If the opening day of salmon fishing action that was had on the Trinity River is any inclination as to what lies ahead for the other Northern California river systems, hosting runs of chinook salmon. Then salmon fishermen and women of California have reason to celebrate. The July 1, 2019 salmon season opening day on the Trinity River near Willow Creek, Ca couldn’t have gotten off to a better start. Sacramento River salmon fishing guides who just couldn’t wait for the July 16, 2019 opening day on the Sacramento River and Feather River, and who didn’t let the several hour drive over to the Trinity River hamper their enthusiasm, found astonishing rewards in the way of chrome bright chinook salmon that greeted their arrival. Along with fishing guides like Ryan Tripp from Oroville, Ca and salmon fishing guide Mike Rasmussen from Red Bluff, Ca. Recreational salmon fishing enthusiasts found a equal amount of success as daylight broke through the Douglas Fir, Cedar, and Madrone canopies of the Coastal Mountain Range. Prior to the 5:00 o’clock hour of opening morning on July 1, 2019, success was found immediately!
The late start to the opening of salmon fishing on the Trinity River and Klamath River systems didn’t seam to effect the quality of fishing in the least. The CDFW https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=165631&inline postponed the opening of salmon fishing on these rivers until July 1, 2019. Expecting less then suitable numbers of returning Spring Run Chinook Salmon that are needed to meet the annual quota for hatchery and naturaly spawning adult spring run chinook salmon. More information regarding fishing boundaries, quotas, and possession limits can be found by reading the 2019 CDFW supplemental regulations http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=169262&inline online. Typically fishing for Spring Run Chinook Salmon takes place on the lower Klamath River starting in the middle of May. As for the Trinity River springers, early June is as close to an answer as this fishing report will freely hand out. The fishing generally starts when the controlled river flows drop to a suitable level for angling. A reliable hydrograph that shows realtime and projected river flows from Lewiston Lake Dam In Trinity Center, Ca will help https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=eka&gage=hooc1. Once you have figured out what river flows suit you best, you are ready to choose the stretch of the Trinity River it is you wish to salmon fish. With roughly over 100 miles of river to chose from, getting a fishing guide may be the best option. Especially if you are not yet familiar with the Trinity river system. The emergency regulatory changes put forth by the CDFW and their branch of the AAU ( Anadromous Assessment Unit ) https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Fishes/Chinook-Salmon/Anadromous-Assessment only allows the take of only one Spring Run Chinook Salmon of any size, for this 2019 season, as well as the much later then usual July 1, 2019 start to the salmon season. Despite the special regulations, extra restrictions and negative press surrounding the Klamath and Trinity Rivers, all reports given by anglers fishing both rivers as of the time of this fishing report, the “department” may have miscalculated their estimated return of Spring Run Chinook Salmon into both river systems. With this said, I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to book a salmon fishing guide to row you down this scenic river system. If you are not familiar with it, or don’t have the ability to stay on top of the various and changing, staging locations of the migrating springers, then catching will be a bonus for those who choose to spend a day or two on the Trinity River targeting these aggressive springers. Not to mention, as far as table fair quality, they just don’t come any better! The Spring Run Chinook are known for their delectable table presence, containing a much higher level of fish oils and omegas due to their genetic make up https://www.wildsalmoncenter.org/2018/04/11/the-new-science-of-springers/. Having to sustain a much more lengthy stay in fresh water before spawning than that of the Fall Run Chinook Salmon, which will be next in line for Northern California salmon anglers.
Now for the logistics of this fishing report! The common knowledge of tackle or techniques used to target salmon will always aid in your success. Prior knowledge of salmon fishing on any river in any state will work just fine on the Trinity River here in Northern California. For the simple fact a salmon, is a salmon, is a salmon, is a salmon. Sounds simple enough right? Well, with that being said you can take all the best tackle and advance techniques available to salmon anglers in these modern times, and throw it all out the window if you are not around the fish. Again, location and run timing is something you will not find in this fishing report. But with some time spent on the river you will be able to narrow down your fishing locations, and familiarize yourself with this amazing river system. Of course there are other trials and the tribulations that come with learning to fish for these springers of the Klamath/Trinity River system. The netting practices of the Native American Tribes they have called this River system home for hundreds of years prior to the arrival of the settlers! The Yurok Sovereign Nation of the Klamath River, and the Hoopa Sovereign Nation of the lower Trinity River, intercept Spring Run Chinook Salmon migrating up river, when they work their gill nets. The Yurok Tribe employ setting and drifting gill nets from the Pacific Ocean, to the confluence of the Trinity River near Weitchpec, Ca. The Hoopa Tribe sets and drifts nets on the Trinity River from the confluence of the Klamath River up river near the town of Willow Creek, Ca. Learning how to fish around the Native’s netting practice, can be tricky and will often be challenging. Generally only smaller Spring Run Chinook Salmon under 24 inches in length make up the kreel for salmon anglers, after heavy netting sets in by the Native Tribes. Following the long Memorial Day weekend at the end of the month of May, the majority of the rivers salmon exceeding 10 pounds could be caught by the gill nets.
For those salmon fishing enthusiasts not interested or in need of a salmon fishing guide to experience these river systems, here are a few tips that may help you catch a California Spring Run Chinook, while visiting the area. Cured salmon roe https://www.pautzke.com/portfolio-items/firedye/ is more primarily used on these river systems then any other method of take. Not to say other methods don’t work, it’s just what it is. Local salmon fishermen, and anglers who have fished the Trinity River in particular generally make up “50/50’s”. Adding a half mix of cured salmon roe and canned tuna ( in oil ) in a spawn sack ( roe ball ). Atlas Mike’s spawn sack seems to be the preferred brand https://atlasmikes.com/steelhead-accessories/atlas-spawn-netting/. The size of your roe ball should be about a one inch circumference. Another pointer for the “DIY” salmon fisherman is to utilize all the bank access available on this river. There are dozens and dozens of bank fishing opportunities and locations to choose from. The majority of fishable water is accessed by gravel turnouts on HWY 299, which follows the Trinity River for many miles. Driving along HWY 299 will allow you to get a first hand visualization of a tremendous amount of accessible waterway, primarily all accessible to the public. Because there is plethora of bank access available to the public, it is suggested to practice common river courtesy and etiquette. If another angler is already engaged in fishing a particular spot, DON’T walk in on them and just start fishing. You could always ask if they don’t mind having you fish beside them, but proper river etiquette suggests just head to another spot. First come first serve! The locals and long time veterans of this river system can be a bit cranky when they feel disrespected or crowded.
I would suggest hiring or booking a guided fishing trip with one of the few properly licensed and experienced salmon fishing guides that run fishing charters on the Trinity River. If you have never been on this river system there is no better way to learn how to attack it. Drift boating is the only option for fishing out of a vessel and rowing on your own through unseen waters is always a bad idea. Besides, easily acquired terminal tackle tricks and rigging for this river can be easily learned from a experienced guide. The scenery is unreal and the backdrop that surrounds your day spent drifting down this majestic river system is great for the soul and easy on the mind. The most popular and highly recommended salmon fishing guide working the Trinity River would be Dave Jacobs of sacramentofishing.com. Dave has been salmon fishing the Trinity River for nearly 30 years and has extensive first hand knowledge of this fishery. Dave can be reached at sacramentofishing.com website or by calling 530-646-9110. This is a fully guided salmon fishing trip with all top of the line tackle provided. This is a drift boat fishing experience and one that you will likely never forget. For booking a reservation give Dave Jacobs a call or contact him on the website link provided. He is currently taking reservations for the 2019 Spring Run Chinook Salmon season that opened this week. Questions and inquiries are welcome just give Dave a call 530 646-9110 and he will be glad to answer any questions you may have.
Note: Remember to check all CDFW rules and regulations regarding changes in possession limits, restricted fishing areas, special salmon report cards, and hook restrictions. https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing/Online-Sales Purchases for the special salmon reporting card can be obtained by clicking the link above for online sales.
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