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Going Mad for steelhead

Article and photos by Casey Allen
02/02/12 -- The Mad River is full of steelhead and the water is clearing. “This is the greatest river in the country,” claimed an excited angler as I walked by with my camera. He wasn’t fishing but waiting impatiently for his partner to arrive. I surveyed the scene at the Mad River Hatchery handicapped fishing access and there were dozens of anglers in view. During the first 10 minutes I was there, mid-morning today, I saw four fish hooked and two landed.

Mad River, steelhead, Humboldt County, Casey Allen, MyOutdoorBuddy.com

Employees at the Mad River Hatchery sorted 1300 steelhead on Wednesday and picked 20 females to spawn. Each female was spawned with two males and when possible they matched a wild fish with a hatchery fish. It was a busy day for hatchery workers who spawn steelhead each Wednesday. The fish are then returned to the river to continue migrating upstream and the fish ladder into the hatchery is closed until next week and the next spawning day.

Mad River is enjoying a huge run this year with steelhead ranging from 6 to over 16 pounds. Some of the fish were dark after holding in the river for a while but many were bright as a dime indicating a fish fresh from the ocean.

I walked down river to the big gravel bar and met Scott Davis and Bud Bautista from Auburn. “What a great fishery,” Davis said as I approached. He said in two days they landed around 35 fish. The two buddies were using fly tackle and had black or dark brown bead-head wooly buggers tied to their leaders.

Mad River hatchery steelhead, Humboldt County, Casey Allen, MyOutdoorBuddy.com

Bud Bautista from Auburn said he makes the trip to fish Mad River at least a couple times a year. He kept this fish, on his last day, for his smoker.

This is an exceptional year for fishing the Mad because long periods without rain have allowed the river to clear. In normal years, the river runs muddy much of the time and the only way to hook steelhead is by a method called beading or flossing. Anglers use long leaders with a single bead above the hook. When rigged properly, the bead keeps the leader straight and a few inches above the river bottom. As it swings downstream the leader catches in a holding steelhead’s mouth and the hook is pulled into the fish just outside the mouth. This method amounts to snagging and is controversial but it is the only effective way to catch fish during muddy conditions. It also is only effective in the near reach below the hatchery where the fish hold, waiting to enter the hatchery. Since the steelhead are raised and released by the hatchery strictly for recreation, the method is tolerated. Hundreds of anglers visit Humboldt County to fish the Mad and if the practice were eliminated serious tourist dollars would be lost.

With the river clearing, only a few anglers were using this method. Most were drifting roe or Spin-n-glo’s. I saw a guy with a side planer and a wiggle plug. Many fishers were fly fishing. With the clearing water and the large number of fish the chances of enticing a bite greatly improved. The weather is predicted to be dry into next week so the fishing should remain very good.

The Mad River Hatchery would like volunteers to help spawn fish on Wednesday’s until mid -March when the spawning season ends. It takes a lot of effort to process 1300 fish and they could use the help. I plan to be there next Wednesday and I am excited to learn more about how the hatchery operates and to lend a hand for future steelhead runs.  

For more information on great fishing, visit Humboldt County.


Fishing Reports

Anglers Hookup at Collins Lake
Man and woman with catfish, by Collins Lake
Kathy Hess Collins Lake Reporter
09/26/16 -- Fall is on its way and Lake Collins anglers are making the most of it. Here’s a few of our outdoor buddies who hooked up this week! David & Angela Gray from Sacramento fished the east side of our lake and hooked a...Full Story
Salmon is Spotty above Happy Camp
By Scott Caldwell
09/25/16 -- Salmon fishing on the Klamath river above Happy Camp is spotty. We are seeing Salmon move up the river from Klamath Glen but getting them to bite has been tough. The Klamath is very clear and on the low side some...Full Story
Chetco Ocean Bubble Season Opens
lingcod, by Larry Ellis
On Oregon Waters by Larry Ellis
09/24/16 -- The second to the last ocean salmon season, what ODFW calls the “2016 Chetco River Fall Chinook State Waters Terminal Area Season” will open exactly one week from today on Saturday, October 1. This year’s season will...Full Story
CDFW Reintroduces Rare Trout to McCloud
McCloud River Red-band trout, courtesy of CDFE
09/22/16 --The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Northern Region Inland Fisheries Program and Heritage and Wild Trout Program staff will soon reintroduce a small population of rare rescued trout to their native...Full Story
Pacific Halibut Closes Friday
Man with 65 lb halibut, courtesy of Tim Klassen/Reel Steel Sport Fishing
Fishing the North Coast by Kenny Priest
09/22/16 -- North Coast offshore adventures will be limited to just rockfish come Saturday morning as the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced on Wednesday the closing of the recreational Pacific halibut fishery on Saturday...Full Story
​Hike For Fall Trout
fish with hook in mouth, by John Higley
Article and photos by John Higley
09/21/16 -- Last Sunday morning I hiked into the Thousand Lakes Wilderness, which is located off Highway 89 in the Lassen National Forest roughly between Old Station and Burney. Along for the adventure was my buddy...Full Story
Sacramento River salmon run appears!
Bill Matsen from Redding, Ca. with his 17 lb. King salmon, Jeff Goodwin Guide Service
By Jeff Goodwin
09/21/16 -- I've been on again, off again on our 2016 Sacramento River salmon season, but it appears as though the fish I've been waiting on since mid-August have finally arrived in descent numbers. Salmon fishing from Hamilton City to...Full Story
GGSA Red Bluff Salmon Derby Winner
Dan Hofbauer with his 16.88lb winning salmon, by GGSA
09/20/16 -- Fisherman Dan Hofbauer won the $1000 first prize for the biggest salmon in last Saturday’s annual Golden Gate Salmon Association Red Bluff Salmon Derby held at the Durango RV Resort in Red Bluff. Hofbauer’s king weighed...Full Story
Hat Creek Post Labor Day
colorful trout, by Mike Mogler
Article and photo by Michael Mogler
09/20/16 -- Hat Creek after Labor Day continues to receive CDFW plantings. This is great news for those anglers looking for uncrowded conditions with plenty of fish to go around. I stopped by Rim Rock Ranch for information on the...Full Story
Feather River Hatchery Fish Ladder Opens
Feather River Hatchery, photo courtesy of CDFW
09/19/16 -- The fish ladder at Feather River Hatchery in Oroville opened today, Monday, Sept. 19, signaling the start of the spawning season on the Feather River. California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) hatchery...Full Story
All-depth groundfish fishery reopens Oct. 1
Rockfish, CDFW
09/15/16 -- The increased use of descending devices by halibut anglers was a key factor in contributing to the decision by fish managers to reopen the all-depth groundfish fishery on Oct. 1. The recreational groundfish season on the Oregon...Full Story
​Getting out of the North Valley heat By Gary Heffley 
9/13/16 -- The Redding area has been hot both in temperature and the fishing. Nothing can beat the outstanding trout fishing on the Sacramento River in Redding, the Kokanee fishing of Whiskeytown or the trout trolling successes enjoyed by...Full Story
Poachers fined for illegal abalone
CDFW patrol boat Thresher, courtesy of CDFW
09/13/16 -- Two Southern California men have been convicted and fined for abalone poaching and other resource crimes, stemming from a September 2015 California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) enforcement case...Full Story
Run4Salmon traces salmon's journey
Photo of Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe (Dan Bacher
09/07/16 -- The Run4Salmon event is a 300-mile trek that will follow the historical journey of the salmon from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the Winnemem (McCloud River) to raise awareness about the policies threatening...Full Story
CDFW Makes Buying a License Easier
Location map, by CDFW
09/03/16 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is making life easier for anglers when it comes to purchasing a license and checking your local fishing regulations. CDFW has made the online license...Full Story
Military Vets Fish Salmon Out the Gate
Pictured above are 12 military vets that fished with Captain Roger Thomas and crew of the Salty Lady and GGSA officials on Monday, August 29. From left to right: Terry Kid, Richard Porter, David Porter, Alfred Carrasco, Ben Santos, Dave Emory, Christian Valenti, Levi Andrews, Dustin Bergen, Shawn James, Dennis James, and Buck Anderson
09/01/16 -- Twelve military veterans experienced a day of salmon fishing aboard the charter boat Salty Lady Monday, September 26 on a trip out of Sausalito. Nine salmon decided to go for the ultimate boat ride and made...Full Story
Buoy 10 Chinook season goes to Sept. 14 09/01/16 -- Recreational anglers will get an additional nine days to harvest Chinook salmon at the mouth of the Columbia River under a season extension approved today by fishery managers from Oregon and Washington...Full Story
Sea Otter Shootings in Santa Cruz County
caltip logo
08/29/16 -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) are looking for information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the shooting deaths of...Full Story
A Hot Summer’s Day on Chico Creek
A Hot Summer's Day on Chico Creek, Steven T. Callan
On Patrol by Steven T. Callan
07/25/16 -- I’ve been exploring Northern California’s streams -- above and below the surface -- for most of my life. One of my most memorable adventures took place on a hot summer’s day in 1964, not long after my sixteenth...Full Story
Brownie’s Choice
Art work by Isabella Langaman
By Don Webster
Disregard the story’s title. I don’t really have a “first” name. If I did, it would probably be something like Leviathan or Behemoth or maybe Lunker. Officially, I’m a trout. A brown trout. A giant, brown trout. Possibly the biggest, fattest...Full Story
Keddie Ridge
Scouting Deerheart Lake, photo by Phil Akers
Article and photos by Phil “Flip” Akers
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Let’s check out the Upper Sac
Lake Siskiyou with Mt. Shasta standing sentinel. photo by Phil Akers
Article and photos by Phil "Flip" Akers
09/06/15 -- The Upper Sacramento River – The Upper Sac – begins at Lake Siskiyou’s Box Canyon Dam and continues ~37 miles downstream to Lake Shasta. It is a classic freestone river born from the Mt. Shasta and Mt. Eddy... Full Story
How to make Tuscan Tuna Salad with Fennel By Frank Galusha
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Fishing the Klamath below JC Boyle Dam
 Brian Buckingham with one of the larger fish from this section. This trout, estimated at 2 lbs., was caught near the BLM campground on the west shore six miles down the JC Boyle Dam on the Klamath River in Southern Oregon. Photo by author
By Trouteagle
03/02/15 -- Year round trout action can be found on the Klamath River within the 20 or so miles of free flow within Oregon and California. While fishing below the flumes at the JC Boyle powerhouse, it can be difficult to know just when...Full Story
The Mystery of the Middle Fork, Part IV
Jim Broshears, author badge, myoutdoorbuddy.com
By Jim Broshears
11/10/14 -- This trip was to be the final chapter in the saga that began three years ago but is actually over 20 years in the making. As Bruce, Tuck and I journeyed back to the Middle Fork of the Feather River we made...Full Story
Climbing Terms for the Fisherman
Trailhead Tales by Jim Broshears
10/14/14 -- For those of us who prefer to fish the rugged and remote streams and rivers for the elusive wild trout, rock climbing is a skill that is required to reach the special places where catching the big one is a “sure thing.” The skills...Full Story
German brown trout afternoon in Modoc
german brown trout in Modoc creek. MyOutdoorBuddy.com
By Lea Huetteman
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Throw the kitchen sink at them
Indian Paintbrush is a favorite wildflower that carpets wilderness landscapes. Phil Flip Akers, myoutdoorbuddy.com
Article and photos by Phil Akers
08/20/14 -- Our wilderness areas are special, where Mother Nature is landlord and natural forces operate freely. Within the wilderness you will find no roads, shelters, picnic tables, toilets, or other conveniences. You enter at...Full Story
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Woodley Island Marina, Humboldt Bay, Eureka, California
03/06/04 -- Humboldt Bay, a busy commercial harbor and home port to many charter and private offshore fishing boats, is also popular with shore-based anglers and small boaters seeking bottomfish, sharks, crabs and clams...Full Story
Pulled into the pipes: Green Sturgeon
green sturgeon
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
03/04/14 -- [Posted with permission of FISHBIO] Living in the Sacramento River can be a risky business for juvenile green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris). The young fish must swim through a gauntlet of water... Full Story
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California Golden Trout, California Heritage Trout Challenge, Not Just Any Fish, Phil
By Phil "Flip" Akers
02/14/13 -- Trout have inhabited California waters from the Sierra Nevada and Warner Mountains to the Pacific Ocean since prehistoric times. However, most of the trout caught by anglers are either hatchery raised fish...Full Story
Fishing with Phideaux
By Phil “Flip” Akers
01/26/14 -- Meet Phideaux, a 110-pound neurotic chocolate Lab. His name is pronounced “Fido” but it is spelled “Phideaux” because he is a Cajun dog. Anyway, last summer Phideaux took his human (that’s me) on a trout hunt up into...Full Story

 

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