The season in review

March 21st, 2015

Well it has been a very tough season.  The early part was ok, some some fish caught, consistent with typical years then a couple of blow outs and nothing from Jan on.  Even the worm dunkers struggled quite a bit.  According to “Friends of the Eel River”, who does fish counts and surveys throughout the system, the fish all pushed through when the rivers were blown in Dec.  How the fish know, I do not have a clue!

My season was even less eventful.  To make a very long story short, I had open heart surgery in Feb, and put on light duty since December.  Needless to say, I had a few days of fishing in the early season, did ok and grateful for the fish I caught and that was it.  So in retrospect, I did not miss much, and thanks to Jason Hartwick who took my bookings, and to all those that wished me well before surgery and those that have wished me well since, I am forever greatful.

Having the surgery and all that has gone with it, has given me the time to reflect.  That being said, I am going to hang up my California guiding shoes for now.  I love to steelhead too much to book up my days of prime water and fishing.  I am lucky enough to live within 30 minutes of the best water the country, I am going to take advantage of that again.  I will be going back to Idaho in June to work for the best outfitter in the region though;

Stay tuned for the remainder of the year, I will post trout trips I will be taking and how we are doing in Idaho.  Next will be the Owyhee in a couple of weeks, can’t wait!

Lots of Rain

December 8th, 2014

Still Blown…Can you Say Chocolate Milk?

Thanksgiving Water

November 24th, 2014

Hi All,

Well we have got a fair bit of water on the Eel now and more rain in the near future.  The river was open a bit and then closed until the rains came.  Now the Eel is running a lost bank to bank at Fernbridge.  That being said, once the rivers clear I am sure we will be seeing more steelhead in the river, I am seeing salmon carcases on the bank in my scouting.  Now is the time for the steelhead to start showing.  Lets just hope that this is not a repeat of last year in that we received plenty of rain early, then nothing, long term projections is that we will have a light winter, so keep your fingers crossed.

The Trinity has been fishing consistently with an average of a few fish per day on indicators.  The problem is wether or not you can find a rock of your own.  The Trinity is getting pounded with little or no enforcement.  My suggestion would be to fish low, it does not get the pressure that the JC area does, but it is a walk and wade game predominately.

On a side note, the Mad has been fishing consistently and the fish seem to be bigger this year.  Many of you know that I do not fish the Mad due to the crowds but some friends are telling me that the crowds are thinning.  They are finally starting to spread out throughout the river and are not jammed up at the hatchery.  I amy have to do some scouting!


November 6th, 2014

Well the Eel has been open for a bit now and is producing kings and some silvers for those that are willing to try.  The are a few steles in the river as well and half pounders are abound.  There is no predicted rain in the reasonably near future so it will not be long before the river closes again until the next bigger storm.  Keep an eye on when this is because it will bring a good push of fish into the system.

The Trinity continues to fish poorly for most, they just are not in the system and making the trek there is a real gamble.

Rain and what it means….

October 29th, 2014

Well, we got a fair amount of rain last week and it definitely brought the local rivers up.  The Eel got enough to where it looks good and should clear by thursday (enough to fish), the Van Duzen got enough to flow to the mouth, and the Trinity actually blew out for a bit.

What does this mean, the steelhead counts on the Trinity have been less than impressive from the Willow Creek weir.  This water that came in may bring a big push of fish into the system, hopefully so and we should know within a couple of days.

The Friends of the Eel conservation group have been doing their regular fish counts and are coming up with some delightful numbers.  The are counting large numbers of salmon on the Eel, and a few adults this early.  They have been counting a lot of half pounders on the river as well as a few sturgeon here and there.

I am sure that with the recent rains the fish are coming in fresher and more, I have seen seals at Fernbridge las couple of days.

Well, I am hoping to get some fishing in this weekend on the Eel, will see how it goes….

Oh Boy…

October 16th, 2014

Well, despite the weather reports, we did not get much rain up here, they claimed an inch but the thirsty soil soaked it up before the rivers got much.  Despite that there are many salmon and half pounders in the Eel, there are even a few hold over summer steelies.

A friend that counts fish for the Eel River restoration project counted 1500 salmon at the Box Car hole down to 12th Street.  He also saw many half pounders and a few adults, all pretty dark.  But due to the extremely high tides we have had in the past week I am sure it has pushed more fish further up stream, I am assuming as far as Howe Creek.  The Van Duzen is still dry at the mouth and there is no where for the fish to hold above Howe.

Needless to say, the current long range weather predictions are not favorable for a productive season:

Cross your fingers

Much to read About

September 16th, 2014

Well, a big news day for the plight of the North Coast and steelhead, some directly and others not so much:

Last article is an old one but relevant….

Klamath and Trinity

September 11th, 2014

Hi, Back again on my observations of early season.

As for the Klamath and Trinity, this is what we know:

Start of gill rot due to warm water and lack of flow, this is a contagious disease.

Yes the powers that be did release water to initiate flow and cool the waters

Algae bloom is bigger than has ever been recorded.

Numbers of fish going through the wier’s is less than impressive

Yes, it is still early

Ok, knowing all of that we also know that the flows will not be maintained, they were an initial bump to cool things off, Trinity Lake is dangerously low… With all the speculation of lack of water in all of the steelhead rivers (local) will mean that the Trinity will be a zoo, with a number of un-permitted guides, fishermen on every rock, etc, taking on fish that have been taxed extensively by maintaining in warm, low water.

What does this mean for the guy that wants to fish?  Combat fishing, especially on the Trinity with little or no enforcement.  Keep in mind that the Salmon Restoration Project continues to fill good steelhead runs and holes.  Meaning fishermen are getting bottlenecked into fewer and fewer spots.  I know this sounds doom and gloom but it is a reality and we as stewards of the rivers we love should keep this in mind when we are thinking of places to go.

Been a While

September 9th, 2014

Hi All,

Well I have dropped the ball on keeping up with the blog but I am back on line now.  I have a bit to say so I will take a few days to do it in.

As for the summer, it went great and would like to express my gratitude to The Lodge at Palisades Creek for hosting me again (  In irwin Idaho, or the region there is not a more professional or accommodating lodge / outfitter.  We had the busiest season to date this year due to receiving the Orvis Lodge of the Year Award for 2014, quite an accomplishment.  Not only that it was a high water year (read plenty), thus the fishing was phenomenal.  The river ran 13500CFS tip the beginning of August.  June was an indicator game but once things came off in the beginning of July, they did in force.

Congrats to Dan Kowalski for the 23″ brown, had many browns and cutties at 20-22″ and the prize of the year went to Bobby Middleton (first time fly fisher) for the 25″ cutty.  I had a couple of 70-100 fish days with some really hot sticks in the boat.  The weather was very mild this year, though we did have quite a bit of rain in August, making for some great fishing once it cleared.

Now I am back in school, taken aback by how dry it is here in our rain forrest (redwoods), my lawn is dead, and it is more dry than I have seen since moving up here.  There is much speculation about what this years steelhead season will be like (i.e. NONE), hard to say.

We were to have a El Nino season but now that is not happening.  Everything from Reno east is getting plenty of rain, but we are not.  There are some things flying about the internet that the Eel is dry in spots, as the Van Duzen is the same.  Well it is partly true.  The van Duzen is no longer flowing into the Eel, there is about 1000 yards of riverbed at the mouth, and the Eel does have dry riverbed at East Ferry.  Yes, there is no water on top, but it is flowing underground according to a fisheries biologist I talked to.

Do not get me wrong, it is dire if we do not receive water in October but right now is too early to speculate.  We usually do not get a good rain until late Oct most years.  The water on the SF is crazy warm with an algae bloom like I have never seen, but the fish are hardy and we can hope for the best.

Next time I will post about the Trinity and Klamath

DFW Press release

February 7th, 2014…close-angling/

It is official, yet we are to get a big storm this weekend and to those that I called off for the month I apologize, but when I called you off the 30 day forecast had nothing in it.  That being said I am not sure if it will be enough.  The ground is dry and will soak up much of what we get.

I agree with DFW decision, though there were some unscrupulous types out last week before the meeting and they did do well.  Yet they did well on very stressed fish in puddles.  Not a good decision for those that care about fisheries in years to come.

Stay in tune and I will let you know what is going on as far as weather is concerned.