Kit & Allan Steelhead

Fresh run winter steelhead are beginning to show in coastal rivers-Allan Guggia and Kit, right place right time

I hadn’t forgotten about you, simply took some time off with the family to enjoy the holidays and hope you did as well. A belated Happy New Year! Anybody following their resolutions? Anybody remember their resolutions? Regardless, I hope you all decided to devote more time with family and friends enjoying the outdoors and stretching a line. A totally pure form of stoke, for all ages, genders and skill levels that unfortunately tends to be overshadowed by today’s electronic dependencies and fast pace lifestyles.If you haven’t ever experienced fly fishing and the gift of the wilds put it on your bucket list. It has been a life changing experience for me and a greater number of my friends, not to mention all those who pioneered and blazed the trails before us. This year, take advantage of the opportunity, slow the train down and take it outside. Welcome 2015 with rod in hand!

Dark Side of the Upper T. River

Lewiston Lake

Unfortunately, Lewiston Lk. is turbid, from head to tail

Lewiston Lake

Confluence of Deadwood Cr. and upper T.R. reveals the mix and current turbidity

The upper Trinity River, Lewiston down to Douglas City is currently flowing turbid, about six inch visibility. Why? Simple, next visit to Trinity Co., take a drive to Trinity-Lewiston lakes and see for yourself; both lakes are muddy from the heavy rainfall we received a few weeks ago. Remember the round of overlapping wet and wild storms, packed with much needed rainfall; most all north state steelhead rivers were flowing up and out with a few borderline flooding? Remarkably the upper T.R., Lewiston –Steelbridge, remained fishable and in good shape. However, during the height of the storms, inflows to Trinity Lake topped over 30,000cfs., creating heavy turbidity, that has filtered through both Trinity-Lewiston Lakes and currently being released into the Trinity River. Typical of tailwaters, waters directly below dams remain fishable and can often withstand some of the most inclement conditions. However when the source becomes muddy, flows are muddy. How long turbid conditions last greatly depend upon how quickly sediments dilute with clear inflows, settle in the lakes and or purge via flow releases and CVP diversions. Although Trinity lake was over 80 % capacity, in 1997 unseasonably high volumes of Trinity lake inflows, exceeded 60,000cfs., and unfortunately turbidity impacted the entire upper watershed for over a year; one of those years we all like to forget. Good news, inflows to Trinity Lake are clear and lake levels are on the rise, up to 34% capacity.

Canyon Creek

Below Canyon Cr. T.R. clarity improves

No Worry Be Happy
What does all this mean to TR steelheaders. Even though conditions are far from ideal, there is water, steelhead and opportunities. Most all secondary rivers and tributaries are currently flowing clear and diluting turbidity in the main stem TR. The further west of Weaverville, below Canyon Creek the TR reflects about a two ft. visibility and water clarity improves. The mid- lower river, Del Loma-Willow Cr., is reflecting a nice jello- green and is dropping and surprisingly clear for this time of year. Early rains have also fueled all tributaries and secondary rivers and for the first time in a few years native steelhead stocks actually have the opportunity to swim pretty much wherever they want; encouraging for spawning and future stocks. On the other hand, with plenty of water available, runs are scattered throughout the system and there is no obvious gemmy; simply same as it ever was, anglers have to be willing to dig’m out.

Do We Stay or Do We Go

Mason Steelhead

Grandson Mayson Sayre scores over the holidays

Trinity-Lewiston lake stillwater anglers are toast, at least for a while, until the upper reach of the lakes purge and clear. If you do commit, targeting inflowing tributaries and springs could possibly reward efforts along with the addition of some spectacular bird viewing. Even though a few fish are being caught in the upper T.R. fishing has been slow for even the most persistent anglers willing to challenge the heavily turbid waters above Douglas City. Action is a little better, possibly because of increased angling pressure, below Douglas City – Big Bar with fair to good numbers of half-pounders and occasional fresh winter adults, up to 9 lbs. showing. Current dry weather and dropping river flows has permitted anglers to target waters down low, Willow Creek, where bulk numbers of half- pounders continue to dominate activity with an occasional winter adult mixed in. Keep in mind all can change with the next round of wet weather.

After digesting this, confused? Not feel’n the Trinity? Hey, don’t stutter-step, coastal opportunities are also beginning to blossom and some impressive chrome slabs are being caught. In other words, the T.R. isn’t the only gig in town. Options like the Duzen, Mad, Redwood Cr. and Eel rivers are within an easy 2 1/2 hr. striking distance from our neck of the woods; the beauty of nor Cal and its rich winter steelhead options. Regardless where your steelheading ventures may lure you and your friends, remember to appreciate the opportunity, it’s all about the adventure and feel’n good.

And, while on the topic of feel’n good, we here at the Trinity Fly Shop would like to thank all of you for the years of friendship and loyal support. We are here because of you and for that are forever grateful. As the years pass by and, whether like it or not, we all change you can be assured one thing that will never change and that is our commitment to you; always here to answer your questions, available for on the spot reliable fishing reports, and to help make all your fly fishing and outdoor experiences memorable and filled with smiles of full flex and scream’n reel success!

Tom Steelhead

If you ever see this guy on the river, feel fortunate you have chosen your water wisely, Tom Weseloh celebrating the holidays