California Steelhead help [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: California Steelhead help

11-29-2000, 11:09 AM
Looks like the wife, kid and yours truly are making the annual trip to Cal later than usual this year. It also appears as though we will spend a couple of days in Humboldt visiting the Bro-in-law...Rumor has it that this might actually place me close enough to a quasi-steelhead river (as opposed to the normal stay in San Fran, and hey let's fish the Russian or Gualala cause they're about as close as I can sneak away to for a day)...

SO...any suggestions as to rivers, patterns (especially patterns), tackle, tips would be greatly appreciated!!!!



11-29-2000, 12:17 PM
There is a short article in Frank Amato's "Flyfishing & Tying Journal" magazine, page 11. Mr.Amato is a very active PNW publisher as many on this board will attest. His site is <!--nohttp--><a href="" target="_blank">HERE</a><!--url-->, but I don't know if it will lead to the article.

The article names Mill Bend, Upper and Lower Miner, Thompson and Donkey holes as the spots to hit on the Gualala. Sounds rich with gold digger legend to me! Wish I were going too.

Email me at w/ mailing address and I will send you the clip.


11-29-2000, 12:28 PM
Juro --

I wish you were going too...then we'd have at least one angler
along who has a clue about steelhead..

will email the snail address.



11-29-2000, 01:50 PM
I'll throw in a few of my favorite winter steelie patterns in exchange for a couple of those smelt you used to fool the rainbow at Whites if it's a fair trade for you.

Also wouldn't be surprised to hear from Eric Bigler or some of the other schnauzers out west on the topic, although CA steelheading is a bit different than WA techniques.

Take lots of pictures!

11-29-2000, 01:51 PM
Boy, this brings back memories. From another lifetime, I think. I used to fish around Eureka back when the redwoods were just seedlings, and I don't know if what I remember has any relevance to today's world.

Anyhoo, back in the good old days, as soon as the waves broke over the Eel River bar, usually in late November, after the first really heavy rains, there would be steelhead in the lower Eel. If the river dropped fast and the rains weren't too heavy, the fish would stay in the lower river for a while. If the river were high, the fish would scoot up. However, there were lots of other streams to fish beside the Eel: Redwood Creek, Van Duzen, Mad, and Little rivers, to name a few. Things were pretty crowded on weekends, but the weekdays, particularly on the smaller rivers under low and clear conditions, there was plenty of room to fish.

During the time I fished around there, there was considerable logging activity and the streams muddied up quickly and stayed muddy for quite a while. Things should be better now.

As for flies: simplist thing is to fish Glo-Bugs off a strike indicator. If you don't like that, fish near the bottom with bright, big flies for cloudy water and smaller, drabber flies for clear water. There are fly shops in Eureka that can help. The big trick will be finding fish -- there are lots of places to try. You should have a good and interesting time of it. Keep us posted.



11-29-2000, 02:28 PM

it's a deal (provided you supply the recipe for the flies -- I promise not to share any state secrets -- nothing personal, but it's been a LONG time since I used a fly I didn't tie)

i generally tie 'em in 6's on a long-shank streamer...and debarb everything, so let
me know if you'd rather I leave the skin grabber UP rather than mashed down.


11-29-2000, 04:03 PM
Jared -

Mashed for me, I grind mine off with a dremel tool on stainless hooks and wish they made more barbless models in production.

Eric -

I read that it was best to fish outgoing tide to get the best swing... that sounds like tidewater to me. Are these rivers short coastal streams? A fish in tidewater must be spankin' chrome bright. Are they all winter fish or are there summer fish as well?

Water temps may average a lot warmer in CA than where I am used to being for winter steel; perhaps they move for wet flies on a dry line even in December?

12-02-2000, 09:22 PM
Try calling the fly shop in Ashland OR.(541-488-1202) or the one in Eurika CA.(707-4444-2000). Alittle further south, the good people at the Trinity fly shop can be helpful(530-623-6757). Hope this helps, Eddie