Lower Trinity River
(below Trinity and Lewiston Dams)
From Eagle Creek
Ranch, it is a little over an hour's drive to
any of several worthy steelhead and salmon spots on
the Lower Trinity.
Bob does drift boat and wade-in instruction and fishing on the
Best times of the year
to fish the Lower Trinity River
The Trinity River has regained its stature as arguably
the best steelhead stream in the state. It is the
only stream in the state to hold steelhead every month
of the year.
The river is influenced and changed in nature, by
it's three major sources, Trinity and Lewiston Lakes
via Lewiston Dam, The North Fork of the Trinity, and
The South Fork of the Trinity. The watershed of this
river is richly supplied with lots of rain, lots of
timber, a large array of other plant species, the
right mix of nutrients, and lots of clean highly oxygenated
cold water. For these reasons, the river is loaded
with lots of buggy insects.
Consequently, the fish seem to be naturally oriented
to buggy, rather than to fishy looking food. During
the fall months the river has a large return of Chinook
salmon, causing the fish to key in at times on egg patterns.
The Trinity River Hatchery, at the head of the lower
river, in Lewiston, CA, provides hatchery fish. In
addition, there is a large return of wild fish, hatching
primarily in the waters of the North and South Forks.
The river steelhead population contains a much lower
ratio of half-pounder strain to large adult fish.
Typical size range for these fish is 4 to 10 lbs.,
with a few larger double digit fish thrown in to the
To fish the lower Trinity, I recommend a 5 to 6 wt.
rod with floating line for skating smaller dry flies, as well
as for dead drifting smaller nymphs. If you plan to
swing larger streamers and articulated or tube flies
in deeper water, a 7 wt. fast action rod with sink
tip or sinking line is ideal. A 7 wt. overlined with a weight forward short taper floating line is ideal for skating large dry flies.
June through March
This is Steelhead season on the Trinity. Steelhead
fishing is generally some of the best in the region,
with fish being taken on dead drifted nymphs as well
as by swinging streamers in the current.from the opening
of the season until the season closes. Some fall-run
king salmon may also be targeted from August through November.
Mid-June through Mid-August
The chinook (king) salmon season generally begins
in mid-June, with the best fishing occurring from
mid-July, into August. Kings are very difficult to
target using flies, and are normally caught only when
the fish are freshly returned to the river back trolling
plugs, back bouncing roe, or swinging large brightly
colored weighted streamers. Sometimes a Chinook will
take a small dead drifted nymph, giving the unsuspecting
angler quite a surprise.
Anglers interested in fishing the Trinity or other
Northstate rivers should consult California Department
of Fish and Game for closure dates and size and bag
limits for all species, on the section of the river
they're interested in fishing. We encourage release
of all steelhead and salmon.
Steelhead to low double digit sizes
In recent years, steelhead fishing on the lower
Trinity below Lewiston Dam and the hatchery has
been very good. Fishing is normally done by wading
or from a drift boat. These fish are normally targeted
using dead drifted nymphs and egg patterns, or by
Large King (Chinook) Salmon to 30 lbs
Kings can sometimes be taken from spring into fall
on streamers fished in the deep seams. They will
occasionally surprise you by picking up a small
dead drifted nymph, or by becoming foul hooked in
your line. When salmon may not be taken, they should
be immediately broken off to encourage survival in order to complete their spawn.