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.


Wildfire Above the Upper Sacramento River

A helicopter lowers a bucket on the Upper Sacramento River

Big bugs hovering about the water along the Upper Sacramento River are what us anglers look forward to. The thing pictured above... not so much.

Smoke from the wildfire blocks out the sun

I woke up, made some coffee, and emerged out of my truck to see this plume of smoke raise in the eastern sky. I gave it some thought, and decided to rig up my fly rod and hit the water. Certainly being surrounded by water would be the safest place to be if the fire suddenly swept over the ridge. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

An Erickson Air-Crane scouts the Upper Sacramento for a spot to pull water

As the fire intensified throughout the morning, more of these huge bugs decented down on the river. Well, it's one thing to have the ocassional Union Pacific train ramble down the tracks, but add these guys into the mix and it becomes difficult to watch your indicator. Especially when they are dropping buckets in the hole just upstream where I was standing.

Forest Service Fire wheels in the big guns to fight the Ward Fire

The Forest Service rolled in the heavy equipment by mid-day, and I knew the blaze was getting serious. The Ward Fire was reported just before 1 a.m. and reportedly grew to 650 acres by the early afternoon. Investigators were working toward naming a cause of the blaze, though fire officers said humans were the likely culprit. Since I didn't hear any thunder or see any lightning while camping nearby that night, I have to agree with their assessment.

A bambi bucket about to draw water out of the Upper Sacramento River

From morning to sun down, bambi buckets rained down on the river. Watching, I had to wonder how many wild rainbows ended up as collateral damage in the effort to put down the fire. Have a feeling most of the trout ducked for cover when they saw this bright orange object drop from the sky.

A helicopter races to the wildfire with a full bambi bucket

With over half dozen helicopters working to put down the wildfire, finding a piece of quiet water became impossible. I took refuge and grabbed some lunch - away from the big bugs and their big buckets.

Modoc Hotshots staging near Sims Flat get ready to flight the blaze

Modoc Hotshots staging near the road up to the ridge. This was the "morning crew." These guys, along with other fire crews, were waiting for the "night crew" to come down before taking their place. As I waited behind them to leave, I talked with one of the Modoc guys. He asked, "How's the fishing?" I laughed and said it's been a challenge ducking bambi buckets.