Is Cedar Stored For 20 Years Considered New Or Old Fly Fishing for Trophy Brown and Rainbow Trout on Iron Canyon Reservoir

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Fly Fishing for Trophy Brown and Rainbow Trout on Iron Canyon Reservoir

Iron Canyon Reservoir is an ancestor that feeds the James B. Black Power Plant on the Pit River. It is fed by an 8-mile tunnel from the McCloud River Reservoir outside McCloud, California. Both projects are owned and operated by Pacific Gas & Electric.

James B. Black was president of Pacific Gas & Electric for 20 years and was Shirley Temple Black’s father-in-law.

The reservoir and plant were completed in 1965 and the reservoir was stocked with various species of rainbow trout from California Fish & Game. No one can tell me where the brown trout came from.

The McCloud River is fed by springs from Mount Shasta and the water is very clear and cold. This is the water that feeds Iron Canyon Reservoir. In addition to the headwaters of the McCloud River, the reservoir has four streams that flow into it and serve as spawning beds for naturally spawning trout.

One of the things that sets Iron Canyon Reservoir apart from other bodies of water is that the carryover of stocked trout is quite high. Hatchlings survive longer than the average of three weeks, and actually survive to spawning age and are able to reproduce.

One can tell the difference between large planters and wild-spawn Rainbow Trout in that the flesh of the wild-spawn trout is pink and firm, similar to Steelhead Trout. This quality makes it easier to fillet the trout. Stocked trout that survive and grow large enough have white flesh and are more difficult to fillet.

Because of the abundance of food and a red worm that is indigenous to the lands along the edges, these fish grow very large…they remind me of footballs. A brown trout made the local paper, it was 32 centimeters long. As a judge for the Annual Fish Derby and Liars Contest, I weighed in a brown trout that was 27 1/4″ long and 7 lbs. 6 oz. in weight. The contestant also entered a 17″ rainbow trout.

The McCloud River Tunnel siphons fish from McCloud Reservoir and extracts fish food. Many brown trout hang out in front of the entrance and even have a spawning area nearby. Local fishing guides use this inlet during times when the local rivers swell and call it the “X River” and have their clients use San Juan Worm Flies from the bank to catch browns. Trotting along the face of the dam with flares and bait also works well for catching large brown trout.

I personally like to fly fish the McGill, Gap and Cedar Salt inlets. The beaches are easy to walk, and a float tube is very handy and easy to launch. Brown trout are fall spawners and will congregate in stream mouths awaiting winter rains. Rainbows are right below them, feeding on brown trout eggs. In the spring, water levels are kept low for power generation purposes and the mouths of the streams have large numbers of rainbow trout feeding in them. I call it “old man” fishing, since all I have to do is put on some rubber boots and throw in the water with a wool fly.

In the summer, when water levels are kept high, brown trout run through the edges and flats, while a float tube will take you out over submerged logs where rainbows feed. Good times.

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