The Current Magazine Summer 2018 - Page 61

Hat Creek con't from page 15

Monitoring Success

The Department of Watershed Sciences at UC Davis, in partnership with the DFW and CalTrout, is monitoring the effects of restoration efforts in the stream and measuring their success in three ways: in terms of an increase in aquatic vegetation, a return of insect communities, and an increase in fish numbers.

In less than two years, they have seen rapid changes around the tree structures at Carbon. The bottom shape and profile are shifting, creating niches for plants. With those plants have come bugs in enough variety and numbers to suggest that Hat is on its way to recovering the variety of hatches that has always made it such a remarkable fishery. And the fishing on the Carbon Flats this past season was better than it has been in decades.

Back on the Carbon Flats footbridge, Drew reflected on the challenges the project has presented and how his greatest satisfactions have come in unexpected places. He smiles as he speaks about the young people on the Pit River tribal work crews who have done the land clearing, the replanting, and the trail building. They have come to see the very real possibility of earning a living working in the outdoors on their

ancestral lands — in the local timber industry, with state and federal agencies on other restoration projects, even guiding visiting anglers. The project is helping them imagine bigger futures for themselves.

He talks about the relationships that have developed and the trust that has been built among the partners. The tribe is committed to keeping the project moving forward. They wish to maintain what has been achieved and work on further improvements, include adding more woody debris as the results of the log structures at Carbon are fully understood.

Drew says, “CalTrout has an incredible 45-year legacy on Hat Creek, which demonstrates our long-term commitment to projects and partnerships. This is just the beginning of a new chapter for Hat Creek. Now we have a proven science-based strategy for restoring habitat in spring-fed streams. More importantly, we have a partnership with the Pit River Tribe that will pass on stewardship responsibilities to the next generation so that we can protect this place for another 45 years. The future is bright for Hat Creek.”

Spot Check con't from page 47

Spot Check

As far as fishing techniques go, nymphs are going to be the preferred tactic on the lower reaches of the Pit. There can occasionally be some great dry fly fishing on the random caddis hatch in the evening but for fishing through the hot hours of the day, nymphs will take ten to one over dries. You can use bobbers or high stick. The nature of the big boulder pockets and slightly stained water lends itself well to tight line or high stick nymphing because you can fish closer to the pockets without spooking the fish.

If indicatorless or European nymphing is something you're getting into and want to hone your skills, the Pit is one of the best places to come work on those techniques with a good success rate of catching feisty wild rainbows. Try using slightly smaller flies like in the 14-18 range. Birds nests, pheasant tails, copper johns, brassier midges and mico mays will all produce fish on the Pit. There are stoneflies in the system but not as many as in the Upper Sac or McCloud. I tend to do better on mayfly patterns or midge imitations. Don’t be afraid to switch it up though and try different patterns as those fish do see a little pressure by the end of summer. And while nymphing will produce the most fish, don’t be afraid to tie on a big sculpin or crawdad streamer in a likely looking pool and swing it out there.

If you're looking for a good local guide to show you around, contact Michelle at Clearwater lodge and she can set you up with one of the boys from the lodge. There are also some great independent guides in the area like Art Teter or Jay Cockrum that know the river well.

It’s also worth mentioning that there are some nice camp spots along the river if you're planning an extended stay in the canyon or weekend getaway. It can also be worth checking out the hot springs at Big Bend in the spring or fall when the temps cool off a bit.

Good luck and have fun.

Michael Wier

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