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!


AVERTING OCCUPATIONAL HAZARDS – (Support & Buy Local)

Own world: Life on the gravel bars

It’s been awhile and despite any rumors, we’re still here and, for the most part, operating in full stride. However I should mention it’s odd, one day you wake up and you’re getting aced by a slew of mega who’s who, free this and discounted that on-line retailers. How’d that happen? Guess we simply don’t know any better we shouldn’t have a destination retail fly shop. Just kidding! Your support and appreciation trumps the alternative. Our commitment and passion, helping you and your friends, fuels the stoke and enforces our labors of love. We’re approaching our 37th fall season and there is nothing else we would rather be doing. So keep in mind, as long as we can stretch a line, twist bugs, and provide services and deliver local advice to help you and your friends score and have a great time Trinity Fly Shop will always be Your Local Source!!!

SHAKA-Shad Groms, Mason Sayre and Brantley Fred scoring at “Little Egypt”

SHADDING FOR SANITY & GREAT FUN– is also largely why I’ve been under the radar. For the past five weeks we were busy with our annual private shad camps. Nothing like catching  springtime Central valley rivers dropping and attracting fresh pulses of stripers, shad, spring chinook and steelhead; a final blast of chrome before low flows and the summer doldrums. While shad may not rank as popular as trout or other anadromous fish they have a respected loyal following; most steelheaders are shadders and shadders steelheaders—it’s all about the grab. Often forgiving and regardless single hand, switch, spey, ultra-light conventional gear, shad crush flies, rip and tear and provide opportunity for exciting multiple hook-ups; not to mention there is always the chance of bonus fish sniffing you’re your offerings and heightening the unexpected experience  (A ten pound striper was landed right in front of camp). This year American-Feather-Yuba flows were high (6000-11, 000 cfs.) yet fished well. Runs were solid and shad seemed a bit larger than average (a few hens pressing over 5-6 lbs.). The combination of high flows and fresh slabs challenged the unsuspecting under gunned, accounting for broken rods and parted 0X tippits. Without a doubt, highlighting the 2019 shad season and camps was celebrating 36 years of shad camps with the original (1st) Headers-Hunters camp that included three generations of shadders. What a hoot! Everyone left with ten fingers and toes and as we all have religiously vowed, what happens at shad camps stays at shad camp! I do have the liberty to mention, 2019-Rule #10, Old Shadmen rule C U next year!

BLUE COLLAR PARADISE- After a huge (148%) snowpack prolonged spring-summer runoff, TR flows are finally subsiding, lake capacities have filled, trails into the Trinity Alps wilderness are accessible and local fisheries are in primo shape and firing off.

Kit feeling the thrust through a 1965 Scott glass rod.

Handful of TR Loch leven.

TR Fly Only Waters-Flows dropping 50 cfs. a day and will ultimately drop to 450 cfs. Aug 5…Despite current high flows (1100 cfs.) anglers are scoring fishing the soft edges and mid-lower tailouts with streamers, nymphs, skaters and dead-drifted dries. A mixed bag of PMD’s, Yellow Sallies and Caddis hatches have also been occurring mid-late afternoon through evenings and fish are beginning to key  and scarf emerging- drifting adults. We are elated to witness high flows have purged last winter’s sediment bars, as a result of the CARR fire, purging from Hoadly and Deadwood creeks. It will be interesting to see how this pans out with the next significant rains. Until then the river is groomed and habitats appear promising.

TR Spring Chinook – Salmon season opened July 1 and lead springers are turning the corner and slowly arriving in Lewiston. Currently, best reports coming from Pigeon Point, Junction City and Douglas City. A few spring-summer steelhead have also been reported. Early birds, crack of dawn, get the best shots at spring-summer chrome. Mid-day fish develop heavy eyelids and difficult.

Trinity Lake-Full lake capacities have helped to make 2019 one of the best bass fishing season in many years. Both large and smallmouth bass fishing has been off the hook. North end upper tailings, East Fork, Hay Gulch, Captains Point and rocky points in the lower end around Papoose all good early-late prospects. Heat of the day, target deeper water columns in main channels and river mouths. Late evenings, warming temps have ignited some exciting top water action. Trout fishing has improved and streams (N & E Trinity-Coffee Cr.-Swift-Stuarts Fork) are now fishable in upper regions.

Louie-Louie is also about rainbows!

Lewiston Lake-Reduced flows have helped fish zone in specific habitats and key on prevailing food sources. Although Lewie supports plenty of shore and wade waters a floating devise, for approach and mobility, greatly increases your odds for success. Target points, tapering flats and channel waters with clear camo sinking lines-sink-tips, streamers, leeches and soft hackles. Straight line nymphing has also been effective fishing smaller mayfly nymphs and midge pupas. Burps of Callibaetis activity is still providing some surface, subsurface activity while damsels are just beginning to attract some interest in and around the lower flats and woody structures. DFW has recently planted Lewiston, providing great opportunity for youth and those less fortunate at handicap and designated public access areas. Boat, pram, kayaks-available at Pine Cove marina, Louise will hook you up. Lodging for family and friends, Lakeview Terrace has recently been remodeled and the place for comfort, fun and convenient for stretching a line. Good Grub & Spirits-Lewiston Hotel has also recently been remodeled and sure to pacify your thrust and taste buds.  See Ya in the Shop or on the H20!!!

Shad Camp Head Hunters – 36 years and three generations strong!

  • 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!