Copyright 2018 James Marsh
Fly Fishing On The Trinity River In
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
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 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.
The season is open year-round but it is highly species
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 is the best time to fish for the Spring run of
Fly fishing the Trinity River is great during Fall because of
the steelhead runs.
The winter months are prime months for steelhead fishing.
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Recommended Tackle & Gear
7, 8 , 9 or 10 weight for appropriate type
rod, sinking, sinking tip and floating
10#, 12# in 9 to 15 feet lengths
10# and 12#
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly 7, 8, 9 and 10 ft. single hand
For 7 to 10 weight lines
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
KISS Strike Indicators, Lanyards, etc.
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
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
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
Trinity River Fishing Report
Updated September 16, 2018
(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
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
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
04/10/14 Steelhad is nearing the end but
|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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 (email@example.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
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.
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
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
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.
12/25/14 More good reports of steelhead
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.
02/26/15 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Salmon and steelhead are just
starting to move into the river
from the Klamath. This should
increase during the coming week.
Flows are 700 cfs below Lewiston.
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
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
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
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.
12/01/16 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.
12/08/16 The river is staying at a normal
level. Fish are throughout the system from
Lewiston downstream. We are still getting
some decent reports. Our Perfect fly
steelhead nymphs are working good.
12/15/16 The river levels are fine below
Lewiston but was high and stained below
Rush Creek. It is down now and rain is clear
until about three more days when another
round will hit
12/22/16 The Lewiston releases are about
300 cfs. Below the North Fork confluence it
is high and stained. Both swinging and
nymphs/eggs are catching a few steelhead
and it should get better soon.
12/29/16 The Lewiston releases and stream
levels are staying steady and the same. The
water is clear and in good shape and there
are plenty fish in the river. We didn't get any
reports from anyone fishing this past week
01/12/17 .No changes from the past week
have taken place. We didn't receive any
reports from anglers fishing. The stream
levels at Lewiston are staying steady at 313
cfs, at 13.36 ft.
01/19/17 Angler have been catching a few
steelhead. There is heavy snow forecast
everyday for the coming week. Highs will be
in the mid thirties. Watch the stream levels.
02/02/17 The flows at Lewiston are 285 cfs
at 13.61 ft., which is good. There is heavy
rain in the forecast everyday for the coming
week, so the current flows are likely to
change. Be sure to check the weather and
flows before going.
02/09/16 The discharges at Lewiston are
running 299 cfs at 13.63 ft. That is fine but
be certain to check the flows. They are likely
to change. Nymphs and swinging Steelhead
streamers and Spey flies are both working for
02/16/17 The flows are at 349 cfs at 13.71
feet which is good. Spey flies, larger
steelhead streamers and nymphs should
work. We didn't receive any reports this
past week but it should be good as long as
the levels remain good.
02/23/17 Lewiston is flowing at 358 cfs at
13.72 feet, or just a little above normal.
This is the place to be to catch steelhead.
We didn't receive any reports from anyone
this past week.
02/29/17 The discharges and levels at
Lewiston are normal levels and the water in
03/09/17 The discharges and stream levels
are in good shape and the water clear.
Steelhead are being caught in good
numbers. The weather forecast looks good.
Great conditions exist.
03/24/17 The discharges and stream
levels at Lewiston are down and in good
shape. The fly only section from Lewiston
Dam to the Old Lewiston Bridge opens in
one more day, or April 1st.
04/23/17 The flow are still too high to fish.
Check back with us.
04/28/17 The flows at Lewiston are at
11,400 cfs, at 21.28 ft. or extremely high.
05/04/17 The discharges and stream
levels at Lewiston are down from last week
but still far too high to fish. Keep in touch
and we will keep you informed.
05/25/17 The stream flows are very high, at
4010 cfs at Lewiston. All you can do is to
keep checking back with us.
06/06/17 The flows are at 3350 cfs, far too
high to provide any good fishing opportunity.
06/22/17 The flows at Lewiston are still very
high and the river not in a condition to fish.
They should drop soon, so check back with
07/20/17 The discharges are still 1170 cfs
at 14.96 ft., which is still too high to fish
effectively. We have not received any
reports of fish being caught. It is still high
07/27/17 The stream flows at Lewiston
are down to 808 cfs at 8.49 feet.
Normal flows for this time would be
about 450 cfs. No reports from anyone
fishing this past week.
08/23/17 The river is down some, flowing at
700 cfs, but still high. We didn't receive any
reports from the past week.
09/07/17 We received two good reports
from customers fishing the upper
headwater. One report from the Wild trout
section. The twenty-mile lower section is
also in good shape with good number of
trout being caught.
09/14/17 The flows are at 458 cfs at 13.80
ft. We didn't receive any reports from
anyone fishing this past week. Fish should
be moving in from the Klamath very soon.
09/21/17 The conditions are about the
same as last week. There's still no reports
of any steelhead showing up.
09/28/17 Stream levels below Lewiston
are good and other conditions are good.
We finally got some reports of salmon
coming up the Klamath and into the
Trinity. There are also a few half pounders
10/11/17 Some of the guides are claiming
steelhead are showing up. We haven't had
any reports of any caught. Trout fishing is
still good and there are a few salmon in the
river. Steelhead will be arriving very soon.
10/17/17 The discharges and flows from
Lewiston are in good shape and steelhead
have started showing up. The numbers are
not great yet, but should continue to
increase each day.
10/25/17 Steelhead are in the river below
Lewsiton in good numbers and being
caught by our customers. Salmon are
spawning in the main stem of the river.
11/03/17 The river is running a little low
but our customers are catching steelhead
below Trinity. There are salmon on redds
and SH eating eggs good. We received
two good reports this past week.
11/18/17 The stream levels are up to 615
cfs at 3.31 ft. below Lewiston. That will
bring more steelhead in but needs to drop
for better fishing. Swinging should work
11/11/17 Stream levels below Lewiston are
good and good numbers of steelhead are
in the river downstream through the canyon.
11/25/17 Stream levels are excellent and
good numbers of steelhead are being
caught by our customers. Send us and
email for a recommended fly list.
12/02/17 Stream levels are down to near
normal levels and steelhead are being
caught below Lewiston. We had two good
reports from customers yesterday.
12/09/17 Conditions are still good below
Lewiston and lots of steelhead are being
caught by our customers. It doesn't get
much better than this.
12/16/17 The discharges and steam levels
below Lewistown remain good and good
numbers of steelhead are still being caught.
12/23/17 The stream levels are still good
below Lewiston and steelhead are being
caught in good numbers. It looks like a
good week ahead.
01/02/18 The discharges and stream levels
below Lewiston are low and steelhead are
being caught in decent numbers. Steelhead
Nymphs are outperforming swinging flies in
the low flows.
01/11/17 Steelhead are still being caught
but it is taking some work. The water is low
and clear as well as cold. The fish are a
little sluggish but will still take well present
steelhead nymphs and smaller stramers
01/17/18 The stream levels are a little low
but steelhead are being caught, mostly on
01/31/18 Conditions remain good. Stream
levels are in good shape and our
customers are catching good number of
steelhead in the upper section near
Lewiston. Swinging, and nymphing
methods are working good.
02/15/18 Discharges and stream levels
are a little low but lots of steelhead are
being caught throughout the upper river
from Lewiston down to the North Fork.
02/21/18 Conditions remain good. Fish
are still being caught below Lewiston in
02/29/18 Discharges and stream levels
below Lewiston are still good and fish are
being caught. It is cold and the fish a little
sluggish. Eggs and SH nymphs are
03/14/18 The water is a little warmer and
discharges and stream levels are in good
shape. We didn't receive any reports from
the past week, but conditions are good.
03/21/18 Stream levels are normal and
otherwise in good condition. Steelhead
numbers are going down but still fair.
04/04/18 The river is turning out good
numbers of fish. Conditions are good and
this should last for this coming week.
March Browns, Blue-winged lives and
Skwala stoneflies are hatching.
04/28/18 We don't think it is worth fishing
but there are probably still some fish left
that can be caught. Make sure you check
the stream levels.
06/09/18 The smallmouth bass fishing is
as good as it gets. Crayfish, Stealth
Bombers, and Foam Poppers.
09/02/18 The discharges and stream
levels are still low. Salmon should be
starting to come into the lower river but no
reports on them or the steelhead yet.
Smallmouth bass fishing is still very good.
It is best to fish early and late in the day.
Our popping bugs and crayfish fly patterns
are working great.