Fly Fishing Hat Creek
The Wild Trout Section of Hat Creek is a fly fishing destination that captures the imaginations of all fly fisherman. Opening every year on the last Saturday in April, the waters of the famed blue ribbon section of Hat Creek run from the Power House #2 riffle down to the fish barrier where Hat Creek transitions into Lake Britton near the Pit River just to the east. Hat Creek tell stories of dry flies, fine leaders, and challenging, educated trout. I can’t think of a river that offers the quintessential fly fishing experience better than Hat Creek.
Access is public and easy. So is the wading. Walking the edges of the river is straightforward. The upper trophy trout section is lined with meadows offering unobstructed viewing of the river that offers its classic spring creek character. Below HWY 299, to the North, the river flows through oaks, over riffles and takes on a freestone character. Some of the best Salmonfly hatches anywhere can be experienced here in late May through early June. I enjoy watching, hunting for rising fish in the flats below the often crowded Power House #2 riffle. Timing your visit so it coincides with PMD, Callibaetis, Salmonfly, Stonefly, and caddis hatches isn’t a challenge in the spring. Autumn offers caddis and the notable October caddis hatches that can last through closing day November 15th.
A Day On Hat Creek
The Early bird doesn’t necessarily get the worm on Hat Creek. Some of the best fishing happens mid-day and then near or at sunset. I like to mix up my day on Hat with some time spent fishing the Pit or even Fall River. For me, my favorite time of day on Hat Creek is the evening when the fish come out from hiding all day. The biggest and best formidably finned contenders avoid the sun and sometimes busy day-light fishing conditions. Travis Ortiz will meet you either in Redding or at your lodge, hotel, motel. Your time on Hat Creek with Travis is spent fishing during a hatch or series of hatches. Lunch is usually a tailgate affair provided by Travis, but eating streamside is always an option. Travis will have plenty of water and soda. Hat Creek isn’t a river where anglers should expect to catch “a-lot” of fish. Consider one a success.
Best Time To Fish Hat Creek
Spring and Autumn are the best, most productive times to fish Hat Creek. That said, there’s always something brewing on Hat Creek. Mid-day during July anglers can experience Callibaetis hatches that put fish on the surface eating emerger patterns. August would have to be the “slowest month”, but don’t jump to conclusions. Nothing like swinging leeches at sunset on Hat Creek after a great day on Fall River or the Pit and finding a big brown or a couple rainbows coming tight to the leader.
Beginners And Experts
I think Hat is a great classroom for the angler who has had a preliminary introduction to fly fishing. Best to have a day on the Lower Sac under your belt. The fish here are tough to catch. Even experienced anglers struggle here. Hat Creek really does offer a great technical learning experience for the beginning angler and a challenge for the experienced. Aside from the fishing being demanding, Hat Creek offers a great classroom environment for anglers looking to learn how to cast a fly rod, learn knots and basically gain some initial understanding of what can be accomplished with a fly rod.