Hat Creek CA
Few recreational anglers realize that Hat Creek CA is recognized as one of the premier native trout streams in the continental United States! As a matter fact, the lower stretch of water, 3 1/2 miles up from Lake Britton was the pilot site for California’s Wild Trout Program initiated in the early 1970’s. This area is heavily regulated, requiring only artificial baits with single barbless hooks. Check current regulations before setting out. It is estimated that rainbows outnumber browns in an 80/20 spread on the lower stream, with most fish ranging between 10 to 16 inches. But there are some tanker browns. Park where Hwy. 299 crosses the creek. In contrast, upper Hat Creek CA upstream of Baum Lake is populated primarily by planted rainbows with an cccasional native strain fish mixed in. Access is good from 5 campgrounds along Hwy. 89.
Fly fishing is the name of the game along the lower run. Bigger dry flies – especially the #6 and #10 Salmon fly – can be outstanding at times. Other assorted favorites include Cahill, Olive, Tan or Yellow Paraduns, Humpies, Blue Dun, Black Fuzzy, Renegade, Adams, Sulphur Dun, Deer Hair, Spider and Joe’s Hopper. This is a broad, meadow stream. Wading or using the bank works. In fishing a “wet” presentation, try the Pheasant Tail Nymph, Tricots, Hare’s Ear and the Rusty Spinnerfall. Muddler Minnows and Marabous will be well chosen streamer patterns.
Hardware slingers will find the upper Hat Creek CA water much to their liking. Spinners such as the Mepps, Rooster Tail and Panther Martin series are proven winners. Spoons, including the Wob-L-Rite and Super Duper will catch fish along with smaller Rebel and Rapala plugs fished in the deeper water. Fishing baits on the upstream drift will also be very effective. Nightcrawiers, red worms, mealworms, crickets, grasshoppers and salmon eggs will account for many planted rainbows.
Baum Lake can really be a “sleeper.” The lake is populated by over 40 percent brown trout with fish recorded at over 20 pounds! It is open all year long, but no power boats are permitted. Float-tubing has been a favorite technique for tying into some of Baum’s trophy-class fish. The fly and bubble combe with standard fly fishing tackle is preferred by the float tubers. The same basic fly patterns outlined for Hat Creek will work on Baum Lake.
More information on these trout waters is available from the Burney Basin Chamber of Commerce at (916)335-2111 or Vaughn’s Sporting Goods in Burney, (916)335-2381.