Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Fly Fishing On The Trinity River In
California
The Trinity River is one of, if not the best steelhead rivers
in California. It's a one-hundred and ten mile long
tributary of the Klamath River. The tailwater flows from the
Lewiston Dam through the Shasta-Trinity National Forest
and the Six Rivers National Forest. Although this river
and its migrating fish have had its problems with dams at
one time, the reclamation efforts have resulted in
large numbers of steelhead returning to its waters. It's
now a top notch steelhead fishery.

The steelhead average about six pounds. They are hard
fighting fish that will give anyone with a fly rod a thrill as
well as a challenge. The steelhead start coming into the
river as early as August but the early season runs are
nothing to compare to the October runs. October and
November are the two most popular months for steelhead
fishing on the Trinity River. The fish can be caught
through the winter and on into the first of March. The
water levels are controlled by the dam discharges and to
some extent, by the tributaries that flow into the upper
Trinity River.

The best steelhead fishing takes place in the upper part
of the Trinity River from the dam downstream about forty
miles to the North Fork of the Trinity River. There are
canyon sections, deep runs and pools and some rapids in
what can only be described as a very beautiful wild river.

Chinook salmon come into the river during the Spring.
These are large fish averaging about fifteen pounds. The
salmon can be caught on the fly in deeper water during
the summer.

The sea-run brown trout start to show up in August.
These fish average about six pounds. They will take flies
similarly to the steelhead.

The section just below the dam is a fly fishing only
section. There are sections of the river that wading
anglers can fish but the best and most popular way to fish
the Trinity River is from a drift boat.

Seasons:
The season is open year-round but it is highly species
dependent
Spring:
Although steelhead can be caught well into March, the
Spring season is very slow. The flows are high on into the
month of July.
Summer:
Summer is the best time to fish for the Spring run of
Chinook Salmon.
Fall:
Fly fishing the Trinity River is great during Fall because of
the steelhead runs.
Winter:
The winter months are prime months for steelhead fishing.
Type of Stream
Tailwater

Species
Steelhead
Brown Trout (Sea Run)
Coho Salmon
Chinook Salmon
Smallmouth Bass

Size
Medium

Location
Northern California

Nearest Towns
Lewiston

Season
Year - round but species dependent

Access:
Very Good

Non-Resident License
State of California

Weather
National Weather Service Link

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and Flies

USGS Real Time Stream Flow
(Lewiston)

USGS Real Time Stream Flow
(South Fork)
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Trinity River Fly Fishing Report:
11/18/13 Water low and clear but a few
steelhead are being caught according to one
of our loyal customers. He managed only one
taken on our Perfect Fly Green Sedge Larva
steelhead fly, hook size 12. All in all, fishing
reported as being tough.
12/03/13 Water has remained low and
clear and this has made fishing for the
steelhead on the tough side. A few anglers
are catching fish according to one of our
customers who ordered some more Perfect
Fly Green Sedge Steelhead nymphs. The
conditions should improve as soon as it
rains.
12/15/13 Low flows have continued and
only a few steelhead being caught.
Customer ordering more
Green Sedge
Steelhead nymphs and Green Butt Skunks.
01/16/14 The flows are still low but a few
steelhead are being caught. Generally, two
or three takes a day would be considered
good.
Trinity River Fishing Report
Updated December 01, 2016
(Archive is at bottom of page)
01/23/14 Steelhead are being caught in
spite of the low, clear water. Customer
ordered more of our
Spey Flies reporting he
has caught some nice ones during the past
few days.
01/30/14 Recent and coming rain and snow
should help the stream levels and the
fishing. In spite of low water, anglers have
been continuing to catch a few steelhead.
02/06/14 Stream levels are slightly better
but should improve greatly this coming
week. Be sure to check the levels.
02/20/14 More steelhead have been caught
recently. The recent rain filled the upper
Trinity with steelhead. Anglers reporting
catches on our nymphs and Spey flies.
02/27/14 The Trinity has continued to
produce good. The low water situation
should be solved soon with lots of
precipitation in the forecast.
03/06/14 No reports from anyone this past
week.
03/13/14 Recent rain helped the fishing
conditions but levels are back down.
Nymphing should be the way to go.
03/27/14 Rain is in the forecast about every
day for the next week and conditions should
improve in the near future.
04/03/14 The winter steelhead fishing
season is over at least by name, but the
steelhead don't know it. You can still catch
them.
04/10/14 Steelhad is nearing the end but
still feasible.
Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (sales@perfectflystore.com)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.

2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.

3. Email us (sales@perfectflystore.com)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.

All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
Priority Mail.  
05/08/14 It ain't over till it's over.
08/14/14 King Salmon are being caught. A
few Brown trout are being taken.
08/28/14 High water releases are taking
place right now. Lot of algae in the water.
09/11/14 Flows are up and steelhead are
coming in the river. Some are being taken.
There is a problem with the water quality
due to the algae.
09/25/14 Some salmon and even a few
steelhead are being caught. Good, much
higher flows help.
Check out our Salmon
Flies. Check out our Steelhead flies.
10/09/14 Fishing is still rather slow. A few
salmon are being caught along with a rare
steelhead. Cooler water is needed to move
the fish.
10/16/14 Some steelhead are being caught
and some on the surface.
10/23/14 The water levels are still low, and
that's normal, but it makes the catching a
little tougher, but some are being caught.
10/30/14 The river is still low but a few
steelhead are being caught by those
searching for them. More rain is forecast.
12/03/14 Lots of steelhead are being caught.
Anglers are using our Spey flies, and most all
the others.
12/11/14 Our customers are still reporting
very good fishing with plenty of steelhead
being caught. You will need to carefully watch
the stream levels.
12/18/14 Customers catching some
steelhead swinging flies.
Check out out Spey
Flies.
12/25/14 More good reports of steelhead
being caught.
01/01/15 Conditions remain very good and
lots of steelhead are being caught. Anglers
are using egg flies and swinging flies. Spey
fly patterns working very good.
01/15/15 Customers reporting some very
good catches of steelhead. Most are using
our
Perfect Fly nymphs. The water is getting
a little low and clear.
01/22/15 The lower, clearer water hasn't
helped but angler are still reporting they
are catching some nice fish.  
01/29/15 The action continues with guys
ordering more flies and catching fish.
02/05/15 March Browns are hatching and
both trout and steelhead are being caught.
The water is a little off color.
02/12/15 There has been some problems
with high water levels but it is falling out fast.
02/19/15 Two customers reported catching
lots of trout on March Brown nymphs and
duns, and
Skwala stonefly nymphs.
02/26/15 Two more good reports of catches.
It will be a little colder this coming week, but
the action should continue.
03/05/15 More good reports and great
weather for this coming week. Excellent
conditions for this time of the year.
03/19/15 The good reports of steelhead
catches and releases continue. Several
customers have reported excellent fishing.
03/26/15 There are still plenty of fish in the
river and several were caught his past week.
04/1615 Steelhead are about done. There
are still some half pounders being caught.
Trout fishing is picking up with Yellow Quills,
BWOs, Little Black Caddis hatching.
04/30/15 Flows have been high and
expected to continue through the first
part of early May.
05/07/15 Very high discharges has made
it impossible to catch fish.
05/21/15 Conditions are poor with very
high flows.
05/28/15 Flows are still very high but
starting to drop.
06/07/15 The flows are still very high
making it tough to fish. This should change
soon and conditions will improve.
06/11/15 The river is falling but taking its
time.
06/18/15 Still slowly falling. No reports
from anyone fishing this past week.
06/25/15 Starting to fish good. Producing
half-pounders by the dozens for anglers.
07/02/15 A steelhead is being caught
every once in a while. Lots of Salmon and
mega numbers of half pounders are also
being caught.
07/09/15 The much cooler weather should
really help the fishing this coming week.
07/16/15 Some big salmon, a few
steelhead and lots of half-pounders are
being caught.
07/23/15 Customers continuing to catch
plenty of half pounders. No reports on
steelhead or salmon this past week.
07/30/15 A few big salmon spotted, still
plenty of half-pounders.
08/06/15 You can catch the big salmon on a
fly. There are still plenty of half pounders.
You don't have to have a guide to fish the
river like some think.
08/13/15 Fish early and late and trout
fishing is good. Half pounders are still being
caught in good numbers.
08/20/15 Lots of half pounders being caught
in the Lewiston area. No reports of
steelhead caught, but there are some in the
river.
08/27/15 Slightly cooler weather should help.
Smallmouth bass fishing is red hot. Half
pounders are being caught in good numbers.
09/10/15 Brown trout fishing is still great. A
few half pounders, some steelhead and some
King Salmon are being caught but most of
these fish are yet to arrive.
09/17/15 Good reports from customers
fishing downstream of Johnson City. Catching
lots of half-pounders. Smallmouth bass
fishing is red hot. Levels are great for wading.
Map of Trinity River
10/01/15 Not much change. You can wade
and catch plenty of half pounders below
Junction City. The level is at 440 cfs.
10/08/15 Not much change, the action
continues for the half-pounders and brown
trout. There are some Kings.
10/15/15 Mostly brown trout right now.
October Caddis are starting to hatch.
Expecting steelhead to show up soon.
10/22/15 Some steelhead are showing up
and a few being caught. Brown trout fishing
is excellent, thanks to a good October
Caddis hatch. Fish the larva during the
hatch.
10/29/15 One customer caught two in one
day this past week. He was nymphing in the
Junction City area. Brown trout fishing
should still be very good.
11/05/15 No reports from anyone came in the
past week. Few are fishing and that's one
reason there's little success reported. There
are some fish here but the water is low and
they are easy to spook.
11/12/15 There are steelhead to be caught but
with the low, clear water is isn't exactly easy. A
few are being caught but some go blank.
Cooler water is helping but rain is needed.
11/19/15 I sure wish we could offer some
better reports but it is still taking a little more
luck that skill to catch a steelhead. It takes a
lot of casting and searching. Come on rain!
11/26/15 If you enjoy casting, this is a great
destination for you right now. Everyone had
high hopes of rain recently but so far it hasn't
happened. A few fish are being caught.
12/03/15 Steelhead are still being caught
but it has been fairly slow. We are under a
winter storm warning with snow forecast for
the next week. The weather should warm up
enough at time to help the levels and clear,
low water. Conditions should be good.
12/10/15 Anglers and our customers have
been catching good numbers of steelhead.
Lots of fish have moved into the upper river.
There is a lot of rain coming and you can
expect very high water for a few days.
12/19/15 Stream levels are good right now
and anglers are catching fish. There is some
snow and you may need chain to get there.
12/24/15 Winter storm warning in effect
today and snow ending tomorrow. Getting
there may be a bigger problem in catching
steelehead. Fishing continues to be great.
12/31/15 Flows are good at 397 cfs at 13.57
feet at Lewiston. The recent rain has the
stream loaded with steelhead and anglers are
catching them at a good rate.
01/07/16 There is a chance of snow or rain
everyday for the next week. The upper river is
in decent shape with about 2 feet of visibility.
01/14/16 While conditions have been good it
is difficult to predict the coming week. There
is a lot more rain coming (2-3 inches). Snow
is melting and staining the water.
01/21/16 A few fish were caught a few days ago
before the last big rain. There is rain through
Saturday and then clearing for two days.
01/28/16 The flows are still high but a few fish
are being caught in the upper Trinity. The
lower river is too high to fish.
02/04/16 Stream levels are down and the water
clear. Steelhead are being caught. Make sure
you have a 4 wheel drive, melting snow is
making a mess of the access roads.
02/11/16 Melting snow is keeping the water
stained and adds to the flow a little. Steelhead
are still being caught, mostly nymphing but
some swinging. It is going to be much warmer.
02/18/16 Stream levels are back down to
normal and in good shape and conditions
good. Swinging and nymphs are producing.
03/03/16 The stream levels are just below
normal right now, but there is a lot of rain in th
forecast. Blue-winged olives are hatching and
trout fishing should be good. Higher levels are
expected this coming week.
03/10/16 The South Fork Trinity is blown out
but at Lewiston, the flows are at a normal level.
There is a huge amount of rain on the way.
03/17/16 The river is still badly stained in most
places from high water in the tributaries. The
steelhead are up in the tributaries spawning. It
should clear soon, but more rain is expected.
03/24/16 We think most of the steelhead are
finished spawning and gone, but there may be
some around. Trout fishing will pick up soon.
The Fly only section opens April 1st. .
04/07/15 The first week of the fly only section
has been good to those that fished. There is
a lot of rain on the way and this won't last long.
04/14/16 The steelhead fishing is over and
trout is the only option. We are still waiting on
our local guy to call in with a report.
04/28/16 Smallmouth bass fishing is good
right now. Streamers are working best but top
water popper should start working soon.
05/12//16 Right now discharges and stream
levels are very high and little to no opportunity
exist for anything. This should change fast
and you should keep a check on the levels.
05/19/16 Stream levels still very high. This is
likely to continue for a few days.
06/02/16 Smallmouth are being caught on top
in good numbers. Stream levels are in good
shape.
06/09/16 Not many think of the Trinity as a
good smallmouth bass stream but it is. Check
our sister website on fly fishing for smallmouth
bass.
www.flyfishingforsmallmouthbass.com
06/23/16 The Trinity is producing some
good numbers of smallmouth bass, as many
as 40 plus a day. They are taking popping
bugs, stealth bombers, etc. on the surface.
06/30/16 We are still getting good smallmouth
bass reports. The flows from Lewiston are still
high but expected to subside the first part of
July. That is going to change the upper river.
The discharges and flows at
Lewiston are good running at a
normal level. Anglers are catching
lots of steelhead. Our steelhead
nymphs like the Green Sedges and
Giant black stoneflies are working
good.
 Perfect Steelhead Flies
07/14/16 The flows are down and the
smallmouth bass fishing has been great. This
should continue. The hot weather will just make
it better. Top water flies like our Baby Popping
Bugs are working. Stealth Bombers, Perfect fly
Crayfish, and popping bugs are working good.
07/21/16 The Trinity is a great steelhead river
but few know it is also a very good smallmouth
bass fishery. You can catch good numbers of
smallmouth on the surface right now.
07/28/16 Smallmouth bass continues to be
very good. Our customers are using Stealth
bombers, Perfect fly Crayfish, mostly with the
dumbbell eyes and popping bugs.
08/04/16 Smallmouth bass fishing continues
to be very good. They are taking top water
popping bugs early and late in the day. Our
Perfect fly crayfish patterns, with dumbbell
eyes, are working food during the day.
08/11/16 The river is still producing a lot of
smallmouth bass for the few anglers fishing
for them. We are getting reports of anglers
catching as many as thirty fish per day and
that's fishing early and late in the day. Sea
run browns should begin to show up anytime.
08/18/16 We are getting reports of sea run
browns showing up in the lower river. We
haven't received any reports of summer
runs yet but it is getting about that time.
There are some salmon showing up.
08/25/16 The stream flows are up to 995 cfs
and hopefully, that will bring some fish into the
river. It should be getting good by mid
September. Now is the time to make your plans,
so shoot us an email and let us help you.
09/08/16 The releases at the dam are still
running 1200 cfs. That should soon begin to
bring some steelhead into the river. Salmon are
already moving upstream, so it won't be long.
09/15/16 Releases at Lewiston are down just
a little and salmon are increasing in the lower
river. Steelhead will soon be following. So far,
no steelhead have been spotted or caught in
the Trinity or KIamath.
09/22/16 There are a few more fish coming in
from the Klamath but no big numbers by any
means. We think this will pick up very soon,
so don't wait too long setting your plans. You
won't miss choosing anytime in October.
09/29/16 More and more fish will be moving
into the river from the Klamath. The flows are
down to 450 cfs and fish are coming in at a
good clip. It will going very strong very soon.
Don't wait too long to get there. The longer
you wait, the more anglers you will see.
10/03/16 There are reports of more fish
moving into the river from the Klamath, but we
didn't receive any reports from anyone that
caught steelhead there yet.
10/20/16 The level is back down to 308 cfs
and 13.58 ft. It was up some and there should
be some new fish. No reports of catches.
10/27/16 The river below Lewiston is back at
a normal level and steelhead are being
caught. The South fork is blown out. Keep a
close eye on the levels as they are subject to
change. Steelhead are in the river in good
numbers.
11/03/16 The stream levels are running at a
normal level for this time of the season. Our
customers are catching steelhead using
nymphs, eggs and swinging flies. Swinging
works best early and late or during low light
conditions.
11/10/16 The discharges and flows remain
steady in the 300 cfs range. The river has
plenty of steelhead in it. The water is very
clear and the fish usually hold up in the
deeper pools. Nymphing and eggs is the
best option.
11/17/16 The discharges and stream levels
below Lewiston are running at a normal level
and anglers are catching good numbers of
steelhead. It should continue to be very good
this comng week. Swinging, nymphing and
egg flies are working
11/24/16 The river continues to be in good
shape with good discharge rates and stream
levels. Our customers are catching steelhead
in good numbers with nymphs and egg flies.
The veiled beadhead egg fly is a top
producer right now.