Big’n Beefy Bad and Ballistic (2015 TR Steelhead)

Trinity River Steelhead release

Scott Frogner- do’n the ” Slip- Slide’n- Away” release

This past September I’ve been fortunate to be on the water almost every day, search’n and stretching for steel, so just now finding time to check in with this post; not to mention I’m moving a bit slower these days as I am shifting gears into my 33 rd. year guiding on the Trinity River; GREAT TIMES and a hell of a lot of river miles.


Big’n Beefy Bad’n Ballistic-2015 TR fresh arrival

Despite feeling a few extra aches and pains I am enjoying every minute of it; especially Trinity Fall seasons. They never disappoint and are a personal favorite time of year. A soothing mellow, magical transition of blossoming unsurpassed beauty, hidden intensity and highlighted with electrifying arm-wrenching grabs and explosive surface takes from fresh run steelhead; a seasonal grand finally and hype that tends to make every steelheader giddy, yet totally focused, when stepping into their favorite steelhead runs with high anticipation.

Trinity Steelhead

Colorful Fall Season, Chrome Slab, Macanudo—Jeff Rhodes scoring and enjoying the moment

So why doesn’t TFS post daily or weekly fishing reports is a question we hear frequently throughout the year, especially during the fall-winter steelhead seasons. We have rolled this one over countless times and really no need to beat a dead horse, however most everyone, even with the slightest hint of common sense, is well aware fishing reports are only as good or accurate the very second they are posted and only as reliable as the source posting/reporting them. It has been our experience, good fishing reports foster debate. Poor or slow fishing reports never get posted. Bottom line, anglers can always contact Trinity Fly Shop: Call – (530) 623-6757 e-mail: trinflyguy(at) , or simply stop by for current conditions, fishing updates and the straight scoop; you’re trusted Local Source!!!

Fly selection

Fall fly selection every TR Steelheader should inventory: ( Muddlers, Kit-Chuckie-Joe’s it- Mr. Pimp, Renegade, Breadcrust, Burlap, Chappie, Silver Rat, Rusty Pupa, Silver Hilton, Oct. Skater).

Since my last post there have been several unusual and unexpected TR flow changes that have had dramatic effects on both TR chinook and steelhead runs. As expected, warm water temperatures and “ich” disease in the lower Klamath-Trinity Rivers prompted the BOR to increase TR flows from 450 cfs. to 1500cfs. for approx. four weeks, (additional flushing flows were increased up to 3100cfs.) mid-August through early September. During the 46 yrs. fishing the TR I have never witnessed flows of this volume, at this particular time of year, so was just as much out of the fishing loop and with flow schedules as anyone. Fortunately BOR authorized and utilized TR flows to cool water temps and help prevent the spread of the ich disease; flows proved effective— Hats off. Surprisingly, as flows dropped, a strong number of TR native spring- summer salmon and steelhead, secondary stocks moving out of Weitchpec, Burnt Ranch gorges and North Fork canyon, raced through the system (virtually zero flows in TR secondary’s denied access) and secondary fish opted for the main stem. Brief surges of chinooks, up to 15 lbs. and summer steelhead, up to 8 lbs. provided solid unexpected high water action throughout the system. What appeared to be the first wave of early fall runs proved to be the bulk of an unusually high number of native spring-summer secondary stocks seeking cool water temperatures and desirable staging waters. Mid-Sept, flows were throttled down to 450 cfs and fish movements as well as fishing slowed dramatically.

Currently, the TR is low and clear and flows are slated to drop October 15, from current 450 cfs. down to 300 cfs.. Like most watersheds throughout the northwest also in dire need of rains. It could be worse several NW Rivers are closed, and have been closed for months, due to low flow closures. Good news is recent extreme high tides have helped breech the Klamath spit and fresh runs are entering both rivers daily. Nighttime temps are dropping, days are shorter, shadows are relaxing upon waters early, TR water temps are cool and desirable and pods of salmon and steelhead are scattered throughout the system. Those searching for “the wad” (dubbed by number crunchers) are in for a big surprise. However steelheaders, ignoring raw fishing reports, chat posts and DFW weir/hatchery fish counts are enjoying the opportunity while scoring scenic beauty, open waters and the occasional rush of chrome. Welcome the 2015 Steelhead Seasons.

Trinity River

Beauty of a steelhead’s world— Crack’n the code and feel’n the connection