Misinformation and Rumors
Over the past few years, I have been hearing a lot of misinformation and rumors about Fall River. Most of it I hear directly from folks in my boat. Information that folks have either heard or picked up from other anglers. Either at the restaurant, lodge, or hotel where they are staying. Some of it comes directly from people conversing on the river from boat to boat. All of it pertaining to the way that the river fishes. There are multiple factors that determine whether you will be a successful angler or not. Everything from angler skill to how you operate your boat. What I want to stick to in this blog; is the health of the river, the number, and size of the fish that people are or are not catching. All of this bad misinformation has a huge effect on my business and my future business on Fall River. Of all the waters I guide on, Fall River seems to hold the biggest myths and controversy.
the number of juvenile fish he has been seeing in the system was amazing.
Last year was an awesome year for big fish. The last few years the number of big fish that we have landed has been well above average. Both in size and numbers. In 2016 & 2017 spawning was incredible. Carson Jeffries from UC Davis who is doing the pit tagging program on the river said: “the number of juvenile fish he has been seeing in the system was amazing.” From trips that I have done on the river in the offseason; shuttling biologists and equipment around. I can tell you there is no shortage of big fish. I have seen pods of fish with 50 to 70 fish in a pod all ranging from 20 inches on up to 26 inches backed up for a half mile staged waiting to spawn. One of the statements that I hear all the time is. ” I have been fishing Fall River for over 25 yrs, and it’s just not what it used to be.” Well, you are right it’s not what it used to be. If you have only been coming once a year for 25 years you have only fished it 25 times. Not really enough time to put you on top of your game. If you are not seeing big fish where you are fishing, maybe you need to move your boat. The big fish are not going to come to you. Remember juvenile fish are a good thing. Small fish are a clear indicator of a healthy system that is working.
Silt, weeds, and bugs.
At this moment there is nothing that we can do about the silt. This is mostly due to the threatened listing that has been placed on the rough sculpin by Fish and Game. I, like all of you, must deal with it and am not happy about it. I can tell you that the slug is moving down the river at its own pace and should be gone in about 200 years. In the meantime, I plan to deal with it. It has changed some of the spots I fish, but it has also created other opportunity’s, like when it forms a wall that the fish like to lay against. Knowing where these spots are and not running over the top of them with your boat is a good thing. There has been a number of channels that have been created that harbor fish. Bottom line is that you need to adjust to the changing conditions. You may also need to change your tactics.
I have seen pods of fish with 50 to 70 fish in a pod all ranging from 20 inches on up to 26 inches backed up for a half mile
Weeds and bugs go together. Without the host weeds, you don’t have the bugs. Without the bugs, your fish population will drop. Last season the bugs were in good numbers early in the season. But there seemed to be a lack of fish, why?, One theory was they were laying up in a cow pasture due to the high water. Ummm, think about that one. Maybe a couple, and maybe if the river dropped really fast, but it didn’t happen that way. Because of the high water, the fish stayed in the system higher much longer. Giving them a chance to spawn longer and giving more fish a chance to spawn than normal. Hence more juvenile fish in the system later in the season. The bugs seemed to have spread out in the system a little and they seemed to have come off later in the season than normal. We had really good dry fly early and late in 2017, and it was really good when it happened. Yes, the river has changed but you need to change with it. Because you caught a fish in a certain spot back in 1973 is no guarantee you will catch one there today. I guided a spot last season where every time I showed up there to fish there was a boat in it. It is a very fishy spot has all the requirements a trout needs. Yet every time I would see boats in there they would sit for hours with little to no success. I would wait for them to leave go upriver on the side they were fishing. Get past the run a little bit. Pull over to the opposite side of the river and have a field day with it. So, you see learning to adapt to a changing river is very very important. I don’t think that I have ever fished or guided any river season after season without making some sort of subtle change. I will break it down a little more in other blogs yet to come.
And now that duck season is over, and we are staring down the barrel of a new fishing season I will be more active with the blog. Let me hear from you on items you would like to read about.
Ok I have bored you enough on that. Winter Fishing has been really good here lately so come on up.
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