False Spring – The Big Chill – Who Knows What (Winter arrives?)

Trinity Fly Shop sign

A mixed bag of weather has been the main item on the menu and talk of the town the past few weeks. 2012 welcomed us with a week long unseasonably mild false spring. Just when most of us were considering shorts/sandles the following week the weather took a 180 as a frigid blast from the Aleutians settled in giving us all a taste of bitterly cold Siberian weather. Do we hibernate? As if anything makes any sense, we are currently experiencing our third day of heavy icy snows, rains and you name it we’re getting it weather. I guess Old Man Winter has finally arrived?

Old Lewiston Bridge
Winter has finally arrived.

Only the hardiest of the die-hards are challenging the elements. Within a six day period fishing and local river conditions literally went from low, clear, mild water temperatures, popping dries and surface feeding activity to unseasonably low clear, brutally cold and undesirable water temperatures hovering around 35-39 degrees. Fish are simply not in their happy or moving mode but rather just like you and I trying to survive. Whew! What a tail spin. The current round about weather has hammered the north coast with heavy rains, bringing rivers like the Smith up from a perfect 2,800cfs. to over 110,000cfs. and rising above flood stage. In a seven hour period the lower Trinity at Hoopa rose from 900 cfs. to over 6,000cfs and still on the rise. E-Ouch! Not to sound like Captain Bring Down but just delivering the harsh reality. Straight up, the positive swing is rivers are getting plenty of much needed water, snow in the mountains to sustain flows and possibly this will be the catalyst that entices our winter runs. Come on man— You have to give to get!

Trinity River fly fishing
Freezing secondary’s = 35-39
degree water temps.

As of this post the rowdy weather has also knocked down major transmission lines, shutting down Lewiston’s electrical power. Phone lines are also down and heavy icy snow fall makes cell service sketchy at best. Road closures, limited travel, no work, no shop sales, no fishing reports, and no whiners, all unusually quiet on the northwestern front, a mandatory mountain and country style time out.

Pat stokes the fire and places a fresh pot of soup on top of the wood stove that has been burning overtime. I attempt to gather these thoughts in a dimly lit work space highlighted by a narrow beam from a Stanley flashlight. I chuckle aloud as I reflect back on our past when we first started. No computers, no cell phones, no up to the minute river conditions reports. Back then fishing was a true blind faith adventure based upon gut instinct, hunches, hearsay reports, local knowledge and or a willingness to gamble. As I hand write this blog I find the rhythm odd, out of date yet strangely very comforting. Despite the harsh weather impacts we somehow find a way to move on and discover that things can still be done just as effectively, the old fashioned way, and still with a smile. Life is great in Trinity County!

Trinity River steelhead
Currently steelhead are not in a happy mode.