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.

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.

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 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!


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!