IT IS WHAT IT IS (Straight from the Line-ups)

Fishing offers vast avenues of exciting exploration-Beauty and the wild through a wet lens.

A man and his Muddler, veteran TR steelheader & Charo chief— Bob Burke.

A dominating high pressure system parked off the west coast, for the past month, continues to deliver an Indian summer with unseasonably warm, above average, temperatures. The lack of rain, low flows, glassy conditions and, to date, marginal salmon-steelhead returns, have proved challenging for both fish and fisherman. After a promising and cool semi- wet September who would have guessed, mid-day November, TR steelheaders would be wearing suntan lotion, t-shirts and sporting straw hats while running for the shadows.

“Their” world, up close.

The past has demonstrated dry fall seasons are nothing new or rare to California.

And when unfavorable conditions impact fishing, coupled with low salmon-steelhead returns, it’s easy to point fingers. Weather, poor ocean conditions, over estimates, excessive harvest, limited in-stream spawning, or all the above, does anyone really have the answers? They’re STEELHEAD! Keep in mind its mid-November and way too early to evaluate or, case of the impatient, write off 2019 TR Steelhead.

Like Father, like Daughter—Darren and Mariah Victorine exercising talents and fall Trinity trout options.

“Muddler Maddness”- Russ Giuntini with chrome companion.

On a brighter note, for the second year in a row the Klamath received solid steelhead returns. Lower TR weir counts reveal a fair number turned right. Lean numbers throughout the upper TR reach may be an indication fish stalled in the lower canyons, ignoring the calendar, and awaiting desirable flows and conditions. Not to forget Klamath-Trinity steelhead, currently staging in the Pacific, are also awaiting the next flush to make their move. Next round of weather could be the catalyst.

Resembling a native TR summer steelhead- Lewiston Lake perfection.

Despite less than desirable conditions, anglers staying with it and fine tuning their gear, conforming to the demands of spooky steelhead, low glassy H20, and targeting favorite shadowed waters are managing to get a few shots at half-pounders and occasional 3-6 lb. adult steelhead fishing wet and small dry flies during mid-day Blue Wing Olive hatches. Weather forecasters are predicting a change for the upcoming week with the possibilities for a chance of rain. Do the dance. Looking for a low H20, small bug steelhead challenge? Get out and exercise your low water talents and enjoy what is served! See Ya at Hatch Time!



Weeks of a persistent warm high pressure system, low flows and a rich/fertile TR popping aquatics is a primo formula to inspire steelhead to rise to the occasion.

  • Shad Camp 2016
  • Shad are in!
  • Here's to another great shad year!
  • 2016 Shad mug
  • Steve Hopkins and friend
  • Scott Watson with a dandy
  • Shad on!


DO I STAY OR DO I GO (No Brainer)

Unsuspecting, a steelhead’s Jackal/Hyde personality is not for everyone and generally weeds out the whiners.

“Is the fishing worth coming up,” is a question often delivered to us, each and every steelhead season that has never been a popular inquiry or made any sense to me personally, especially during the heat of late summer-fall steelhead runs. I’ll just mention maybe it’s better for some, those afraid of the odds and especially number crunchers, to stay home, couch it, take care of chores or sit in the confines of their office; wondering what if or wishing they were fishing. Regardless, good reports, raw reports, or no reports, does it really matter? It’s that magical time of year—its steelhead season!

Most anyone in tune with Oncorhynchus mykiss  dreams and chomps at the bit, waiting for fall-winter steelhead and willing to jump, at the mention of a fresh rack, to chase chrome. Besides, how many rivers, at this time of year, offer opportunities to swing flies for arm-wrenching grabs or skate dry flies, yielding jaw-dropping surface takes, for fish that typically average as long as your arm? Any chance to fish for steelhead can’t be that bad! Primo water qualities, pods of steelhead throughout the system and opportunities available to fuel the stoke, so is it worth it? Na, stay home and clean the garage!

Down the line and, second round, into the backing; Steve Hopkins prevailed.

  • Shad Camp 2016
  • Shad are in!
  • Here's to another great shad year!
  • 2016 Shad mug
  • Steve Hopkins and friend
  • Scott Watson with a dandy
  • Shad on!


THE LONG WAY HOME (Steelhead on the Run)

Steelhead live in vastly different, evolving worlds. The Pacific represents some of the largest rearing waters on the planet and temporarily host steelhead populations before returning and transitioning to freshwater rivers.

Trinity Fly Shop is well prepared for this fall-winter and is fat, head to tail with quality goods and merchandise (Locally fashioned effective Flies-Rods-Reels-Lines-Leaders-Terminal items-Waders/Boots/Raingear- NEW line of Soft Wears-Complete line of Fly Tying Hooks/ Materials- Books-Gifts-Guide Service and much more) for your steelhead fly fishing needs. We are here to answer your questions and help you and your friends get pumped and hooked up. NEED HELP/ADVICE or PLACE AN ORDER? Or simply like to Fuel the Stoke Call (530) 623-6757 trinflyguy@shasta.com ALWAYS YOUR LOCAL SOURCE!!!

Nature’s selection process inspires a percentage of smaller, generally 1-2 yr. salt, half-pounders to return early; often providing high quality multiple tight line opportunities; small giants with an attitude.

A steelhead’s life and journey is relentlessly challenged and, as a juvenile, is mysteriously complex, born in fresh waters, migrates to salt as a 3-8” out-migrant, matures and, straight out of the starting gate, driven by tenacious determination to return, spawn and perpetuate natal freshwaters.

The greater majority of TR returning adult steelhead are 2, occasional 3 yr. salt adults. Beauty and innocence are deceptive; a gleaming slab injects an electrifying thrill of a lifetime while challenging the highest quality equipment and the most accomplished angler; mentally and physically.

Fully mature pre- spawn, a steelhead’s body chemistry transitions stunningly colorful appearances.

Ravaged by sexual maturity, feeding, maturing in the salt while eluding predators, the first sniff and taste of freshwater is the beginning or, for many, the end of a new journey filled with unimaginable freshwater challenges.

Elusive, here today-gone tomorrow, ghost-like regiments cautiously enter lower systems while acclimating in their new fresh water environments.

Through the eyes of a steelhead, sadly, they are unable to view, the top shelf, seasonal beauty of home waters. Or can they?

A luring attraction in its own, steelhead migrate through some of the most inviting and inspiring landscapes throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Migrating and navigating the complexity of varied water compositions and velocities is a daunting task; anyone who thinks otherwise— try it yourself!

Strength, power, endurance and remarkably keen senses the Pacific steelhead maintains one of the most respected reputations and ranks at the top on most every anglers list of accomplishments.

They’re coming, big, small, mega numbers or trickling few; makes no difference they’re beyond predictable, accept whatever is delivered and enjoy.

Plan for anything and everything, prepare expect the unexpected and engage full throttle; the 2019 steelhead season is upon us. Solid Grabs!

  • Shad Camp 2016
  • Shad are in!
  • Here's to another great shad year!
  • 2016 Shad mug
  • Steve Hopkins and friend
  • Scott Watson with a dandy
  • Shad on!


ICY HOT (Get Wet for Relief and Stoke)

TR at a healthy 1,000cfs. and grandson Mason Sayre in the sweet spot exercising his 3wt. River Glass.

Summertime Stoke- Temps hitting the century mark, immersed in chilly 52 degree waters and feel’n it swinging Muddlers!

Hard to believe it’s already August and peak of summer. The past week temps hovered around the century mark and, without a doubt, fly fishing and wet wading favorite Trinity waters has been the best heat relief option, as long as you maintain depths below the buoys. Despite the heat, last winter-spring’s 148% snowpack, above average rainfall and prolonged runoff refueled the watershed and transitioned into ideal summer water qualities. Currently local conditions are ripe, TR flowing 450 cfs., colder than norm water temps offsetting mid-day hot temps, summer fish pushing through, resident fish eager and in their happy mode and minimal angling pressure. Looking to beat the heat and tighten up-Get On it!

Water temps are much colder this year, thanks to 148% snowpack, making wet wading a refreshing reprieve from the heat; Seth Russell jazzed and in a cool comfort zone with TR summer steel.

Salmon On the Run-Reduced TR flows and warming water temps in the lower TR has inspired a surge of late spring-summer salmon and steelhead to move into the upper river, North Fork to Lewiston. Crack of dawn salmon anglers, targeting major holding pools with fresh cut baits, plugs and hardware, are scoring on bright kings in the 8-12 lb. range. Current limit is one (1) chinook) per angler. Most hard working anglers are getting their fish. JC weir was recently installed and counts, to date, are encouraging. Speaking of JC—Heads up Anglers (Mon-thru Friday) TR, Sky Ranch (upper JC) downriver, water turbidity levels vary daily. Why? TRRP (Trinity River Restoration Program or as the greater majority of Trinity locals refer TRRP: Trinity Ruin a River Program) is reconstructing the TR, according to “their latest cutting edge science and computer modeling.” Why or when construction will be completed or turbidity levels improve, call the Ivory Tower (530) 623-1800.  Personal advice, anglers plan drift trips accordingly and take advantage of early mornings, before construction work begins and ahead of turbid waters. Filling a major void for salmon-steelhead conventional anglers, Douglas City Store (530) 623-6376 is a great go-to for fishing licenses, terminal salmon-steelhead gear, variety of baits and necessity items. Liam and Krista run a smooth operation and also provide accurate and reliable up to date fishing conditions and reports. Check’em out!

Fly Fishing has always maintained a unique appeal and mystic—next shift, Camron Hartman, clearly demonstrates he is pumped and up for the challenge.

Summer Steel True To Their Reputation-Fly fishers targeting riffles, steamy glides and oxygenated pocket waters, are scoring occasional adult summer steelhead on a variety of fly patterns (Muddlers, Skaters and traditional wet fly patterns such as Hiltons, Burlaps, Pimps, Golden Stones and Breadcrust).TR summer steelhead are a rare gem and rank high on any steelheader’s list of accomplishments. How many can actually say they have caught a true adult California summer steelhead? Despite their relatively small populations and size (3-6 lbs.), when compared to traditional fall-winter steelhead stocks, summer steelhead tend to race through the system, arriving sexually pre-mature summering over 4-6 months prior to spawning late fall- winter. Explosive, slam dunk grabs, jaw-dropping surface takes, high coiled eye-level aerial displays and reel burning runs, summer runs are everything a steelheader wishes to encounter. Recently good friend and avid steelheader, Peter Sakai popped in and indicated he stumbled into good fortune, landing an 8 lb. chinook and 6 lb. steelhead, both on Muddlers and his 4 wt. switch rod before noon. Sweet brace and session! Obviously no need to wait for Nov-Dec..

Eye-Eye—Chad Sayre and TR steelhead that crushed a streamer.

Summer steelhead are scattered throughout the upper reach with greater majority of fish making their move overnight. Take advantage of the early and late cool air and water temps, low lighting conditions. Keep the odds in your favor; move through favorite waters swiftly and thoroughly, covering as much water as possible. Attitude trumps size, treat summer runs with as much respect as their larger fall-winter cousins. So beef tippits (2-3X) whenever possible. Too many stop by the shop, wide-eyed and holding both cheeks; elaborating 4-5X tippits just doesn’t cut it.

Guide Darren Victorine and Nicole Nell reveal Lewiston Lake’s icy tailwaters fire all summer and great option to heat up to cool down.

Trout About- Highlighting another cool wading option, clockwork (5 to 8:30 pm) jumbo #12-14, PMD hatches are lighting up the TR “Fly Only” waters with some exciting mid-summer dry fly opportunities. While the greater majority of activity is smaller half-pounders or residuals, some nice steelhead, up to 5 lbs., are also keying on the emerging duns and challenging the tender touch and tippits. Never a gemmy, these fish are close but far away. In other words, success is awarded to those who take the time to closely observe feeding behavior and rhythm, match the hatch and execute a downstream (spring-creek) drag-free, fly preceding tippit and leader presentation. While the excitement of actively rising fish tends to get the best of most all of us, stay calm be patient, one cast at the right time with the proper drift, is far more effective than thirty hacks. And, more often than not, those who cast the least, score the most; not only quantity but also quality.

Known for its rich and fertile habitats, cornucopia of aquatics, scuds, lampreys, unidentified whatever, Lewiston’s native residents are often a hefty handful.

Quality fishing on Lewiston Lake continues right through the summer as both dragon and damsel fly hatches dominate activity throughout the mid-lower lake. That time of year nymphs become most active, in and around weed beds, thickets and other woody structures, as flows are reduced and the lake water temps warm. While adult dragon and damsels can been seen early afternoons, hovering above the lakes surface, rarely are they consumed. No doubt the abundant large nymphs attract the attention of hungry trout. Fish are also attracted to dragon and damsels erratic quick movements through the water. Both have a hollow cavity through their abdomen and thorax, inhaling water through their mouth and blowing it out their rear, creating an erratic jet propelled movement through the water; would make a cool Steven King movie. That is why sleek profile bodied flies dressed with soft- hackle palmers and marabou tails such as buggers, pimps, blue’s, pineapples are ideal imitations and deadly, when fished in the mid-columns with intermediate sinking lines (clear-camos) and retrieved in a variety of tantalizing speeds and fashions. Stripping leech patterns (mimicking lampreys) and small baitfish (imitating Kokanee fry) is also effective in channel waters, tapering points and flats. There are many ways to approach Louie successfully in the summer months. Float tubing, pontoon and kayaks are very popular, effective and great way to stay cool. Small skiffs and prams are by far most popular for versatility, standing while casting, and maneuverability. When boating during the hot summer months I prefer going barefoot. The icy cold waters of Louie radiate through the bottom of the boat and provide cool comfort, sometimes popsicle toes, that helps offset the heat. However you approach this trout infested favorite, you can be sure Louie’s icy waters will help you forget about the heat; especially when tightening up. Stay Cool and See Ya in the Water!!!

Exciting, a resurgence of glass rods is attracting an increasing number of anglers; especially the next shift. Nobody reinvented the wheel; glass has been around for eons—Mariah Victorine appreciating the slow load tempo and smooth fluid action of an Echo 6wt. Bad Ass Glass.

  • Shad Camp 2016
  • Shad are in!
  • Here's to another great shad year!
  • 2016 Shad mug
  • Steve Hopkins and friend
  • Scott Watson with a dandy
  • Shad on!