The Trinity River is the major tributary to the Klamath River, and stretches 110 river miles from Lewiston Dam downstream to its confluence with the Klamath at Weitchpec.

Nearly the entire river is designated as wild and scenic, and flows through Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Six Rivers National Forest, and BLM land.

The Trinity River is arguably one of the finest steelhead streams in the West. It’s runs of anadromous fish were nearly decimated when Trinity and Lewiston Dams were completed in the 1960s, but recent restoration efforts along the river (Trinity River Restoration Program) have brought the steelhead back by the thousands, and recent years on the Trinity have boasted some of the finest runs and greatest steelheading in decades.

The average size of a Trinity River steelhead ranges from four to eight pounds, while mature adults measuring over ten pounds are hooked on a regular basis. In addition to the steelhead, anglers on the Trinity River have the opportunity to hook into fresh Chinook and Coho salmon, and even sea-run brown trout. Whereas a great week of steelheading on most rivers can mean one or two fish hooked, our Trinity River guides regularly hook multiple fish nearly every day of the season.

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Reservations & Rates

The cost of the full-day Trinity River guided package is:
• $450 per day (1-2 anglers per boat)
• $500 per day (Package deal, including flies, tackle, & equipment)

Included in your guided angling package on the Trinity River is 8-10 hours of guided fishing with lunch provided.

Not included in your guided angling package on the Trinity River are fishing license (regular and steelhead report card), waders, rods/reels, and terminal tackle (flies, tippet, etc.)

If you are just getting started in the sport, or will be traveling and don't want to hassle with dragging along all of your gear, you may want to consider our guide trip "Package Deal." This inclusive option is only an additional $50 per day, and with it the guides will provide the necessary rods, reels, flies, tackle and equipment to ensure that you have the right gear and flies for the day. If you're an experienced angler and/or fly tier, call ahead and we'll let you know exactly what flies are producing so you can be sure to tie them beforehand or bring them along.

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Seasons on the Trinity River

The Trinity River is open to fishing every month of the year, with the exception of the “Fly Fishing Only Section”, the few miles immediately below Lewiston Dam, which only opens to fishing from April 1 to September 15. Throughout the year, there are good options for fishing on the Trinity, while each season brings its own unique highlights.

Most years we can catch winter steelhead on the Trinity River all the way through to late March. In fact, March has become a bit of a “sleeper” month on the river. Most of the crowds are gone. There are fewer fish in the river, but with less pressure on the river there can still be some very productive days. And if you’re really lucky, a warm sunny day can bring some great March Brown hatches, and we’ve even seen rare days with adult steelhead and resident brown trout slurping dries!

The Fly Fishing Only Section of the Trinity opens early for the month of April, and can bring about some fun fishing before the General Trout Opener on the last Saturday in April. There are usually still a few holdover adult steelhead to be found, but the real draw to the fly-only water this time of year is dry fly fishing for the many smolts and trout-sized immature steelhead that populate these upriver riffles and runs.

Early May marks the start of the purging flows on the Trinity. As part of the Trinity River Restoration Project, Lewiston Dam begins to release very high flows (from 5,000-12,000 cfs). These high flows are designed to provide extra habitat for the smolts of the native salmon and steelhead of the river, and to help push the immature fish out to the ocean. They're ultimately great for the river's anadromous fish, but they do make fishing a non-issue on the Trinity for the months of May and early June until the flows begin to drop.

June typically shows high flows as the Bureau of Reclamation releases water out of Lewiston Dam to simulate historical snowmelt runoff. There are some early summer steelhead and spring chinook in the river, and anglers wading carefully along the edges fishing with two-handed rods can have some productive fishing. With the big water, wading can be treacherous so caution is strongly suggested.

Flows begin to drop to fishable levels by July on the Trinity River. At this time there are a handful of steelhead still around in the Fly Fishing Only Section just below Lewiston Dam, as well as healthy numbers of immature steelhead smolt ranging from 8-14 inches, a few half-pounder steelhead from 16-20 inches, and a smattering of summer run steelhead. There's a lot of great wade access near the town of Lewiston, and these aggressive fish will take swung flies, nymphs, egg patterns, even dry flies.

The summer season on the Trinity is a great time of year to target fresh Spring-run Chinook Salmon. These powerful fish can be found in many of the upper Trinity River's deep pools and riffle water, and a few of our guides have spent considerable time perfecting techniques to catch these fish (averaging 10-20 pounds) on fly tackle.

Summer-run steelhead, too, begin to make their first appearances as early as July, with numbers consistently increasing into August. There are not nearly as many steelhead in the river at this early time of year, making the steelhead fishing challenging, but rewarding. Water temperatures are warm, so the few fish that are moving upriver are aggressive and late summer can be the best time of year to take steelhead on the surface with skated or waking attractor dry flies or using traditional greased-line techniques.

The bulk of the summer run of steelhead on the Trinity River starts entering the river in September, with numbers continuously increasing through October and peaking in November. The weather on the Trinity River during the fall season is as good as it gets, making October and November the most popular - and therefore crowded - two months of the year on the river. Steelhead are usually spread out throughout the entire system, so there is a lot of fishable water. Moreover, water temperatures are still moderate, so the fish will eat both swinging flies and dead-drifted nymphs and egg patterns. This early run of steelhead is predominantly hatchery fish headed to the Lewiston National Fish Hatchery, and there's always a few wild steelhead mixed in.

The winter run of steelhead start to show as early as Thanksgiving, with fresh fish migrating upriver throughout the rest of the winter season. The majority of these winter fish are wild, and the average size of the steelhead generally gets progressively larger later into the winter months. Water temperatures are considerably colder, so the steelhead are less likely to move for traditional fly patterns and dead-drifting nymphs is the preferred method for hooking Trinity River Steelhead from November through February.

Winter weather ranges from mid-60s to below freezing. The winter steelhead season is not for the faint of heart, making it ideal for true steelhead die-hards willing to brave the cold in order to catch these special creatures. The benefit to the colder weather, however, is that it definitely helps to keep some of the crowds away.

The best conditions for fishing on the Trinity from late Fall through Winter are stormy days, or the days immediately following a storm. Wet weather gets steelhead on the move. Fish on the move are burning calories, more active, and more likely to eat your fly. The upper 40 miles of the Trinity are primarily controlled by flow releases from Lewiston Dam which remain low all winter long, so there are very few days when the river blows out to unfishable conditions, and it will always clear within a day or two.

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Fishing the Trinity River

Every inch of the upper Trinity River is accessible to drift boat anglers, while there's plenty of great wade access, too.

The upper 40 miles of the Trinity River, from Lewiston Dam near the town of Lewiston downstream to it's confluence with the North Fork Trinity River, is the bread and butter of steelhead fly fishing on the Trinity. This is a beautiful section of river, winding through dense evergreen forests and canyons decorated by massive boulders and technical rapids. Over

the years, the Trinity River has carved its way through the rugged terrain of the Trinity Alps to create deep pools and ledgerock shelves ideal for steelhead holding water and perfectly suited for fly fishing.

There are a few minor tributary streams entering the Trinity throughout these upper 40 miles, yet the river remains largely controlled by releases from Lewiston Dam. This means that the river remains low and fishable throughout the winter steelhead season.

Our guides prefer to utilize specialized drift boats and rafts to float the technical rapids of the Trinity. By drifting the many different sections of river available, guides are able to cover a lot of water and find the fish that are constantly moving through the system. Having the ability to cover 10 or more river miles during a day's fishing enables our guides to put our clients in front of more fish, and ultimately to have more opportunities at catching steelhead.

There are two main techniques used to fly fish for steelhead on the Trinity River: Swinging flies and nymphing. Swinging flies is the most traditional method to target steelhead, and can be effective in the early season (October-November) when water temperatures are warmer and the steelhead are more active and aggressive. Day in and day out, however, our guides prefer to drift nymphs under indicators, as they have found over the decades that we've been guiding this river that it is far and above the most productive way to catch fish. The Trinity River's deep pools and channels are ideal for dead-drifting nymphs.

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Lodging for the Trinity River

Most of the drifts that our guides cover on the Trinity river are 45 minutes to an hour drive time from The Fly Shop® in Redding. There are great places to stay both in Redding or in the Trinity River area.

Hotels & Motels:

Indian Creek Lodge Motel
59741 St Hwy 299 West
Douglas City, CA 96024
Phone: 530-623-6294
Website: www.iclodge.net
• Their slogan, "clean and comfortable with character" really fits. New owners have nicely refurbished an attractive old fishing lodge that once was frequented by celebrities like Bing Crosby. Boat launch and several hundred yards of prime, accessible fishing water right in back of the lodge. 32 miles from Redding, 8 miles from Weaverville, right on Highway 299W.

Old Lewiston Inn
Lewiston, CA 96052
Phone: 530-778-3385
Website: www.theoldlewistoninn.com
• Bed-and-breakfast style lodging right on the banks of the Trinity River in historic downtown Lewiston.

Lewiston Valley Motel (& RV Park)
P.O. Box 324
Lewiston, CA 96052
Phone: 530-778-3942
Website: www.lewistonvalleymotel.com
• The Lewiston Valley Motel is one of the most convenient choices for lodging for our Trinity River trips. It is conveniently located in the town of Lewiston within walking distance of the Mountain Valley Grill, right where our guides meet every morning of the steelhead season. It is a clean, functional fishing motel.

Weaverville Hotel & Emporium
481 Main Street (PO Box 537)
Weaverville, CA 96093
Phone: 530-623-2222 or (800) 750-8853
Website: www.weavervillehotel.com
• Conveniently located in Weaverville Old Town, in the same block as LaGrange, The Garden Cafe, Johnny's Pizza and two saloons, the Weaverville Hotel (last rebuilt in 1880) is right next to the Band Stand. Only 7 rooms, all with private bath, most with claw-footed tubs, gas log fireplaces, and four-poster beds. The hotel was completely renovated and restored to its original high ceilings and wood floors in 2004. Perfect for a relaxing stay or a pleasant, romantic fishing weekend.

Give us a call at 530-222-3555 for more options.

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Getting to the Trinity River

The Upper Trinity River between the towns of Lewiston and Junction City is where we do most of our guiding on the Trinity River. This section of river is roughly an hour west of Redding.

Trinity River steelhead trips will start by meeting your guide in the morning either at the Mountain Valley Grill in Lewiston, or at Tops Market in Weaverville.

To get to Lewiston, from Interstate 5 in Redding, take the Highway 44 / 299 off ramp and head west towards Eureka. Follow the Highway 299 signs west toward Eureka for 29 miles. Turn right onto and follow Trinity Dam Boulevard into Lewiston for 5 miles into Lewiston. The Mountain Valley Grill will be on your left just past the gas station.

To get to Weaverville, from Interstate 5 in Redding, take the Highway 44 / 299 off ramp and head west towards Eureka. Follow the Highway 299 signs west toward Eureka for 47 miles. As you enter the town, Tops Market will be on your right behind the Burger King.

Additional Information


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Booking a Guide for the Trinity River

To book a guide, please give us a call at 800-669-3474 during business hours any day of the week, or email us at bryan@theflyshop.com or zmiller@theflyshop.com anytime. We can give you the answers you need, detailed explanations to questions you might have, or check on availability and confirm your reservation in minutes.