Favorite flies for winter steelhead swinging on Nor Cal rivers - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-04-2016, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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Favorite flies for winter steelhead swinging on Nor Cal rivers

Looking for some suggestions for the Trinity and surrounding rivers this winter. I know that silver hiltons, brindle bugs, etc are great for the fall, but what are your go-to winter patterns? I've been told that nymphing is the best option but I get bored with that.

Thanks for the help!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-04-2016, 09:36 PM
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Your standard black leech , you can't go wrong! Don't go to crazy on size, I'd stick with 1 1/2 -2". Wooly buggers , breadcrust, sculpins all in black , brown or olive. My experience has been more toward the naturals colors on the T. Rest of the rivers I think you can get away with a steelheaders fly box of all colors depending on clarity, sun , clouds. The typical.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-04-2016, 10:36 PM
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A black and orange mini intruder (2-2 1/2 ") is my current favorite. At least until something else replaces it!
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-04-2016, 11:20 PM
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In my experience, Trinity steelhead, especially the winter run, act far more like trout than any of the coastal river runs... Check in with the guys at The Fly Shop, they won't steer you wrong.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-04-2016, 11:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tips...

@ Downtownbrown....what do you mean by acting like a trout? I talked to the Fly Shop and they suggested nymphing with a rubber leg/egg pattern combo.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-04-2016, 11:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by previde View Post
Thanks for the tips...

@ Downtownbrown....what do you mean by acting like a trout? I talked to the Fly Shop and they suggested nymphing with a rubber leg/egg pattern combo.
That is the fly shops put fish in the boat combo. It works, but not for the swing angler.

I've had good success with a pattern called the burnt chicken. The purple and orange is my confidence pattern for the trinity. Easy to cast, small enough not to spook fish with plenty of movement to get their attention.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-04-2016, 11:59 PM
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Rather than The Fly Shop, call Herb and Pat Burton at the Trinity Fly Shop in Lewiston or check Herb's blog. All they cater to is the swing, and will give you an answer based on 30+ years on the river.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-05-2016, 12:37 AM
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To be more specific, what I meant is that the winter fish tend to be more keyed in on insects and natural colored offerings than flashy seeker or attractor patterns. Rmacniel is spot on, the guides seem to favor nymphing because that's what matches many of their client's skill and seems to put more fish in the nets. Leach patterns are your better bet on the swing during colder months, but having said that, I've caught my share on hiltons and skunks. But all that is just my experience in the last decade or so. My largest fish landed on the Trinity was a bright yet grizzled Brown on a bright purple egg sucking leach... Go figure.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-05-2016, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks DB... I had some success last winter swinging golden stones and rubber legs but nothing so far this year. Seems like there are very few 1/2 pounders....last year by this time they were everywhere~
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 01:54 AM
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Looking forward to our new adventure... 24-days from now the U-haul will be loaded and headed south to CA. Figuring the Trinity will be roughly 3-hours from the new house. Plenty of other options close by!

I was wondering about patterns for the Trinity.. Hard to find information other than fishing "training wheels (nymphing). Have a whole bunch of 2.5 to 3-inch Silvey's Tandem Tubes ready to go. Of course, I am rather partial to the retro patterns of yesteryear, too.
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