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: trinflyguy@shasta.com 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 afliets@fs.fed.us. 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.

SHAD ON A FLOATER

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!

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TUGS-BUGS- SLUGS & MORE (Fishing Update)

Springtime in Trinity County has many moods sure to inspire and reward, Boca fishing Trinity Lake

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).

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TRINITY RAW (Nibbles & Bits)

Steelhead

From Grab to Backing-Bob Jones on the receiving end.

I realize it has been way too long updating our blog. No excuses and don’t want to bore you with how busy we’ve been because, it seems like these days, most everyone I know is chasing their tail laboring overtime workloads; unfortunately many putting fun on the back burner. I will mention I have been busy stroking the oars, 34 yrs. guiding this October, restocking Trinity Fly Shop with bad to the bone flies and inventories to better serve you and your friends this Steelhead season and attempting to fulfill household chores in preparation for the upcoming fall-winter seasons. Whew! Can we all get a break? Let’s go Steelhead fishing!!!

Helena Fire

Trinity Canyon Lodge

Sad but true- End of an Era.

As of October 4 update the Helena Fire is 85% contained and still active. The devastating fire burned roughly 21,450 acres, 72 homes and over 60 structures. Continued suppression, repair activities, monitoring and mop up fire areas will continue. For updates check out: Cal Fire: http://www.fire.ca.gov/. Friends and locals described the Helena fire as a blow torch with little time to escape. Remarkably there were zero fatalities. The aftermath is a gut-wrench and will take years to recover. Trinity County is heart strong and Helena-Junction City residents will overcome. THANK YOU FIREFIGHTERS!!!

On the Run

Steelheading

Nothing like fresh arrivals in your home river-Scotty Frogner reaping the rewards.

Great news, the smoke has cleared, the colorful fall season is upon us and a mixed bag of fresh arrivals is moving through the system. Better than F&W 2017 predictions, a surprising strong number of fall chinooks continue to filter throughout the entire Trinity system. Even though they are off limits good to see strength in numbers. Most encouraging are the excessive numbers of jacks appearing; possibly shedding light for future stocks. Coho are just beginning to enter the lower river and as far up as Willow Creek; unlike last yr. Coho were all but non-existent. Along with salmon runs, increasing numbers of late summer-fall steelhead have also been moving through the system and providing quality sport for those willing to dig in. The upper river, Junction City-Douglas City, currently supports just enough fish to keep one guessing and fishing clean tippits while the bulk seems to have stalled, staging in the mid-lower system (North Fork – Willow creek). To date, steelhead numbers seem to be down although it is still early in the season with many months to go. A major glimmer is the strong number of returning adult native steelhead. It will be interesting to see what develops with the next significant rains. Prep and be ready to jump!

Glenn Burton
Bob Jones finds a chrome fix. GB with an overnight express
Scott Watson
Scott Watson-They do take skaters!

HWY299 West Snags

Major snags for anyone heading west on HWY 299 (Junction City to Del Loma) has been the traffic closures, restrictions and delays; Helena fire and major slides from the aftermath of last winter’s rage. All understandably so yet a real bugger for anglers travelling (east – west). HWY299West Junction City, restrictions, delays and closures are largely depended upon current construction/cleanup. Nobody is exempt; the Del Loma slide has also been very active, creating delays up to 45 min., depending upon activity and construction work. So heads up, check out Cal Trans: http://www.dot.cagov/cgl-bin/roads and be in tune with road restrictions/closures or be prepared for lengthy, often hours, delays.

Trinity River Flows

As of this post current TR flows are 450 cfs. and scheduled to drop to 300 cfs. October 15 (Sunday). Unlike the drought years, and after this summer’s scorch, surprisingly most all secondary rivers (North-South Trinities-New River) and tributaries are sustaining quality flows and temperatures creating ideal main stem conditions and setting the stage for all anadromous fish stocks; especially native stocks. Trinity Lake is currently supporting a healthy 72% capacity; last yr. the lake was 39%. These yrs. late season high water capacities have some local residents concerned. Keep in mind, Trinity was the first earthen dam constructed in California and, unlike Oroville, was built without an auxiliary release option. Will be interesting to witness the water juggling act, especially if we are slammed with an above average rainfall and snowpack. Break out the big sticks, lead core, and tungsten- eyed chicken feathers.

Fall-Winter Trinity Trout

Richard Burton

Don’t have to look far for fall-winter fun in Trinity County-RB knows where to look and how to score.

While the greater majority of anglers visiting Trinity County throughout the fall-winter seasons are searching for a steelhead grab, others favor stepping out of the box, targeting fall-winter trout in less popular environments. Trinity Lake and the tailwaters of Lewiston are uniquely different yet both offer quality, often steelhead size, trout opportunities for those willing to dial in. Trinity Lake offers excellent river mouth fishing after the general trout closure (Nov. 15). Although the upper Trinity River is open all year with special restrictions. Haunting to fish waters intercepting a lake supporting 145 miles of shoreline, over 400 feet deep, and populates rainbow- brown trout and land- locked steelhead. Lewiston’s rich and fertile tailwaters challenge even the most accomplished with intense aquatic activity and selective trout. Fall is the time of year larger fish stocks migrate from the lower lake and into the upper narrows for feeding and spawning; a rare opportunity anglers experience 60% of the trout populations in 40% of the lake. Numbers are irrelevant. In other words Lewiston trout are not easy by any means however there are those magical days you could do no wrong and best kept to yourself. Both Trinity and Lewiston lakes are much more than a simple option and great go-to fisheries when the TR blows during even the harshest weather patterns. Feeling the need for an out of ordinary option or if dicey weather conditions exist, throw in that pram pontoon or tow up your skiff, more than likely you’ll be glad you did. Those down and without a floating device: Pine Cove Marina (Louise) (530) 778- 3878 rents boats all fall-winter. Don’t have to look far for quality fun in Trinity County.

Been crunching too much OT and need time out? Take control and straighten out your priorities. Break out your gear and we’ll look forward to seeing you and your friends this fall-winter. Need further information regarding rod- wader rentals, fly selections, questions about equipment needs or simply inquiring about current river conditions and fishing—you know the Trinity Fly Shop (530) 623-6757 is and always will be your trusted local source!!!

Full Stretch

Regardless, graphite, glass, cane, spey or single-hand, Steelheading is all about fun and feel’n it—GB deep into the core.