The River is Up and all the Steelhead and Salmon Are Safe

Saturday February 8, 2014 Guerneville CA.

It’s been raining hard since yesterday and that is good

It’s been raining here fairly hard since yesterday. And since then, this series of storms has dropped about 11.75 inches of rain as you can see in my bucket gauge. I use a bucket for a gauge because the five inch gauges don’t cut it around here most of the time.bucketgauge


And there is still another storm to come in tonight

There is still one more storm to come in tonight with this series of storms.

Fife Creek which is dry in the summer started to flow this morning which is s good sign for the big fish that need to spawn.

This is Fife Creek, behind my house. It can get much higher then it is now, all the way up to the top of it’s banks. Nice muddy water too, which protects the fish, contrary to what everybody is told about muddy water.fifecreek


Let’s take a little ride down the river

After sitting around all day, I decided to go down to shop and then  go down to Jenner for a look see.

After getting some things at the grocery store, I headed on down towards Monte Rio to check on the river.

I ran into these guys trying to unplug a plugged culvert. Lots of plugged up culverts keeping the road crews real busy.digout


Monte Rio launch ramp

I pulled into Monte Rio where I launch at the boat ramp. Yip, the river is up and it’s nice and muddy too. Great for the big fish.

This is the Monte Rio boat launch area. Gee, no one here today? :O)monterio


The water is up and muddy at Jenner too

After that, I headed on down to Jenner and this is my view as I approached the Jenner area, Penny Island is the clump of trees to the left.jenner


I thought I’d take a few pictures so I pulled into the visitor center. Lots of stuff coming down the river, not raining too hard here. I was temped to put my kayak in the water, but it was late in the day, so I’ll put it off until tomorrow, if the rain lets up as it is supposed to.

This is looking up the river from the visitor center. Look at all that muddy water. Great.upriver


The boat launch ramp was a little on the messy side, might have to clean that up a bit tomorrow if I go out, just to get my boat in the water.

Picture from the launch ramp, looking down river towards the river’s mouth area.ramp


The river’s mouth is wide open

My last stop was at the river’s mouth overlook area on highway one. The mouth isn’t closed any more, it’s blown clear open.

The river is flowing nicely into the ocean, with lots of muddy water. Just great, lots of big fish can come into the river.rivermouth


Why is the muddy water so important to the survival of all the steelhead and salmon type fish in the river?

Ok, why is it so great to have all this muddy water for the big fish and small fish too? When the river is muddy, the big fish are safe. Almost nothing can get them to eat them. The osprey cannot catch the smaller ones heading to the ocean. The cormorants can’t catch fish as they can’t see them. The seals and sea lions can’t see them to catch them.  Fishermen have a hard time hooking any of them when it ‘s muddy and most don’t even try. All the fish can go about their business of spawning and returning to the ocean. Any fish that have been in the creeks and river can get back to the ocean without being eaten as long as the water is muddy. And no, this muddy water doesn’t kill any fish as far as I can tell, it protects them.

I’ve watched this action for a number of years now. As the water starts to clear, the osprey start catching little fish first, and the cormorants start in on them, as the river starts to clear from the top. As it clears some more, the seals and sea lions start to feed again. And the river otters can do their thing too. Otters are likely the most dangerous thing in the river to almost anything that moves.

I’ve watched this happen for a number of years now

One year I watched this happen over and over, as a big storm hit about once a week. As the water started to clear, the sea lions came into the river to feed, then it would rain hard again and they would leave until it started to clear again.

The best years for fish on the river and creeks is the years the water comes up and stays up most of the winter, the muddier the better. Of course these years are not good fishing years, but a few years down the road, the fishing can be even better because of it.

This year, because of almost no rain, the big fish were stuck in the lower river as there wasn’t enough water to get all the way up the river, let alone any water in most of the creeks. That’s not good and a lot of them didn’t make it for lots of reasons.

A number of years ago, the first time I met a bunch of biologists. working on the river, I said to them, this is contrary to everything you’ve been taught, but the muddy water protects the fish. I wanted to give them something to think about.

It’s still raining as I post this, which is good for the fish and also for us to help get us out of a drought situation.

A lazy day for sure. I enjoyed it, just he same. And right now, the rain is picking up again and it’s really pouring. Great. :O)

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