A Time To Pause & Reflect (2010 recap)

Holiday anglers willing to chance conditions have experienced just about every kind of weather and river conditions Old Man Winter can serve up. If you don’t like the weather wait 24 hrs…Rain, sleet, hail, snow, and even brief sunny periods have settled in for the past few weeks creating unpredictable down right rowdy conditions. Remarkably the upper river (Lewiston to D.C.) has maintained good clarity and remained fishable. Those who cannot resist the temptation and willing to accept the winter steelhead challenge have been rewarded with a new shift of both hatchery and native steelhead. Fresh juice and plenty of it down the main stem and secondary’s is just what the Doc ordered to inspire a new rotation into the upper system. They don’t come easy! Factor in unstable weather, constant fluctuating river flows, cold H20 temps, temperamental winter stocks, and limited fishable water receiving heavy angling traffic, and you have a formula for some of the most demanding fishing of the year. And some of you thought fall steelheading was tough. The rewards, however, are some of the largest mint bright slabs of the entire run. Feel’en lucky?

As I throw another long on the fire and watch a heavy snow blanket the landscape, I can’t help but reflect back on the passing 2010 year with many high’s and lows with mixed emotions. A major non-angling highlight, like an arm-wrenching steelie grab when you least expect it, after 56 years the S.F Giants are the World Series Champs. If you didn’t like this years nail biting playoff series you simply don’t like baseball. YAAAHOOO! Sadly we lost another North Coast pioneer and steelhead/salmon and angling great\, Frank Bertaina. Frank was a man of many gifted talents and strong passion for chasing steelhead along the north coast with close friends Grant Linn, Bill Shaadt, Bob Nauheim, Russell Chatham and numerous other devoted steelheaders. His legacy will long be remembered. Sweet-n-sour, it was decided 2010 was the year for Friends of Trinity River to conclude its operations. Chairman, devoted Trinity angler, and avid SF Giants fan Byron Leydecker felt the organization had achieved it primary objectives. However Byron will continue to be involved with some Trinity River issues and will also be representing sport fisherman on the TAMWAG board. Not to sound like “captain bring down” Unfortunately the summer of 2010 was also the timeframe the (TRRP) Trinity River Restoration Project preformed the “brain child” Mother of all experimental river projects—Lowden Meadow… Narrow mindedly attempting to recreate juvenile rearing habit, they dozed up, trenched, channel manipulated and injected gravels; completely altering and eliminated some of the finest staging/holding and fishing waters in the entire upper river—Perries & Shop Water. Also known as the SYAS stretch (Save Your Ass Stretch). I have personally fished these waters for 41 years and most anyone who has fished with us the past 28 years knew what they represented and just how important and vital they served for all fish varieties and cycles. We’ve all herd, “You never know what you had until it is gone.” Believe me whole heartedly I did. Unfortunately the migrant practicing river experts, affixed to their computer models and playing God with your tax dollars are in their own little world. A harsh reality; a whopping 27 more experimental Trinity River projects are planned for the future. We truly appreciate your comments, questions and concerns regarding the TRRP projects/ program. However we all feel the pain and are also seriously concerned so we ask that you please direct all inquiries, comments (including curse words) to TRRP, (Brandt Gutermuth) (530) 623-1806 or email: bgutermuth@usbr.gov- This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it –or www.trrp.net.

While the 2009-2010 late summer-fall Trinity River steelhead run was solid, late winter-spring (Feb thru April) also yielded some exceptional wet and dry fly action. Actually some of the best late season action I can personally remember. (I’ve always preached,” the more time I spend on the water the less I really know.”) By mid-Feb a significant number of kelts were dominating catches and inspiring anglers to move on to other options. Just when we thought the run was over a strong blast of beautifully bright late season natives, averaging 3-6 lbs. entered the picture and conditions blended together, setting the stage for some première dry fly fishing. Jumbo Callibaetis (#12 Chocolates) start ups lasted through mid-April and got the attention of some solid late season chrome and a few bonus heavy weight browns. Who says they don’t rise to dries? Bill Closs, Dave Lougee, Wayne Horouchi, Tim Regan, Mike Callan, Matt Guelfi, Ed Pollock, Don-Scotty Frogner, Bruce West, Tom-Nancy Fossey, Gary Seput Tom Weseloh, Steve Hopkins, Carl Campbell, Craig Setephens, Norm Christenson, Chuck Batts, Andy Laursen, Dave Green, Dick Sayer, Peter Roth, Jim-Ken Mcinch, Dick Stanley, Peter Samulson,Bob Burke, Russ Guentini, Skinny Otis and numerous others all scored with dry fly honors.

Lewiston Lake shined all year long with peak heat ups throughout the spring. Current fish populations are strong and healthy; reflecting a broad diversity in size and year classes. Hunk bows pressing over 6—8l bs. Callibaetis, Hymenoptera (aquatic Wasp), midge, damsels, and leech populations are solid throughout the entire lake. Lewiston is back and much more than an option. Trinity lake smallmouth bass fishing was a major disappointment throughout the entire spring-summer seasons. Conditions were simply not favorable. On a brighter note tributary trout fishing was simply off the charts and dominated the action. Yuba River shadding started out solid. Early season magnum hens, up to 6 lbs., represented the lead edge of the run and got everyone fired up. However mid-season high flows disrupted the entire run and unfortunately action never kicked back into gear—strange. Spurts of abnormally small males finished out the season. Possibly representing and signaling a strong run for 2011. The Trinity River spring chinook run was over before it even started. High flows through early July encouraged what few returning to simply race through the system. However the fall chinook and coho salmon runs were full on in numbers and abnormally large sizes. Low hatchery steelhead numbers and early season high flows kept many 2010 steelhead anglers guessing. A real learning curve for those weaned on the past three years of abnormally high hatchery returns. Welcome to the real world of steelheading. While low hatchery numbers disappointed some the 2010 lead edge offered large numbers of native stocks and solid surface skating opportunities. OOOH Yeah !!! Out of space and keyboard cramp—enough!

Before we turn the page to 2011 I’d like to personally thank each and every one of you for your friendship, support, and loyal patronage. Because of you we have been able to keep our heads above water and continue to grow in positive directions, ultimately attempting to satisfy your needs and to better serve you. We thank you all!!! May your New Year be filled with healthy happiness, rings of rises and solid Grabs…Clean tippets, Heavy irons and Peace…Herb-Patty-Chris-Kit-“Luke”

Trinity Fly Shop 2010