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Fishing Reports for Trinity River

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Okay

I had high expectations when I met Earl bright and early this past Saturday outside of the general store in Salyer. We were set to do a day float from Hawkins Bar down to the Salyer bridge, and with the Trinity on the drop after a big push of rain I was hoping we would find a fresh fish or two somewhere along the way.

The night before had been cold, with temperatures hovering around freezing, so I felt confident in the bigger bugs and heavy chunk of T-14 we were throwing. We spotted a few steelies holding in a tailout behind dark Chinook but couldn't get one to commit. Earl finished strong with an end of the day half pounder that was as bright as bright could be, but he gave us the fin when we got him to the bank and slipped off the line. 

I was surprised to see few fish in the lower river after such a healthy amount of rain. November is usually when the first larger winter runs start to make an appearance, but all of our efforts to find a big adult went unanswered. In the end it was still a beautiful day to be out on the water. 

Right now all rivers on the North Coast are on the rise and blown out. When they drop in it'll be game on for the first hopes of swinging up a coastal chromer. Get your game face on, the shows about to begin.  

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Earl sends one to the far side on the lower Trinity
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The is no anticipation like the anticipation of a tight line grab
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Bugs for late season Trinity River steelhead
View All Reports by Drew Griffith    |    View Drew Griffith's Calendar    |    View All Trinity River Reports
Great
My second day with the Diablo Valley Fly Fishers was even better than yesterday.  It was a cold morning and VERY crowded on my float.  We took our time and hooked three fish right at the put-in.  Fishing remained consistent for the first half of the day, but slowed down after lunch.  We started with a very good landing percentage - but then the wheels kinda fell off.  All in all, Rich and George had an outstanding day hooking nine adults and landing three.  
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George with his first steelhead of the trip!
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George with a beautiful wild fish!
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Rich with another nice hatchery steelhead!
View All Reports by Brian Kohlman    |    View Brian Kohlman's Calendar    |    View All Trinity River Reports
Good
The Diablo Valley Fly Fishers are here and I had the pleasure of guiding Rob and Rich.  We received a fair amount of rain yesterday, so the flows have come up a little more and the color is ideal.  We did well today.  The river was crowded, so finding water is the challenge.  Rich started the day by landing a nice hatchery male.  Within a few minutes, Rob followed up landing two more nice hatchery fish and then ended up on the losing end after a brief encounter.  The extended forecast is calling for a few nice days, but then we have another system moving in that looks to bring some significant rainfall early next week.
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Rich with a really nice hatchery steelhead!
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Rob with his nicest fish of the day!
View All Reports by Brian Kohlman    |    View Brian Kohlman's Calendar    |    View All Trinity River Reports
Good
The Trinity is really starting to get a lot of pressure now, but the fishing remains good.  With the recent rains, the flows have come up a bit and we have more rain in store this week.  The river is expected to come up some more, but will remain very fishable.  I'm hoping this rain will trigger a new batch of fish to move into the upper river.    
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Bob with a nice hatchery buck!
View All Reports by Brian Kohlman    |    View Brian Kohlman's Calendar    |    View All Trinity River Reports
Okay
I spent the day swinging flies with Jeff and Shane from the Golden Gate Angling and Casting Club.  Jeff had one brief hook-up and a few solid bumps while swinging.  Shane hooked one nice fish while nymphing, but it managed to leave us empty handed as well.  There are plenty of steelhead in the system and with the upcoming rain, conditions should definitely improve!  The word is out, so crowded conditions should be expected.
View All Reports by Brian Kohlman    |    View Brian Kohlman's Calendar    |    View All Trinity River Reports
Good
The Trinity continues to produce some really nice fish.  It has gotten very busy in the past few days, so the fish are seeing a lot more pressure.  Today was the first day of the Golden Gate Angling and Casting Club's annual trip.  Joe landed a very nice half-pounder early on, and he and Kevin fished hard all day.  Later in the day Joe hooked into a very nice hatchery buck that gave him quite a fight.  We received a little yesterday and last night, so the river has come up a little.  We have more rain coming our way beginning Wednesday, so that should trigger some fish to move up river and the water levels should come up a bit - hopefully.  It's steelhead time!  
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View All Reports by Brian Kohlman    |    View Brian Kohlman's Calendar    |    View All Trinity River Reports
Okay

The Steelheading on the Trinity has been ranging from Fair to Great depending on pressure, weather and luck of the draw...in other words Steelheading on the Trinity is in full swing. I've been bouncing around avoiding crowds with mixed results, good news is there seems to be a fair number of Steelhead in the system from top to bottom with new Steelhead still comming through the weir in Willow Creek. I've seen a good number of Chinook on Redds mid-river, which I haven't seen the past couple of Seasons, a very good sign for future runs !

I'll be guiding Spey trips on the Trinity through mid January, 1/2 day trips mid December through mid January last Season where pretty popular, hitting the warmest part of the day. Tight Lines !

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client swung up this Nice Buck mid river yesterday...
View All Reports by Randy Hamann    |    View Randy Hamann's Calendar    |    View All Trinity River Reports
Great
I had the opportunity to guide Jeremy and Phil on their very first fly fishing trip the past two days. The weather was ideal - and today was possibly the last warm day we'll see this season.  There are fish moving through the system and they are eating bugs.  Our first day, Jeremy landed one nice hatchery fish and lost another nice half-pounder.  Today, Phil hooked two really nice fish, but wasn't able to get them to net.  Jeremy landed one very nice native steelhead and was super stoked!  Looks like we have some rain headed our way this weekend!  That should improve fishing and will definitely help us float through this skinny water.  The steelhead are coming, now is the time to book your fall/winter steelhead trip!
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View All Reports by Brian Kohlman    |    View Brian Kohlman's Calendar    |    View All Trinity River Reports
Good
Peter Santley sent me these two photos from yesterday's trip on the Trinity River.  He says fishing is picking up and so is the traffic.  His clients did very well yesterday, landing multiple fish.
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View All Reports by Andrew Harris    |    View Andrew Harris's Calendar    |    View All Trinity River Reports
I met Shawn while guiding up in Alaska and was stoked to get him into fish on some local water.
Tied into adult steelhead on the swing + nymphing. Encouraged to see several spawning salmon along our drift. Could be great season. 
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View All Reports by Sam Robinett    |    View Sam Robinett's Calendar    |    View All Trinity River Reports
Good
Spent a drizzly but great day on the Trinity with Zach and and my long lost relative Dirk, Ha. We didn't see another boat on our drift all day.  The guys fished hard all day and after a slow morning, the fishing really picked up.  We landed a number of half punders and two nice adult steelhead.  Dirk also had long encounters with two really nice big adults that ended in great stories instead of pictures.  Had a great day as the laughs were as good as the fishing.   
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One of Dirk's half pounders............but there were others he will be thinking of.
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Zach with a beauty!
View All Reports by Mike Wright    |    View Mike Wright's Calendar    |    View All Trinity River Reports
Good
There are steelhead to be caught in the Trinity River.  We did a four-boat trip yesterday with results ranging from 1 to 9 hookups per boat on adult steelhead.  The river came up a little with the rain on Thursday night, but remained crystal clear.  There are thousands of salmon smolts in the river that make fishing difficult in some of the deeper holes, but the adult steelhead seem to be in all of their regular spots.  Adult salmon are spawning in many of the shallower riffles.  Fishing pressure is light at the moment.
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Jim and Dirk with a beauty
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I landed this nice fish while scouting on Thursday with Tyler Lee and Mike Wright
View All Reports by Andrew Harris    |    View Andrew Harris's Calendar    |    View All Trinity River Reports
Good
I spent the past two days guiding a great group of guys.  We had occasional rain on Friday, but we had a steady drizzle all day today.  Friday, Zach hooked into a really big fish that gave him a memorable fight, only to lose it because the hook straightened out.  Ted hooked into a few half-pounders and landed one very nice wild fish.  Today, Tommy hooked into a very nice fish that put up quite a battle, but he too lost his right as I was attempting to net the fish.  Ted fished very hard both days, and was finally rewarded with a beautiful hatchery fish at the end of the day.  There are fish in the river and for now, there is very little fishing pressure.  The water is low and clear, so I feel conditions will improve once we receive some rain.      
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Ted with his beautiful steelhead
View All Reports by Brian Kohlman    |    View Brian Kohlman's Calendar    |    View All Trinity River Reports
I spoke with Bill and Caryl Dickens (Gold Coast Shuttle Service) today regarding shuttles below Junction City. There is still one-way traffic control in place from Junction City to Big Flat, so they are only able to complete a limited number of shuttles below J.C.  This is due to road construction to repair the burned timbers that retained the roadway and hillside at Screech (Lime Point).  The construction should be completed next week (20th), so the traffic controls will be lifted and they will have no restrictions on shuttles down to Pigeon Point.  The extended forecast is calling for rain and showers begining Thursday - this is very good news.  Now is the time to book your fall and winter steelhead trips on the Trinity!
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Bob with a beutiful wild hen from last season.
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Tommy with really nice hatchery fish from last season.
View All Reports by Brian Kohlman    |    View Brian Kohlman's Calendar    |    View All Trinity River Reports
Good

Peter Santley has been on the Trinity this past week.  Here is a report:

"Trinity fishing has been good at times, slow at times typical steelhead fishing.  
We have been getting fish both swinging and nymphing. Some real hot fish! Good mix of large smolt and half pounders too.  A mix of hatchery and wild fish. We've had some egg bite action below spawning salmon for some exciting fishing hooking fish in less than 2 feet of water.  Boat traffic has been light so far. 
Highway 299 is restricted to one lane traffic from JC Campground down."

 

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View All Reports by Andrew Harris    |    View Andrew Harris's Calendar    |    View All Trinity River Reports
Good

Had a great day with Brad from San Jose today on the Trinity. We did the float from Hawkins Bar down to Willow Creek. We started off skating flies hoping to find a player early on. Switching to an intermediate tip and soft hackle paid off when Brad came tight to a fish in the second run of the day; A nice half pounder that ended up giving us the fin. 

We saw good numbers of adult fish from the boat, but never ended up bringing one to the fly. I will say this, there are some big fish making their way up the Trinity right now. An encouraging sight to see. We rounded out the float with Brad going 3/3 on half pounders in the last (best) run of the day. 

The Trinity isn't on fire yet, but she's warming up.  

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Fish on.......fish off
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The Miracle Mile
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First sun on the water.
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Brad swings the shadow run in the canyon
View All Reports by Drew Griffith    |    View Drew Griffith's Calendar    |    View All Trinity River Reports
Okay
Things are starting picking up on the Trinity. Make sure to check road conditions before you head up there, lots of road stops. 
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Brian w his first fish ever on a fly rod!
View All Reports by Sam Robinett    |    View Sam Robinett's Calendar    |    View All Trinity River Reports
Good
Here are a couple photos from Peter Santley's trip on the Trinity River yesterday.  Peter says steelhead fishing is good and that the river has changed a lot since last season.  Nice fish Jeff!
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Jeff with a Trinity steelhead
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fish on!
View All Reports by Andrew Harris    |    View Andrew Harris's Calendar    |    View All Trinity River Reports

I'm on the eve of heading north to Alaska for what promises to be an adventuruous summer of guiding and backpacking, but before I go, I wanted to share some flies and thoughts for targeting Trinity River Steelhead. 

Every summer we all have to hold our breath in anticipation of the first returning summer run fish who make their way to the Trinity by way of the Klamath. There are fish in the river all year long, but it usually isn't until some time in mid-August that they start to show up on the Trinity en mass. By October the river is loaded from top to bottom. During this time finding water that hasn't been pressured can become as difficult a task as bringing one of these storied fish to hand. While most guides prefer to focus on the upper river, my favorite beats are mainly between Hawkins Bar and Willow Creek. I like this stretch for two reasons:

1) It doesn't get anywhere near the amount of pressure that the upper river does.

2) It offers the perfect venue for presenting a swung fly to Trinity River steelhead. 

This river, and specifically this stretch of river, offers one of the best places in the lower 48 to find success fishing a traditional down and across method with a classic pattern tied onto the end of your leader. To borrow a well worn phrase, these fish come to the fly well. Grabs are explosive, on or near the surface, usually accompanied by an acrobatic display that'll leave you grinning ear to ear.  Coupled with mild weather and the beautiful backdrop of fall, come October, there is no place I would rather be then on the Trinity. 

 A quick word on tackle. For swinging flies on the lower Trinity a scandi line with an assortment of floating versi leaders will get the job done 9 times out of 10. There are times when I like to fish an intermediate tip, especially if the sun is high on the water.  3x tippet or 8 pound Maxima Ultragreen is as light as I'll go (I had to learn that lesson the hard way). To bring a Skagit head or not? Sometimes the afternoon thermals will make you wish you had, especially earlier in the season when the mid day temps can climb into the 90's and the fish are in the dumps. Rods. A 7wt in my opinion is too much rod for 90% of the fish you're likely to catch on the Trinity. A 5wt spey up to 12'6 ft is perfect. Switch rods ranging from a 4wt to a 6wt are perfectly suited to TR Steelhead. 

Now, A few flies for your consideration. Part of what makes this fishery so unique is that these steelhead really love eating flies. They aren't particularily choosy either. This gives the angler a unique opportunity to fish different methods and try flies that normally would stay in the box. For me, there is nothing more exciting than trying to entice a surface grab on a waked or skated fly. The Trinity also presents the angler with the perfect venue to fish the timeless patterns that make fly fishing for steelhead such a unique sport. Tie on a Silver Hilton, a Royal Coachman, or a Greaseliner and never think twice about your fly. 

I'll be back from AK just in time for the Trinity to really start heating up towards the end of September. I offer both walk/wade and float trips out of a 13 ft raft.    

Looking forward to getting on the water with you!

 

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The Copper Coachman. When sun's on the water, throw copper
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A simple feather wing for early and late in the day
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The Peacock Hilton. A variation of the timeless classic.
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Bretts Klamath Skater. For toilet bowl flush grabs on the surface
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Soft Hackles, the bread and butter of the Trinity
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A traditional Spey Fly. Nothing says classic like a feather wing.
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A hidden gem deep in the Trinity River drainage.
View All Reports by Drew Griffith    |    View Drew Griffith's Calendar    |    View All Trinity River Reports
The steelhead season on the Trinity is still going on believe it or not with minimal pressure. The river is in great shape actually; flows and water clarity are ripe but it's been tough. With limited opportunities it's essential to be quick at those hooks-sets and never assume it's a rock! 

I feel like Paul Ryan with his sleeves rolled up when I start posting river flow charts, nonetheless the lower Sac is starting to settle down. With these higher flows it opens up a lot new water and opportunities to catch fish.  Tight lines. 


Sam R. 
(530)722-5994





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Trinity River is fishable D.C. /J.C.
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Lower Sac - it's time!
View All Reports by Sam Robinett    |    View Sam Robinett's Calendar    |    View All Trinity River Reports
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