Chances are you've caught a McCloud River rainbow, even though you've likely never fished the McCloud. The McCloud River, in Northern California, was one of the greatest salmon and steelhead rivers in the United States before a series of dams wiped out anadromous fish populations beginning in the 1940s. Part of the Sacramento River watershed, the McCloud is primarily fed by springs at its headwaters southeast of Mount Shasta.
The McCloud is also home to one of the first rainbow trout hatcheries. Beginning after the establishment of a McCloud River rainbow trout hatchery in 1877, McCloud rainbows were exported all over the world: to the eastern United States, New Zealand, Europe and South America.
Despite the destruction of once-prolific runs of steelhead, chinook salmon and other anadromous fish -- the result of the construction of two very large dams on the McCloud, dams which today divert over 80 percent of the McCloud's base flows for hydroelectric power generation -- the McCloud River of today persists, offering rare beauty and excellent angling opportunities for rainbow trout and McCloud River redband trout.
Yet, the forces of industry that have asked so much and taken so much from the McCloud throughout the past century are back to ask for more. Numerous threats exist. Proposals exist to raise the height of the Shasta dam, flooding even more of the McCloud's threatened habitat. Nestle Corporation wants to build a spring water bottling plant on its shores.
When is enough, enough? A short film (~15 minutes) released this spring asks just this question. Enough is Enough follows three anglers as they tell the story of the river they love. To learn more about the McCloud, as well as experience some breathtaking views of this majestic river, be sure to watch below.