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Trinity River Fly Fishing Report

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Dave Neal Reports 1/14/2016

We enjoyed another fine week of steelhead fishing on the Trinity River. Quite a few super-hot, brighter, wild fish showed this week and there really are no comparisons between these fish and their hatchery cousins. While the “clipped fins” of Fall Season do offer up numbers and provide a lot of opportunities for anglers to hook up (hatchery fish move a lot slower through the system) once you connect and experience the pull and energy of a wild steelhead, you will not soon forget it. Winter fish are the real deal and we had many epic moments this week!

It rained hard Tuesday night and by Wednesday morning Weaver Creek and Indian Creek (among others) were pretty much blowing out the DC section of river (see photos). The rain let up in the afternoon yesterday and today shows the river already on the (slight) drop. A reminder how fast this river can recover.

What does this mean for later this week? I have no idea. The expected rainfall amounts look impressive. We’ll just have to wait and see. The winter season brings unpredictability and variable conditions. The river will rise and drop with every weather event from here on out. But, great things happen in the slightest of windows! Remember, it’s not the high flows so much… it’s the clarity of the water you want to look at. 2 feet or more of visibility with green water = Go Time!

Some other notes…

Northern California has received a good shellacking of rain these past few weeks and even more importantly, impressive snowfall accumulations in the higher elevations. Keep it coming!!!

Precip stats are scattered all over California – but here’s something I found interesting this week in the local Redding Searchlight paper:

As of 1/14/16, for the Redding area, despite being 3” above normal precipitation, month-to-date, (normal = 2.61” — actual 5.41”) we are still 1” below last year’s precipitation totals at this point in the season (2015 = 16.25” — 2016 = 15.27”) Remember that ONE BIG storm in December of last year that accounted for ¾ of the season’s water?

These stats will probably be moot after the next few days of rain, but it’s good to keep things in perspective – Despite all the rain and weather we have been experiencing lately we are still -.19” below normal precipitation for the Redding Area.

Further, Shasta Lake depth-at-dam water level is currently 376.48ft last year-to-date levels were 403.34ft. So we are -26.86ft below last year’s level.

Trinity Lake is currently sitting at 281.59ft and last year it was 331.10ft. That’s -49.51ft from last year to date. We have a long way to go. MA Nature and El Nino need to hook it up and do the wild thing and get busy…

I should mention, snowfall totals and water percentage in the region’s snowpack is looking very good and running above season-to-date averages. While Lake Shasta may depend more on rainfall to fill the reservoir, Trinity Lake relies more on snowpack in the Trinity Alps and surrounding mountains. We do have a lot more snow in the mountains than we did at this point last year. At some point, that “water in the bank” will make a big deposit. Keep those rain dances going!!

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