Trinity River fly fishing guide service in Northern California | Trinity Fly Shop
Trinity Fly Shop


Call: (530) 623-6757 or
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SWEET SEPTEMBER (Twitch- Twitch)

2018 is one of the worst fire seasons on record. No better way to find your stride than immersing yourself in shattered mirrors—Darrin Victorine liquid chrome searching.

Sweet September, it’s cool evenings and warm mellowing days, is a personal favorite time of year that tends to broadcast a contagious hype and restlessness as the seasonal fall transition becomes ever present. Since the beginning of the month Pat and I have experienced an added spring in our step and for good reason; the Carr fire is 100% contained, smoke and air qualities continue to improve, HWY 299 West is open, days are shorter, air/water temps are dropping and fresh-run coastal chrome is entering lower systems; highlighting what may be a hint of normality returning to our lives.

All smiles, Sandy Noyes doing what she loves to do best, fly fish the Trinity River and cash in

Like a major holiday celebration, each and every steelhead season is special. As we prepare for the upcoming fishing seasons, a severe case of “steelhead twitch” has infected all of us. Tending daily chores and maintaining rhythms have been a bit of a challenge as we occasionally lose focus dreaming about fresh arrivals and the possibilities of a few with our flies embedded in their maxillaries. Regardless how many years you have fished or guided steelhead, when they are in, one never remedies the twitch. Although spending as much time on the water as your lifestyle permits helps. If it isn’t in the cards call (530)-623-6757 or e-mail: for solid grab suggestions, reliable on-the-water steelheading updates and technique/fly selection counseling or to simply share the stoke!

We have also been pumped restocking and inventorying TFS with new quality goods and merchandise to better serve you and your friends. We have expanded our fly selections with new deadly and locally fashioned steelhead flies (Wets-Dries-Skaters-Nymphs); guaranteed not online. We’ve also expanded our fly tying materials, (including hard to get bad-ass salmon/steelhead fluorescent rooster necks & broaden Gamakatsu-TMC-Daiichi hook selections), books (great new/old steelhead reads), soft wears and exciting gift items. Remember, we’ve invested 35 yrs. as your destination Trinity Fly Shop; we know your fishing needs. Besides our flies taste better!!!

Unexpected smoke obscured trophy hunkering riverside—SHHHH—its open season!

750 cfs seems to be the magic TR flows for now and has been since the Carr fire impacting Whiskeytown powerhouse. For how long is anyone’s guess. Higher flows have dropped water temps in both the lower Klamath and Trinity rivers and fresh salmon-steelhead have been on the move in both systems for weeks. A recent excursion to the lower TR gorge produced bulk half-pounder activity that provided exciting skating and greased lining favorite patterns. Chrome small-giants, days from salt and many never seen a fly. Did I mention smoke’n hot? Was encouraged witnessing firsthand the lead edge on the move and grabby. Staging spring chinook, throughout the mid-sections of the TR up to Lewiston, have matured and are beginning to show interest in riffles and tailouts for spawning. Scattered summer steelhead pods are also beginning to make their move, from the cool deep water pools, seeking riffles, pocketwaters as well as sniffing mature adult salmon; stay tuned-egg hatch soon. Most hard working anglers are scoring about a fish, adults averaging 3-6 lbs., per outing swinging a variety of favorite standbys (low water Hiltons-Green butt skunks-Burlaps-Chappies). We have experienced best success swinging and skating (small Bombers, Palm skaters, Kit-Chuckie-Joes-its and Muddlers) early and late.

Early season fresh arrivals are seldom particular; find them, tie on any favorite color and stick your finger in the light socket.

To date, with the exception of the lower gorge, there really doesn’t seem to be any major fish concentrations, steelhead are scattered head to tail (Douglas City- down). Keep the odds in your favor, stay on the move, what looks good- fish it, notice activity and no takers-return later. Most importantly have fun and maintain confidence. Mid-day fishing has been tough, sun bleached waters and temps are still climbing above 90 degrees. West bank shadows and favorite ice cold hops are key should you decide to grunt thru it.

September 22 (Sat), 9:00am is 2018 Trinity River Clean-Up sponsored by the US Forest Service and Cal Trans; after cleanup (3:00pm) a free BBQ at Pigeon Point. A great opportunity and user friendly for guides to give back, policing river/banks while floating clients. Anyone going to be in the area and would like to contribute contact: Weaverville ranger Station: (530) 623-2121 or Amelia Fleitz at For the love of fish & the Trinity River!

There are never enough steelheading opportunities in anyone’s lifetime—Be good to yourself— Do It!

Absolutely nothing wrong with down and dirty. However, the visual and sound of a steelhead crushing your skater is life changing; Double dare Ya.

CARR FIRE (Sleepless Nights-Restless Days)

Sky Cranes, provide major air defense against the in the Carr fire

We are OK and thankfully not a single home burned in Lewiston. We count our blessings and also thank our friends and customers who reached out and expressed their concerns and generosity. Your thoughts and friendship helped us through some very challenging times.

Hodley Cr. north front line Trinity County with Bay area fire engines used for suppression; hard to wrap your head around, the southern tip of Carr fire has burned almost to north Anderson (SW Igo) and is still active

Our hearts and prayers go out to all of those who suffered losses during the Carr fire. There are not enough words to describe how grateful we are for all the fireman and law enforcement that protected the Lewiston community and kept us safe from harm’s way. WE THANK YOU!!!

These have been tragic times and while the Carr fire is still active, it appears the worst may be over. The healing process will take time but I truly believe Redding, and surrounding communities impacted, will rebound better than ever before. And, as we reestablish our lives, together we will gain strength, progress in positive directions and strive to prosper because it is who we are.

The Carr fire erupts, as a crow flies only two miles away from TFS, burning county line ridges

Evacuations in Lewiston were lifted and the Trinity Fly Shop has reopened and back in full operations. Those planning to visit Trinity County to visit Trinity County should be aware HWY299 WEST has reopened, subject to change, ( Noon to 1:30 pm and 6:00 pm to 5:00 am) to regulated single lane traffic. Three alternate routes to Trinity County: (1) HWY36 Red Bluff-Hayfork HWY3-HWY299W (junction Douglas City). (2) I-5 north-Ft. Jones HWY3-HWY299W. (Over Scott Mtn. around Trinity Lake or access the Gazelle cut across to Callahan HWY3). (3) HWY 101 Arcata-HWY299W. Also keep in mind air quality. South-southwest/east winds visibility is poor and air quality unhealthy for outdoor activities. North-northwest/east winds visibility and air quality improves dramatically.

Lewiston locals seeking refuge

The Trinity River is currently flowing 750cfs. (up from 450 cfs.). Increased flows have dropped water temperatures and helped scour undesirable algae blooms. Before the fires, impressive numbers of summer chinook and steelhead were filtering through the system. Ditto off shore salmon reports along the north coast; indications of a promising fall season are brewing. It is mid-August, height of the fire season, use sound judgment and be fire safe. Let’s get through this together!

South-southwest/east winds influence orange sunshine and poor unhealthy air qualities in TC

COOL EXPRESSIONS (Good Things Happen to Those Who Wade)

The beauty and wild—a hint of why many of us fish

Temps have been soaring above the century mark for the past few days and according to the weather gurus seems like this will be the trend for a while. Hey it is summer and anyone in their right mind knows it is that time of year to head to
your favorite watering hole. I know it may sound like a bit of a chamber commerce spiel but Trinity County has a broad diversity of waters to enjoy and provide relief from the heat. Besides where else can you, your family and friends go camping, backpacking, hiking, biking, wildlife viewing, swimming, skiing, boarding, as well as choose over (53) high mountain lakes, 1600 miles of fishable streams, three major impoundments (Trinity-Lewiston-Ruth Lakes) and 120mi. Trinity R. (supporting resident and anadromous fish stocks) to stretch a line all within an hr. or two radius? Just say’n!

Gwinnie Spurr knows how to beat the heat and express her fly fishing talents.

Summertime fishing has its own challenges yet quality fishing can be experienced by those who take the time to tune in and understand conditions, waters and fish behavior. In other words, if you find 100 plus degrees uncomfortable do you feel like pork’n out? Think about how fish feel. The summer season serves up some of the longest days of the year, broadcasting 12 plus hrs. of blazing sunlight and heat. Waters are warming; often gin clear, flows receding and, naturally, fish become spooky and selective. As in the case of many north state lakes, spring creeks and tailwaters, prolonged daylight and warming temperatures also activate vigorous aquatic vegetation growths that carpet and even suffocate favorite waters that add other levels of excitement, or frustration, when fish are hooked. Granted these are not the best conditions however those willing to forfeit banker hours, and adjust their fishing schedules, targeting waters early and late and taking advantage of low lighting, cool temperatures, height of aquatic activity and complimenting waters accordingly, are sure to put the odds in their favor scoring summertime success. Here are five local options sure to help you and your friends cool down and enjoy.

Trinity Alps

Wild side high altitude chill out. Backpacking, hiking, wilderness camping and stillwater (53 high mountain lakes) and small cr. fishing for brookies and bows. Unsurpassed scenery, timeless and a personal favorite; will be heading in early august with family. Remember Forest Service wilderness permits and latest info regarding trail conditions, campfires/burn permits (Weaverville Ranger Station 530-623-2121).

Trinity Lake

Early and late top water bass action happens all summer and is wide open for those who take advantage. The north end tailings, East arm, Hay flat and most any rocky points throughout Captains Point and the narrows are key target waters. A 7-8 wt. rod, Poppers- Deer Hair Mice- Hair divers and 1X tippits will do it. Mid-day enjoy the convenient multi water activities and beauty of the surrounding Alps while sipping your favorite iced bev..

Trinity Freestones

Wet wading, casting, small sticks/ dry flies for pocket water colorful natives. Coffee Cr.-Swift Cr.-Stuarts Fork all dropping yet still fishing. Personal strategy, stash a bike and fish up or down without having to hike back over the same waters; maximizing new waters and eager fish. Humpies, Ants, Hoppers, Elk-Hair Caddis Trudes and mini-Muddlers all effective. Fun- solitude- heat relief, this is your go-to and much more.

Louie-Louie Lake

“Aqua Velva Man”- Richard Burton, exercising max mesh capacity.

Cold waters fertile and bug infested Lewiston lake fishes all summer because of the intense water diversions; more like fishing a large spring creek; excellent tubing, boating, pontoon and wading. Louie is no gemmy; flows are dictated by commercial ag/hydro power demands therefore unpredictable at best. Simply take what is delivered and tune in with current conditions. Mid-summer you can count on early and late leeching-streamers (mimicking freshwater lampreys-damsels-kokanee fry) throughout the entire lake. Upper channels go big- go home (Mr. Pimps-Ole Blue-Pineapple- Yellow-n- Olive—all local favorite Trinity Fly Shop ties) fished on clear-camo intermediate/multi-tip lines. Lower lake, scale down sizes and fish in and around woody structures and shallow tapering shoals. Late afternoon/evenings the lower flats light up with small 16-18 tan caddis and 18-20 midge hatches. Soft-hackles-small pupas fished under an indicator or sunk lines effective. Poly-backs and deer hair adult patterns effective for those willing to head hunt surface scroungers. As mentioned Lewiston is not an easy one to unravel. However, if given a sincere effort, Louie can equally deliver slabs that may rival personal best. Currently happening!

Bob Jones has ever reason to smile—Louie-Louie!

Trinity River

Never know what may crush your fly when targeting the TR in the summertime.

Fly Only Waters fish all summer, best early-late, for residual trout (rainbow-brown), summer steelhead and spring-summer chinook. Currently bright attractors fished in deep water holding pools with sinking lines/tips are enticing occasional chinooks in the 6-9 lb. range. Faster waters are supporting occasional summer steelhead up to 6 lbs. Nymphing (Goldenstones-Burlaps-Diablos) streamers (Dace-Yellow-n-Olive—Epoxy minnows) and some top water patterns (skaters/muddlers) all solid choices. Most exciting are the current late afternoon/evening PMD hatches, two different generations (big-#12 and small-#16) inspiring a little bit of everything to key and crunch; (Biot parachutes-Pullover-Cripple-Cream Dream-Compara-duns) all effective. Success happens to those who take the time to hunt their targets, time their rhythms and follows the golden rule— one quality cast, at the right time and lane, is better than 20 carefree hacks. Remember these waters are ZERO limit and open thru Sept. 15th.

So next time you catch one of your friends sniveling about nowhere to fish during the height of the summer season slap some sense into them, or better yet, leave’m behind and get with the program! Stay Wet, Cool & Tight Looped–Herb

Too close for comfort, FLAT FIRE, one ridge from TFS—That time of year, BE FIRE SAFE!


Yuba River Shad

Soloing the soft edge with a floater

Currently we are in the height of this year’s shad runs and Joe Neil’s input could not come at a better time. We were very fortunate Joe worked at the Trinity Fly Shop for over nine years. His devoted fly fishing lifestyle, on-the-water knowledge and willingness to share is invaluable and sure to help anyone, who reads between the lines, excel and become a more accomplished angler. Thanks Joe!

Continue reading

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  • Shad on!