Blue Stream Fly Fishing
Fly Fishing Report for:

Mad River - Arcata - California

Hatch Chart - Best Access/Spots - Local Fish - About

Water Flow Chart

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Using Water Flow Charts & Weather Reports: Begin with our water flow charts to grasp stream velocity and volume – look for stable or rising trends to pinpoint ideal fishing times. Learn to interpret sudden spikes or drops, which can indicate potential challenges. Next, consult our weather reports to understand ambient conditions. Pairing the two, you can anticipate fish behavior, choose the right gear, and select the best fishing spots. Use these tools together for a holistic approach to your next fishing adventure.

In-Depth Weather

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Directions To Location

Hatch Chart

Month Hatch Time of Day Recommended Fly Sizes Popular Fly Patterns
January Stone Flies Afternoon #8-12 Baby Gonga, Morrish's Medusa
Caddis Flies Evening #14-18 Egg-Laying Caddis, Elk Hair Caddis
February Blue Winged Olives Afternoon #16-22 Pheasant Tail Nymph, Parachute Adams
March Midges Morning and Evening #20-24 Zebra Midge, Griffith's Gnat
April Sculpin Early Morning #6-10 Woolly Sculpin, Sculpzilla
Caddis Flies Evening #14-18 Egg-Laying Caddis, Elk Hair Caddis
May Mayflies Afternoon #14-18 Wet Fly Swing, Hare's Ear Nymph
Caddis Flies Evening #14-18 Egg-Laying Caddis, Elk Hair Caddis
June Stone Flies Midday #8-12 Baby Gonga, Morrish's Medusa
July Mayflies Afternoon #14-18 Wet Fly Swing, Hare's Ear Nymph
Caddis Flies Evening #14-18 Egg-Laying Caddis, Elk Hair Caddis
August Mayflies Afternoon #14-18 Wet Fly Swing, Hare's Ear Nymph
September Mayflies Afternoon #14-18 Wet Fly Swing, Hare's Ear Nymph
Stone Flies Midday #8-12 Baby Gonga, Morrish's Medusa
October Blue Winged Olives Afternoon #16-22 Pheasant Tail Nymph, Parachute Adams
November Midges Morning and Evening #20-24 Zebra Midge, Griffith's Gnat
December Midges Morning and Evening #20-24 Zebra Midge, Griffith's Gnat

While we strive to ensure the precision of our hatch charts, some reflect broader river region insights. Through ongoing partnerships with local guides and fly shops, we’re committed to refining our data. Should you notice any inconsistencies or have feedback, we welcome you to reach out. 

Best Fishing Spots

The Mad River near Arcata, in Northern California, boasts some of the best fly fishing locations. These spots offer ample opportunities to catch a variety of fish:

  • Dungeness Spit: A splendid place for early season Steelhead, it’s a prominent hotspot for fly fishing.
  • Blue Lake: The deep pools and slow runs make it an ideal spot for Rainbow, Brown and Cutthroat trout. You can even find Salmon in fall!
  • Mad River Fish Hatchery: Frequented by winter Steelhead, the hatchery is a productive fishing area.
  • Mad River Mouth: Lined with gravel bars and deep pools, a great place for coho and steelhead.

Remember, fly fishing on the Mad River is regulated, and all fishermen must follow state guidelines. Happy Fishing!

Best Access Points

The Mad River in Arcata is a premier location for fly fishing. It offers an abundance of steelhead, salmons and trout, attracting anglers from every part of the world. Here are the best access points:

  • Hatchery Counting Station: About 6 miles from Arcata, this location is abundant in fish due to the close hatchery.
  • Blue Lake: Located at Powerhouse #1 Rd, this site is easy to access with ample parking and provides a striking landscape.
  • Pump Station #4: Despite difficult parking, this location offers a peaceful fishing experience.
  • North of Mad River Fish Hatchery: Although accessibility is challenging, plentiful steelhead make it worth a visit.
  • Under the Hammond Bridge: Accessible from the Hammond Trail, this site fishes well during the steelhead run.

Fly fishing on the Mad River is a rewarding experience, the river offers exceptional opportunities throughout the year.

Local Fish

  • Steelhead Trout: One of the most sought after species, it moves upstream during the winter to lay eggs.
  • Sockeye Salmon: Available in abundance during the fall months, this brightly colored fish is a top choice.
  • Chinook Salmon: The king of salmon and a delight for the fly fisherman with its strength and size.
  • Coastal Cutthroat Trout: Native to the Mad River, it offers a thrilling chase for fly fishers.
  • Brown Trout: Predominantly found in the lower reaches of the river, this species has a penchant for biting flies.
  • Rainbow Trout: Known for its vibrant coloration, it makes for an exciting catch.
  • American Shad: Although not native, they are found in sizable numbers and make for good sport during the early summer months.
  • Pacific Halibut: A challenging species for fly fishing due to its size and strength, but it is highly rewarding.

About The River

Arcata’s Mad River sure packs a punch! This humble yet mighty body of water is steeped in age-old mystery and history. The river, known for its tempestuous currents and swift rapids, begins its journey high in the Trinity Mountains before making its journey to the picturesque shores of the Pacific Ocean.

  • Indigenous heritage: Did you know that the Wiyot people called it the “Wild, rushing river”? It was an essential lifeline for them, providing sustenance and means of transportation.
  • European observation: In the 19th century, European settlers re-named it the ‘Mad River’, impressed by its wild and untamed nature.
  • Natural beauty: Now, it’s a haven for fishermen and rafters – and let’s not forget the incredible diversity of wildlife you can spot here, from eagles to salmon.

No visit to Arcata would be complete without experiencing the Mad River‘s awe-inspiring force and tranquil beauty. It’s a genuine symbol of the region’s natural splendor and rich heritage.

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