Team Gray Barn Brings Home the Gold
The Five Rivers Challenge has returned and what fun it was. Six teams, three days, five of the best blue ribbon trout waters in the country and over 3,000 inches of wild trout caught. And the waters—the Upper Sac, McCloud, the Pit, Fall River and Hat Creek—iconic places sharing a common attribute: cold, clean spring water. The challenge was as much a friendly competition as it was a celebration of the health of these rivers and their wild trout populations.
Congratulations to the winner of the 2016 Challenge, Team Gray Barn, Steve McCanne and Alec Gerbec guided by John Fochetti, coming in at 1,088 inches of fish caught. The team established a solid lead after Day 1 on the McCloud and Upper Sac and never looked back. Steve and Alec will have their names engraved on the bronze Five Rivers Challenge perpetual trophy that will be housed at the Clearwater Lodge. They also each received a Sage Pulse 6wt rod with Sage reel and Rio fly line.
Coming in second was Team Mano y Mano, Steve Johnson and Armando Quintero guided by Jason Cockrum with 547 inches. Steve and Armondo each received a Redington Hydrogen 5wt rod with Redington Behemoth reel and Rio fly line. Rounding it out in third was Team Double Bubble Triple Trouble, Mike Moran and Ben Paul guided by Dave Neal with 414 inches. Mike and Ben each received a canvas print by Josh Udsen.
Other fun stats from the challenge:
- A total of 863 wild trout were netted throughout the five rivers;
- The largest fish caught was a tie – Pearce Hurley and Alec Gerbec each caught a 19″ rainbow on the Fall;
- The most fish inches were caught by Alec Gerbec with 968.5″, followed ever so closely by Steve Johnson – 395″, and Mike Moran – 248″;
- The Pit was kind to the teams providing 801″ of wild trout while the Fall was not, offering only 273″.
These designated Wild Trout Waters are central players in the history of CalTrout. For 45 years we have worked on these rivers starting with Hat Creek in 1971 as the testing grounds for wild trout management. And since that time we have re-watered the Pit River, provided public access to the Fall River, advocated for wild trout management after the 1991 Upper Sac spill, and beat back the Nestle corporation from privatizing and selling off the spring source waters of the McCloud.
It is fitting that the Five Rivers Challenge has returned to raise awareness of these wonderful waters and support CalTrout’s continued efforts to keep these rivers thriving. We are thankful to the sponsors Patagonia, Sage, Redington and Rio. And to Clearwater Lodge as lead sponsor and for providing one of best fly fishing lodges anywhere. Michelle Titus and her crew provide the food, hospitality, top level guides and local knowledge that make Clearwater the go to fly fishing destination.
Sound fun? Mark your calendars for the 2017 Five Rivers Challenge the third week of June. Sign up here and be the first to receive registration information so you don’t miss out.