If April showers bring May flowers then December storms bring sea-run steelhead home! Currently a heavy “pineapple express” weather system is lowering its crosshairs into Northern California and bringing heavy precipitation and deep snow over the upper elevations. Look for high and off color conditions in most of the rivers also with some roadways being closed or with major delays throughout and after the system. Although this new front will blow out most of our rivers for steelhead, minus perhaps the very upper reaches, there is good news. The severe storm fronts that blast the State of Jefferson bring in fresh fish from the ocean and allows fish already in the river system to get up into the tributaries and spawn safely. After five years of drought this is just what we needed. And although it’s not the best for fishing this week it may prove to make the New Year and without question years to come successful for steelhead and other anadromous friends.
This is what December storms can equate to come Jan/Feb/Mar and this is what chrome looks like. Michael Mcgahan captured this amazing shot of shots last year of elated Marty Welsh and this spectacular shiny specimen. Does he look excited or what? Do you know what those marks are on the fish between the dorsal and adipose fin?
So what is happening with the weather? We find ourselves explaining the situation via e-mail, text, phone and social media outlets. As much as our job requires us to be on top of the weather it’s better left up to the professionals. Here is a short video clip with some diagrams explaining the basics of the storm system that is slamming Nor Cal through the week and possibly into the weekend.
One road condition which has plagued us most of the last several weeks has been the rockslide on Hwy 299 west of Weaverville and just east of Del Loma on the Trinity River. Known as the Big French Creek slide this area is highly unstable and doesn’t look to improve anytime soon. Currently it is closed and will be at least into next week. Although one lane traffic may commence eventually, until this mountainside is stabilized it will be a reoccurring event like many slides on Hwy 299 have been in the past. Plan ahead and ensure enough time to go the long way around.
Look for Hwy 299 to be closed at the area indicated on the map. Travelers are urged to take other ways around and avoid Hwy 299 until the mountainside stabilizes and debris is removed. Highway 3 is the closest detour but can be treacherous in wet and snowy conditions so plan for extra travel time.
A monster of a storm is about to come out from under the bed and tackle 14,172′ Mt. Shasta. The weather service is calling for 58-80″ of snow for Mt. Shasta in the next 3 days. This year has been a banner one compared to the last five with a 176% of average precipitation to date (17.5″).
Our hope is always to write more and share more photos detailing our adventures but as usual we find ourselves utterly buried in working the river and enjoying its critters. We would like to thank all the people who made this past fall season and the ones previous unforgettable. We are truly blessed and constantly amazed to be surrounded by such great people, from our families, friends, clients, anglers, fellow guides, co-workers and everybody else behind the scenes. The fishing family here in Northern California is truly special and our life would not be nearly as enjoyable as it is without the faces behind it. You make it possible and we are grateful. Sending the best wishes to all those who make the river flow.
Fish Kennedy Brothers
Northern California Fly Fishing Guides
The predicted El Niño of 2016 has shown it’s soaking potential, dropping much needed precipitation across the West Coast. Rain, sleet, and snow and typical winter storms have had their affects on waterways and roads leaving a trail of swollen rivers and treacherous highways in their wake, confirming that winter steelheading is not for the faint of heart. If you are up to the challenges and ready to face the caveats, rewards are present for the taking.
A fresh California Steelhead that was caught on a dropping river after a large storm
We’ll try to keep this one cut and dry, unlike the current weather forecast for the State of Jefferson. The Trinity river has been Continue reading
The Dust Bowl or “The Dirty Thirties” was a severe drought that affected over 100,000,000 acres in the corners of Texas and Oklahoma and touched adjacent sections of New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas. Maybe you remember reading John Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath” or “Of Mice and Men?” The phenomenon forced tens of thousands of families to abandon their farms and homes. Many of these families, who were often known as “Okies” because so many of them came from Oklahoma, migrated to the golden hills of California only to figure out that the Great Depression had left economic conditions there little better than those they had left. More than 500,000 were left homeless due to the drought and conditions created by it. The US population in 1935 was 127.3 million, California today is over 38.8 million. The Dust Bowl affected area of 100,000,000 acres is close in proximity to the size of California which has a total land and water area of 104,765,440 acres. So what is California and the West going to do? Is history going to repeat itself?
Migrant Mother, Florence Owens Thompson escaped the drought by heading to California. She was 32 and mother of seven. Are Californians on their way back to Oklahoma?
The rains have come in large amounts here in Northern California. The rivers are swollen, high and off color, battered by the recent snow and rainfall, blown out by most accounts. A steelhead fisherman, an optimist by origin, holds a different outlook. Where one warms by the fire with frozen toes and fingers deflated, cold, and cracked, waders frozen or even worse off, hanging in the corner, a new air of life is breathed into ones soul in stormy times. They are coming, an army of silver apparitions riding waves of muddy, leaf and debris speckled water in search of their natal birthplace.
Winter Steelhead on the Trinity River are big and bright and they are here!
El Niño is here and the “little boy” has brought friends Continue reading
Guide Greg Kennedy, preparing to release a wild steelhead into the Trinity River, Northern California. photo: 2015 © Kennedy Brothers
It’s no secret that California has been drought stricken for the last few years. With small cold storms almost on a weekly basis, recent conditions in the Northern California region have been wet but Continue reading
Sometimes while chasing steelhead you may feel like you are on a wild goose chase. Have you been there? Do you know the feeling? If you have been involved, or have chased anadromous fish, I bet you do. You may even be infected by it. Perhaps you are terminal, or have a serious diagnosis. You’ve searched up high, and you’ve search way down low. And every little, riddled and latent crack between, and well beyond the dark depths and twinkling fringes. It drives some anglers to a point of Continue reading
On Nov. 20, Trout Unlimited will launch the Wild Steelhead Initiative, a project to protect and restore the wild steelhead and the fishing opportunities they provide throughout their native range in Alaska, California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Continue reading
Eel River Restoration
Coho Populations Once 100,000, Now 1,000
At over 3,600 sq. miles, the Eel River watershed is the third largest in California. While the majority of the watershed is privately owned and managed for timber production, cattle and dairy ranching, the area also includes several State Parks, Wilderness Areas, and National Forests. Continue reading
The Trinity River is “the” tributary of the Klamath River and actually should have been named the South Fork of the Klamath or some other appropriate title. But thanks to the work of Major Pierson B. Reading’s and his erroneous calculations in 1845, it will forever be Trinity; as well as Trinity Lake, the Trinity Mountains and even Trinity County. The name stuck and the area in general began to adopt Reading’s blunder. Reading believing that the river emptied into Trinidad Bay (Trinity in English) and not into the Klamath sealed the fate of river forever. A creek was also named after the Major, and today it is an important but fragile spawning tributary on the upper river. The creek hosts a strong return of wild steelhead and also salmon but is closed to fishing to protect the fish. Major Reading was also involved in the Bear Flag Revolt which was an important movement giving the State of California a piece of what it has become today. Major Reading through his service with Sutter and Fremont was given the Mexican land grant, Rancho Buena Vista. The area of this vast estate nowadays is known as Redding, California and Cottonwood, California located on the banks of the Lower Sacramento River. Interestingly enough, this is one our other favorite place to fish and take people on guided fly fishing experiences.
A group trip with smiles from all sides! Trip booked through The Fly Shop in Redding, CA.
The Trinity River is approximately 165 miles long these days to the confluence of the Klamath River. This river system located in Northern California provides the fly angler with some of the most consistent and accessible waters to fish for Pacific steelhead in the country. Not to mention there is always fishing available regardless of the season. The river contains a variety of species but is best known for it’s salmon, steelhead and sea run brown trout. The Trinity River has also been deemed Wild and Scenic and is without question one of our favorite water systems not only in the West but across the globe. It’s close proximity to other world class fisheries makes the incorrectly named Trinity River the heart of our operation giving us striking power to reach other steelhead and trout packed rivers systems. A valuable resource to more than anglers the river faces some serious issues in the coming years, maybe months, that will need to be addressed. It’s river systems are doing well by today’s standards but this epicenter has the ability to flourish with the correct management of resources and by looking at the watershed as a whole; from the tops of Trinity Alps, downs to the mouth of Pacific, including the people that live and play within it’s grand kingdom.
“One in the net is better than the story about more.” Trinity River, CA. photo: Kris Kennedy
Greg and Kris Kennedy are two enthusiastic brothers who guide fly fishing trips in the area and offer some the best guided experiences out there. They are your connections to this enchanted water system and it’s mysteries. Find out more by checking out their website: www.fishkennedybrothers.com
Overview map of the Trinity River in Northern California, Steelhead, trout and salmon paradise!
Fish Kennedy Brothers
Northern California Fly Fishing Guides
Steelhead, Trout and Salmon
What a week! Two rafts, three days and six BIG SMILES!
This steelhead with a snorkel.
Fly Fishing Guides in Redding, CA.