The Good-Bad-Ugly (steelies-turbid H20’s-channel manipulations)

Summer time fishing

Good—More than just symptoms of an early fall. Fall colors are popping, air and H20 temperatures are dropping and enticing lead fall salmon and steelhead into the system. Fall Chinook runs are in full force in the Klamath and strong numbers are just now showing in the lower Trinity. Fresh schools have already reached Willow Creek and heading full steam up the gorge. Lead fish are much larger than average years with some tackle busters pressing over 30 lbs…Beef up those tippits!

Fly fishing in Northern California

Both half pounders and steelhead are also making a showing and providing quality action for those devoting time and effort. Fish are scattered Weitchpec up through Willow Creek. Action is rated fair to good; typical early season hit or miss outings with some lead “native” adults pressing over 9 lbs… Recently Oregon angler Tristan Mihan fished with Kit and skated up his very first fly caught steelhead. The steelie rose three times on the initial presentation before finally taking it solid with an illuminated slashing push of water. Leaving Tristan dazed and stoked for life. Yes Ma, they do rise to dries—you have to believe, commit and fish’em…


Bad-For the past few weeks early season anglers, targeting the upper river; Junction City up to Bucktail, have experienced turbid water conditions. Some days the river is simply unfishable. We have had a number of calls and visiting anglers dropping by the shop inquiring as to why the river is colored. The answer is there is a major series of dozer and earth moving equipment removing streamside riparian vegetation, digging side channels, performing various in stream channel manipulations, bank alternations (“feather edging”) as well as gravel placement and “injections” six days a week sun up to sun down. Sundays the river flows clear. How long will this all last? Good Question. Possibly contacting the Trinity River Restoration Project (Weaverville) directly could shed some light. (T.R.R.P. —530-623-1806).

TRRP Trinity River projects


Trinity River

Ugly-This year steelhead anglers are going to be in for a major shock when fishing waters below Bucktail and Douglas City. Current on going Trinity River Restoration projects have drastically altered streambeds and previous river compositions. The new face lift includes all the work mentioned above. Streamside vegetation growths and holding/staging waters have been eliminated and currently represent groomed baron, shallow gravel raceways. Why? Another good question and reason to contact the Trinity River Restoration Project’s “environmental specialist” Brandt Gutermuth ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . 530-623-1806) Do these restoration projects work? Who knows? Currently there is no data/back up available to evaluate or support current and previous projects. So time will tell. How do we feel about all of this? We’ve informed them of our concerns based upon our years of devoted river knowledge and passion. It doesn’t seem to matter. With or without public input they maintain a personal agenda and appear to be in a world all by themselves. Besides we can’t print how we truly feel. However we will submit, “artificial” is a word that is commonly being used that now best describes the upper reach of the Trinity River. Trinity-Lewiston dams, man-made reservoirs, water diversions, hatchery and hatchery fish stocks/supplements all ties together with current on-going mechanical river projects. Keeping this in mind one has to question, does the upper Trinity River still qualify under a wild and scenic status?

Trinity River Restoration Wreckers Side channel minipulations