California Steelhead

Guided Steelhead Fishing with Brent Rinker
On the California Coast


California Steelhead

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California Steelhead

2006 Year in Review

This year's steelhead season actually started in December of 2005. The Russian River started seeing the beginning of the run appearing at Warm Springs Hatchery, on Dry Creek at the base of Lake Sonoma, around December first. Fishable numbers started appearing mid-month. These early Russian fish were large! Many if not most of the fish were 30+ inches (around 12-14 pounds). Then around New Years it started raining. And it kept raining….. And soon all the steelhead rivers on the California Coast were at flood stage. With the rivers blown out the fishing would have to wait. It was time to organize the tackle box, tie up some leaders, and watch the river levels over the internet. Finally the rain stopped long enough for the rivers to get that tint of green that we were looking for. The Garcia and Navarro Rivers were the first to clear. On the Navarro we found good numbers of chrome bright fish that were willing to bite, most shot directly out of the water upon feeling the hook.

After that trip it started to rain again, however, once the water cleared up the rivers were full of fish! The next river on the agenda was the famous South Fork of the Eel River. Here the fishing started off great with most boats catching decent numbers of chromers. These fish were red hot on the line and many posed for some beautiful pictures for us. After about a week of good fishing on the Eel Fish.Travel - key biscayne fishing charters, word got out and anglers from all over were soon congesting the waters, so we took this as an opportunity to run over the hill to the Mattole River.

The Mattole is a small coastal river on the Lost Coast that takes a while to come into fishable shape once the rain quits, actually fishing it at all is a luxury, but it is all well worth it. We expected quite a few people on the Mattole, but when we got there it was like a ghost town! We had the river practically to ourselves and as a bonus THE FISH WERE IN! Now don't get me wrong. Any steelhead is a trophy, and most will put up a fight that you won't soon forget, BUT… the fish on the Mattole River are INCREDIBLE! I don't know if it is that they are so close to the ocean or if something in their genetics makes them so… well strong isn't quite the word for it, mean, bad, violent maybe, you get the picture. The point is… when you have a Mattole River Steelhead on the end of your line, it has no peer. I've cringed as I watched my rod get slammed down just on the initial strike. If you get the chance to go fishing on the Mattole DON'T PASS IT UP to go to another river. Do it, you can thank me later.

Upon receiving some more rain (did I mention that it rained a lot this year?) and watching the river levels again, it was time for a late March Navarro/Garcia Trip. These rivers were full of fish headed back to the ocean. Although they were downstreamers, they fought like champions. We landed incredible numbers in just a few days of fishing. And so went the 2006 Winter Steelhead Season. A few months later still fresh in my mind. I still look at the pictures nearly every day and I'm already getting excited about next year! So in the mean time, what ever you get the chance to go fishing for GOOD LUCK!


California Steelhead

Brent Rinker´┐Żs California Steelhead Fishing
187 Harry Way, Lucerne, California 95458

Winter steelhead