After a long hard day of fishing, I camped out at the park by the Dam on Red Bluff Road. When I went to sleep, I intended to wake before sunrise, get the kayak back in the water and paddle upstream to the Dam again. I did wake before sunrise, but that was the only part of my plan that I achieved. I was a bit sore, but mostly I was at peace. I got up walked around and just enjoyed the peacefulness of nature for a change. I decided there was nothing to prove and I didn't need anymore fish pictures to post. Instead I just watched the world wake up and thanked God for a beautiful morning.
I decided to keep it simple and fun, grabbed just 2 rods and walked down to the rocks by the Dam. The south wind was blowing and I have been wanting to try and use a Balloon as a bobber to float bait up to the DAM. I had a great time making a mess of things, but I did manage to get 2 Balloons very close to the DAM, but no bites. I was able to get a few small spotted bass and sand bass to take an inline spinner by the rocks. It was easy fishing , just standing on the rocks as the sun finally rose over my shoulder.
I walked back to the camp, talked to some fisherman that just arrived, swapped info with them. I wandered the campsite talking with a family and had a great morning being outdoors. I eventually drove down to the bridge, walked around a bit and just watched some fly fisherman work the river. I took some pics and video showing the area which are below. I drove back out of the canyon , taking my time and just enjoyed the view. At the junction of hwy 254 & 337 is a great little store with a green metal roof. I think the name is Sportsmans headquarters. I highly recommend stopping in, very nice store, a little sandwhich shop inside that made a great breakfast burrito. Very good selection of adult beverages and some basic tackle if needed. All in all a nice trip and I got home early to take a nap
Sorry no fish pics, just pics of the area.
here is the park, free to camp, has about 10 spots and a nice clean bathroom. No showers, electricy or water though.
Here is looking from the park toward the Dam, you can see it is an easy walk down to the rocks, or you can drop down the hillside to get to the river's edge.
Here is the rocks, I went down and fished by the Orange flag
An overview of the pools from the park.
From the hwy 16 bridge looking north towards Dam, you can see how easy the bank is to walk and fish alot of the river without needing a kayak.
Looking south from the brige
Friendly store at why 254 & 337
Short video from phone showing Dam area.
Short video doing a 360 degree view from hwy 16 Bridge
A lo 109 - There are at least 2 good spots between the bridge and the DAM that I think you would miss if you only walked. Also, for me my most consistent catching is in my kayak, just at the Restricted wire casting towards the finger of cement or working the big boulders sticking out. You could limit out on sandbass in an hour if you wanted there. That area is very rocky bottom and just deep enough that it is easier to be in my kayak vs wading. Also the DAM pools are not that big, so being in a kayak lets me get away from other fly fisherman. I don't like crowding other people, so a kayak lets me work the big pool if the lower pool is crowded. Big striper have been taken in the lower pool, the cut below the pools and the big open area north of the bridge, but not by me. My biggest fish have been casting big heavy swimbaits as far towards the DAM as possible.
However, if you are wading, there is plenty of water in the lower pool and the river just below the pools to keep you busy for hours hunting for the fish. Also, I was targeting striper, but my last trip I saw some big black bass taken just north of the bridge, so it depends on what you want to target.
So it really depends on you, paddling upstream is not an excessive amount of work, but not simple. I carry way more gear, food, drinks etc than I need, but that is the advantage of taking my kayak vs wading and have to carry everything on my person. The disadvantage is loading and unloading the kayak and all that gear. That is why on day 2 of my trip, I just fished with minimal gear, no waders and just walked down to the rocks.
Either way, you can't go wrong. It is a fun place with clear water to test your skills at. You could catch, trout, spotted bass, sand bass, big bluegills, catfish and striper all in the same day.
Thanks for the info Rob. I prefer using the kayak but I did not know if it got crowded along the way to the dam with other fisherman possibly fishing from the bank. I just wanted to make sure I was not "that guy" on the some other forum. I hope to be out there next week.
TO: a lo109 - I never had an issue with bank fisherman or waders feeling like I was getting in there way. Of course, I would pause and make sure the fly fisherman had finished their cast and then try to go behind them without making to much noise. But you will only run in them for a short distance above or below the hwy16 bridge, then you won't run into them usually until the lower pool and there is plenty of room to go around behind them usually.
TO: Butch , yes that is the campsite at the end of the road that runs upto the DAM. Last Friday it was about half full. First come first served. They do have firepits, but bring your own wood.
FYI: This is the link to the river gauge at hwy 16 bridge. Right now the release is lower at 160 cfs. I have paddled up in 70cfs, and had to get out for 2 places where it was two shallow to paddle over. At 160cfs it should be a peace of cake to paddle up, They are releasing trout above the bridge today. With the release down a bit, I would expect trout fishing just above and below the bridge to be excellent this weekend.
You can call the BRA at (940) 779-2321 and get place on their call list for downstream notification. They send you a form to fill out and after you send it back they will put you on the call list to notify you of water releases at the PK dam.
I sure am thinking about going Thursday morning and kayaking up to the dam to fly fish for Stripers then try for some trout around the bridge.
Rick Irving "The Cowtown Kid" Kayak Fisherman and Real Estate Broker
“Angling may be said to be so like the mathematics that it can never be fully learned.” ~Izaak Walton
I headed out yesterday morning. Didn't take the yak, just waded. I managed a couple small sandies in the pool below the dam, and about five stripers from the brushpile downstream. Biggest were about 18", not huge but always fun on the fly rod. Before leaving I drove down to the bridge to scope it out. There are a ton of fish stacked just above the bridge. Trout, bass, carp, bluegill, etc. There are two eddies above the bridge on the east side and that's were all the fish were. You could see them from the bridge or from high up on the bank. There were a couple guys soaking bait for trout and having modest success catching a few. Flow on the river was down and it was easy wading. It would be an easy paddle upstream except for the few places where you need to drag it.