Trinity River Summer Are on The Move

by E.B. Duggan

It is with great sorrow that I report that when fishing in Willow Creek is you will be having difficulty in getting fishing supplies or a license so be sure to bring with you anything you feel you might want to use. I am not sure why this has happened but will try to find out and maybe try to correct it or at least let you know where to find what you are looking for. 

Remember that you are not able to keep any Salmon but Trout and Steelhead are ok below the South Fork of the Trinity, everything else is “Catch and Release”. Now that the river is dropping and flows are becoming better for fishing conditions. I have been checking the river as I go up river to Redding and it is looking very good. It is clear as it can get, you can see the bottom in most cases which makes for hard fishing as the fish are very spooky, you have to make the best presentations possible without spooking the fish. Approach the river very easy and if you are going t wade do it very gently. The summer run Steelhead are on the move and are trying to get to their spawning streams as soon as possible. If you are using hardware, be sure to cast upstream and hold your tip high enough to allow whatever you are using to float just off the bottom. That goes for bait too. Fly fishing will be the same but your fly will be on top of the water in most cases. From what I have seen down in the Willow Creek area the river is the same as upriver but much deeper. Choose you location carefully and use stealth for a chance to hook into one of these monsters. You will encounter smolt and juvenile fish if you are fishing the lower parts of the river as you fish for these great summer run Steelhead. Remember to bring lots of sun screen as you will get lots of sunshine and reflection off of the water.

If the fish are not making it back to the rivers why does NOAA (NMFS) not allow for an increase of Fish Hatchery (Iron Gate & Trinity River hatcheries) releases? These fish are of the same genetic stock as the Native fish, so why not increase these fish by growing more of them in some of the spawning streams? There are some very good spawning streams on both the Klamath and Trinity Rivers where small “grape box” type hatcheries could help with increasing native fish. This has been done on both rivers years ago. This could come under Watershed Restoration funding which has not been used to its fullest extent. It has been done on several spawning streams with great success. It could make a difference in the returning of spawning Salmon and Steelhead. This type of action could really help Endangered Species (Coho Salmon & Steelhead) in efforts of recovery.

Fishing: The summer run Steelhead and summer/spring Salmon are also in the river making their way to their spawning streams. This makes for some great summer fishing but with the heat you have to make it an early morning or late evening type of fishing experience. I usually start at first light and stop buy 10:00am or so, then I go home for a snack and a nap then try for the late just before dusk fish. After the sun goes off the water is cools down and the fish will start to bite again. While fishing for Summer Steelhead on the Lower Trinity you will also hook smolt and some small tout. These trout you hook are really immature Steelhead as anything under 16 inches is determined to be a trout and are a Steelhead when they reach 16 inches.

The upper river, Lewiston Lake is also providing some great fishing for Kokanee salmon. I have also heard that there is some good bass and kokanee fishing over on Whiskeytown Reservoir. For information you can call, Indian Creek Lodge, Cory, (530)623-6294 or Junction City Store, Butch, (530)623-2803, for Lewiston Lake call Pine Cove Marina, Matt or Louise (530)778-3878.

Mid-Klamath to Happy Camp: I am sorry but as of yesterday, I am not able to make contact with the River Data Exchange and unable to provide you with Reservoir and Stream Data. The Klamath River at Weitchpec is flowing N/Acfs. This is a decrease of N/Acfs.  Iron Gate Dam is releasing 1,018cfs a decrease of 41cfs from last time. The Upper Klamath is flowing fairly clean right now and is good fishing above I-5 all the way down to the Happy camp area. I do recommend caution as the river is flowing 1,600cfs in the Siead Valley region. To find out about fishing the area you might call the Marble Mountain Guest Ranch (800) 522-6284, or Scott Caldwell, SC Guide Service (530)905-0758 

Lake Conditions: The Stream Data Exchange web site is out of order so this part of the column will not be assessable.

Trinity River flows and conditions: Sorry but the Stream Data web site is out of order as of 10:30am today Sunday June 30, 2024.  Temperatures for the Valley last week had a high of 101 and a low of 54 degrees. Rain for the week was 0.00in with a water year total to date of 52.46 inches and 0.40in of snow in Willow Creek. We are expected to have a heat wave come in during the week with a high Friday of 108 and low of 58 so get out the fans and coolers.

from Willow Creek, CA Phone 530-629-3554, E-mail