Directions: You can reach this area of Upper Deer Creek and Upper Mill Creek by taking Hwy 32 out of Chico or Hwy 36 out of Red Bluff. The two highways intersect at Deer Creek Meadows. To reach the trailhead of Upper Mill Creek, take Hwy 172 off Hwy 36 (about 8 miles west of the intersection of Hwy 36/32) and go just past the community of Mill Creek to a turnoff (FS Road 28N06). Follow this road for 6.1 miles to the Upper Mill Creek Trailhead. From the trailhead you can hike along the creek to Black Rock Campground, a 13 mile distance. You can fish Upper Deer Creek from the many areas along Hwy 32 from the intersection to the Deer Creek Trailhead at the Red Bridge.
Deer Creek and Mill Creek are one of the few Sierra streams that is not dammed and remains a natural flowing stream. Deer Creek flows for 61 miles where it meets it's first Diversion dam about 7 miles from the Sacramento River confluence. Deer Creek has Spring-run and Fall-run Chinook Salmon spawning migrations that reach as far as the Upper Deer Creek Falls. Winter Steelhead also make the journey. The Spring-run salmon counts were about 2800 annually during the 1980s and have declined to just a few hundred in recent years. A Special regulation section
is from Upper Deer Creek
Falls downstream to the Ishi Wilderness. The season is the last Saturday of April to November 15th. Above the Upper Deer Creek Falls, trout plants are made within the campground areas with 8-10" Rainbows. An occasional Brown Trout can be caught with some larger fish 12-16" found in the deeper pools. Below Upper Deer Creek Falls, the wild trout tend to be selective. Most fish this area of Deer Creek with a small caddis pupa pattern and a Beadhead nymph dropper. Concentrate on the larger pools. Some small attractor dries such as Humpys and Olive Elk Hair Caddis are very effective but mainly with the smaller fish throughout the day. Starting in the early season, try to fish during the warmest times of the day. Use small mayfly nymphs and beadhead nymphs with a tight line technique. Also use extra split shot to get the nymphs deep in the pools. In early Spring, most will fish with nymphs but there may be some sparse hatches of caddis and stoneflies. The Baetis (BWO) hatch will commence in May around midday and continue through June. In June, Golden Stone nymphs and Yellow Sallies are effective as well as caddis during the hatches in the late afternoon and early evening. In July, Terrestrials are effective in areas of overhanging trees and brush. The caddis hatch continues through the evening hours when a small caddis adult patterns with a small mayfly dropper can be effective in the riffles and runs of the creek. Little Yellow Stones will also hatch during the evening hours. During August and September, the trout action is best during the morning and late evening hours. Shortline nymphing with caddis pupa and a small mayfly nymph are generally used. Also try using terrestrial dries with a beadhead dropper. Terrestrial patterns are your best bet during this time as the hatches are sporadic and short. When the waters warms in midsummer, fishing will slow down and you must use longer leaders and tippets down to 6x. In October, try nymphing with an October Caddis Pupa and a small mayfly nymph dropper. The fish will be under cover. Generally, the best fishing during this month is mid-afternoons.
Fish First: Fish Report