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8th 'Save Kilarc' picnic coming up

Article and photos by John Higley
09/03/15 -- The other day, as I have several times this summer, I went to Kilarc Reservoir by myself to see if I could catch a few trout for dinner. I suspected I could, and that it wouldn’t be much trouble, because Kilarc has been planted several times this year and fishing has been good all summer long. As proof, I caught my desired quota of trout (4) and had dinner secured in less than an hour.

On another visit recently I fished at Kilarc with my pal Greg Gotham and his five year old twins Johnny and Sydney, neither of whom had ever caught a fish before. Harrison Redden, my wife Sharon’s 17 year old grandson, was there to help out and catch a few fish of his own, which he did quite handily.

I’m happy to say that the twins each caught a few fish all by themselves. Well, okay, at least they reeled them in and seemed excited to do it. Even their dad landed a couple, and when they left with plenty of fish for a family feed daughter Sydney made it clear they were going to share their bounty with friends. They did, too.

 Greg Gotham, of Redding, shows off one of the trout his twins Johnny and Sydney landed “all by themselves.” photo by John Higley
Kilarc is a great place for kids to fish with their parents. Here Greg Gotham, of Redding, shows off one of the trout his twins Johnny and Sydney landed “all by themselves.”

The point of this report is to let everyone know that the eighth annual "Save Kilarc" picnic is coming up on Sunday, September 13 and I, for one, plan to be there. Festivities start at 9 a.m. and go until 1 p.m. although there’s no time limit for your stay. There may be food for sale, primarily hot dogs and soft drinks, but I suggest you bring your own as there are several picnic tables in the shade where you can set up. Also, some fishing tackle will be provided for kids who do not have their own.

Dad Greg helps Sydney land her first fish ever, a rainbow trout from the waters of Kilarc Reservoir east of Whitmore in Shasta County. Photo by John Higley
Dad Greg helps Sydney land her first fish ever, a rainbow trout from the waters of Kilarc Reservoir east of Whitmore in Shasta County.

Kilarc, as most local residents know, was scheduled for dismantling several years ago when P.G.&E. chose not to take out an extended use permit due to the expense of upgrades they would be required to make.

Johnny Gotham, age 5, doesn’t quite know what to do with the first fish he ever caught, but he was all smiles anyway. Photo by John Higley
Johnny Gotham, age 5, doesn’t quite know what to do with the first fish he ever caught, but he was all smiles anyway.

As of now the fate of this facility, which has produced hydro power, and provided an excellent place for family recreation since 1904, is still in limbo. To bring us up to date, representatives of Davis Hydro, a company that wants to make sure Kilarc stays around, will be on hand to answer questions.

Kilarc is fairly easy to reach in Whitmore east of Redding. Take Whitmore Road to Whitmore and go east past the Whitmore School to Fern Road (about a mile), turn left (the only way you can) and go roughly 2.3 miles to Miller Mountain Road (watch carefully and you’ll see a white sign.) Take the gravel/dirt road about 3.4 miles to the parking area. Incidentally, no swimming or boats are allowed on the 4.5 acre impoundment, but fishing from the bank is not a problem. Also, camping is not allowed, but there’s a restroom and, as indicated above, a large picnic area.

As for catching some trout, you can cast lures (Kastmasters, Krocodiles etc.) or fly fish if you so desire, but for kids and Kilarc regulars like me, bait is normally the best choice. By bait, I mean primarily PowerBait or inflated nightcrawlers. On picnic day, bring your family, friends and even distant relatives to Kilarc. Then enjoy a little quality fishing time in a mountain setting with a view of Mt. Lassen in the distance, and, if you’re lucky, an occasional bald eagle in the air overhead.

For more info you can contact Kelly Sackheim


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