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I'm new to the Spey game and live in N. CA. Anyone have any suggestions about where to fish? I am used to fishing in the inland waters(Trinity, Hat Creek,Upper Sac. etc.) and I'm not really familiar with other Rivers or parts of rivers. Any info. would be appreciated. Thanks!
Kim:)
 

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Kim,
Just about any of the steelhead rivers in N California can be fished with a spey rod - these include the Trinity, Klamath, probalby the Feather and the Smith. Alot of folks fish the Trinity using nymphs and indicators but it is a great swing river and for that matter you can use nymphing techniques very easily with a 2 hander.
 

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Rick,Thanks! I've heard people fish with indicators and a spey rod but havn't tried that. By the way, I work in Rohnert Park and live in San Rafael. Nice to know that I'm not the only one around this area who tries the "other" fly fishing. Mostly I get a :tsk_tsk: reaction when I ask other fly fishers.
Kim
 

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I have 2 Spey rods. A 12 1/2 ft. 6 wt. and a 14 ft. 9 wt. I've fished the E. Walker,E.Carson,Trinity,Hat Creek,Upper and Lower Sac., Yuba,a little on the Feather near Oroville. all single hand fly except I tried the 6 wt. on the Trinity. near Junction City.
 

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Don't forget your local coastal streams! If you live in Rohnert Park, it's only an hour and a half to the Gualala, a little farther to the other ones... shhh!

The Gualala is the one of two streams I've never been skunked on. Just keep calling the baitshops to find when it is dropping and clearing. And don't join the cluster casts. Keep moving and finding water you can swing your fly in.
 

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KimK

Your 6 weight should be good for the Trinity and the Yuba.

I like to fish the Yuba from the Sycamore ranch east of Yuba City.
It is an rv and camp ground. For $5, you can park your vehicle at the end of the campground wade across the little creek and walk about a quarter of a mile to the River. It is river right fishing and some very big native trout/or small 3-5 pound steelhead are along the river there. There are a few wiley old Brown Trout that a 7 weight rod can't budge from their holes. You think that you have hooked the bottom, and suddenly the bottom moves and shakes its head like a pit bull dog.

Some people drive over the creek to get to the river. I got stuck two years ago and it took the owner with two caterpillers to pull my Bronco out. That is the only time my 1996 Bronco has ever been stuck. So now I walk the distance. The pain is not having any place to keep the spare rods and other equipment. If you walk, you have to carry everything in. I fish it mainly with my Sage 7136 with a floating MS 6/7, and I will be using my new Bob Meiser 5/6 two handed switch rod. In the winter time, with the heavier flows, I use my Sage 7141 with the MS 7/8 with tips and Meiser 7/8 switch rod.

The Yuba is mainly now an indicator salmon egg hatch now. The fox caddis puppa is very effective there under an indicator or classic drift with Rio's clear intermediate tip with or without the sink tip compensator. Later you will need tips and probably the nine weight in late fall/winter. There is a Skawla Stone Fly hatch in the winter time that is incredible if you catch it. It is incredible dry fly action with without a nymph under the dry fly. Your 6 weight will be perfect

There are a lot of places on the Russian that you can use either rod. There is a place south of Healdsburg where you park and walk in about a quarter of a mile and have about 1 mile or river right below the creek the hatchery fish go up. Ask your local fly shop for directions. Then later in November, you can drive to Monte Rio and park under the bridge or in the little parking lot for the steelhead run. The river is narrow there, but bring your nine weight and some good tippets. The natives are big and hot and a 6 weight will not handle them. You will need a line with interchangeable tips.

Then, when the season is in full you can pay 5$ to fish Cassini's ranch. It has miles of river left. After some heart breaking Fluorocarbon breaks, I stick with Maxima tippet material. Only use your nine weight. The hottest California steelhead I have ever hooked have been at Cassinis and up at Monte Rio. They come in from the Ocean on the last high tide and swim upstream to get away from the dam seals. The next high tide they are hot, mad and charging upstream. By the time they get further north like at Healdsburg, they are still good fighters, but they have lost the torpedo speed and bull runs they have at Cassini's and Monte Rio.

There are other areas on the Russian, where you can fish but you need a map to find legal parking places and fishing places. Your local stores have them.

Your 6 weight should be okay in the Gualala. Be ready to overhand cast it if snotty one handed fishers come up. I use my 7136 with the MS 6/7 floating line or Bob Meiser's 7/8 10'6" rod with a WC 678 with tips if other fishers are close. Bob's rods are great on over handed casts and if fly fishers aren't close, it will do a good Double Spey or Snake roll.

On all of these waters I limit my tippets to 8 or 10 pound test. If you get a salmon, you want to be able to break off quickly so you don't hurt the fish or it tears up your line, rod and reel.
 

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The Eel

Kim,

The Eel River has taken a beating over the years due to Logging, water rights and other factors but was one of the worlds great Salmon, Steelhead rivers in her day. The Eel still has a decent winter run but the trick is to catch it when the water conditions are right and reliable river condition info is hard to come by. The good news is there are many classic runs well suited to the Spey
Rod. I fish it with either 13' 9 or 15' 10 depending on conditions/water levels.
The first water to clear (green) is near Benbow on the South Fork and work your way north. Late Feb. and March are normally the best. It is very unusual in my experience to find the main stem near Scotia fishable except in low water years. Access is decent and a driftboat is a big advantage. John
 

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and the American River is also an excelent river to spey cast on.
 

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The Ell has already been tossed into the mix, but I ..

didn't see any reference to the Russian River. Hosed this river over for the better part of 10 years with nothing but a Spey Rod. Just get/go somewhere where you're not 'shoulder to shoulder' with the darned 'gear guys.'

The good news is I usually (one major exception, and this guy was darned good) out fished them when the river was in shape. What worked best for me was a # 8 or # 10 hook (wted) with a red 'edge bright' or larva lace body and a dark green, or contrasting red, head and small bead chain eyes.

Winter Russian fishing was one of the few things that kept me 'sane' (may be wrong there ...:devil: ) in the mortgage banking business doing 3-8 billion dollars per month.

fae
 

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Fred re Russian River Flies

I had a couple of paragraphs re the Russian in my reply to Kim.

Is there a name for these critters or a picture somewhere?:

"The good news is I usually (one major exception, and this guy was darned good) out fished them when the river was in shape. What worked best for me was a # 8 or # 10 hook (wted) with a red 'edge bright' or larva lace body and a dark green, or contrasting red, head and small bead chain eyes. "
 

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Advantage to Fly

I found that the lower Russian, influenced by tides, was often more effectively fished with a fly than gear. Float and gig or bait has changed some of that, but liies are much easier to present than spinners, spoons, etc.

Good luck.
 

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GS, the 'original', as are many of 'my flys' was ..

made from stuff sitting around on my bench. The hooks were thin wire. The underbody was 'French Tinsel'... the embosed stuff, with a over wrapping of the smallest Larva Lace. Lash on a couple of small chain beads for 'eyes,' and one or two twists of chenl. was the whole rig.

I think the original idea may have come from stuff I'd tie for Shad fishing .. which I found to be as much fun, if not more, than chasing down steelhead, hoping the river wasn't blown out for a full two weeks, etc. and etc.

I think one of the reasons this fly worked so well is the Russian has a fairly smoth bottom, unlike the Rogue which is a jumble of different sized rocks. Because of this the Russian fish tended to hold in the water coloum so a fly that was well under the surface, but not dragging the bottom was quite effective.

As noted on many occations, the Rogue fish are bottom huggers. You're not right on the bottom ... fergetaboutit.
fae
 
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