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Meandering Angler: 12 pounds of buck Coho salmon

My brother, Jim Lynch, and his son, Chris, spent two fantastic days last weekend fishing with Jim Andras on the Rogue River in Southern Oregon. They caught and released 18 steelhead. Chris also landed and released a very large buck Coho salmon that Jim Andras estimated at close to 12 pounds.

My brother, Jim, also landed a husky male steelhead that measured 29-inches in length and weighed close to 9 pounds. He said all of the fish they caught were big and healthy, providing a great test for his right shoulder, for which he had replacement surgery last February.

The experience Jim and Chris had last weekend reaffirms what I’ve said many times: “Jim Andras is the world’s greatest fishing guide.” If you want a great fly-fishing experience, book a trip with Jim on the Rogue River. You can stay in Ashland, enjoy some great restaurants, and maybe even a play (depending on the time of year). But book way ahead, because Jim’s calendar gets filled months in advance.

For more information, go to Andrasoutfitters.com, or call 800-488-5794.

If the kids and grandkids need some post-Thanksgiving-day activity, this weekend would be a good time to take them fishing. There are a lot of striped bass being caught along the Marin Shoreline near China Camp and from the piers at McNear Park and Paradise Park. Your best source of bait and suggestions of where to fish is Keith Fraser at Loch Lomond Bait Shop in San Rafael at 415-456-0321. Kids under 16 do not need a fishing license.

Locally-based commercial crab fishermen got the bad news this week that their season has been postponed once again due to late migration of whales. The only way to get fresh crab in waters off the Sonoma Coast is to catch them yourself. The easiest way to do that is to call Capt. Rick Powers 707-975-3344, at Bodega Bay Sportsfishing, and book a space on his party boat. Rick has been taking recreational anglers out almost daily for combo trips that include Dungeness crab and rock fish. He’s been getting full limits of crab and rock fish for his clients on virtually every trip.

The San Francisco based nonprofit, California Trout, issued a news released this week about its continuing efforts to restore the once prolific run of native salmon and steelhead on the Eel and Russian Rivers. In that discussion is the possible removal of the Scott Dam, which is part of the diversion that moves water from the Eel River to Lake Mendocino and eventually into the Russian River. The Scott Dam was once a power generator for PG&E, but is no longer used for that.

The diversion is considered part of the reason the Eel’s salmon and steelhead runs have been so badly diminished.

There are people, including Cal Trout, working on a solution that includes removing that dam, but also finding ways to ensure the water flows of both the Eel and the Russian are improved.

You can find more information about this on the Cal Trout website, caltrout.org.

I still have vivid memories of dozens of fly-fishers lined up elbow-to-elbow at Browns Pool on the Russian River and then watching one after another hook a big steelhead. Some time in the 1970s, those big runs started shrinking, and now they’re barely sustainable, even with the help of the fish hatchery at Lake Sonoma.

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