Fall River Rainbow Trout
Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Fly Fishing On The Fall River In California
The Fall River is the largest of all the spring creeks in
the United States. It begins at Thousand Springs close to
Dana California. This is about sixty-five miles east of
Redding. This huge spring creek flows for almost twenty
miles providing an excellent habitat for trout that anglers
aren't able to do much harm to in the way of reducing
the fish population, even if they tried. It's home to some
huge wild brown and rainbow trout. The stream is a
tributary to the Pitt River. Fly fishing the Fall River can
be very challenging, yet rewarding when you are

As you might expect, this river has little access. Its
property was bought up years ago by some very wealthy
people. The good new is, once you access the river from
one of its two public access points, you can fish
anywhere you want. The upper access doesn't allow
motors and this is a big river. The lower one does. Most
all the water is too deep to wade. It averages over six
feet deep and can get thick with weeds and other
aquatic vegetation. The water remains about 50 degrees
throughout the year. There are special regulations on
this stream, so you should always check out the most
recent ones.

Fly fishing the Fall River can be very technical. You will
need to match the hatch or those insects that are about
to hatch. It's one stream our Perfect Flies really prove
their value on. We have several repeat customers who
use our flies exclusively and successfully on this ultra
clear, difficult to master trout stream.

The Fall River is a very wide, slow moving stream with a
surface that stays slick providing the wind isn't blowing
hard. Good presentations are always necessary. You will
also need the right type of boat to fish this river. Shallow
drafts and electric motors are the normal type of crafts

The aquatic insect hatches are huge and plentiful. Pale
Morning Duns hatch over a very long time and provide
much of the action. Small, Blue-winged Olives of different
species are also plentiful. Tricos and Speckled Wind
Quills are very plentiful in August all the way to early
November. Caddisflies of many different species are
always hatching. See the Fall River Hatches and Flies
section below.

Fall River water is clear and clean. There are many birds
and animals that rely of it remaining that way including
deer, ducks, geese, heron, osprey and eagles. Big trout
also rely on it remaining clear and clean.

Caltrout's purchase of land near Island Road in the
middle section of the stream provides the best fly fishing
opportunities. Boats with electric motors only can be
Type of Stream
Spring Creek

Rainbow Trout {Wild)
Brown Trout (Wild)


Northern California

Nearest Towns

Last Saturday of April through
November 15

Very Limited

Non-Resident License
State of California

Weather Channel

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Photo Courtesy of Stephen Lamb
Fall River
The season is from the last Saturday in
April through November 15.

Springtime is the best time for fly fishing
the Fall River. This is when the largest
hatches occur and dry fly fishing is
usually at its best.
Fall River Fly Fishing Guide:
The biggest difference in the Fall River and
most other northern California trout streams
is you can't wade it. It averages over six feet
deep. Another big difference is the stream
isn't affected by spring runoff even though
Mr. Shasta and Mt. Lassen are clearly in

The late spring and early summer months
are the most popular times for anglers to fly
fish the Fall River but not necessarily the
best. Other months during the season offer
just as good of fly fishing opportunities.

Catching fish on the Fall River is not exactly
simple. The same thing is true with most any
spring creek and the Fall is no exception.
The water is smooth flowing, slow moving
and crystal clear. The fish have plenty of
food to choose from and can be highly
selective. You must match the hatch, or
what is about to hatch. Rarely, will you find
nothing hatching but if you do, you want to
imitate the most plentiful and available food
at the time your fishing.  

Presentation is very important, even moreso
than normal. The shadow of a fly line can
spook the trout or at  least make them
aware something is wrong. The splash of
the fly line landing on the water often
spooks trout. Surface feeding trout hold
close to the surface. Downstream
presentations are necessary in many cases.
That allows the fish to see the fly first, but
getting it in the right locations isn't always
Fall River Guide, continued:
Nymphs and streamers are often the only
way to fish the Fall River. Nymphs can be
presented without  an indicator by swinging
the fly and is often the best way. Again, that
allows the fish to see the fly first. They can
also be fished underneath a strike indicator
but we prefer the swing. Swinging the fly
allows you to cover more water.

In early summer, the bottom of the Fall River
is a blanket of weeds. The weeds create
complex currents. Channels are sometimes
formed within the weed beds and that's
usually where the fish hold, looking for food.
You should positions your boat upstream
from these feeding areas in the weeks so
the fly can be presented with the least
opportunity of hanging it up.

Often the best way to find fish is to fish a
streamer. This allows you to cover more
water in a shorter time. You can swing the
streamers just like you were fishing for
steelhead. The difference is the amount of
current is far less. Again, positioning the
boat in the best place can be critical to this
Fall River Hatches and Flies:
Our information on aquatic insects is based on
our stream samples of larvae and nymphs, not
guess work. We base fly suggestions on
imitating the most plentiful and most available
insects and other foods at the particular time
you are fishing.

Unlike the generic fly shop trout flies, we have
specific imitations of all the insects in the Fall
River and in all stages of life that is applicable
to fishing. If you want to fish better, more
realistic trout flies, have a much higher degree
of success, give us a call.  We not only will
help you with selections, you will learn why,
after trying Perfect Flies, 92% of the
thousands of our customers will use nothing

Late Spring and early Summer are  
considered the best time to fish Fall River but
that is only because of the numerous hatches.
Fish can be caught equally as well throughout
the season if you use good strategies and

Pale Morning Duns is one of, if not the best
hatch that takes place. It produces some
blanket hatches and spinner falls. Trout will
sip the spinners from morning falls. Most of
the PMD hatches occur in the upstream part
of the stream.

In late June and July, hatches of large Great
Olive Wing Drakes (
Hexagenia species) hatch.
They hatch right after the sun sets and on into
the evening. Trout eat the duns and the
spinners. These are very large mayflies that
create quite a disturbance on the surface of
the Fall River. We have Perfect Fly realistic
imitations of the nymphs, emergers, duns and
Hatches, continued:
Small Blue-winged Olives also hatch
throughout June and July and on into
August. They are small, hook size 18 and
20, but they bring big trout to the surface.
Trout eat the emerging duns and the

June and July are also the top caddisfly
months. Several species of net-spinning
caddis, Spotted Sedges and Little Sister
Caddis, hatch throughout the Summer.
There are also some Black Dancers in the

In August, large morning hatches of Tricos
hatch. Spinners are so thick they appear in
clouds. This is a tough hatch to imitate
because the males and females look very
different and so do the spinners but done
right, it can produce plenty of action.

About the same time, Speckled-wing Quills
begin to hatch. These
Callibaetis mayflies
will bring big trout to the surface during the
hatch and spinner falls. The Tricos and
Speckled-wing Quills usually hatch on into
the month of October and sometimes, early

In late September and October, hatches of
Blue-winged Olives consisting mostly of
Baetis  species occur. Space hatches of
caddisflies will continue on until the first
cold snaps start showing up.

September and October is also streamer
time. Brown trout spawn in the fall and
become very aggressive and territorial.
Streamers are very effective at catching
some trophy size trout during the Fall.
Summertime is popular because of the
large Hexigenia mayfly hatch that
Fly fishing the Fall River during the
early Fall can also be very productive.
There are some very good hatches
that occur.
Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (sales@perfectflystore.com)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.

2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.

3. Email us (sales@perfectflystore.com)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.

All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
Priority Mail.  
Headlines: The river is in good
shape. The Speckled wing Quills
Callebaetis) are done for another
year. Blue-winged olives are hatching
good and the added cloud cover this
coming week should make it even
better. Our Brown or White Belly
sculpin would be a good fly choice as
the water may stain up a little in
places due to heavy rain.
Make sure
you keep up with the latest stream
and weather conditions by clicking the
above linked, weekly updated, Fall
River fishing report.
Map of Fall River
Fishing Report Headlines Archive:
Current Fall River Fishing Report
10/15/15 Fishing continues to be good. Late afternoon caddis egg layers has brought up some
trout to the surface, but other than that, streamers like our Brown Sculpin has been the top
producer. There are still a lot of damsel and dragon flies. Blue-winged Olives will become a
main insect to imitate in the near future. We have taken samples of the aquatic insects and
other foods using professional entomology equipment and know what you should be imitating
at any particular time.

10/21/15 We received a couple of very good reports this past week. The much cooler weather
has helped anglers fishing, probably a lot more than it has helped the trout. The water remains
about the same temperature. Blue-winged Olive hatches are taking place, although they are
sparse. That's due to the bright skies. Two sizes of
baetis are emerging, 20's and some 16's.
Fishing the BWO nymphs until you see surface action.

10/29/15 Too many anglers think you have to have a guide to catch trout on the Fall River.
That simply isn't true. If you can catch trout reasonably well at other locations, chances are you
will do well on the Fall River. It is quite different but the trout still take streamers well, especially
flies like our Brown Sculpin. Blue-winged Olive hatches take place most days but are usually
sparse unless it is cloudy or overcast.

11/05/15 It is gradually getting cooler days as they go by. This is more advantageous to the
anglers not having to deal with the hot weather than the trout. The trout live in water that
changes little and very slowly with the air temperature. Don't forget you can always catch trout
on the lowly scud. Our scuds are very realistic and do a good job on the Fall River. Blue-
winged olives are hatching good, especially under cloudy or overcast conditions..

11/12/15 There are three more days to catch trout from the Fall River legally and I wouldn't
recommend doing it any other way. The trout and the Blue-winged Olives and Midges are not
aware of it. You can still catch few if you get off the couch. Too many anglers think a boat
and/or a guide is necessary to catch trout on this river when they aren't.

11/15/15 Another season has come to an end and we all are another year older. The good
news is, if your reading this, you are still here.

04/28/16 Three more days before the 2016 season opens -  the last Saturday of April. Let us
help you plan you next Fall River fly fishing trip. We have 450 of our own simi-realistic fly
patterns. We do not go by trial and error, or what Joe Blow says he caught 50 trout on
yesterday. We base fly selection on actual stream samples of aquatic insects taken with
professional entomology equipment, not trial and error. We are the only fly company in the
World with specific imitations of all stages of life of all the important aquatic insects.
Give us a call or send us an email (Tel # and email address on your right) and let us help you
plan your next trip.

05/05/16 The season got off to a good start with two of our customers reporting good action
and even some top water, dry fly action. The river is in good shape and clear with several
insects hatching. There is a lot of rain in the forecast for the next two days, and the levels will
rise for sure. You may need to go to streamers most of the time. It usually just clouds up the
water in heavy rains.

05/12/16 Anglers continue to catch some nice size trout. It is mostly streamer fishing right now
and our customers are doing good with the White Belly sculpin and Brown Sculpin streamers.
The Matuka patterns ar also working good. Other than that, midges and little Blue-winged
olives represent the best opportunity.

05/26/16 The Pale Morning Duns made a showing but the cooler weather may hold them up for
a few days. There is a lot of rain in the forecast and that cools the surface down some but the
cloud cover is an added bonus. Blue-winged olives will be hatching good and maybe he PMDs
will continue with cripples. Spotted Sedges are hatching good.

06/02/16 Very good conditions exist on the river. Good stream levels and clear water with the
bright skies for most days of the coming week won't be exactly easy. Fish subsurface flies until
you see surface action and you should do much better. Too many guys are fishing dry flies
when they would have higher odds of success below the surface. Lots of insects are hatching.
PMDs, little Yellow stones, Green and Spotted sedges (caddis) and BWOs are some of main

06/15/16 Several species of caddisflies are hatching including Spotted Sedges, Green Sedges,
Little Sister Caddis, Black Dancers and even more. Most anglers are fishing the adult or dry fly
caddis imitations when they should be fishing the pupa. Fish the pupa during the hatch and the
adults when the caddis are laying eggs, usually late afternoons. Some guys are fishing the
adult caddis pattern all day and that's not productive.  

06/23/16 Several species of caddisflies are hatching including Spotted Sedges, Green Sedges,
Little Sister Caddis, Black Dancers and even more. Most anglers are fishing the adult or dry fly
caddis imitations when they should be fishing the pupa. Fish the pupa during the hatch and the
adults when the caddis are laying eggs, usually late afternoons. Some guys are fishing the
adult caddis pattern all day and that's not productive.

06/30/16 Other than the hot weather, conditions for fly fishing the Fall River as good as they
get. The trout will pay little to no attention to the hot air. They won't even know it until they
leave the water after crashing a egg laying caddisfly. Fish the first two or three hours of the ay
with Sculpin streamers. Fish the last two or three hours with adult Spotted Sedge caddis. You
can catch trout during the middle of the day, if you juice up and fish.

07/07/16 There are still a lot of aquatic insects hatching. There are morning spinner falls of the
Pale Morning duns, and late afternoon spinner falls of Blue-winged olives, and Speckled Wing
quills. The late afternoon egg laying caddis activity is bringing a lot of trout to the net for our
customers. Fish the pupa during the hatches, usually mid afternoon. It isn't easy to determine
when they are hatching. You have to watch for flashes under the water or sometimes, swirls.

07/14/16 When the air temperatures get hot, and it will be this coming week, the Fall River is a
dream stream to fish. The water temperature is not affected very much at all and stays cool
with hatches continues and trout being taken. The Callabeatis, or Speckled Wing Quills are
hatching and provided good action. Caddisflies egg laying in the late afternoons is bringing
trout to the top.

07/21/16 The river is in good shape with some anglers catching good numbers of trout, and
others not. The fly and fly presentation makes a big difference in the clear spring water of the
Fall river. Some anglers work on matching the most available and plentiful foods and others
just rely on luck. The later ones usually complain that the fishing is slow. There are lots of Pale
Morning duns and Speckled-wing Quills hatching.

07/28/16 With the extremely high heat, the Fall River is one of the best destinations you can
find to fish in California. The deep, cool, clear water spooks a lot of anglers simply because it is
so different. The hatches turn the fish on. You do need to match the hatch. Right now there are
several insects hatching. Send us an email for a list.  

08/11/16 Don't forget about Dragon fly nymphs, Damselfly nymphs and scuds. The river is full
of these insects and few anglers imitate them. We continue to get good reports from customers
fishing the Fall. You don't have to fish the fast water riffles to catch trout. Fish early in the
mornings using Sculpin streamers. Fish the last two or three hours of daylight, fishing the
caddisfly egg laying activity.

08/18/16 There are a few Great Olive Wings (Hexigenia), lots of Speckled-wing Quills
(callibaetis), and mega Trico hatches taking place. Trico spinners are falling late mornings and
hatching early afternoons. There are lots of caddisflies, including Spotted sedges, little Black
caddis, and some Green sedges.

09/08/15 The river is in great shape and most anglers are catching trout. Don't let anyone
intimidate you into thinking the Fall is a very tough to fish river. It is different, but not that tough.
Some sections (the fast water sections) are actually fairly easy to fish successfully. There are
lots of hatching insects. Tricos and Caddisflies of three species are plentiful.

09/15/16 This river offers fly fishing as good as it gets at this time of the year. Callibeatis, or
Speckled-wing Quills, are still hatching good. Tricos are hatching daily. Damselfly and Dragon
fly nymphs are catching trout. Scuds work all year long. There are some Mahogany duns
starting to hatch. The trout don't know the weather is still hot.

09/22/16 As usual, we are getting some very good reports of catches and some very lousy
reports. It does require matching the most plentiful and available food at the time. We have
customers purchasing flies but never taking the time to learn as much as when (the time of
day) to fish them. We also have customers purchasing the right flies and catching lots of trout
when others aren't.

10/29/16 The cool weather sure makes it nice even though it has little effect on the water
temperature. OUr customers are reporting some good catching. The Brown sculpin streamers
are working good early and when it is cloudy. Speckled Wing Quills are still hatching and
falling. Blue-winged olives are hatching in large numbers. Try dragon fly nymphs and damselfly
nymphs, for a change.