Clearwater Lodge at the Pit River 24500 Pit One Powerhouse Rd., in Fall River Mills, (800) 600-5451, (530) 336-5005. 11 rooms, 5 cottages. No TVs. Cookies 24/7; 3 meals/day.
Originally built in 1921 as a retreat for PG&E executives during the building of the still-adjacent Pit One Powerhouse hydro electric power plant, this remote Craftsman-style lodge is situated on 44 acres of forested land. A full-service fly fishing destination, the lodge offers guides and instruction on northeastern California's five great wild-trout rivers and spring-fed stillwaters. Multi-day fly fishing schools for all ability levels and guided fly fishing trips with knowledgeable guides are a specialty.
Three meals are provided each day. It’s sort of like summer camp, except cold beer and the lodge’s own private-label wines are available at reasonable additional charge. Vintage furniture, antiques, and oriental rugs are found throughout. Modern amenities include wireless internet access and air conditioning. In the common room, a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace with cozy seating invites relaxing and lingering to spin fish tales and share stories of the day's adventures. A well-traveled guest from Madrid told me over dinner here at one of the two long tables in the paneled dining room that successful fly fishing is all about, “The right time, the right fly, and the presentation you make to the fish.” Dinner was seared halibut with caramelized onion jus, penne with roasted butternut squash, asparagus with roasted lemon vinaigrette, mixed greens with hazel nuts and dried cranberries, and a ginger cheese tart with caramel pears for dessert.
Guests can also relax in ample Adirondack chairs on the grounds and on the wide front porch, which is shaded by magnificent old sycamores. Fishing excursions include use of most required equipment. Instead of tipping, a service charge is added at the end of your stay, and you are sent off with a bag lunch.
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image ©2010 Carole Terwilliger Meyers