A few weeks ago I traveled to Mossbrae Falls on the Upper Sacramento River. I heard great things about its amazing scenery and fishing since its recovery from the 1991 Southern Pacific train derailment where a tank car ruptured, dumping 13,000 gallons of metam-sodium - a highly toxic pesticide into the river killing everything down stream for 35 miles.
To reach the falls I parked along the road after crossing the bridge on Scarlet Way in Dunsmuir. I hiked along the railroad grading for a while I began seeing multiple side trails leading down to the river. I checked out a few spots but was eager to get to the falls since I never have been there before.
To say the least, the falls are stunningly beautiful and the fishing was quite great. Once getting over the secludedness, I tied on a standard fly that always seems to work, first a Hare’s Ear, then a Copper John, then a Pheasant Tail, but still nothing. I looked around on the shore in the Willows, in the water, but nothing noticeable bug wise, except for the hundreds of old exoskeletons from past Stone Fly hatches months ago. OK this is serious I thought, I’m going to work for this one. Time to bring out the big gun, my Cased Caddis. Its seems irresistible to trout sometimes, and when sharing the tie with others, most don’t use it, maybe that’s the reason for its success. After a couple of swing casts above a large submerged rock, there she was… Boom! Two jumps and the rainbow rodeo was on! After some good runs I finally landed her, and she was awesome, took a portrait and eased her into the recovery room. After the excitement, I sat on the shore, had a cup of coffee, and then focused on the pool just behind the same submerged boulder. This time I tied on a Birds Nest using a Duncan loop, I dredged the depths of the pool. Suddenly like a torpedo with wings, Yow! Out of the water, and across the stream he went. I had to take quick care, dropping in behind me, the full weight of the current and trout was against my 6x tippet. Patiently I got him in and took the portrait, catch and release! After the workout I sat and enjoyed the beauty of the place and was very grateful to be there, I hiked up and out of the spot and crossed the railroad tracks near the Train trestle and down again to the stream. The scrambling was great and hours peeled away before I knew it. Hiking by the railroad tracks and playing in the river reminded me of being a kid At 4pm I decided to hike out. Along the way back I only ran into three people visiting the falls.
To see photos of the day
Moby Bow at Mossbrae Falls
Conservation on the Upper Sacramento River
Posted by Tony Bellaver