For what it may be worth and if my math is correct, October 2018 registers as my 36th. year commercial guiding the Trinity River. Wow, all I can say is time waits for no one and in our case has zoomed by like am arm- wrenching grab parting 1X. What an incredible experience and lifestyle filled with countless memories of all sorts; I vividly remember my very first guided trip like it was yesterday. Time out, slowing the train down and taking a moment to reflect, in the beginning (1982), Trinity River flows were a mere 150 cfs. (Normal year allocation).
The TR (above the South Fork) was open last Sat in May through Feb 28 (29), fish limits were five (5) salmon-steelhead-trout combo per day and “native” fish management and barbless hook restrictions were not even close to being on the table. I was the only Lewiston state licensed TR guide and there were no DFG guide log book requirements.
Also there were no developed boat launches (literally backed thru the willows, drug rafts over gravel bars or simply tossed them off high river vantages), road signs off HWY 299 (referencing Poker Bar-Steelbridge etc.) and fishing pressure was all but nonexistent. I can’t even begin to tell you about the beauty and stoke of targeting unmolested fish or blind floating a new drift for the very first time; I was a kid in the TR candy store. Whether it was our timing, no coin and nothing to lose or simply no fear and too young to know any better, Pat and I are very fortunate to have experienced such a great opportunity; and we are still enjoying the journey! So after 36 great years what is in store for our future and Trinity Fly Shop? Easy, continue for as long as possible or become too crotchety, to share our labors of love with you all.
We Thank You for all the Years of Friendship and Support!
Straight from the Line-ups
Last week TR flow reductions, 700 cfs. to 450 cfs. activated solid fish movements from the lower gorges. On the bottom, Weitchpec, fresh run chinook, lead coho, adult steelhead and a major surge of half-pounders raced through the lower valley; calming negative chatter and finger pointing at weirs, low flows or beliefs most runs turned left up the K. Anglers second guessing and targeting low, scored big time. Don’t get too comfortable with 450 cfs. releases, if the Bureau believes its own print, TR flows are slated to drop to 300 cfs. October 15.
A major fall highlight, a recent wet weather pattern was heaven sent, ending one of most tragic fire seasons, and was just what the doc ordered to also motivate late summer chinook-steelhead movements from the Burnt Ranch gorge and provide line-ups (Del Loma up to JC) fresh rotations. Transitioning fish are never easy and generally equate hit miss activity. Recently, we have scored success fishing less holding waters and investing full attention targeting the rotation in shallow flats supporting depressions, tailouts and streamy edges with smaller wets and damp skaters.
Posting up may sound or appear redundant as opposed to covering more water or stroking marathon drifts. Personal experiences have revealed, when the shuffle is on, finding the sweet spot in transition waters, more often than not, increases your odds for tight line success. Major salmon-steelhead movements are prime examples why I’ve always preached, better off not know what is pushing thru. The visual numbers of moving fish, snubbing your presentations can be frustrating, yet rewarding; especially to those digging in and keep in mind the chain of command will slow, settle in and eventually crush; generally when least expected.
If all this sounds too good to be true, it is. Recent wet weather also flushed upper reach tributaries (Deadwood-Hoadly-Grass Valley and others) and washed undesirable amounts of sediment and ash into the TR main stem; creating turbid conditions and fortunately lasting only a couple days. Unfortunately, at this point in time, appears there may be some serious T. LK and TR tributary repercussions, from the Carr fire, this winter; to what extent is anyone’s guess and time will tell. In the meantime the TR got shook up, H20 temps are primo and fish are in— Enjoy the 2018 Season & Get on’ em !!!