As teams headed out for the third and final day of the 2017 Five Rivers Challenge, they all felt they had a shot to bring home the prize, and indeed they did. While the team that held first place for the first two days, Frank Eldredge and Bill Zuraleff (both members of San Jose Flycasters club) guided by Dave Neal, had caught 421 fish inches, the second place team of Les Hand and George Revel guided by Brooks Provence were only 38 inches behind and still had the productive McCloud and Upper Sacramento rivers to fish. As well, the third through fifth place teams were separated by only 22 fish inches going into the final day. It was a tight race.
The leaders had their free water in the morning, choosing to fish the Pit, and Fall River in the afternoon slot. Neither were that good to them. George and Les on the other hand, well, let’s just say they slayed it on the Upper Sac, catching 222 fish inches there alone. They topped that off with another 162 on the McCloud. Meanwhile, the sleeper team of Richard West and Dan McMillan guided by Jason Cockrum, who were in fifth place after two days, crushed it on the Fall River reeling in 240 inches for the final day and launched them into second place.
After all was said and done, the winners of the 2017 Five Rivers Challenge were:
1st Place Les Hand and George Revel with Clearwater Guide Brooks Provence with 788″ of fish caught
You’d be hard pressed to find a more perfect spot for an event like the Five Rivers Challenge then the Clearwater Lodge and surrounding waters. Beyond its impeccable host Michelle Titus and delicious food prepared by Nicole, the lodge is centrally located to some of the most beautiful and diverse wild trout waters in the country. Where else can you be tottering through baby head boulders on the Pit one day, casting into emerald green pools of the McCloud the next, and feeding line for the perfect drift from a boat on the Fall with Mount Shasta in perfect view the following?
If you’ll be heading to the area soon, you can read event participant and winner George Revel’s fishing report for each of the five waters in the latest Lost Coast Outfitters newsletter. Having caught a total of 578 fish inches over three days, it clearly was working for him.
Thank you to the participants for supporting CalTrout and taking an interest in our work; to the event sponsors Patagonia, Sage, Redington, and Rio for donating prizes; and to Michelle Titus at Clearwater Lodge for her graciousness and hospitality.
We’ll be announcing the dates for the 2018 Five Rivers Challenge soon. Be sure you’re on our email list so you’ll be one of the first to know.
Photos by Mike Wier and Val Atkinson