Something to Talk About (And Then Some)

It’s been awhile since Patty and I traveled through the Central Valley and, rebounding from a recent early morning road trip, was surprised to see the CV refreshed and very much alive. Most notably, water everywhere. Farmlands were all but flooded, threatening to breach check levies, and every creek, large and small (Putah-Thomes-Cottonwood etc.), refueled and contributing additional volumes into an already swollen Sacramento River and secondary rivers. Is the 2017 winter a one hit wonder or is it the beginning of a multi-year wet weather cycle? Something we have not witnessed in several years.

Catching our attention CV’s saturated wetlands displayed impressive flights and staging waterfowl. Delevan, Gray Lodge the Buttes and even west, Geese (Honkers-Specs-Snows), Ducks (Mallards-Pintail-Teal-Widgeon) and a variety of other waterfowl and valley birds, (Swans, Ibis, Curlew, Egret, Heron, Starling), were plentiful and, possibly just our timing, populations appeared healthy and content in their waterlogged environments. Something we have not witnessed in several years.

Totally jazzed, highlighting our CV cruse, a north wind had cleared any fog or smog; visibility was nothing short of crisp, clear and amazing. Maxwell north, we observed the silhouettes and panoramic view of snow capped Sierra’s, Buttes, and Lassen to the east; Cascades to the west. Traveling I-5 north, approaching Corning, unexpectedly a snow-covered Mt. Shasta popped into clear view, oddly appearing like a jumbo marshmallow, yet representing a stunning majestic beacon. Ok, it might sound like I’m getting a little out there; believe me, in this case, zero alcohol, herbal or doc-feel-good was involved; pure stoke. Wow, beautiful snow capped mountains to the north-east and even the west, ensuring a healthy spring runoff and replenished water supplies. Something we have not witnessed in several years.

Pat and I arrived home, pumped about our sweet CV drive thru and the blessings of a very wet winter. So what does any of this have to do with fishing or what does it mean? Not sure. Possibly, venting a bit of cabin fever. Although I would like to believe, after five years of severe drought, State/Federal water wars/controversy and devastating fires, this winter’s above average rain and snow will continue and also have a positive impact on California’s resident and anadromous fisheries. Something we all would like to witness.

On the Trinity home front, winter steelhead, averaging 4-8 lbs., have arrived along with additional rains/snows. Increased runoff has pumped up all secondaries and TR main stem scattering fish concentrations, along with chilly water temps, creating challenging conditions. Surprisingly, to date, water clarity has remained favorable, North Fork up to Douglas City; ideal up to Lewiston. Fishing has been fair-good with most hard working anglers hooking a fish per outing. Only halfway thru winter and plenty more wet and wild forecasted. Anglers are reminded to keep an eye on frontal systems rain and snowfall amounts; yo-yoing flows are constantly impacting conditions and moving fish, keeping you guessing and challenging your confidence. Bottom line; take your time, remember your targeting “winter” steel. Cover runs thoroughly and devote best efforts during the heat of the day. Compliment water depths, velocities and compositions with properly weighted flies and fly lines to help sustain offerings in primary waters as long as possible; giving them a good long look. Don’t be afraid to change it up and show’em something different; big small, light, dark or bright with plenty of lifelike motion (marabou-soft hackles-rubberlegs) to help’em roll the eyes and say Ahhhh! WHEN IN DOUBT SET AND ENJOY!!!