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Trinity River

Guide Dax Messett with a huge Trinity River steelhead
Guided Float Trips
$575 for 1-2 Anglers
  • Year-round
  • Drift Boat Trips

The Trinity River is one of the most popular steelhead destinations in California. One reason for this status is that the Trinity rarely "blows out" due to high water. High flows from winter storms are absorbed by Trinity Lake, so even during large storms it's common for the uppermost floats to remain fishable. For the majority of the steelhead season, flows remain stable and conducive to wading and drift boat fishing. The Trinity River is also popular with anglers due to its proximity to highways and easy access. Highway 299 runs right along much of the river and side roads provide access to other areas. The river has excellent public access for wade fishing and plenty of put-ins for fishing from rafts and drift boats. The biggest reason that the Trinity River is held in high esteem by fly anglers is the numbers of fish. Every year thousands of steelhead return to the Trinity River. It is not at all uncommon for a single angler to hook multiple adult steelhead in a day of fishing on the Trinity. Most steelhead on the Trinity River are 4-10 pounds.

Fishing for adult steelhead can be very good as early as mid-September and as late as mid-April. The early fall is known for hot acrobatic fish. The fish typically aren't spread out in every hole, but when you find one it's common to find several more in the same spot. Prime-time on the Trinity River is November, December and January. November is the favorite month for anglers that want a great shot at good numbers of fish AND nicer weather. December and January are more likely to be cold and rainy (or even snowy!), but there are typically more fish in the river at this point. February, March and April are interesting months on the Trinity. We sometimes see greater numbers of fresh "winter-run" fish at this time. It's also common to hook some "down-streamers" that have already spawned and are headed back to the ocean. The river also sees hatches of march browns and green drakes that can get brown trout and the occasional adult steelhead to come to the surface.

Trinity River Guide Team

Our Trinity River guide team includes Andrew Harris, Gino Bernero, Brian Kohlman, Kevin Kay, Peter Santley, Luke Geraty, Mike Wright, Andreas Fuhrmann and Drew Griffith. Gino Bernero, Andreas Fuhrmann, and Drew Griffith exclusively fish Spey Techniques on the Trinity.

Recent Trinity River Fishing Reports

Trinity River Fishing Image
January 13, 2022
Trinity River Report by Andrew Harris

I escaped the office today and spent a really nice day on the water with guests Steve and Ron.  These guys have been fishing the Trinity River for a long time and have seen it all: great fishing, slow fishing, big fish, no fish, and everything in between.  Today started slow but by the end of the day we had connected with a lot of adult steelhead.  The numbers of fish and quality of fish were definitely on the plus side of "average".  The fish today ate pretty much every fly we tried, from rubberlegs to eggs to tiny mayflies.  If you're contemplating a trip, don't hesitate to book one soon!  There are plenty of fish in the river, some quality fish, and they are on the grab!

Trinity River Fishing Image
January 11, 2022
Trinity River Report by Luke Geraty

Kirk and his son, Dane, came up to the Trinity to spend a day chasing those migratory rainbow trout that we all love. The weather conditions were probably nicer than you'd want for steelheading (sunny) but we still managed to hook fish and have a really good time together! Kirk used to fly fish a lot when he was younger and has decided to get back into it more, though you couldn't tell he'd taken a lot of time off because he could cast, mend, and fight fish like a pro. Dane, with only one year of fly fishing under his belt, CLEARLY has spent a lot of time fly fishing because you'd never have guessed he has only been fishing for a year! Water is starting to clear up a bit from the last rain we got, but it's still much better than gin clear, so no complaints! We hooked a few adults and a few half-pounders, so it's hard to complain about that given the typical expectations for a steelheading trip. Kirk landed a really nice wild fish and just as we were going to snap a photo in the classic "keep 'em wet" pose, it took off. Oh well... Kirk didn't care! He was just happy the fish was safely released and we got to shake hands. With the sun we didn't see as much BWO activity throughout the day which meant that the 5wt dry fly rod stayed in the rod holder all day, sadly. But there's always next time. Like every steelheader out there, I'm praying for rain! The typical pattern is rain comes and the river jumps up and gets some color and the steelhead get stupid again and the bite is good. Then, when the water drops down again and clears up, it turns into normal steelheading. So we're always just hoping and praying that we're there at the right now... sometimes you can predict it and other times you are just crossing your fingers. Next week I'm over there all week, but there's still plenty of time in February to book a trip, so hit me up at Confluence and let's gooooooooooooo!

Trinity River Fishing Image
January 5, 2022
Trinity River Report by Luke Geraty

It kind of started with a phone call. Jason was coming up to fish with me again and since I've seen some BWO's popping off most days on the Trinity, I'd thought I'd give him a heads up. "You do much dry fly fishing?", I asked. "I've been seeing a pretty good hatch happening mid-day and maybe we could get a steelhead on a dry fly." "Let's do it," was his response. And thus began our two days on the Trinity. But before we talk about THAT, let's just make one thing clear: rain and steelhead go together like peanut butter and jelly. Every time it rains, the river fishes pretty well. So with each little bump, things improve. The flows were about 575-590cfs at Junction City over the two days and the color was just about perfect, colored up with what we like to call "steelhead green," though some of the creeks pumping into the Trinity are really more of a grey due to the snow melt. We had cloud cover the first day and on our second day had about half a cloudy day and half sun.Okay, so how was the fishing? It was excellent. Our last trip together was really good and this was REALLY REALLY good. Red hot, to be exact. On our first day, the metal faces were in all of the likely spots and we had hookups throughout most of the day, from the start to the end. Most of the day I ran some form of a three fly rig that included a rubber legs, yellow stone fly, psycho prince, or pheasant tail type of fly. They were eating everything, though the smaller stuff (size 16) seemed to have the most action. The two highlights of the day were easily hooking TWO adult steelhead on a dry fly, one of which was landed (see the photos). The one that got away still ate it and it was epic to have on for a few seconds, but size 16 dry flies without barbs are not really designed to land steelhead, right? So we were just grateful for that first one! The second highlight of the day, for me, was when we got to the VERY last bucket... the VERY last run... and I told Jason, "Hey... I've never gotten a fish here but I love this spot and it looks like it should have fish in it so I'm not sure why no fish yet... let's get one here." Would you know, Jason stuck one there too. Dude is a stick... and also lucky... ha ha.Our second day was a bit slower in that we didn't get action throughout the day but we can't complain. Steelheading is NOT a numbers game. You might throw a thousand casts and not even SEE one of those ghosts. But we still got a couple adults and they were both in the same spot. Those two fish were probably on a date or something and then Jason ruined it, ha! One of the fish was a clipper and had a $20 tag on it, so Jason will be able to find out where that fish has been and gone!Not a bad two days. Jason swung flies on the 'ole spey rod, fished nymphs under a bobber (I mean "indicator," sorry), and played the dry fly purist card and got some grabs on top. Hard to beat days like that.

Trinity River Hatch Chart

Mayflies
Green Drakes
March Browns
Callibaetis
PMD
Baetis
Isonychia
Caddisflies
Glossosoma
Rhyacophila
Hydropsyche
October Caddis
Stoneflies
Golden Stones
Giant Stoneflies
Little Yellow Stones
Terrestrials
Grasshoppers
Other
Salmon Eggs
Steelhead Eggs
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Lodging Recommendations

Weaverville and Lewiston are the closest options for anglers fishing the Trinity River. Please visit our Weaverville/Lewiston Info Page for ideas on lodging, logistics, and other activities in the area. Many of our guests also base their Trinity River trip out of Redding.

Trinity River Photo Gallery

A happy angler with a nice wild Trinity River steelhead
A large Trinity River steelhead
A colorful Trinity River steelhead
Wade fishing the Trinity River
A large steelhead from the Trinity River
Fishing some slower water on the Trinity River
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