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2018 AOTY/DOTY Entry

Topic: Russian Steel  (Read 1820 times)

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AlexB

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Ha... I made a pun...

I recently read some surprisingly good reports of Russian River steelhead action in the Guerneville area and below. (Big fish, too!) The river has been low and clear, and quite a few steelhead have been found staging in deeper holes.

Then this big rain storm hit... I expect the river will get “blown out”, and might stay that way for a bit. I also expect that it will spread out the fish and push them further upriver (also hopefully more will enter the system!).

That brings up a few questions that I hope one of our local steely exerts might be able to answer.

- How long does the Russian usually take to return to fishable conditions after a big rain event like this?

- Can you recommend any good “high water” spots for plunking or other murky water techniques?

- What flow rate (CFM) do you look for to signal good fishing conditions, and at which gauging station?

- Any other tips that might help me hook up with some Russian steel?

I am hoping the river might drop sufficiently by this weekend, but that’s probably optimistic. I might head up there anyway.

Thanks in advance!

Cheers,

~Alex
« Last Edit: January 09, 2018, 07:25:26 AM by AlexB »


mickfish

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How long does the Russian usually take to return to fishable conditions after a big rain event like this?
Depending on a few factors but 7-10days

- Can you recommend any good “high water” spots for plunking or other murky water techniques?
The mouths of creeks, Dry Creek being the most popular since most of the Hatchery fish go up it. The Forks in Ukiah is also popular, both spots get crowded

- What flow rate (CFM) do you look for to signal good fishing conditions, and at which gauging station?
Again depending on a few factors, I normally look for flows around 2K (bait)  1K (lures)@ Healdsburg.

- Any other tips that might help me hook up with some Russian steel?
Keep moving until you find fish unless you are plunking.
Group IQ is inversely proportional to the size of the group.

A Steelhead always knows where he is going, but a Man seldom does.


ThreemoneyJ

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There was a push of fish a few weeks back between Christmas and New Years when we got our first shot of rain. It was enough rain to move fish but not enough to blow the river out. Flows were around 500cfs at guerneville. I saw a few pigs caught and lost an absolute heartbreaker of a fish in the guerneville area. Once the river dropped below 400 people stopped catching as many. So the reports of fish are probably a few weeks old.

I don’t have anything to add to what mickfish says except that it is a good idea to scout the river during low water so you know what you’re getting into for high water. Google earth actually has a street view from a boat on the river during the summer which may assist you.
-John (Threemoneyj is an anagram)


AlexB

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Thanks for the quick reply!

It looks like the flows are around 5,000 right now up near Healdsburg. I’ll keep an eye on it...

What about flows on the lower river? Does that 1,000-2,000 range near Healdsburg usually mean decent conditions for the whole river system, or do you have a different “target” for the lower stretch?

Thanks again! That reply helped a ton.


ThreemoneyJ

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Alex I’ll also add that a phone call to Kings Sport and Tackle in Guerneville prior to your trip will give you up to date info. 707-869-2156. They are a cast away from the river and know what’s going on. People usually bring there fish in to show off too.

When you get tired of fishing check out the hatchery at lake Sonoma. Going a day without a bite, then watching a group of huge steelhead go up the ladder and laze about in the hatchery creek may be the most humbling fishing experience that there is.

I can’t give you numbers for flows, I usually don’t pay attention. The river is nearby for me (I think mickfish can actually see it from his porch!) so I usually just go. I’ll try to pay attention in the future.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2018, 09:21:12 AM by ThreemoneyJ »
-John (Threemoneyj is an anagram)


AlexB

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Thanks, threemoney!

I actually saw reports from as recent as last Thursday - one boat supposedly caught 12 before 10:00 AM fishing below Guerneville!

My family home is in Graton (where I grew up, and where my dad still lives). I’ll be staying up there this weekend anyway, so I’ll make the 5-10 minute drive to the river and check it out either way.

I called King’s yesterday. The guy was super helpful, and gave me some good pointers. He said this weekend seems like a possibility if the flows drop quickly enough. Only one way to find out!


ThreemoneyJ

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Swung by the hatchery at lunch. 128 steelhead this year but this rain is going to change that. I saw 6 come up the ladder and a bunch in the holding trough. All giants too.
-John (Threemoneyj is an anagram)


AlexB

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Sweet... I love it!


Rockroach

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The feeder creeks are dropping fast so there might be a chance the upper section will be fishing this weekend.
The Russian takes forever to clear. I fished it twice last winter and I only live 5 minutes away.
If you're gonna plunk, literally fish at your feed.
Good luck.
~MarcosM~
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AlexB

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Thanks for the intel, Rockroach.

Just to make sure I’m understanding you about plunking... You’re saying fish by your feet as in right up against the bank and out of the current? That makes sense. I understand that steelhead like to stay out of strong current, so it makes sense that they’d hug the bank when the river is raging.

Is that what you were getting at?


CptSloppywood

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Yeah baby,  we are gonna have some great fishing if the river isn't blown out all winter.


mickfish

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Looks like this now, most of the fish that have been stuck in the lower river are going to make a b-line to DC.
Group IQ is inversely proportional to the size of the group.

A Steelhead always knows where he is going, but a Man seldom does.


Rockroach

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Thanks for the intel, Rockroach.

Just to make sure I’m understanding you about plunking... You’re saying fish by your feet as in right up against the bank and out of the current? That makes sense. I understand that steelhead like to stay out of strong current, so it makes sense that they’d hug the bank when the river is raging.

Is that what you were getting at?
Exactly! 
If the location is right all you need to do is throw out 10' in front of you.  I didn't believe it until I seen it.
~MarcosM~
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CptSloppywood

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Looks like this now, most of the fish that have been stuck in the lower river are going to make a b-line to DC.
think about all the brand new ones that are coming in right now :smt007


mickfish

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It's dropping quick  :smt002
« Last Edit: January 10, 2018, 08:05:41 AM by mickfish »
Group IQ is inversely proportional to the size of the group.

A Steelhead always knows where he is going, but a Man seldom does.


 

anything