Healing on the Trinity River with PHWFF Martinez

By Brian Miller

The Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) Martinez program opened the new year with a bang in January on the Klamath.  So, the bar was set pretty high for our next steelhead chase on the Trinity River.  Alas, the Trinity was indeed ‘pretty’ but the fishing didn’t quite matchup to the Klamath experience.   

On February 15-18, DVFF volunteer Brian Miller led a group of PHWFF veterans including Mike Allen, Gus Ballis, Thor Hansen, Dan Johnson, and Mike Scott.  We were guided for a two day float trip by Matt Mitchell, Dave Neal, Dustin Revel, and Peter Santley. 

Our lodging was fully donated by hosts Katie & Mel at their River Rock Gardens resort in Lewiston.  We had the run of the place with our 3 cabins and their beautiful property on the banks of the Trinity.  A local artist, Katie welcomed us to visit her cozy art studio, while later that evening Katie & Mel hosted an incredible BBQ dinner in their home at the resort.  They have since agreed to donate an annual PHWFF Trinity outing at River Rock! 

Back to the fishing … while it wasn’t Klamath-worthy, we had ‘pretty’ weather and clear, low water.  Nonetheless, we all hung tough, and our guides helped us bring a number of nice steelhead to the boat … everyone caught fish!  We didn’t keep score but had some great evening dinners to commiserate a bit and enjoy the camaraderie of our time together on and off the water. 

At trips-end, we all captured our Trinity River experiences in the PHWFF Martinez ‘Green Book’ which has chronicled our on-the-water adventures since 2019.  The roots of the Green Book are a story for another day, but are etched in what Project Healing Waters means to our disabled veterans.  

“If you’re well, fish for others … if you’re unwell, fish for yourself … catch more than fish.” 

PHWFF Martinez Veteran

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