Are downer steelhead really…well…”downers?” Lots of folks think so because when you catch them they’re usually skinny, colored up and not the greatest of fighters. Some people even get bummed out when they hook a downer (also known as runbacks, kelts or spent fish) but there’s actually a lot to love about ’em.
Check out the Feb. issue of Western Outdoors Magazine for my article of fishing the American River for steelhead like this one and all the other species that call the river home (though I left the carp and squawfish tips out). And if you’ve got a rotting old set of oar blades on your driftboat or raft shafts (like I once did), you can learn how to quickly replace them in my Tips of the Trade column in the Feb. issue of Salmon Trout Steelheader Magazine.
Also in that same issue of STS, look for the photo essay I did on the Stanislaus River Restoration project I worked on last fall.
In the Feb. issue of Fish Alaska Magazine, you’ll find my article about chasing road-side silvers in Cordova and the first installment of my Salmon Sense column in which we’ll take a look at why kings bite in freshwater.
Whew…just thinking about all that makes my typing fingers sore!
Yesterday, common sense prevailed as the CA Fish & Game Commission rejected a proposal to close the American River due to low flows. They will, however, look into adopting low flow regulations in 2009.
Thanks to all of you who let your voices be heard!
It has just been reported that in California’s Central Valley (the Sacramento, Feather, American, Yuba, Mokelumne, San Joaquin, Tuolumne, Stanislaus & Merced rivers and various tributaries), Chinook runs in 2007 totaled 90,000 fish — down from 270,000 in 2006, which was regarded as the worst season in recent memory. As recently as 2002, over 800,000 kings ascended Valley streams to spawn.
In addition, Central Valley jack counts were down around 2,000 fish last fall — an all-time low and well below the average of 40,000 per year.
With such an incredible drop-off in the fishery, the question begs: will we ever again see fish runs like the “Good ol’ Days” of just a few seasons ago when limits like the ones in the photo above were the norm?
Looking for an awesome do-it-yourself Alaskan fishing trip this summer? Look no further than Cordova and it’s sick, off-the-charts coho fishing — most of which can be easily accessed by car! Trusty side-kick Reilly and I explored the Cordova road system thoroughly last fall and found 60-plus fish days without much trouble at all…on chrome, snowbelly silvers. Read the full report in the January issue of FISH ALASKA Magazine.