Fly Fishing Putah Creek in California

Report From The Field

Jordan and I went to Putah Creek while visiting California for the Holidays. Jordan caught a nice 25″ Rainbow that put up a good 15 minute fight and I caught a really unique looking 20″ Rainbow, the picture really doesn’t show how amazing the color was. We had a great time and really enjoyed the beauty of the surroundings. We were below the dam of Lake Barryessa and the terrain was quite a bit different from back home, what a work out. I was following Jordan down a steep hill, I slipped and fell flat on my back, slid down the hill and took Jordan out. We are still a little sore but that won’t stop us from fishing the Trinity River while visiting my family in Redding. Stay tuned for more video footage with a followed up detailed report when I get back on the 4th of January.


I’ve been on the run ever since I’ve gotten out here, seeing family and friends. I wanted to write more about the fishing we did at Putah Creek, so here it is I finally have some time to write. I hope every one had a great Christmas. The weather out here has been nice; every one out here thinks my kids are crazy, because they’re running around in shorts and tee shirts.

It’s always good to do a little research when you’re going to be fishing new water. I started out looking on you tube and saw that Putah Creek has some big fish in it. I also noticed that the fish caught there were caught around the same time that I was going to be there. Next I looked for any websites from guides in that area, not all of them will give you as much info as Jeremy does, but you should be able to get some info to add to the puzzle. My favorite is to see their pictures, so I can see what quality of fish they have on that system. There is always a learning curve when you go to new water, so if you can pick something up that will keep you going while you’re trying to find fish that always helps. We did a lot of hiking and trying different spots without any results and it was starting to frustrate Jordan, you can get really spoiled fishing our water back home and it was taking a toll on Jordan. I kept encouraging him to keep going because I knew there were big fish in there because of the pics and videos I’d seen. He just needed a little something to not lose heart and give up, as Jordan found out later and was really glad when he caught that 25” fish. I had also gone to a local fly shop to get some info from them. I found out when I shared with them about a good day for us is catching 40 to 50 fish and a great day is catching 100 they told me that a good day for them is catching 4 to 10 fish a day. I noticed they began to share more info to help me. Part of that low number is due to having to hike and crawl to new spots.

In talking with one of the locals I found out that fly fishing has gotten really popular out there as of late, and the trout waters really get hit hard. Something else I learned at the fly shop was that Putah Creek is now catch and release and barb less hooks only, they have stopped the fish planting program and are making it into a trophy trout fishery.

The creek flows through some beautiful scenery along highway 128. We parked along the highway and walked down to the water, fishing the holes that we could and then hiked back to the car to drive to the next section that looked good. The creek flows through stretches where you’ll have good fishing areas then it turns into a small lake section. There’s not a lot of fish in the creek but the ones that are in there seemed like quality fish. The terrain in the water was full of large rocks that made wading tough; you really had to watch your step.

On Christmas Eve day we went up to the Trinity River after getting reports from the Fly Shop in Redding California that the Steelhead were starting to come up. I caught one small steelhead and that was it, I think that they are still a little farther down then where we went. The Trinity River runs out of Trinity Lake which is at the base of the Trinity Alps, beautiful country. It then flows through the historic town of Lewiston and on down some 100 miles to the Pacific Ocean. One area there in Lewiston that we fished had a really unique thing going on. They made off shoots to form more little creeks that flow away from the river and then hook back up to it later. They’re specifically made to create productive spawning areas for Salmon and Steelhead. They are really putting in a lot of work to improve the fish habitat, really cool stuff. I spoke with some of the locals and they gave me some good info on where to fish so we did a lot of scouting, so next time we’ll be able to focus more on fishing those holes. They also said that there are not too many fish yet in the upper Trinity where we were fishing, it’s just getting started. I will share more about our trip to the Trinity River on my next report. If you’d like to read a good article on the Trinity Steelhead fishing you can find one in the Jan/Feb 2010 Fly Fisherman magazine.

Here’s a few pictures to check out!!

In California
Putah Creek bridge below Berreyessa Dam

Birds eye view of Putah Creek from bridge

The rock garden

20” Rainbow with the most unique colors

Looking down on Putah Creek

Jordan fighting the 25” Putah Creek Rainbow

Jordan with the big Hen


~ by troutdoctor101 on December 24, 2009.

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