Rivers We Fish

Steelhead on the Spey Guide Service fishes the rivers of California’s North Coast. In the fall months our focus is on the Klamath and mid-lower reaches of the Trinity River. In the winter months we target fresh run wild winter steelhead in rivers such as the Smith, Trinity, Eel, S.F. Eel, and Van Duzen.

Fall Steelheading

Klamath River:  September through December Steelhead on the Spey Guide Service offers guided trips on California’s Klamath River. The Klamath River is one of the most famous steelhead rivers in the world and is well known for its half pounder fishing in the late summer and early fall. These fish run 14 – 22” and are a blast on light spey and switch rods. The long broad runs and tailouts of the Klamath make it a great place to swing wet flies. This is dry line/”grease” line steelheading at its best!
While the Klamath is known for its half pounder fishing, one of the most overlooked things about the Klamath is that it sees a great run of summer/fall adult steelhead. While these steelhead are not big (average 3-5 lbs.) they make up for their size with how great they fight. It is not unusual to see a 3 lb. fish take you well into your backing in one run! An average day on the Klamath will result in hooking a handful of half pounders and one or two adult steelhead. This is some of the best floating line fishing in the world and is a blast on a light spey or switch rod.

Trinity River:  September through March Steelhead on the Spey Guide Service offers trips on California’s Trinity River. The Trinity River sees excellent returns of summer and fall steelhead making it a great place to swing both dry and wet flies for fresh aggressive steelhead. The Trinity River is a tributary of the Klamath River and receives spectacular returns of summer, fall, and winter steelhead. In fact, the Trinity might be the only river in California where you can hook a fresh steelhead every month of the year. The Trinity can be broken up into three distinct sections of river, the upper, middle, and lower. We focus our efforts on summer/fall fishing on the mid to lower reaches of the Trinity that are well suited to spey/switch rods and swung flies. From December through March the Trinity receives a good run of wild winter steelhead. We like to target these fish in January and February in the lower river.

Winter Steelhead

California’s North Coast:  November through March Steelhead on the Spey Guide Service offers guided trips on California’s North Coast winter steelhead rivers. We focus our attention on the Smith, Eel, South Fork Eel, Van Duzen, Trinity, and a select few other rivers to remain nameless. These rivers are some of the most scenic in the country and boast good returns of hard fighting wild steelhead.

The rivers of California’s North Coast are some of the most famous winter steelhead waters in the world and is where targeting steelhead on the fly began. In the last 10 years restrictions on logging, eliminating hatcheries, and 100 percent catch and release on all wild steelhead are among the leading factors that have successfully rehabilitated these rivers. These rivers not only boast healthy returns of wild steelhead but also offer spectacular scenery. Emerald green waters lined by giant California Redwoods provide no better backdrop when fishing. Winter steelheading is not for the faint of heart. We are searching for a grab or two per day. While this is not a numbers game, these fish are usually chrome bright and full of fight. These fish average 7-8 lbs, with fish in the mid to high teens hooked each season. Every cast lends the opportunity of landing the fish of a lifetime!
Steelhead on the Spey Guide Service offers full day floats and walk/wade trips. We target these fish using two handed spey and switch rods utilizing skagit lines, heavy sink tips, and big flies(yes, sometimes the size of a dead rat). We offer spey casting instruction but do recommend some spey casting experience for these trips.


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