Upper Middle Fork Feather River-Sierra Tahoe

Upper Middle Fork Feather River

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Upper Middle Fork Feather River

Suggested Flies for Upper MF Feather River
Sierra Tahoe Hatch Selection

Nymphs:
Gold Ribbed Hares Ear, #12-16
Birds Nest #12-16, Olive
Black A.P. Nymph #12-16
Burk's Hunchback Infrequens #14-16
Little Yellow Stone Nymph #14-16

Drys:
Light Cahill Catskill #16-18
Parachute Adams #16-18
Elk Hair Caddis #16-18
Yellow Humpy #14-16
Parachute Madam X #12-14


Hoppers:
Dave's Hopper #10-12
Parachute Hopper #10-12



Streamers:
Black Woolly Bugger #8-12
Marabou Leech, Black or Olive #10-12
Marabou Muddler #8-10



Directions:

From Quincy, two approaches; 1) Take Hwy 70 East and go 13 miles to Sloat. Turn right, follow road by railroad yard and cross bridge. 2) Take Highway 70 East through East Quincy to far edge of town. Turn South on La Porte Road and continue 11.5 miles to Feather River bridge crossing.

Notes:
Upper MF Feather The Middle Fork Feather River is one of the original streams named within the Wild Trout Program and designated as a Wild and Scenic River for the State of California. It is about 85 miles long flowing from Sierra Valley, in the middle of Plumas County, to Oroville Lake. Above the town of Sloat, the river is a freestone stream with easy access along Hwy 89. Much of this area consists of hatchery plants. The better fishing is downstream of Sloat where the river enters a rugged canyon with almost no access. The easiest access being the La Porte Road where it intersects the river. Within the canyon, the river consists of large pools with long runs and riffles holding wild Rainbows within the faster waters and large Browns inhabiting the pools.

The season usually starts around mid-June when the runoff begins to recede and continues until the end of the season in mid-November. Most fish are in the 10-14 inch category. Yellow Humpies, Elk Hair caddis, and other attractor patterns are used. Generally, tight line nymphing is used throughout the season in the deeper pools and slots. In June, small Golden and Black Stoneflies hatch with most using nymph patterns of these insects. Between mid-June and mid-July , there is a small cream-colored mayfly hatch that comes off, a Light Cahill in sizes 12 to 16 will work. Through July and August, an olive and light brown caddis hatch usually appears in the evening hours. Try an emergent caddis pupa within the riffles and slicks. During the midsummer days, grasshopper patterns work well with a small bead head dropper. September can be a difficult month as the water warms. The best fishing during this period is in the morning or evening when the sun is off the water. During this time, try an attractor dry with a beadhead dropper. In October, the October Caddis Pupa works well and the BWO and Isonychia will start to hatch. Fish midday with small nymph patterns. Griffith's Gnats are a good midge indicator here also. In the pocket water, try nymphing without an indicator.

Flows are lower above Nelson Point than below due to the confluence of Nelson Creek. The railroad line follows the river and provides access to the river from Sloat to Graegle. Many maintenance roads throughout the area are available. Most of this section retains wild rainbows but the area around Blairsden is stocked heavily with hatchery rainbows. June is the best month to fish this section as the water gets too warm by the end of July.

Another good area to fish is the section of Nelson Point to Minerva Bar. This area is reached by the Minerva Bar Trail from the south rim and the Claremont Spur Trail from the north rim. Quincy La Porte Road that crosses the Upper MF Feather at Nelson Point. The cool waters of Nelson Creek emptying into the MF Feather at Nelson Point maintains excellent fishability. The streambed is wide and by July the river is low enough to wade safely. Large pools pocket this area as a classic freestone riffle-run-pool type river.

Nelson Creek is a major tributary for the Middle Fork Feather and contains a large population of wild rainbows up to 15". It is a spring-fed stream that originates in the high elevations east of Eureka Ridge. The lower reaches contain numerous pools and spawning gravel, making it one of the most important spawning tributaries of the Middle Fork. Nelson Creek maintains a cool temperature throughout the season due to these springs. Many of the larger trout that reside here are actually transients that have left the Middle Fork of the Feather for the cooler water of Nelson Creek. Access is difficult. Attactor dry flies work well as to caddis patterns and Stimulators. The stream is shallow so that it can be waded easily.

Nelson Point: Quincy La Porte road crosses the MF Feather at this site. A trail on the south side will get you to the river. This was a mining camp from 1850 to 1900 and was known as the "wickedest town in California". This area gives you good access in the early season when flows are high but you can't go either upstream or downstream until later in the season. Gets quite a bit of fishing pressure. Most of the fish are 6-8 inches.

Claremont Spur: Trail is 2.5 miles with a 2600' descent to the river. This is about 1.5 miles upstream of Minerva Bar. Has excellent pocket water with small to medium sized pools. Contains Rainbows 12".

Lost Cabin Springs Trail: A 4WD is needed to get to the trailhead. Follow FS23N92 about 2 mile. A spur road goes to the left leading to Lost Cabin Springs in about one mile. The Springs are overgrown. The trail that continue another .25 miles to the river with a steep decline. Not much pocket water in this section but a lot of deep pools and runs for deep nymphing and streamers.

Minerva Bar: Trail is 1.5 miles to the river with a 2000' descent. The trail can get a little spooky at the bottom due to the steepness. This section is easily wadeable during the summer and you can go quite a distance either upstream or downstream. Contain Rainbows in the 12" class.



Fishing Regulations (Effective March 1st, 2021)

Upper Middle Fork Feather River and Tributaries:

Last Saturday in Apr. through Nov. 15. No restrictions. 5 fish limit. Ten in Possession

Feather River, Middle Fork (Plumas Co.), from the Union Pacific Railroad Bridge (1/4 mile upstream of County A-23 bridge) to the Mohawk Bridge.:

From the last Saturday in April through November 15, five trout daily bag limit, 10 trout in possession; and, from November 16 through the Friday preceding the last Saturday in April, 0 trout bag limit, artificial lures with barbless hooks only and trout must be released unharmed and not removed from the water.

 

© 2021 Steve Schalla
This page is not to be copied without my explicit permission.

 

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