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Current Fishing Report

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Great

The steelhead fishing on the Trinity river has been very good this week. I have been guiding the last few days with novice and beginner fly fisherman. By taking things slow with some good instructions things have been going great. We have been hooking several nice fish. This month has been dry and river is low and clear. River has been fairly quiet with guides spread out. We didn't see another boat on our float last two days.I believe some rain could give us another push of fish.i think we should have decent fishing into March. There is still time. Book a trip and let's go play!Peter Santley

View Peter Santley's Calendar
Great

Yesterday I got to fish with Jeff from the Bay Area. Jeff reminded me of a lot of guys I've met and talked with over the years who are new to swinging flies and speycasting. He's a serious fly fisherman, has been involved in the sport for a long time, and has plenty of experience fishing for trout in Northern California and beyond. But he has never ventured into the world of speycasting, mostly because at some point as an angler you stick to what you know, and speycasting can seem intimidating. So much new information to digest. So much new gear to figure out. Who wants to relearn how to cast? Where to begin? I count myself lucky that he obliged and decided to venture out into new territory with me. As a guide there's something special about being there at the very beginning of someones journey into the world of speycasting. I get to relive all of the excitement and frustration of when I was first learning, and get to watch the same progressions and rewarding moments that everyone experiences when learning how to speycast. Remember how epic it was when you first threw a truly long cast and it burped the reel because it wanted more running line?  It's hard to explain, but for those in the know it's something you never forget. We set off on a day that met every standard for winter steelhead. A steady drizzle fell in the dim light of morning, the mist like thick smoke turning the huge redwoods into looming shadows along the rivers edge. Jeff was a quick study. We worked on dialing in his double spey in the morning and graduated to the snap t by noon. He picked up his on shoulder snap t and ran with it. By the time we had finished lunch and he had stepped back into the run he was in the zone. It was a good cast that caught the fish. One that turned over well and emptied all the running line through the guides. This was something! The fish faught well, a chaotic fit of runs, tailwalking jumps and nerve racking headshakes in close to the bank. Just as we we're landing him another angler happened upon us and we were able to get a picture with the three of us. Jeff's fish was a good buck, still clad in his chrome camo from a life in the salt. After it was all over I half jokingly told him to be careful about who he told about getting a winter steelhead on his first day swinging flies. Some folks might go ahead and put their rods on ebay after hearing a thing like that. I knew that I had a convert before me, that he was sold on what I had just shown him was possible, and for that I am humbled and grateful.Looking at the weather ahead there is some rain forecast for next weekend along with snow falling at lower elevations. Whether or not this system will have any impact on our coastal rivers is hard to say, but what is apparant is the need for some soaking rain. Despite low and clear conditions that now prevail on nearly all rivers on the North Coast fishing has been solid. Yesterday I spoke with a handful of other guides who all reported getting into good numbers. I personally have found success the last handful of occasions I've had time to fish for myself coupled with getting clients into fish on my last two trips. If you're looking to head north and swing a critter for a chrome fish this would be a good time to make the journey.  Tight lines!  

Jeff with his first coastal steelhead.
Jeff with his first coastal steelhead.
A healthy buck to hand on the coast
A healthy buck to hand on the coast
I even got to make a cameo appearance thanks to a fellow angler. Thanks Don
I even got to make a cameo appearance thanks to a fellow angler. Thanks Don
View Drew Griffith's Calendar
Great

On Monday I got on the water with Kris to swing some flies for winter steelhead. We had fished together before. Twice last season Kris made the voyage from the high desert of Reno to the fog lorn coastline of Northern California and Southern Oregon in the hopes of making the connection with a winter fish. Despite ideal conditions on the two occasions we fished together we struck out. Being a recent convert to spey fishing Kris was still looking to get that first fish to hand on the swing as we began our day together. Thick fog in the morning gave way to a blue bird day on the water. By mid day the temperatures had become pleasantly warm for February as we made our way further down river with the hopes of finding some fresh and eager fish coming up from the tide. Under bright sun in a tell tale riffle I watched as Kris' skagit head swung lazily into the soft water and suddenly jarred tight. It was a good eat, perfect. She jumped for us almost immediately in the place she ate and we saw that she was a near perfect dime bright hen. After some excitement and boat wrangling we made it to shore and brought her to hand for a quick meet and greet and then watched as she quietly dissapeared into the riffle. Spirits were high, and the monkey was now officially lifted from Kris' back. We rowed on, looking to get into one last run before the day was over. Now the wind came up, and casting became a challenge. The sun dipped beyond the ridge and the light went off the water. Nearly towards the end of the run came another freight train grab. It was different then before. No jump, just stubborn headshakes and a refusal to budge an inch. This was a good fish, bigger than the first. It fought well in the riffle and finally came to hand along the willow line. A beautiful wild buck. We saw him off and knew we were done for the day. As we walked off the river we were both laughing and spellbound by our good fortune. Few things in the world of angling compare to the days you find them on the swing.  Looking ahead conditions on the North Coast are fair but we are now in need of some substantial rainfall to bump up our low and clear rivers. Some rain is forecast over the weekend but it doesn't look like anything heavy enough to make a significant dent in river conditions. It might put the Smith River on a slight rise and add a little color to the rivers further south but that's about it. As of now there is nothing looming in the forecast to make a dramatic change in river conditions. Hopefully within the next few weeks that will change. What started off as a dormant January heated up into February and gave way to some of the best fishing of the season for the North Coast. Hopefully we'll see a continuation of that trend as we round the corner into the end of this month and the beginning of March. Tight lines out there!

A beautiful hen in full sun.
A beautiful hen in full sun.
Kris with his end of the day buck
Kris with his end of the day buck
First fish to hand on the spey. A worthy pursuit and epic reward
First fish to hand on the spey. A worthy pursuit and epic reward
Getting dialed in before the burn off.
Getting dialed in before the burn off.
As wild as they come.
As wild as they come.
View Drew Griffith's Calendar
Okay

We have a guest who is looking for a fishing buddy for a March 1-2 trip on the southern Oregon coast with Gino.  Gino says fishing has been fair to good.  Early March has been good the last two years on the coast.  Gino is fully booked so this is your last chance to spend a day on the water with him this winter steelhead season.

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Fishing Report Image
View Andrew Harris's Calendar
Good

I had a really fun day with my guest Steve today. Steve is new to two-handed casting, so today was intended to be an instructional day to prepare him for his upcoming Spey Stay with us in Gold Beach, OR. Other than a very cold morning, it was a beautiful winter day on the Trinity. Steve had a solid bump in one run before hooking into a very spirted wild fish! After 6-7 really good runs, we were able to bring it to net. He hooked another fish, but the fight was over after a few really good head shakes. Steve’s casting improved throughout the day and he had a few more good bumps, so it was a good day!

Steve with his very first steelhead on the swing!
Steve with his very first steelhead on the swing!
View Brian Kohlman's Calendar

I had a good trip on the American with Martin and Robert. They both got into adult steelhead and we had a fun day on the water. The fish are starting to key in more on bugs than eggs now and we have had a recent influx of new fish. Swinging has been very unproductive for most, and will likely stay that way until we get some real rain. We are in the grips of winter steelhead season and while it is not easy, nymphing hard all day and getting after it has been fruitful. For people that live in the bay area, the American is only an hour and a half or so away and can be a great option to fish this time of year.

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View Ben Thompson's Calendar

Had a great Yuba trip with Steve on Thursday. We nymphed in the morning and got into some fish, but the day really kicked into gear when we started seeing skwalas on the water and fish rising at about noon, which is a little earlier than we have been seeing it lately. We commited to the dry from then on and it was the right move. There was a bunch of different bugs coming off, but the fish were clearly keyed in on the skwalas as we could watch a live one float by and then see a fish eat it. They continued to rise to them steadily and then it slowed a bit just after 4pm but there were still some fish willing to come up to a good presentation in the right locations until the end of the day. 

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Fishing Report Image
Fishing Report Image
Fishing Report Image
View Ben Thompson's Calendar
Great

Here is a guest report from Jim who fished Eagle Canyon yesterday: "Andrew, it was a beautiful day yesterday. As always Bill was very helpful and had his selection of his great flies which we used. Black, olive and purple leeches and buggers were the ticket. These are a few of the fish we caught. Needless to say we'll be back again. Thanks again, Jim"

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Fishing Report Image
Fishing Report Image
Fishing Report Image
View Andrew Harris's Calendar
Good

Here is a photo from our Eagle Canyon guests today.

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View Andrew Harris's Calendar

It is skwala season on the Yuba River. Floated yesterday and while we did not see a lot of rises in the morning, fish were coming up in the afternoon. I had multiple skwalas land on me, and we also saw some pmds and march browns around. We wanted to primarily throw skwalas and were rewarded with some ferocious eats.They are off to a good start and it should pick up from here. Many consider skwalas on the Yuba to be the best dry fly hatch in the state. If you like throwing big dry flies to feeding fish, February/early March is the time to go try it out.

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Fishing Report Image
Fishing Report Image
View Ben Thompson's Calendar
Good

Did a lower drift on the Sac and considering the time of year fishing was really pretty good. It was warmer than usual and we had huge caddis hatches most of the day that really drove the bite. Various caddis patterns all worked well. This bodes well for our spring fishing as that is when the caddis hatches usually get going in ernest and the fishing really turns on. The bite shut down hard around 3pm which has been pretty typical lately. Still a great day on the big river!

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View Kevin Kay's Calendar
Great

The steelhead have finally arrived on the Trinity River.  After a long slow fall season with a lot of zero, one, and two-hookup days, the fishing has dramatically improved.  In the last two days we hooked quite a few adult steelhead and numerous half-pounders.  The adults were all wild fish and were mostly 2-4 pounds.  We did land a couple in the 5-6 pound range and I spotted a couple big ones as we were floating, too.  The river is crystal clear and high with snowmelt.  Fishing pressure is very light.  If you have the flexibility in your schedule to book a trip soon, you should go for it!

Wading the Trinity
Wading the Trinity
Ron got in on the action
Ron got in on the action
Steve with a nice buck steelhead
Steve with a nice buck steelhead
Steve with a healthy hen steelhead
Steve with a healthy hen steelhead
View Andrew Harris's Calendar
Great

I just got off over a week on the Trinity and recent rain had improved fishing. I had trips both swinging and nymphing. We had action on both methods after rain. The last two days fishing was really good. These are wild winter run fish and move often and can be hard to locate. The rain improved flows and raised water temp and the fish were ready to play. You just have to book dates and stick to it. These winter fish move and bite after rain. When weather settles out fishing tightens up and you have to work harder and stay focused. Clients Tom and Geoff had double digit hook ups with several nice fish landed on Mondays trip. Tuesday my client Kevin had a good day with five fish landed. I expect February to be good. It's still steelhead fishing with no guarantee but this week had been fun. Plenty available dates . It's time to go! Book it and come out and play.Peter Santley

View Peter Santley's Calendar
Good

Conditions are shaping up nicely for getting out on the water to do some swinging for chrome. After the biggest rise of the season for all of the rivers of the North Coast we are seeing an extended period of mostly dry calm weather. This is the generous window we've been waiting for, so if you've been cooped up at home tying flies and scouring the internet for images of salty fish it's time to wax your ferrules and hit the road. By this weekend we should see a number of North Coast rivers come online, and looking further ahead with no major systems threatening to rain on the parade more and more water will become fishable. Hope to see you on the water. 

Andrew Harris in the goods
Andrew Harris in the goods
Mad River projection into February
Mad River projection into February
S. Fork Eel river projection into February
S. Fork Eel river projection into February
Smith River projection into February
Smith River projection into February
View Drew Griffith's Calendar
Good

Floated the canyon section today with Geoff and his dad Tom. The river was dropping after a big storm a few days ago and that seems to have brought some new fish upriver. Tom hooked up with a good fish on his first cast and throughout the day we landed a nice mixture of adults, tweeners, and half-pounders, all of them wild. Fishing right after a big storm seems to be key.

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Fishing Report Image
Fishing Report Image
Fishing Report Image
Fishing Report Image
Fishing Report Image
View Kevin Kay's Calendar

Fishing on the North Coast has been hit and miss over the past few weeks with brief windows opening up between storms. The Smith River has been the best bet for finding green water and conditions have been ideal for swinging. With flows remaining on the higher side the river has been showing off its iconic emerald green color, and with it the first decent push of fish. Reports from most of the guides I talked to who were floating from the Forks down were getting into a few fish a day. The Eel River has remained largely unfishable since blowing out earlier this month, with the upper S. Fork above Benbow being the excpetion. I spent a few days poking around up there last week and while conditions were near perfect I didn't talk with anyone who had hooked up. As of right now all rivers on the coast are anticipated to be on a steady rise through the beginning of this week. The projections for the Eel are pointing to the most significant rise of the season to date, restarting the clock for any hopes of being able to fish on the lower stretches of the system for some time to come. The Smith should be a player by as soon as mid week. There is a system hot on the heels of the current one due to deliver soaking rains late on Monday into early Tuesday, after that things are looking to quiet down for now. Hopefully with the close of January and the end of the winter seasons first act we will see some respite from the wet weather and more rivers turning from brown to green. Tight lines out there! 

Great aerial shot by Dax Messett. Big mean and green,
Great aerial shot by Dax Messett. Big mean and green,
Snowy morning from one of the heaviest snowfalls during a winter steelhead season
Snowy morning from one of the heaviest snowfalls during a winter steelhead season
Offerings
Offerings
Some wild mushrooms picked on the way into the run.
Some wild mushrooms picked on the way into the run.
View Drew Griffith's Calendar
Good

The past two days were great with my guests Peter and Mike, from the Peninsula Fly Fishers. The weather was perfect on Friday, but it rained off and on pretty hard Saturday. The guys fished really hard both days and Mike was rewarded with three really nice hook-ups on Friday. After a couple of tough lost battles, Mike was able to put one in the net. Peter hooked into a very nice adult Saturday, but he came up empty handed after a brief fight. All in all, a very good winter steelhead outing!

Mike with a nice native steelhead
Mike with a nice native steelhead
View Brian Kohlman's Calendar
Good

Fellow Confluence guide Mike Wright and his buddy John brought their sons JT and Gavin up for a taste of winter steelheading on the Trinity. I took the lads in my raft and John was in Mike’s boat. John caught a nice fish immediately which was encouraging but we had to work hard for another one. Later in the day Gavin did a great job of fighting a big fish and we landed it despite my best efforts to botch the job of netting it. All in all it was a typical day of winter steelheading; good company, a few fish, some rain, and we had the river to ourselves!

Boom!
Boom!
Fathers and Sons
Fathers and Sons
John’s leadoff home run
John’s leadoff home run
View Kevin Kay's Calendar
Good

I had a really fun two days with my guests John and Scott. It rained most of the day yesterday and the fishing was as gloomy as the weather. They hooked some half-pounders while getting soaked and cold. They fished hard and were rewarded for their perseverance today. Scott was rewarded first with a nice fish, but as we ate lunch, Scott couldn’t resist fishing the run and hooked into another really nice wild buck! John was wanting to take a break, but I urged him to continue fishing. Just as we dropped into the run, John was “blessed by the fish gods” and had his hands full with a very scrappy wild fish. Scott hooked into another adult in the same run, but it managed to leave him empty handed. Winter steelheading isn’t easy, but if you fish hard and believe, good things will happen!  

Scott with his first steelhead
Scott with his first steelhead
Scott with a very nice fish
Scott with a very nice fish
John with his fish
John with his fish
View Brian Kohlman's Calendar

Katie and I just return from the Sacramento ISE Show. It was a busy show and we filled a lot of spots in our calendar.  If you are looking to fish Eagle Canyon this season, don't wait to book a trip.  We're down to a handful of dates and most of them are coming up soon!  Here is the complete list of openings:Jan 24Jan 26Jan 28Feb 5-6Feb 10Mar 8Mar 19Apr 24 (2 spots) 

View Andrew Harris's Calendar
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