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.

CARR FIRE (Sleepless Nights-Restless Days)

Sky Cranes, provide major air defense against the in the Carr fire

We are OK and thankfully not a single home burned in Lewiston. We count our blessings and also thank our friends and customers who reached out and expressed their concerns and generosity. Your thoughts and friendship helped us through some very challenging times.

Hodley Cr. north front line Trinity County with Bay area fire engines used for suppression; hard to wrap your head around, the southern tip of Carr fire has burned almost to north Anderson (SW Igo) and is still active

Our hearts and prayers go out to all of those who suffered losses during the Carr fire. There are not enough words to describe how grateful we are for all the fireman and law enforcement that protected the Lewiston community and kept us safe from harm’s way. WE THANK YOU!!!

These have been tragic times and while the Carr fire is still active, it appears the worst may be over. The healing process will take time but I truly believe Redding, and surrounding communities impacted, will rebound better than ever before. And, as we reestablish our lives, together we will gain strength, progress in positive directions and strive to prosper because it is who we are.

The Carr fire erupts, as a crow flies only two miles away from TFS, burning county line ridges

Evacuations in Lewiston were lifted and the Trinity Fly Shop has reopened and back in full operations. Those planning to visit Trinity County to visit Trinity County should be aware HWY299 WEST has reopened, subject to change, ( Noon to 1:30 pm and 6:00 pm to 5:00 am) to regulated single lane traffic. Three alternate routes to Trinity County: (1) HWY36 Red Bluff-Hayfork HWY3-HWY299W (junction Douglas City). (2) I-5 north-Ft. Jones HWY3-HWY299W. (Over Scott Mtn. around Trinity Lake or access the Gazelle cut across to Callahan HWY3). (3) HWY 101 Arcata-HWY299W. Also keep in mind air quality. South-southwest/east winds visibility is poor and air quality unhealthy for outdoor activities. North-northwest/east winds visibility and air quality improves dramatically.

Lewiston locals seeking refuge

The Trinity River is currently flowing 750cfs. (up from 450 cfs.). Increased flows have dropped water temperatures and helped scour undesirable algae blooms. Before the fires, impressive numbers of summer chinook and steelhead were filtering through the system. Ditto off shore salmon reports along the north coast; indications of a promising fall season are brewing. It is mid-August, height of the fire season, use sound judgment and be fire safe. Let’s get through this together!

South-southwest/east winds influence orange sunshine and poor unhealthy air qualities in TC

COOL EXPRESSIONS (Good Things Happen to Those Who Wade)

The beauty and wild—a hint of why many of us fish

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!

Gwinnie Spurr knows how to beat the heat and express her fly fishing talents.

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.

Trinity Alps

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).

Trinity Lake

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..

Trinity Freestones

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.

Louie-Louie Lake

“Aqua Velva Man”- Richard Burton, exercising max mesh capacity.

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!

Bob Jones has ever reason to smile—Louie-Louie!

Trinity River

Never know what may crush your fly when targeting the TR in the summertime.

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

Too close for comfort, FLAT FIRE, one ridge from TFS—That time of year, BE FIRE SAFE!

HYMENOPTERA 101 (Revisited)

It’s hymenoptera time & Kit Kreick knows where to be and what to use

Some of you have visited the shop inquiring about fishing and the “ant” hatch currently happening on local Trinity waters. So no time is better than now to crack the bug code. Anyone desiring to catch a slab- learn how to say Hymenoptera and read on.

Another hungry bow sporting a wasp tattoo fell for the Come-n Get It approach

Hymenoptera, Latin order for aquatic diving wasp. Sounds like something out of the prehistoric age. Maybe so, however, diving wasp is a major aquatic insect (terrestrial) that hatches each spring, triggered by the first hot (80 degree) windy heat ups of April-May in many north state waters. Locally they hatch on Trinity-Lewiston-Grass Valley Lakes and the lower Trinity River. Wasp hatches are a main event, the meat and potatoes to hunk bows-browns, smallmouth even squawfish, inspiring feeding sprees and creating some of the most exciting wet and dry fly opportunities of the season. According to Patrick McCafferty’s book (Angling Entomology) the diving wasp undergo a complete metamorphosis; emerging from their host, and float to the surface before drifting to shore. The adults dry and take flight to the top of the evergreens, mate and afterward, the females dive to the bottom of the river or lake, planting their eggs on another aquatic, often caddis. Sounds like a Stephen King thriller – but a key aquatic every sillwater and tailwater angler should be well in tune with and inventory.

At first glance, it is easy to understand why wasps are often mistaken for flying ants. Close observations reveal they look similar; you can touch’em, they don’t sting, stink or bite. A mouthful, wasps are generally large critters (#8-#14 with the larger representing first generations) dwarfing most spring aquatics, sporting black bodies with a pronounced translucent wing set. You almost never see them in flight and their low floating in-the-film profile is well disguised. Wasp hatches, referred to as float-ups, often coincide with other aquatics such as Callibaetis mayflies and early season caddis and often overshadowed or mistaken for other aquatics; leading the unaware filtering thru fly boxes and baffled.

Right place-right time—TR brown trout love to crush wasps

Fish target both float-ups and the drifting adults in the film. Depending upon conditions, early season float-ups are generally sparse, lasting an hour or two. Despite scant bug activity fish readily key and crunch; opening the door for quality wet fly opportunities. Fishing float-ups, target slow weedy habitats and favorite fishy waters with intermediate sink lines, such as clear-camo, or type 2-3 full sink lines fished with slow steady retrieves, mimicking active wasps. Count down presentations seeking desired water columns fish are zoning- in and munching. Wet patterns should be sparsely dressed and match the size of the naturals. Size matters, trumping color shades. Takes are deliberate, there is nothing subtle, beef tippits (generally 4X) whenever possible to accept contact and deter loose ends.

When wasps are observed in the surface film and fish actively on them, naturally follow suit with floating lines and properly sized wasp patterns to compliment naturals and conditions. Dry wasp patterns are somewhat generic, looking similar to ants with pronounced abdomens and wing set. I favor a black Deer Hair wasp pattern (always available Trinity Fly shop); reflecting sparse body- Dun wing-Brn. hackle and black deer hair tied over the back of the abdomen for desired flotation. If windy, choppy conditions prevail it helps to have optional patterns tied with dense foam bodies complimented with a Hi-Vis wing post for optimum float and visibility. For additional effective wasp patterns check out (Stillwater Fly Fishing Secrets by Hal Janssen); Hal also includes tying instructions. Early season fish can be eager, often moving 2-3 ft. to inhale your fly. Days like this are fairly common and if you are one that falls into the category, “better to be lucky than good,” cast and fish wherever your gut instincts dictate; sometimes you can do no wrong. Unfortunately there is the flip side. As the season progresses, overlapping wasp generations intensify and fish become porked and extremely selective; some situations you might be better off fishing Roll-Aids. Bright side of the flip side, the first few weeks after generation float-ups expire, wasps are still on the taste buds and you can effectively fish them, often yielding solid success, without a trace of a natural.

Head hunting, casting to specific targets, rather than random casting, has proved to be most successful, especially for larger quarry. Take time to observe active fish and their feeding patterns. Lead targets 3-4 ft. with clean presentations; which can be achieved by a forceful Bounce Cast or simply overshooting your target a couple feet and lifting the rod tip straight up, dragging your fly back into the feed zone; ultimately straightening your line-leader-tippit. Be patient; don’t try to catch them all. Leave your pattern in an active feed zone, a minute or two, they will find it; either inhaling it or rejection. If fish are unwilling to accept a dead drifted presentation, try slow steady retrieves. We reference this— the “come’n-get it” approach; can be deadly when fish are sensitive. Seasonal float up durations generally last two-three weeks; possibly longer depending upon conditions. Keep in mind; cool weather suppresses generation float-ups, prolonging season duration while unseasonably warm weather accelerates generation float-ups and duration. In any case fish crave and inhale them. Be aware, be prepared—never leave home without them!

Straight From the Line-ups – Trinity-Lewiston Grass Valley Lakes—Its Hymenopteria time- Happening NOW! Get Out There!!!

Double digit fish often drop their guard, craving and inhaling wasps-its 4x or just another fish story