Russian River Fly Fishing Reports, Information and Guide Services.

California's North Coast still has some great steelhead fishing!: Joshua Schwartz with a prize!The Russian River on California's North Coast still has some great steelhead fishing! Joshua Schwartz with a prize!
Of all the rivers in California the Russian is one that is perhaps the most storied. Located 70 miles north of San Francisco it flows over 100 miles from its headwaters North of Healdsburg South East through Santa Rosa then turns its head West towards the mighty Pacific. The Russian River has a deep and colorful past with equally legendary runs of steelhead, salmon and anglers that chased them. It's world famous reputation was well deserved. Large runs of Salmon, Steelhead, Shad and Stripers brought anglers from all over the world to test their skills. Those years are long gone, however there are still fish to target and a following of dedicated anglers, guides, and activists that love this river and are working hard to restore its native runs.

The Russian River: Anglers in search of Sonoma chrome!The Russian River: Anglers in search of Sonoma chrome!

We focus primarily on targeting Steelhead and also on the great spring and summer smallmouth fishing that the Russian provides. Going after smallies is great for beginners and enjoyable for experienced anglers alike. There are both walk and wade as well as canoe and drift boat options available. One nice thing about fishing close to San Francisco and the Napa Valley is that anglers can make it back at a sensible time for a wine tasting before headed out to a nice diner.

Russian River smallmouth

If you will be in San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Sonoma or Healdsburg and would like to find out more about fly fishing on the Russian River please continue reading or call our office at (530)242-4122 or on the cell (707)287-2939. You may also contact us via email at for current fishing reports and river conditions or fill out our Online Trip Request Form to reserve your trip.

The fish

Steelhead fishing can be good especially in January and February as long as there is some rain. Steelhead begin to return to the river in November and peak in mid January through February.
The Shad run in May and June and there are some devoted anglers that target them.

Give us a call at (707)287-2939 to experience fly fishing the Russian River with Off the Hook. You will be glad you did!Give us a call at (707)287-2939 to experience fly fishing the Russian River with Off the Hook. You'll be glad you did!

Stripers are not found in fishable numbers anymore but are still caught on occasion.

Smallmouth bass are most active in the summer months and can be caught with regularity on the Russian. Within this watershed fish grow up to 4 and 5 lbs which is good size for this species. Smallies are very fun and rewarding to catch on a fly rod. They are a good fish to target if you are learning to fly fish or simply want to get out and hone your skills and have a fun day. They can be caught on nymphs, streamers and even on topwater poppers at certain times of the day during the summer.

Shad are found in the Russian from May to June depending on the year. They will readily take brightly colored shad flies fished on sink tip lines and love to jump when hooked and use their broad bodies in the current to make things interesting for anglers. Due to their jumping ability and their existence in several local fisheries across North America, they are sometimes referred to as "poor man's tarpon". They are a very fun game fish and should be on your radar if you live near the Russian or will be in the San Francisco Bay Area in early Summer and are looking to fish.

Salmon like steelhead runs of yesteryear suffered a set back with the construction of Coyote Dam in 1957 to create Lake Mendocino. Like many California rivers it was dammed and then de-watered for agricultural use. As a result many of the famous runs began to decline so Warm Springs Hatchery on Dry Creek was built to help rebuild the runs of salmon and steelhead. This has helped with runs of King Salmon in September and October however fishing is not allowed for them. There has also been a recent program to re-establish Silver Salmon in California rivers but they are off limits for now too. We are working closely with local conservation efforts to help restore this watershed.

If you are interested in getting involved please email us at

River Fly Fishing Guide Rates

Driftboat Trips - Consist of 8 hours of guided fishing and instruction with lunch and drinks provided - $550 (1 or 2 anglers)

Walk and wade trips - Walk and wade trips are available - $475

Half day walk and wade trips are also available upon request - $325

Guided fly fishing trips with Off the Hook endorsed guides include rods, reels, bottled water, terminal tackle and flies! In addition we offer a limited supply of boots and waders available at no additional cost! So call now to reserve your guide and gear! Call the Office (530)242-4122 or try us on the cell at (707)287-2939.

Note: California fishing license, Steelhead report card, transportation and Gratuity not included.

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Russian River Stream Flow Data (USGS) Guernville, CA: Click on the photo for current release data.Russian River Stream Flow Data near Santa Rosa (USGS) Guernville, CA: Click on the photo for current release data.

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11427 Angler Ave. Whitmore Ca California 96096 | 1.707.287.2939 - Cell 1.530.242.4122 - Office |