February 08, 2014    Headlines
Rains Return!

North Coast Forecast Calls for Rain & Higher Flows this Week

We are seeing steady rain and rising rivers across the North Coast for the first time in weeks. This is setting the stage for great conditions in the coming week as rivers rise to their highest levels since early October. As of Saturday 2-8 at 6:AM rainfall totals and river heights are as follows.

The Smith looks to crest around 13' later today. The river has risen from 7 feet to 12.6 at this hour. In CFS the river has gone from a low of 2000cfs to over 12,000 in the past 24 hours. As it drops back in later today into Sunday we expect some big counts to be posted by local guides. Wally Johnson, Kevin Brock, Tony Sepulveda and Dave Jacobs all have room for the coming week. The outlook calls for unsettled weather through the week. I suggest that readers use the Smith river guidance plot to plan their trips. The Smith is my top bet for the coming week! Left is this morning's Smith river plot.

The Mad river has seen just .55" over the past 24 hours but has risen from 5' to 7.3' or from 200cfs to 900cfs. There are a ton of hatchery steelhead that have been holding in the lower river and this rise will have the fish quickly pushing up towards the hatchery. The river will be muddy and I don't want to get into politics but liners will rule the banks. Conventional anglers will find it too muddy to bounce roe so head to the Smith and don't whine to me about tactics.
If you are not famaliar with the Mad spot by or contact Mad river Tackle at 707 826-7201 for additional information.

The Eel has seen just under an 1" at Miranda with the river up from 6 to 7.6 feet or from 60cfs to 450cfs. The river will rise throughout today and is expected to crest at 8000cfs around midnight. With dam releases completely cut back the Eel will clear after these next systems a bit quicker than normal. This will be in my top bets next week once flows at Miranda drop. The optimal level is something that readers have to figure out for themselves.
Pictured right a "double"  of late season Eel steelhead from March of 2013 that client's of Tony Sepulveda are about to release.

On the Russian rainfall totals west of Healdsburg at Venado are 2.35 but the river has risen from 40cfs to just 80. The ground is so dry that all this rain is just soaking in and with releases from Lake Mendo at just 30cfs it will take time for runoff to bring flows up. The river is expected to crest at 4400cfs on Sunday and drop back to 800 by Tuesday. The F& G Commission has closed the Russian but it will take until the February 23rd for the legal eagles in Sac to adopt into law. I would ask anglers to avoid the Russian so they don't intercept endangered coho. If the unethical put too much pressure on these fish we could see a much more restricted fishery in the future. We are in this together.

The upper Trinity and Klamath rivers are still low as the bulk of the rainfall has been along the coast. Both are seeing small rises and should continue a slow and steady climb in the coming days. Both are likely adding some color and should offer good fishing all this week. Wally Johnson reports they are seeing 3 to 7 mostly smaller adults to 7 pounds on the upper Klamath is week. The Trinity has been low and clear and giving up 1 to 3 fish to 8 pounds this past month. If the coast rivers blow out these two would be a great bet later this week as more fish push up with this rise.

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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