Tried to get this out sooner to give you all a heads up on water flows for the 2018 year, however the bureau has been dragging their heels trying to figure it out. Finally, we were informed the Trinity basin will receive a “critically dry” flow allocation; based upon (28%) snow-pack and below average rainfall in Trinity County. This translates into 369,000 acre feet of water and minimum flows (450 cfs.) the greater majority of the year; a complete flip-side from last year’s extreme wet flow allocation (815,000 acre feet) and high river flows through July. Increased flows will begin April 16-(reference 2018 TR flow schedule).
This post comes much too late however sometimes you just have to slow the train down, take some time off to enjoy the ride and reboot.
Straight From the Lineups
March madness recently delivered a one-two punch that belted NorCal with much needed rain and snow. The latest round of weather was one of this winter’s strongest storms and helped replenish a dismal snow pack in the Trinity Alps (30%) and refueled the Trinity River; activating late season steelhead movements, bug hatches and firing up fishing and anglers.
Not since the movie “A River Runs through It” ignited a mega jolt of fly fishing popularity have we witnessed the latest addition of newbies expressing interest in fly fishing. Not everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. Most unusual is the latest surge of young children, mostly under 15 yrs. of age, expressing interests, suiting up and eager to learn how to cast and fly fish.
For the past week a dominating dry and cold high pressure system has dramatically changed Trinity River steelhead fishing. Dropping water temps (40-42 degrees) and low flows have slowed fish movements as well as the “Grab.” Unfortunately this weather pattern is forecasted for another week, possibly longer.
There are some positive glimmers. Current conditions have thinned out angling pressure and those willing to endure should have little problem finding open water. Mid-day, peak air and water temps, anglers are scoring the occasional adult targeting slower velocity waters dredging slow and deep. Mr. Pimp, the Rock and dead drifted Breadcrusts have been the go-to patterns for traditional fishing. Nymphing with Golden Stones, Robo Nymphs, Diablos, Prince Diamonds, Cream Dreams and the wire nymph family (copper-red-blue-char) have also yielded occasional success on long leaders and light tippits. A great change of pace, and despite cold water temps, brief mid-day Blue Wing Olives (#18-16) and burps of Callibaetis (#14-12) hatches have surprisingly inspired some half-pounders and small adults to selectively feed in the upper water columns. Great change of pace from the wet fly blind faith approach and helps fuel the dry fly stoke.
Until we receive rain, to warm water temps and motivate fish movements, you can expect challenging conditions and fishing. Keep in mind; we are only halfway through the steelhead seasons with plenty of opportunities yet to come. Fall runs have peaked and winter runs are slowly filtering through the lower system and should throttle our way with the next wet pattern and flush. Until then keep in tune with your tackle, eye on the weather, and stoke for the holidays. We thank you all for your loyal support—Peace on Earth!