The McCloud River is perhaps one of the prettiest places in the west to fly fish. This scenic wonderland is also home to one of the most famous strains of rainbow trout in the world. In the late 1800s, McCloud River Redbands were sent overseas to stock the now famous rivers of Patagonia, New Zealand, and Australia. If you catch a rainbow trout in another continent, odds are the origins of that fish start back at the McCloud River. These native trout still exist here and thrive in her cold, clean glacial waters below Mt Shasta.

Although it takes some driving to get down into the river’s canyons, this magical place is certainly one of our favorite rivers to guide fishermen — especially the 10 miles of public water between McCloud reservoir and Lake Shasta. With early hatches of various stoneflies, caddis and mayflies, dry fly fishing in the early season can be fantastic. This is more of an advanced river to wade fish, so be sure to bring your felt boots and wading staff. Our McCloud river fly fishing guides haves decades of combined experience.



Spring can be considered prime time on the McCloud RIver. Opening day of trout season falls on the last Saturday of April and is the start of some exciting early season fishing. By then, there are already a plethora of bugs feeding the trout. Our favorite bug to see by mid-May are the big golden stoneflies, which are responsible for bringing some of the bigger fish of the river to the surface. Covering the water with a “dry-dropper” rig this time of year can be a fun and effective way of fishing all of the pockets. Evenings in late May and early June can bring about some phenomenal dry fly fishing and is one of our favorite windows of fishing during the entire season.



By July and August, we start to see migratory brown trout show up from Shasta Lake to hang out in the cold, clean, nutrient-rich waters of the McCloud River. These fish can be upwards of 10 lbs and can be targeted with streamers, nymphs, and the occasional dry fly. We don’t typically see the big numbers of fish caught in the mid-summer months, but we do see some of the bigger fish hooked during this time of year. Evening can provide some good dry fly opportunities for the patient angler who is willing to stick it out until dark.



Fall is a close second to spring as far as popularity of fishing. As the days shorten and temperatures begin to drop, there is a resurgence in the fish from the dog days of July and August. The McCloud River canyon begins to turn shades of orange, yellow, and red, making for some breathtaking scenery. We begin to see giant October caddis start to take flight by early October, which is a big event that the trout pay close attention to. Larva are a hot item on the menu for the trout from late September until mid-November. These giant caddis that are hatching in the fall will also provide some big flurries of dry fly fishing in the late evening hours. The giant migratory brown trout are still making their way up from Lake Shasta, and although you might not expect to catch one every day, the opportunity is a realistic possibility if one commits to it.