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!
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.
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).
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..
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.
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!
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