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View Full Version : Russian River above Lake Mendocino Advice



Lifted
01-07-2013, 02:23 PM
Any advice for fishing the section of the Russian River that flows into Lake Mendocino? I remember reading a report a while back saying it wasn't bad, and that they actually plant up there a few times a year. I also read they have rainbows in there that the DFW is calling landlocked steelhead as well as smallmouth bass, but honestly I'm just looking to get out of town and try a new spot, so I'm happy to catch anything. I saw Pole Dancer's post about how Lake Sonoma and Mendicino are currently really muddy, so hopefully that clears by this weekend. If I can get to the moving water section along Hwy 20, I plan to use my fly rod, but I'll have my spinning setup as well. Does anyone have any experience from fishing up there that they can share? Thanks in advance.

crazyfisher
01-07-2013, 05:08 PM
would love to know as well.

I'm up in Santa Rosa area every other week and we usually hit up Bon Tempe/Alpine/Lake Ralphine. I would love to try fishing for steelhead this year :)

http://www.russianriveroutdoors.com/fishing.html

there is a place in healdsburg that you can fish on the russian river when its flowing. Thats what I heard at least!

Nighthawk
01-08-2013, 04:19 AM
I've fished what is referred to as the East Fork of the Russian River (above Lake Mendocino) several times over the last 20 years and it can be quite productive during the planting season. You can check the DFG website for when it is planted but it is usually determined by water temp and flow (won't plant when there's too little or too warm water). Great place to wet wade during the Summer. Usually salmon eggs, Rooster Tails and small Lil' Cleos work well but I'm sure that a well presented fly will draw some attention. I've had several days where, if you find the right holes, I caught trout on every other cast for a half hour stretch. You will also hook up with the occasional Sacramento Pike but that's rare. It can be a great place to take your kids to introduce them to fishing and if they get distracted, there are also plenty of swimming holes in that area. Best way to reach the good spots is to head North on the road to Potter Valley, which is the first turnoff past the bridge crossing the river at the North end of Lake Mendocino on HWY 20. Some spots require some rock climbing to get to but many are just short walks through the woods and very accessible. Start looking for turnouts on the right after you cross the river shortly after you've turned off HWY 20. I've never heard or seen land locked steelies or smallmouth up there but you can get the occasional Striper just up river from where it enters the Lake. The DFG also started planting trout into Lake Mendocino last year and some of those might find their way up River (if they don't get eatten by the bass first).

There are land locked steelies in Lake Sonoma and migrating steelies all through the Russian River from the dam at Lake Mendocino to the Sonoma Coast. That subject is addressed pretty well on the Steelhead/Salmon board.

Nice, low key spot to fish. Does get a bit littered at times but I always take a garbage bag with me and try to pack out more than I pack in.

Have a great time.

Lifted
01-08-2013, 10:21 AM
I've fished what is referred to as the East Fork of the Russian River (above Lake Mendocino) several times over the last 20 years and it can be quite productive during the planting season.........

Thanks for the detailed response, that's why I love the Sniffer! If I make it up there, I'll be sure to take pics and post a report. What I was reading about smallies I think was actually referring to the section of the river below the Mendocino dam, but I figured they'ed be throughout the system.

LURKER916
01-08-2013, 11:46 AM
It is closed right now also. Opens with regular trout season.

Panther Martins 6 with silver blade and yellow body.
Single pautzkes salmon egg with split shot. Also are small mouth bass in there. And in the low stretches are cats and stripers. Grew up fishing that stretch.
Another heads up is the theft rate is high there. Smash and grabs are common. Leave valuable stuff at home or carry it. And be careful of dangerous waters. Me and two friends if mine saved a young girls life in '88 when she got tangled under a branch and almost drowned. The closest rescue folks are Potter or Redwood Valley Fire. And I think they are both volunteer.
Be safe
Matt



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Line Stretcher
01-08-2013, 01:17 PM
It is closed right now also. Opens with regular trout season.

Panther Martins 6 with silver blade and yellow body.
Single pautzkes salmon egg with split shot. Also are small mouth bass in there. And in the low stretches are cats and stripers. Grew up fishing that stretch.
Another heads up is the theft rate is high there. Smash and grabs are common. Leave valuable stuff at home or carry it. And be careful of dangerous waters. Me and two friends if mine saved a young girls life in '88 when she got tangled under a branch and almost drowned. The closest rescue folks are Potter or Redwood Valley Fire. And I think they are both volunteer.
Be safe
Matt



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Trevor, Matt's correct Mendocino Lake Tributary's are closed now. It opens the last Saturday in Apr. through Nov. 15. Limit is 5 of whatever you might catch.

Lifted
01-08-2013, 02:26 PM
So now I'm confused. I looked at the special regs section, and it says open all year. However, it also says above the confluence of the east fork is closed year round. To me that would mean the section I intend to fish is open, but subject to barbless regs. On the contrary, this map http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/23/Russianrivermap.png seems to show that the confluence of the east fork is actually below Lake Mendocino, making the section that flows into the lake closed year round. That can't be right, because I believe that is the section they stocked last fall. So, officially, what is considered "the confluence" of the East Fork Russian River? It also says closed to fishing when flows are below 500cfs at the Guerneville measurement station.

Special Regs Page:
Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations - Waters with Special Regulations (http://www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations/FreshFish-Mar2012/ccr-t14-ch3-art3.html)

LURKER916
01-08-2013, 02:28 PM
It's also called Cold Creek. Might be under that name?


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Lifted
01-08-2013, 02:46 PM
It's also called Cold Creek. Might be under that name?


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Upon further review of the map, you are correct. The section I intended to fish is not actually the Russian River. It has no special regs, but as you stated should be subject to the standard river/stream closures from Nov-April. Too bad, I thought I'd found a nice river to fish in the winter =( (of course the Truckee is still open...) I guess I could give Putah Creek a try, but those fish are starting to spawn and I don't want to have to spend half the day finding a spot to fish without redds/spawning fish.

EDIT: After reading the Wikipedia page on Lake Mendocino, I'm still confused. It says the primary inflow is the East Fork Russian River, meaning it should still be open to fishing. Unless that's considered "above the confluence of the East Fork" which would mean it's closed 100% of the time, which doesn't seem right, since as I mentioned above DFW plants there.

Nighthawk
01-08-2013, 06:27 PM
Banker916 is correct about the East Fork only being open during the regular trout season, barbless hooks and the five fish limit. The River from the Dam (Coyote) that forms Lake Mendocino to the Coast is open year round and is can be productive for steelies from October through April depending on weather, flows, if the mouth of the River is open, etc. There are some good smallmouth holes during late Spring and Summer from Alexander Campground to Healdsburg but most can only be reached via canoe, float tube or through private land (vineyards). Lots of fun on a 3 wt and poppers. There is also a Shad season in the Spring but that's usually from Guerneville to the Coast.