Wet-Wild-and Winter- Runs (Welcome Dec. & H2O)

Trinity Steelhead

Andrew Hoodenpyle & pup hefts a full spread of TR dream Steel

Steelhead flies

Hardcore, creative and full dress—sure to entice winter trouble

You knew it wouldn’t last forever; the 2014 prolonged unseasonably mild and beautiful fall season recently got flushed. December arrived, packing a potent punch of much needed rainfall, to the entire west coast. Most all watersheds, statewide, have recently received some impressive rainfall and coastal salmon-steelhead rivers are once again supporting healthy flows and enticing fresh arrivals. And if you have faith in forecasters, above average rainfall, for all of California, is predicted throughout the entire month. With months of less than optimistic weather predictions, early December’s wet and wild has surprised many and if recent storms are any indication what we may be in for — Bring it on!

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Hands are Shaking and Heart Still Throbbing (It’s Steelhead Time)

Trinity River scenery

Steelheading, the beauty and mystic, a world all in its own

Steelhead release

Up close and often eager to those who time it right and believe-not if but when

A brief series of recent wet weather patterns have brought much relief to northern California drought stricken rivers and activated fall salmon-steelhead runs in most all watersheds. I have been enjoying the past several weeks guiding the Trinity, attempting to second guess runs that appear to be scattered, head to tail, throughout the system while appreciating and, at the same time, accepting October 2014 will be my 32 year guiding the Trinity River. Cool and not so cool to ponder, I just may be the oldest guide on local Trinity waters. However, easing the pain, I fully realize I have also been one of the most fortunate. Believe me, the opportunity and experience has been nothing short of a lifetime of ultimate fulfillment in every way imaginable. I thank you ALL. Anyway, highlighting river work, I have also been jazzed working the Trinity Fly Shop; engaged in retail sales, listening to amped up fishing stories, delivering reports and helping challenged anglers score or as the late Bill Schaadt would say “Figure it out.” I’m totally stoked and you should be as well. It’s fall steelhead season; fish are in and the air is buzzing with angling hype and eager anticipation. Regardless what river you fish this is a time of year to engage, celebrate, and appreciate one of the most magnificent anadromous creatures that swim. STEELHEAD, the World Series and Super Bowl of west coast fly fishing.

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Liquid Pulse and Hydraulic Reactions (Salmon-Steel feel the Flow)

Full Stretch

High Water-Full Stretch-Single Shot


Skate’n Scott–one of four on top

Like the air we breathe, water is without a doubt the single most important ingredient to healthy fisheries and ecosystems. Unquestionably it is the life blood and major composition of lakes, streams and rivers. Without it nothing, watersheds, fisheries, plant life, aquatics, wildlife and people could not survive. Although California is in the heat of one of the worst droughts on record and a critically dry year flow was allocated to the Trinity River, we recently witnessed two rare and major Trinity River water releases that, to date, have had positive impacts upon local fisheries.

Mid-late August both the Klamath and Trinity River flows were extremely low and water temperatures dangerously high for all anadromous fish. Flows were augmented, to 900cfs. for two weeks, to prevent fish mortality. Shortly after, early September, emergency T.R. flows were increased (from 450 cfs. up to 3,400cfs.) to avert fish kills in the Lower Klamath-Trinity Rivers; Bureau of Reclamation responding to the discovery of an Ich parasite infection in Chinook salmon in the lower Klamath River and request of the Yurok and Hoopa Valley tribes. The same Ich parasite led to a massive fish die off in September 2002 in the lower Klamath River. Over 68, 000 salmon perished in the largest adult salmon die off in U.S. history. Frightening to consider the consequences if flows were not released. Hats off to the tribes, BOR and hopefully the additional flows were in time to minimize any negative impacts.

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Rise to the Occasion (Skating For Steel)

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation releases additional flows to stop Klamath-Trinity River fish kills. Current Trinity River flows will remain 900 cfs. through Sept 14…check out T.R. current river conditions or call 530-623-6757 for additional info…

Mark N Trinity

Greased Line owner mark Noble skating a prime tailout

Fall Steeleading

Jeff Noyes scoring mid-day shadow success.

Late summer and fall in the northwest are seasons of change, beauty, opportunity and intensity. Days are shorter and cooler, triggering a sense of restlessness that fills the air while local landscapes slowly transition into a colorful collage of ever changing bursting beauty. Opportunity and intensity in that early season freshets, low flows, optimum air- water temperatures, late season aquatic hatches and returning cycles of eager fresh- run salmon-steelhead formulate a highlight of some of the most anticipated and exciting dry fly fishing any steelheader may wish to encounter.

To many, skating dry flies for steelhead is the ultimate challenge and accomplishment. The excitement of targeting and fishing surface waters and visually witnessing the explosive rise of a fresh run steelhead is simply mind boggling and becomes deeply embedded, a forever lasting memory. Just ask anyone who commits and skates—a few caught on skaters generally satisfies most for the entire steelhead season. Skeptical or feel that skating dries for steelhead is odd, rare, non- productive, requires special skills or is difficult to learn, read on.

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