EEL, MAD & MATTOLE RIVERS





Captain Dave Jacobs 530 646-9110

March 24, 2015    Headlines
 Eel Steel

Far North Coast Rivers Rise
After a prolonged period of dry weather heavy rain pushed through the North Coastal rivers on Monday / Tuesday 3-24. The Smith saw the biggest rise since January jumping from 9 feet to 16 feet today. This will push the downers into the main stem and guides could see some pretty good scores (mostly downers and bluebacks) in the days ahead. Fishing pressure has been very light and for the few guides working the Smith the past two weeks scores have been a solid 2 plus fish per stick.
The bulk of the rainfall fell north of Cape Mendocino with the Smith seeing 1.8", the Eureka area (Mad river) seeing 1.2". and Fort Seward on the Eel seeing just .68. South of the Mendo county line rainfall totals were less than a few 10ths.
We received one Eel report last weekend from a regular reader who reported 2 fish on the main stem on Saturday. Otherwise reports have been far and few between the past ten days and many guides have not had much interest from clients this late in the season.
On the Russian we did get a couple of good reports from hard core bankies who reporte0d 0 to 3 fish per stick working the Dry Creek to Wholer bridge areas this past weekend.  The Russian is low, skinny and clear but those in the know are hookng a few late run fish.
There is only one week left to yet another tough season. The good news is you will find light pressure on every system, the bad news: this fourth year of drought will have a big impact on returns in the coming years.

Rivers Low and Clear, Rain Coming to Far North Coast This Weekend
Rainfall was light from the most recent system bringing just .10 to .70 totals which did little to change flows on the North Coast rivers on Wednesday 3-11. Overall all coastal river remain low and clear and it's looking like the "Fat Lady" is warming up a full three weeks before the season ends on most rivers.
The Smith is trickling at just 6.55 feet here on Thursday 3-12 afternoon. the Chetco, Eel, Mad and all others are low and clear. The forecast does call for up to an inch of rain north of Cape Mendocino this Friday into Saturday but overall most areas will be lucky to see a 1/2 inch. With the dry watersheds and low river flows an inch of rainfall will do little to improve the conditions on the coastal rivers. Any rain will soak in and the rivers will see little to any rise much like the most recent sprinkling.
Our top bet for metalheads is the upper Klamath where Wally Johnson is still seeing 4 to 8 adults and a dozen plus half pounders per day. The adults are not big with most running 4 to 6 pounds with the occasional fish topping out at 8 pounds. The action is good and looks to remain that way into April, much longer than most years.
This current four year drought is going to have a long term impact on all of our river fisheries over the next few years, more so than many will expect. 

Light Rain in the Forecast
All the coastal rivers are low, clear and the fishing is slooooow. There is rain in the forecast for rivers north of Cape Mendo with just showers forecasted in Sonoma and Mendocino counties Tuesday night into Wednesday 3-11.
In a nutshell the coastal rivers from the Chetco to the Russian are low and clear and there has been little effort and just a few fish caught in the past week. Rain will help to push post spawn fish down into all the main stem rivers but this weather system does not appear to have enough rainfall to change flows by more than a few inches. Highest rainfall totals are expected to be from Eureka north.
The ONE river that is still producing is the upper Klamath. Wally Johnson reports they are seeing 4 to 6 adults (4 to 7 pounds) and 10 to 15 half pounders each day. Wally says that roe is best but plugs and even flies are still producing. Pressure has been light but Wally says he is seeing an influx of a few out of area guides bringing clients in on "the only game in 100 miles". Wally as spots open through mid April for Upper Klamath trips. With the lack of flows on the coastal rivers he has switched all his clients to the Klamath. Many who fish here the first time often ask "why have we not fished here before"? Once they have they more often than not return to both avoid the coastal crowds and drift waters where there is not another boat on the same drift.

Multi-agency Cannabis Pilot Project Finishes Successful Three-Day Inspection of Marijuana Grows in Eel River Watershed

An innovative multi-agency partnership involving state and local agencies today finished inspections of 14 private properties with active marijuana grow operations along Sproul Creek within the Eel River watershed. The three-day effort, which began Jan. 21, is intended to ensure existing and future marijuana grow operations on private lands aren’t impacting nearby waterways and wildlife.
The partnership includes staff from the State Water Resources Control Board, Division of Water Rights, North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, biologists and wildlife officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and members of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and Humboldt County staff.
Sproul Creek is home to five endangered salmonid species, including one of the most important populations of coho salmon in the Eel River watershed. This stream went dry last year for the first time in many years. This is most likely a result of water diversions for marijuana cultivation combined with the ongoing drought conditions.
In addition, the agencies are concerned about potentially significant pollutants entering the watershed from sediments, pesticides, fertilizers and other contaminants that, when not properly regulated or monitored, degrade the environment and threaten native plants and wildlife.
“Sproul Creek is one of several at-risk watersheds this multi-agency partnership will be visiting and inspecting in the weeks and months ahead where known grow operations exist,” said Cris Carrigan, Chief of the State Water Board’s Office of Enforcement, which is specifically focused on compliance with existing environmental regulations. “What we are seeking from the growers is a commitment to work with us to solve the water quality and water supply problems in the watershed.”
Carrigan said the goal of the integrated effort is to be proactive with our enforcement resources in acutely impacted watersheds and hold those responsible for existing environmental damage accountable, while providing a pathway toward compliance for those operators who want to cultivate in an environmentally sound manner.
The Water Boards and CDFW hope that most or many of the growers will be interested in working with state and local agencies cooperatively to prepare for and then enroll in permits that may be required, such as a conditional waiver of waste discharge requirements and/or streambed alteration agreement. The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board is creating a conditional waiver to better monitor and regulate activities associated with cannabis cultivation much like it regulates and monitors other activities on California’s North Coast. Currently, grow operations are not regulated for potential environmental impacts.
“Voluntary compliance with the law is the best-case scenario and we expect to see an increase in the number of permit applications following these inspections,” said Lt. DeWayne Little of CDFW’s Watershed Enforcement Team. “We do have the authority to serve search warrants, cite those who are damaging the environment and confiscate crops. We hope to not have to resort to those measures, but it is imperative that we take every precaution to avoid the loss of the coho run for a second year in a row.”
Following this inspection effort of the 14 locations, state and regional water board staff observed a variety of potential and actual violations that will be addressed in the coming weeks. Possible violations appear to be unlawful diversion and storage of water for growing operations, and discharge of waste to waterways including some indications of the use of pesticide or fertilizers in ways that could degrade nearby waterways.
Individuals on site at a majority of the inspected parcels gave consent for the team to look at the operations and were cooperative in identifying areas of interest for the inspectors, negating the need to serve administrative warrants to enter properties to perform the inspections.
The state and regional water board staff will be studying the evidence, and providing inspection reports to the property owners detailing any issues that need to be addressed. Those reports should be finalized in the next several weeks. Following issuance of those reports, formal enforcement orders may follow from the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board and/or State Water Board to ensure compliance with all applicable Water Code provisions.
During this inspection effort, no grow operations were eradicated and Proposition 215 cards were not reviewed.
For more information on the activities of the State Water Board’s Office of Enforcement efforts relative to cannabis cultivation, please visit our resources page here.


River Levels:



For river status (low flow closure) updates from Fish and Game please call +1.707.442.4502 for the North coast and +1.707.944.5533 for Central coast streams. Be sure to check out the California Fish and Game regulations before you go. Regulations vary on every river and you need to pay attention to bait and hook restrictions. Due to winter closures on HWYs 5, 101 & 299 we recommend you check Caltrans road conditions as well.

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