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Trinity River Fly Fishing Report

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Dave Neal Reports on 2.17.2016

Fishing on the Trinity River improved the last few days after being a bit scratchy last week. We are currently seeing a little rain and cooler weather (back to more winter-like conditions) but the river didn’t bump at all today.

The river conditions are very fishable from Lewiston down through Junction City. If you have never floated the JC area (even DC areas) at the current flows, it’s a bit pushy (800-1200cfs in JC)… I wouldn’t plan on backrowing much or dropping your anchor on runs expecting to fish off the anchor at these flows. Side drifting from the moving drift boat while covering water or getting out and wading/swinging select spots is the better plan. Consider doing a longer drift, too. You can cover a lot more water under these higher water conditions and many boaters are surprised that they cover the standard drifts right now in half the day!

I’m calling these flows the “new normal” and we probably won’t see much lower flows the rest of the season. All the tributary creeks are flowing and there’s a good snowpack in the surrounding mountains. Each time it rains, expect the river to react more than it did early in the season when the ground was still dry. Also, on warmer days you can expect snowmelt to bump the river, which might color up the water.

As far as water clarity we are seeing the same situation as last year. It’s dirtier (green) upriver and clearing as you head downriver. The opposite of what you’d expect from a steelhead river, especially a tailwater, right? Both Trinity and Lewiston Lakes are pretty turbid right now and off color brown (a result of low water levels with lots of rain/snow from last month) so the water being released is cloudy green. As you travel downstream, many trib creeks contribute clearer water along the way, which help dilute the lake effect. As long as it doesn’t rain too much… we are good… but we still need rain! So, have a back up plan.

We have been seeing all wild fish these last few weeks as the hatchery fish are pretty much done. Fishing has been day-to-day and can be inconsistent which is typical for this time of year (wild fish make you work and that’s why we love them). The “easy” steelheading days, or big number days that you hear about on the Trinity are behind us now. The late winter is a beautiful time of year, however, with cool crisp mornings giving way to sunny afternoons. The river is noticeably less busy and there have been many days where we have not seen another boat or other anglers. This is the time of year to pack a dry fly rod rigged with a #12 Adams just in case… the dry fly fishing can surprise you. Carry a good collection of golden stone nymphs and rubber legs in various sizes, egg patterns for the dirty water, mayfly & generic nymph patterns #12-14 like PT’s, March Brown, Copper John’s, Bird’s Nest.

I have a few open dates in February that I would love to fill… **Just had a cancellation this weekend Feb 20-21, also open Feb 22-25, March 10, 11, 17, 18 contact me for more info and advice.

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