Directions

From I-5 Near Dunsmuir

  • Sweetbriar - Travel south on I-5 approximately 10 minutes. Take the Sweetbriar exit. Turn left at the stop sign, cross over the freeway and take an immediate right on the dirt road and follow to the end.
  • Castella/State Park - Travel south on I-5 approximately 7 minutes. Take the Castella exit. Turn left at the stop sign, cross over the freeway. Turn left at the "T" intersection, then right, crossing over the river. Make a left at the Castle Crags Picnic area and park in the day use area.
  • Soda Creek - Travel south on I-5 approximately 5 minutes. Take the Soda Creek exit. Turn left at the stop sign and follow the road to the river.
  • Dunsmuir City Park - From Dunsmuir, take Dunsmuir Avenue north and watch for signs to Dunsmuir City Park (look for the steam engine at the park enterance).
  • Scarlett Way - From Dunsmuir, take Dunsmuir Avenue norh and turn left on Scarlett Way (look for archway). Park across river in large parking area. (No tunaround space for motorhomes.) This is also the access for Mossbrae Falls.
  • Cantara - From Dunmsuir, travel north on I-5. Take the central Mt. Shasta exit. Turn left and cross over the freeway. Turn left on Old Stage Road and travel south approximately 2 miles. Turn right on Azalea and cross the tracks. After 1/2 mile, turn right on Catara Road, and continue down to the river.
  • Lake Siskiyou and Upper South Fork From Dunsmuir, travel north on I-5. Take the central Mt. Shasta exit. Turn left and cross over the freeway. Turn left on Old Stage Road and travel approximately 1 mile. Veer right on W.A. Barr Road and follow the signs to Lake Siskiyou Campground. Continue past the campgound for Upper South Fork and mountain lake access.

 

Wild Trout - Upper Sacramento River

the Upper Sacramento River

Where can you consistently find wild rainbows in California? One such place that's emerged over the years for me - the Upper Sac. From its headwaters downstream to Shasta Lake, the Upper Sacramento River, is designated as wild trout Water, with the exception of a small section near the town of Dunsmuir, which is a stocked put-and-take fishery.

A wild trout caught and released on the Upper Sacramento River

Pictured above, a wild rainbow caught on a nymph. This fish proceeded to turn downstream, and shot through a chute of fast-water. Some rock-scrambling ensured.

Railroad bridges cross the Upper Sacramento River at many locations

Surveys show that overall trout per mile is higher near Dunsmuir. It's likely the higher density estimates in the portion of the river around Dunsmuir result from stocking of hatchery bows.

Wild rainbow stretched out in my ghost net

Larger rainbows can be found throughout the Upper Sacramento, but I prefer to search them out further away from Dunsmuir. What you might miss in total fish hooked, you make up for in quality and size of the fish you hook.

Plants line a pool along the Upper Sacramento River

In the mid to late summer, the pools will hold the majority of the trout. Drifting an indictor / nymph rig though these pools is an effective way to reach these fish.

Rainbow trout released back into the Upper Sacramento River