Lot’s of big steelhead fish coming up the Russian River Today

Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, Jenner, CA.

Enough work, let’s play.

I did enough work yesterday, so it was time to play today. I was off at ten thirty, headed for Jenner. It looked like it was going to be a real nice day from the weather report and from what it looked like while headed to Jenner.

Ray’s truck was in the parking lot when I got there, the sun was out and it was just a little breezy, but nice. I got my boat in the water and headed across the river to the island and headed up steam. Ray was there by the island waiting for me.

We headed up to the Willow Creek area today.

We decided this would be a good day to paddle up to Willow Creek, so we headed up the river, stopping along the way, just enjoying the day. There were quite a few seals in the water on the way fishing, but didn’t see any big fish taken. Also one or two sea lions were cruising around fishing along the shore lines.

Fish fins at twelve o’clock.

Just above the island, out in the middle of the river, we saw some fins. A go back steelhead was in the water,slowly headed for the ocean. They look like they are going to die and move fairly slow. Most  of their skin is gone. I hear if they make it to the ocean, their skin quickly grows back.

I’m still not sure why these fish are in such bad shape. I saw this happen about five years ago and haven’t seen it since. Quite a few of them this year, for sure.

Below, you can see the steelhead fish we saw headed back to the ocean, hopefully to recover. I touched my paddle to this fish and it vigorously took off. This one is a couple feet long.

steelhead

 

We continued up the river.

We continued our trip up the river. There were quite a few seals in the water hunting and also a couple sea lions hunting, mostly along the shore line. Big fish travel in the shallow water along the shore line a lot, likely to avoid the seals and sea lions as much as possible

Entering Willow Creek area.

We entered the Willow Creek, creek. The photo below is what it looked like, just after entering Willow Creek. Nice and calm in there today, very nice.

willowcreek

 

We spent a half hour or so in there taking it easy, then went back out to the river and headed back down toward Penny Island.

Was that otter’s over there?

Something moved along the shore line. Checking it out, it was some otters, three or four of them. They saw us and took evasive action, heading up into the bushes, until we moved on.

Below, is a picture of an otter, checking us out to see what was up.

otter

 

Continuing on down the river, not far from those otters, we ran into some more of them, also headed up the river, just like the other ones.

I was able to capture the picture below, before they dove and disappeared.

otter 1

 

Walked around the east end of Penny Island to stretch a bit.

We decided to stop on the east end of Penny Island to stretch our legs a bit. We put ashore, it was a bit muddy, but not too bad, although Ray complained a bit. :O) We walked around the island a bit by the old homestead, the brush is real thick around there, so we were limited were we could walk.

Below, you can see Ray pulling his boat out of the water and trying to stay out of the mud as much as possible.

island

 

We were able to get to the old house, or what is left of it. We were greeted by spring, or what I call the first signs of spring. Old homesteads that I’ve visited around here lots of times have daffodils still growing around them as it seems nothing will eat them. And, seeing them, means spring is springing.

Below, you can see the daffodils, just getting ready to flower for the year.

dafadils 1

 

We were on the island, maybe forty five minutes or so, then carefully put our boats back in the water,trying to stay clear of the mud and headed down toward the mouth of the Russian River.

The Russian River mouth was real nice today.

The wind was really down by this time and the water was almost flat and the ocean was fairly calm for a change, as it’s been real rough for the last week or so.

Below, you can see what the Russian River mouth looks like, as we look out toward the Pacific ocean.

rivermouth

 

Big fish and sea lions a hunting.

Ray and I were sitting in our yaks in some shallow water right near the mouth. There were seals all around us and an occasional sea lion hunting by us. We were seeing some big fish come into the shallows by us. One here, one there. All of a sudden a big healthy steelhead fish charges right toward my boat and there’s a big splash right near where Ray was sitting in his yak. A big sea lion just chased a big steelhead right into our area. The sea lion pulled up short, right in front of Ray, as he suddenly realized Ray was there in his yak. For a moment we were right in the middle of a sea lion hunt again, which is real exciting as you just don’t know where they will pop out of the water or what they will do for sure.

I missed all the pics of this action as it just happens so fast. But I did get a picture of one of the sea lions shortly after that.

Below, you can see a pic of one of the sea lions fishing.

sealion

 

Some harbor seals were taking it easy on the rock right by us, as you can see the the picture below.

seals

 

Ray said he was going in to go home, but I stayed about a half hour more before heading in the the Jenner visitor’s center launch area.

Great time at Jenner today.,

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