E campground in that area is North Shore Campground if you can’t find a spot in Cassel.)
Motels: For those who prefer not to camp, motels in nearby Burney include:
Charm Motel (ph 530-335-3300, www.charm.burneylodging.com)
Green Gables (ph. 530-335-3300, www.greengables.burneylodging.com)
Shasta Pines Motel & Suites (ph. 530-335-2201, www.shastapinesmotel.com)
Meeting Place: Everyone will need to meet at Site #26 in Cassel Campground on Saturday and Sunday morning at 7:00AM to figure out who is going with which mentor, to make up your lunches, to get your flies, instructions, etc. This early start is intended to get everyone on the water as soon as possible each morning —so please don’t be late.
Driving Directions: Google "Cassel Campground”: the shortest route is to follow I-5N to Redding from there take CA-299E to Cassel Road — about 5 hours total drive time without traffic (from Redding it is about 1 hr. 15 min. without traffic)
If you need them, follow these directions: Take Exit #680 off of I-5 for CA-299/Lake Blvd., keep right at the fork and follow signs for Burney/Alturas/CA-299E, follow CA-299E for 50 miles to Burney, continue east of Burney on CA Hwy 299E for 7 more miles (to 2 miles past the junction with Hwy. 89), turn south onto Cassel Road, drive 3.6 miles and turn left at paved access road into the campground (before the bridge).
Our campsites are in the back right corner of the campground --veer off slightly to the right of the main campground road.
Meals: There will be NO hosted group dinners for everyone on this fish-out. You can cook dinners in camp, or there are at least two possible restaurants on Main St. in Burney that smaller groups may decide to use: Rex Club (ph. 530-335-4184, they also have cabins) Art’s Outpost (Steak House & Italian, ph. 530-335-2835)
There are also other diners, a Subway for sandwiches, pizza joints, and fast food options in Burney: (www.reddingcentral.com/Dine/dine-Burney.htm)
We will be providing groceries for making your own sandwiches for sack lunches on Saturday and Sunday only. It is also possible that we may change the lunch on one of these two days to be a group lunch somewhere.
NOTE: Other than the two Sat. & Sun. lunches, you are on your own to bring (and prepare) your own food, or buy dinners or other meals out.
Gear: Recommend bringing a 3-5wt fly rod with floating line (6wt max!). For dry flies, bring 9’ tapered leaders to 4X or 5X, with mono tippet spools in 4X-6X (these fish can be picky!) Also be sure that you bring both a dry fly floatant and a dry shake floatant for treating your dry flies. For indicator nymphing, bring indicators, split shot, one spool of say 0X to 3X mono tippet material (to use 5'-6’ of this for indicator/ depth adjustment), and spools of both 4X & 5X fluoro tippet for connections to nymphs. Bring foam hoppers or Chubby Chernobyl pattern flies for hopper (dry) / dropper rigging if you prefer this rather than an indicator, or simply tight-line nymph instead (although, Hat Creek has little pocket water where tight-lining works best). "Swinging" of soft-hackled flies is another very good choice.
We will be providing at least a dozen flies to each student -- some dries, a couple buggers, and a few nymph patterns, as suggested by Brian for this water. These flies will only be packaged in sandwich bags for distributing to you, so you will need to put them in your own fly box along with your other flies -- and be sure to pinch those barbs! We will not be doing this for you. If you need more flies, or forgot some other gear after you leave town, there is The Fly Shop on your way there (just south of Redding on I-5, take Churn Creek Road exit and head north on the frontage road) and the Shasta Angler out in Fall River Mills (for good local knowledge from owner Matt).
In addition to forceps, nippers, sunhat, sunscreen, bug repellent, waders, boots, belts, canteens (or other means to carry, or filter, drinking water), don’t forget your wading staff! A small net is always optional for trout, but it really helps in landing them with minimal stress and keeping them in the water while unhooking—both of which are extremely important for the fish’s survival. Camping gear should include headlamps or flashlights —the former is esp good for tying on flies in late evening.
As a spring creek, the water can be pretty cold, but you may decide when you get there and test the water that you’d prefer to wet-wade (not me!) instead of wearing waders. If so, just be sure that you have sturdy closed-toe wading sandals or, better yet, use neoprene gaiters or neoprene socks and liner socks to fill-out your wading boots. Lightweight (i.e., nylon) long pants are recommended for wet-wading over shorts to better protect your shins from scrapes on rocks, scratchy brush, poison oak, etc.
Cost: We are trying to hold the registration fee to $75 per student (mentors are volunteering their time, and not charged this fee). This fee is needed to hopefully cover the cost of all the campground fees, the purchase of flies, groceries for lunches, etc. If it falls too short, we may have to take up a collection up there of another $10-20 from each camper.
Contacts: John Murphy, email email@example.com, cellphone 650-799-1695;
Brian Endlich, firstname.lastname@example.org