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
Some 24 hours rainfall totals and river flows as of Sunday 1-9 at
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
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
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
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.
by Hunt Conrad of the
Friday December 30
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.