Trinity River Steelhead

Steelhead fishing on Trinity River, Calif. One of my favorite things to do is to go steelhead fishing. I got to do that this week on the Trinity River about four hours from my home in northern California.

My friend Roy Gray and I left Auburn early in the morning in hopes of tangling with one of my favorite gamefish. Roy is the Lucky Craft manufacturer’s representative in our area (among other companies) and is one of my closest friends in the fishing business.

It’s always a great guy’s day out, and with Kim and the girls giving me a hall pass for the day, I called Roy and had a willing accomplice.

It’s a tiring day, a road warrior trip — eight hours of driving to fish for seven hours. It’s a very long day, but when the steelhead are biting, it’s worth it.

We get all dressed up in our waders and wade the rocky banks of the river drifting roe and yarn in the current. Steelhead fishing is a light line deal. You use a long, 9- to 10-foot rod that absorbs the run of these fast and powerful fish.

I’ve started setting mine up with 30-pound-test Spiderwire Ultracast braided line with 6-pound-test Berkley 100% Fluorocarbon as a leader. It works really well in the current, and the combination of the braid to fluorocarbon helps me feel the bottom and the bite better.

I also got to use my new Wright & McGill Co. Essentials waders, and while the pair they sent me was a little large, they did the job of keeping me dry and warm — not an easy task when the water you’re fishing was snow only a few minutes before.

The fishing wasn’t great, but it’s been worse, too. We hooked up with about a dozen fish, and managed to land eight or 10 of them, mostly in the 5- to 6-pound class. Not really all that big, but they were enough to bring a couple of filets home.

It had been a couple of years since I’ve been able to get up there. In fact, the last time I was there was in 2007 when Mark Jeffreys from BassZone.com came out to film our In the House segment. Watching him work the river was hilarious; the rocks are slimy with moss, and you have to wear felt-soled shoes to keep from slipping. Mark’s boots were rubber-soled.

I don’t know if he actually fell all the way in the water, but he sure slipped a lot and he would walk around a lot of areas looking for easy passage to the other side. He was really sore and slept good when we got home that night. It was funny, and today’s trip reminded me of it. I can’t wait to get him back out here to do it again.

I’ve learned a lot of things in all of my fishing experience over the years that have helped me on tour, and when you’re standing in the water with air temps below freezing, you find ways to cope. One of those things came from my steelhead trips, and all it took was a trip to the doctor.

I’ve got a new video on my Web site that anyone can use in the winter time to help their fishing.