Low water flies and the return of wet weather

It's always a nice adjustment after spending the summer in Alaska to return home to Northern California and to the numerous steelhead rivers that make this such an exciting place to live as an angler. For me, nothing compares to swinging one of my favorite runs close to home in hopes of getting that big handshake, and the river I find myself on more often than not during the fall is the Trinity. I cut my teeth learning the hard lessons of steelhead fishing on this river, and I always feel a certain nostalgia when I walk into a spot or step into a run that has become like an old friend. 

This fall has seen a return of exceptionally low water for all of our rivers and the Trinity is looking a lot like I remember it from a few years ago during the drought years. With that in mind, I tied up a few bugs for swinging the Trinity when it's low and clear. Hope you enjoy! 

A simple unweighted intruder style fly with a flash body and copper flash wing. Tied on a 35mm Partridge shank with a Sz4 owner on the business end.

A simple unweighted intruder style fly with a flash body and copper flash wing. Tied on a 35mm Partridge shank with a Sz4 owner on the business end.

Rear view to show the shortened trailer hook assembly. I try and tie in the hook as close to the shank as possible to eliminate the chance of deep hooking a fish.

Rear view to show the shortened trailer hook assembly. I try and tie in the hook as close to the shank as possible to eliminate the chance of deep hooking a fish.

A variation of the vaunted Royal Coachman. This pattern was one of the original steelhead flies on the west-coast, along with the now little remembered Parmachene Belle and Thor. It still gets em! Tied on a 35mm Partridge shank with a Sz4 owner on the business end.

A variation of the vaunted Royal Coachman. This pattern was one of the original steelhead flies on the west-coast, along with the now little remembered Parmachene Belle and Thor. It still gets em! Tied on a 35mm Partridge shank with a Sz4 owner on the business end.

A quick soft hackle pattern for ultra low water conditions. Sometimes less is more. Tied on a Sz8 899 Dai Riki hook.

A quick soft hackle pattern for ultra low water conditions. Sometimes less is more. Tied on a Sz8 899 Dai Riki hook.

This fall has certainly been a dramatic departure from the past few. The lack of rain has put a halt to what had been an eagerly anticipated time of year for swinging flies to salty Kings during the two previous fall seasons. There have been a few reports of good King fishing in tidewater on both the Smith and Eel, but everything above tidewater has remained closed due to low flow restrictions.

Fortunately, it looks like the spell will soon be broken by mid next week. A series of wet weather systems looks primed to deliver some much needed precipitation on California. Hopefully it’ll be enough to send enough water down river, lifting the closures, and kick starting our season here on the North Coast. Stay tuned….

A nice shot of rain coming to a coast near you.

A nice shot of rain coming to a coast near you.

Projection for the end of next week.

Projection for the end of next week.