GARCIA, GUALALA & RUSSIAN RIVERS

January 17, 2017    Headlines
Russian Steelies Should (hopefully) Be Here Soon

After decent to good fishing the past four days the Smith will be back on a hard rise on Wednesday 1-18. Here on Tuesday afternoon the river is still dropping with a current level of 9.5 feet or about 4900 cfs. Overall guides are seeing some decent to good counts of fish per rod action with most running 6 to 12 pounds. Guide Brice Dusi posted on his FB page of a big buck in the high teens that was landed over weekend. The guidance plots calls for the Smith to quickly jump to a high and blown level of 20 feet on Wednesday and then drop towards a plunkable level of 12 to 14 feet Thursday through Saturday. We will post a fresh update once the Smith is back in play.
All other rivers will remain high and out of play for the foreseeable future. The forecast calls for rain Wednesday, Friday and again next Sunday. Many rivers such as the Eel, Mad and Russian will need a week or more of dry weather before they are back in.
With both Mendocino and Sonoma lakes both pushing above flood control heights we expect to see releases off both dams to increase after this next series of storms.


All North Coast rivers are high and muddy and look to remain so for the next several days to weeks. Many reservoirs are at seasonal capacity as they are used for flood control in addition to summer storage. Water is held back during storms and released after to make room for future storms. This will keep the Russian and the rivers of the Central Valley high and off color for a week or longer after the sun returns.
Some 24 hours rainfall totals and river flows as of Sunday 1-9 at noon
The Smith is flat lining around 12 to 13 feet with rainfall of 2.23 inches. The Smith will be the first river back in possibly by Friday of this week.
The Mad has pushed well up with the 2" of rain and will remain muddy for quite some time. The steelhead bite has been slow with just a few very scattered fish taken by the bead crowd below the hatchery. We are coming into prime time for Mad steelies so they are either going to show soon or this could be a down year.
The South Fork Eel is seeing a rapid rise currently at 16.2 feet or 16,000 cfs at Miranda. On the Main stem Eel 2.12 inches of rain at Ft Seward. The Eel was giving up a few steelies mostly 1 to 3 per boat on both roe and plugs. It will take a week of dry weather for the Eel to drop and green.
Over the hill at Honeydew they have seen 4" of rain and the Mattole is running at 9000 cfs and rising.
The wet spot is once again Venado located about 10 east of Healdsburg with 7.12 inches. The Russian is headed toward warning stage this afternoon with all gauges seeing hard rises. Releases off Lake Mendocino are just 200 cfs as they hold back for flood control. With scattered rain expected Monday and a wet system forecasted to arrive on Tuesday the Russian will be running high and muddy (due to dam releases) for the next couple of weeks. The steelie action has been very slow on the Russian for all of December  with just 50 or so fish seen at the hatchery this season.
Where things get really sketchy is over in the foothills and the Sac Valley. Last week's snow is being melted by this weekends pineapple express. Flows on all rivers are ramping up hard as the snow as high (or higher then 9000) feet gets melted away. On the American they are currently releasing 30,000 off Folsom with a current inflow of 40,000 cfs and rapidly climbing.
On the Yuba they have reached flood warning stage of 72 feet or 23,000cfs in Marysville. Flows are only going to climb higher as all that water starts to push out of the mountain watershed.
The main stem Sac and all the bypasses are quickly filling the entire valley with water.


Russian River Report
by Hunt Conrad of the Healdsburg Tribune:
Friday December 30
Fishing on the Russian remains very tough.  Only a handful of fish have been caught this year.  The hatchery has 40.  The reservoirs are both topped out and Mendocino is releasing 445 CFS which is just enough to keep the river high and the fish moving and not enough to really drop the level so expect more of the same throughout the season. There is about 2 feet of clarity in the middle reaches.  Best bets are below the larger tributaries where the clear water can provide a seam of fishable water.  Drift boats are far  and few , yesterday about 5 from memorial beach.  December is always a month of 10,000 casts but I am still surprised we haven’t seen more fish this year so far.


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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