Rainbow Trout
Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Hat Creek California
If you think you are the best fly angler in the World, then
maybe you haven't fished the smooth, flat water of
California's Hat Creek. The trout can quickly determine if
you have the proper amount of dressing on your fly, if it
is applied to heavily or to lightly. They don't fall for
anything but "Perfect Fly" flies. (Just kidding) You still
stand a good chance with other flies, just not as good of
a chance.

This stream is a very beautiful spring creek that flows
from the Mt. Lassen. It's cold and clear and can be
fished day every day of the season. The water remains
about as stable as any trout stream in the country. It has
a very diverse aquatic insect population.

Fly fishing Hat Creek becomes a match the hatch dream
situation except for one problem. Often there are
multiple hatches and figuring out what to do is not easy.
The trout usually key in on one insect but it may well
change within a few feet of water to yet another one.

You have two choices for fly fishing Hat Creek. You can
choose the fish the upper Spring Creek or the section
below Powerhouse #2. Serious anglers fish the section
below the powerhouse. It is the wild trout section and the
section we will focus on most. Fly fishing Hat Creek in
this section will test your skills to the utmost.

Just below the powerhouse there's a fast water section
of riffles. That's where many anglers prefer to fish simply
because it's easier to catch trout in the faster, broken
water. The stream quickly settles down into a smooth,
gin clear stream where wild rainbow and brown trout will
challenge your skills to the utmost. This section is gin
clear and smooth as glass. It has a dense weed growth
on its bottom that is a perfect home for many species of
aquatic insects.

Anytime you are fishing water where you can clearly see
trout you can rest assured they can see you. This has
both advantages and disadvantages. It requires longer
than normal cast and long, light leaders and tippets.

At the very end of this section the water again picks up
speed and runs through some riffles and runs as it goes
under highway #299.

Most anglers fish the 3.2 miles of Hat River below the
Power House #2. This is the “Wild Trout” section and the
best Hat Creek has to offer. The upper freestone
section sees far more spin casting anglers than fly
anglers and it heavily stocked. This section has a 2 fish
limit, 18-inch minimum, but you must use barbless flies
and lures only.
Type of Stream
Spring Creek/Tailwater

Species
Rainbow Trout
Brown Trout
(Wild and Stocked)

Size
Small to Medium

Location
Northern California

Nearest Towns
Burney

Season
Last Saturday of April through
November 15

Access:
Good

Non-Resident License
State of California

Weather
National Weather Service Link

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and
Trout Flies

Hat Creek Stream Flow Data
Hat Creek
California
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Photo Courtesy of David Knapp Photography
Seasons:
The first of the season is the most
popular time to fish Hat Creek. Hatches
will be in progress on the opening day
of the season.

Spring:
May and June are the best months due
to the many aquatic insect hatches
that takes place.
Hat Creek Hatches and Trout 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
Hat Creek 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 else.
1-800-594-4726.

From the very first day of the season, the
last Saturday in April, you will find numerous
hatches taking place on Hat Creek. Dry fly
fishing is usually good from the opening day
on. Multiple hatches are normal. In the
smooth water sections, the trout can be
selective on one or two of the insects and
completely ignore the others. It is about
impossible to determine what is best to
imitate without some trial and error
experience.

In the riffles, or broken sections of water that
is faster flowing water, the stream has a
good population of Salmonflies. There are
also plenty of Little Yellow Stoneflies that
many anglers call Yellow Sallies.

During May and early June, you can often
find hatches of Green Drakes. This hatch
only last about two or three weeks and
timely it right isn't easy. Anglers tend to think
the big drakes bring up the larger trout but
not necessarily so. Pale Morning Duns,
which are far more plentiful, may be the key
insect to imitate. They start hatching in May
and continue through June.
Fly Fishing Guide to Hat Creek:
The upper section of Hat Creek flows for
about thirty miles mostly through private land.
It is stocked in many areas. Above Lassen
Park and downstream of Bridge Camp the
water is private.  There is about fifteen miles
of water in between these two areas.  

Above the town of Cassel, Hat Creek is
transformed into a spring creek by spring
water that enters it from Rising River. The
water changes to ultra clear water that's slick
flowing and challenging to fish.

Cassel Forebay is a shallow section of the
river where water enters the Hat #1 power
plant. The water temperature remains fairly
consistent throughout the year. There's  
plenty aquatic vegetation, a high pH and
plenty of aquatic insects. Because of that, the
fish in this section are usually large. Baum
Lake is just downstream. It is really just a
wide section of Hat Creek.

The lower section, below Baum Creek and
powerhouse #2, is the wild trout section. It
runs from the Powerhouse downstream to the
fish barrier just above Lake Britton.
Fly Fishing Guide, continued:
The upper part of the Wild Trout section is
mostly classic, smooth flowing spring creek
water that must be fished as such. You must
use very good presentations to catch the
trout in this section. Right below the
powerhouse in a long riffles with fast, flower
water with a broken surface that is much
easier to fish. Naturally, that's where most
anglers tend to fish Hat Creek. This section
contains stoneflies, something usually for
most spring creeks. The best way to fish the
riffle is using a nymph or larvae imitation.

The entire upper part of the Wild Trout
section can accessed and easily waded.
The wild trout in this section will range from
ten to twenty inches.

The lower end of the three mile wild trout
section is different from the upper part. It
has some very long sections of riffles, deep
pools and pockets created by ledges. This
area is easier to fish than the flat, smooth
spring creek water.
Hatches, continued:
Caddis will appear from opening day but
become much more plentiful in mid June
and July. They will continue to hatch into
October. There are many species but the
great majority are net-spinning caddis,
mostly Spotted Sedges and Little Sister
Caddis. There are some Short-horned
Sedges and even some Black Dancers in
the spring water.

There are a few cased caddis species in
the riffle sections but they are not very
plentiful. The best action comes from late
afternoon hatches, using imitations of the
Spotted Sedge pupae and egg laying
activity that comes mostly after the sun
sets. In October, you can even find some of
the large October Caddis hatching in the
riffle sections. This is a sporadic hatch at
best.

Starting in late July or early August, you will
find large hatches of the White Wing
Curse, or Tricos taking place. They will
continue on into the fall months. These
hatches are tough to imitate well in the
smooth flowing sections but will produce
plenty of action if done right.  

Starting in late September, several species
of Blue-winged Olive mayflies will begin to
hatch. They will range from a hook size 20
up to a size 16 depending on the species.
October and early November can have
some blanket hatches. The worse the
weather gets, the better the BWOs hatch.
They will hatch even when it begins to snow.
Cloudy, overcast days are best.
Summer:
Summertime sees a few good hatches
and the water remains cool providing
good fishing.

Fall:
Fall maybe the best time for fly fishing
Hat Creek simply because the stream
is much less crowded.
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 season ended the 15th of
November. Send us an email and let
us help you plan that next Hat Creek
fly fishing trip.
Fishing Report Headlines Archive:
Current Hat Creek Fishing Report
10/21/15 The hot weather is continuing but should start decreasing later this week. October
Caddis are at their peak and trout are eating the big egg laying females from the surface late
in the day. Hat Creek continues to be one of the top choices of California locations to fish
for trout because of its cool, spring water. BWOs, Spotted Sedge and Green Sedge
(cadddisflies) and several other insects are hatching.

10/29/15 Stream flows are good and customers are catching some nice trout. The weather is
turning a little cooler and that helps the overall conditions. Blue-winged Olives are the main
insect you  should be imitating. They are hatching in two sizes, 20 and 16. The Brown Sculpin
and White Belly Sculpin streamers always produce trout from Hat. Don't forget the simple
Scud. They will catch trout year round and not just small ones.

11/06/15 I will mention it again because it works, yet few anglers use them. Scuds, especially
our Perfect Fly Scud works great on Hat Creek. Blue-winged olive hatches should become
even more plentiful. Some
baetis species should begin to hatch. Don't forget Brown Sculpin
fly. It works great on the larger, harder to fool trout.

11/12/15 The season winds down for another year in three days. The last few days are
usually good ones. There should be some egg laying female October Caddis still around.
There plenty of two sizes of Blue-winged olives hatching and tons of midges. If your planning
a trip to the Creek next season, give us a call or send us an email. We will be glad to assist
you with the planning. The We have taken samples of the aquatic insects using professional
entomology equipment and know what's best for you to imitate at any giving time frame.

01/21/16 Happy New Year! This is just a note to say you don't have to wait until the season
opens again to plan your next fishing trip to Hat Creek. We will be glad to help  you with that.
We base fly selection on actual stream samples of aquatic insects taken with professional
entomology equipment, not trial and error. Give us a call or send us an email (number is on
your right under options for selecting flies).
sales@perfectflystore.com

04/28/16 There two more days left in the off season. The creek is in great shape for the
opening of the season with excellent weather ahead with no chance of rain or snow for the
next few days. There are lots of Blue-winged olives and midges hatching and trout can be
taken on the surface on dry flies. Get off the couch and on the water. It is that time.

05/12/16 The season got off to a good start. Salmonflies are hatching in the riffles below the
powerhouse. Golden stoneflies will soon be hatching there. Western Green drakes, Pale
morning duns and Speckled Wing Quills (callebaetis) are hatching. Lots of Green sedges and
spotted sedges.

05/26/16 The creek is in very good shape with lots of hatches going on. Most of our
customers are reporting catching good numbers and sizes of trout, but some are not doing so
good. This isn't unusual. The riffles are much easier to fish and have some stonefly hatches
in progress right now. The smooth flows are a different challenge, with BWO, some PMDs (but
it has slowed but should pick back up). Streamers like our Brown sculpin have produced some
good size trout.

06/02/16 There is one thing that seems to never change about fishing Hat creek. Some catch
a lot of trout and others few to none. One thing I've noticed that is consistent, is too many not
familiar with the creek, fish dry flies far to often. This is especially true when the skies are
clear. Don't overlook morning PMD spinner falls. Fish streamers early as well and
nymphs/larvae most of the time otherwise.

06/30/16 The hatches at Hat Creek are different from many streams in northern California
and that's because of the high pH of the spring water. It produces the idea water chemistry for
many different insects. Right now, not listed hatches are Black Dancers, Short Horned
sedges, Damsel flies, Dragon flies, Western Ginger Quills, and several other insects. These
vary from section to section and mixed in with the PMDs, little BWOs, Spotted sedges and
other insects, presents a multiple hatch situation.

07/07/16 We received some very good reports this past week from regular customers that fish
Hat. They are fishing early, taking a break and again late in the afternoons. The weather is
going to be much cooler this coming week, and you may want to fish all day. Streamers, like
the Perfect Fly Brown sculpin, are fooling some of the larger trout is fished early in the
morning or late in the day.

07/14/16
Let us help you plan your next Hat
Creek fly fishing trip.
sales@perfectflystore.com
10/21/15 The hot weather is continuing but should start decreasing later this week. October
Caddis are at their peak and trout are eating the big egg laying females from the surface late
in the day. Hat Creek continues to be one of the top choices of California locations to fish
for trout because of its cool, spring water. BWOs, Spotted Sedge and Green Sedge
(cadddisflies) and several other insects are hatching.

10/29/15 Stream flows are good and customers are catching some nice trout. The weather is
turning a little cooler and that helps the overall conditions. Blue-winged Olives are the main
insect you  should be imitating. They are hatching in two sizes, 20 and 16. The Brown Sculpin
and White Belly Sculpin streamers always produce trout from Hat. Don't forget the simple
Scud. They will catch trout year round and not just small ones.

11/06/15 I will mention it again because it works, yet few anglers use them. Scuds, especially
our Perfect Fly Scud works great on Hat Creek. Blue-winged olive hatches should become
even more plentiful. Some
baetis species should begin to hatch. Don't forget Brown Sculpin
fly. It works great on the larger, harder to fool trout.

11/12/15 The season winds down for another year in three days. The last few days are
usually good ones. There should be some egg laying female October Caddis still around.
There plenty of two sizes of Blue-winged olives hatching and tons of midges. If your planning
a trip to the Creek next season, give us a call or send us an email. We will be glad to assist
you with the planning. The We have taken samples of the aquatic insects using professional
entomology equipment and know what's best for you to imitate at any giving time frame.

01/21/16 Happy New Year! This is just a note to say you don't have to wait until the season
opens again to plan your next fishing trip to Hat Creek. We will be glad to help  you with that.
We base fly selection on actual stream samples of aquatic insects taken with professional
entomology equipment, not trial and error. Give us a call or send us an email (number is on
your right under options for selecting flies).
sales@perfectflystore.com

04/28/16 There two more days left in the off season. The creek is in great shape for the
opening of the season with excellent weather ahead with no chance of rain or snow for the
next few days. There are lots of Blue-winged olives and midges hatching and trout can be
taken on the surface on dry flies. Get off the couch and on the water. It is that time.

05/12/16 The season got off to a good start. Salmonflies are hatching in the riffles below the
powerhouse. Golden stoneflies will soon be hatching there. Western Green drakes, Pale
morning duns and Speckled Wing Quills (callebaetis) are hatching. Lots of Green sedges and
spotted sedges.

05/26/16 The creek is in very good shape with lots of hatches going on. Most of our
customers are reporting catching good numbers and sizes of trout, but some are not doing so
good. This isn't unusual. The riffles are much easier to fish and have some stonefly hatches
in progress right now. The smooth flows are a different challenge, with BWO, some PMDs (but
it has slowed but should pick back up). Streamers like our Brown sculpin have produced some
good size trout.

06/02/16 There is one thing that seems to never change about fishing Hat creek. Some catch
a lot of trout and others few to none. One thing I've noticed that is consistent, is too many not
familiar with the creek, fish dry flies far to often. This is especially true when the skies are
clear. Don't overlook morning PMD spinner falls. Fish streamers early as well and
nymphs/larvae most of the time otherwise.

06/30/16 The hatches at Hat Creek are different from many streams in northern California
and that's because of the high pH of the spring water. It produces the idea water chemistry for
many different insects. Right now, not listed hatches are Black Dancers, Short Horned
sedges, Damsel flies, Dragon flies, Western Ginger Quills, and several other insects. These
vary from section to section and mixed in with the PMDs, little BWOs, Spotted sedges and
other insects, presents a multiple hatch situation.

07/07/16 We received some very good reports this past week from regular customers that fish
Hat. They are fishing early, taking a break and again late in the afternoons. The weather is
going to be much cooler this coming week, and you may want to fish all day. Streamers, like
the Perfect Fly Brown sculpin, are fooling some of the larger trout is fished early in the
morning or late in the day.

07/14/16 It just doesn't get any better on Hat creek than it is right now. Anglers are catching
trout in all sections of the stream. Callebaetis or Speckled Wing Quills, Pale Morning duns,
size 20 BWOs, Damselfles, Spotted Sedges, Green Sedges, Little Short-horned sedges,
Black Dancers and other insects are continuing to hatch. The best time is the last two hours
of the day. Spinner falls and egg laying caddis provide a lot of action in a short time.

08/04/16 Fish early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Mid day fishing is getting a little
tough. Late evening caddisfly egg laying is bringing a lot of trout to the surface. Trico hatches
are starting to take place along with the Pale Morning duns. Use longer, lighter 6X leaders
and tippets. Trico spinner falls are also bringing some good top water action.

08/17/16 Our customers sent in some good reports this week in spite of the heat wave. It
affects the water temperature and the trout very little but can make it tough on those fishing.
Fish early and late in the day. The last two hours of daylight are the best. Early morning
sculpin streamer fishing is working for some. There are a lot of hatches, still PMDs, little
BWOs, Tricos and two species of caddisflies.

09/08/16 The big news is, two species of
baetis Blue-winged olives are starting to hatch.
There are also some Mahogany duns, Tricos and other insects hatching including plenty of
Spotted Sedges and little Sister Caddisflies. Our customers are catching some nice trout on
terrestrial imitations such as ants, beetles and hoppers.

09/22/16 We received two good reports from customers fishing this past week. Early in the
morning, they used Sculpin streamers. Later in the morning they fish the Trico spinner fall
and hatches. Early to mid afternoons Mahogany dun and BWO hatches. It is still hot weather
but the trout in Hat Creek aren't aware of it. Scuds, damselfly and dragon fly nymphs should
also work good.

09/29/16 The cooler weather sure helps those fishing. It is also helping the hatches, as
baetis
Blue-winged olives are hatching good. Fish the nymphs in the riffles and the smooth water
until you see emergers and then change to an emerger or dun. There are still some Trico
hatches and a few Speckled wing quills. Sculpin streamers are working in low light conditions.

10/12/16 As you probably know, there is a lot of rain in the forecast for a change, but it
should have little effect on the fishing on Hat. It may help it with the added cloud cover. There
should be much better Blue-winged olive hatches. There are two species of little caddis, little
blacks and little browns but they are sparse. Streamers like our Brown sculpin should work
good this coming week and get you some larger size trout.

11/07/16 As usual, Hat Creek has been tough on those who just tie on a fly and hope for the
best. Those that know what the trout are eating and match it well with a fly, usually do good.
There are only five more days left in the season this year. Blue-winged olives and Cream
midges are hatching good. We hope you get a chance to fish it.