The Pit River



From Sacramento

From Sacramento take Interstate 5 north to Redding. From Redding, take Highway 299 East approximately 60 miles to the town of Burney. Proceed about 5 miles east past Burney to Highway 89. Take a left at the stop sign and go north about a couple of miles and turn left onto Clark Creek Road. Follow Clark Creek Road until you cross Pit #3 Dam (which is Lake Britton). The road heads northeast - away from the Pit River - until you arrive at a 3 way junction. Make a hard left which puts you on Forest Route 37N05 and takes you down into the Prit River Canyon.


Flow Information

As the river here is used to provide hydro-power, the flows below each of the respective powerhouse dams are strictly controlled. The flows typically run about 150 C.F.S. These flows are regardless of season.


Pit River - Powerhouses #3, #4, and #5

The wild trout section of the Pit River is located in the northeastern portion of Shasta County. Starting from the Lake Britton Dam, the Pit River has been harnessed to produce power. Downstream of Lake Britton the sections of the Pit River can be broken down as follows: 1) the Pit 3 reach, a 6-mile section of the Pit River between Lake Britton and Pit 3 Powerhouse; 2) the Pit 4 reach, a 7.5 mile section of river between Pit 4 Reservoir and Pit 4 Powerhouse; and 3) the Pit 5 Reach, a 9-mile section of river between Pit 5 Reservoir and Pit 5 Powerhouse.

Highway 299 Bridge Crossing the Pit River

The Bigger Pit-ure

At approximately 110 miles long, the Pit River is the longest tributary of the Sacramento River. The Pit extends from its origin in the Warner Mountains (photos of Warner Mountain area here)in the northeastern corner of California to the northernmost portions of the Sacramento Valley. It drains a sparsely-populated volcanic highlands area, passing through the south end of the Cascade Range in a deep-cut canyon northeast of Redding. The river is so named because of the pits the Achumawi dug to trap game that came to water at the river.

Pit River wild trout section

The greater Pit River watershed provides habitat to several fish, wildlife, and rare plant species which are endemic to the Pit. The highest profile species include the Modoc sucker, Goose Lake redband, willow flycatcher, greater sandhill crane, northern goshawk, sage grouse and spotted owl.

The Pit River can yield large rainbows in these runs

The constant flows and cool water temperatures characteristic of this tailwater fishery, produce ideal conditions for aquatic insects and the trout which feed on them. Combine a tailwater with tons of boulders and fairly deep pocketwater, and the result is excellent habitat for rainbows. The Pit River has a well earned reputation for being a tough mother to wade. Boulders of all shapes and sizes and slick surfaces make studded wading-boots and a wading staff required fishing gear for the lower Pit. Also, dense bush and tree growth along the banks don't permit easy access or casting.