In this post, I will share some of my tactics used to find King Salmon that live in Trinity Lake.
Trinity Lake is a mystery, a very large reservoir. Third largest in California. Trinity Lake storage capacity is 2,448,000 acre feet. That is “a lot” of water. Just an acre foot of water is equal to 325,851 U.S. gallons. Water from Trinity Lake is used to generate power and irrigate crops in California’s Central Valley.
Trinity Lake’s main source is the upper Trinity River whose origins are in the Scott Mountains to the N/NW of Trinity Lake.
Trinity Dam creates Trinity Lake and although Salmon no longer can access their natal waters of the Upper Trinity because of Lewsiton Dam and Trinity Dam, Land Locked King Salmon roam the waters of Trinity Lake.
Most of the fishing on Trinity Lake is for trophy bass. Trinity Lake is well known for its large and small mouth Bass population. But, did you know Trinity Lake holds the state record for land lock king salmon at 21lbs!
Very few anglers target King Salmon that reside in Trinity Lake. One reason is obviously its an extremely remote location. Its steep muddy banks make for difficult lodging and camping but the biggest challenge is slow fishing. It’s not uncommon to fish for days without a bite it’s very important to remember these fish have a large amount of food to eat and Trinity Lake is massive!
The Kokanee salmon in Trinity Lake have overpopulated, stunting their growth/size. At times, it’s almost impossible to avoid the bite sized Kokanee who prevent our lures and bait to be found by the large King Salmon that are amazing and once found, turn this one off destination into a yearly destination.
I like to use baits and spoons that resemble small Kokanee like apex, hoochies, spoons and mag lips. I use larger gear 15lb test and heavy rods as well as ocean downrigger clips. Essentially, I fish the same as I would in the ocean.
The chance of catching a 20lb King Salmon is real so be ready.
I troll 2.4-3.0 mph and always carry a big net. It seems these fish will bite year round but in the late summer months as the Trinity Lake levels drop the bite can really shut down.
Note: There is a small current from the tributaries to the dam. This current will carry warmer water. This current and warmer water facilitates plankton Blooms in the spring. You will experience large numbers of schooling Kokanee in and around these currents. This is when I find trolling for big kings most productive. Close to the dam in the depths of the main body is always a good place to start. You can find King Salmon lurking under balls of Kokanee on your fish finder. A fish finder is a required tool. Your fish finder will help you understand depth. Usually during the day, at some point, The King Salmon on Trinity Lake will bite! Its often a short window. So stay patient and good luck out there guys!