"God only knows how many are already stacked in the sanctuary."
The Kondike Kid reports 3000 between the falls and the ferry cable, he has a pretty good write up over there.
ADFG biologists have performed two "walk throughs" this week to survey the entire Russian River and the Confluence to the Ferry Crossing to gauge how many fish are already present in the system at this time. Both surveys matched with similar numbers. There are about 500 reds stacked up at Falls in the No Fishing Zone upstream of the ADFG Marker. From the ADFG Marker downstream to the Ferry cable there are approximately 3000 reds holding. Some holes have as many as 200+ sockeye resting up before heading further upstream.
Sounds like the makings for a great opener. I'm flying out on business tomorrow morning and won't be back until Friday. First time in at least ten years that I'll miss the midnight opener. Best wishes to all who make it. Looks like you'll have a great time.
So what's the normal process for fishing the Russian above the sanctuary? A Russian River fly with weights to allow a controlled drag on the bottom? Was thinking of trying the circle hook setup that Doc talks about. If you're willing to give pointers on good places to try for the opener, feel free to PM me. I'll be down there for the first time with my brother in-law. I'll have my Kuiu ball cap in Vias. If you see me, say hi! It should be fun.
Circle hook is legal as long as the gap is 3/8" or less. A 1/0 nautilus circle is 3/8" on the money. Rig up as doc suggests in those other posts and you'll love it. I switched over to this method two years ago and the results were amazing.
Walked the Russian the other day. Fish every where in all the holes and large groups in the flats. The falls was fully loaded. Floated the sanctuary down to Jim's. A solid line of fish from the mouth of the Russian to the ferry. The solid line continued down to the high bank with a few openings on the high bank. At the bottom of the high bank the line thickened to the eddy river left which was loaded. The line continued from their around the guard rail hole. The Power Line back channel was loaded from top to bottom. All the holes below that were stacked. Hit most of the back channels going down and they were all full as well. On the Lower limits in certain areas were common for the past 7 days and multiple hook ups. Folks fishing Centennial experienced good action. A few fishing Big Eddy were getting into fish as well as down by River Bend Lodge. Have not seen this much fish since 2006. Fish rolling all over the place on the lower sections. Promising!
Agonized over it for a few days, but we decided to skip what is likely to be the best opener in recent memory to take our kids to chase grayling instead. Our annual family grayling trip is important to us, and this might be our best chance to do it in an otherwise busy summer. I'll miss being there on what is usually a holiday for me, but I'll have my flyrod in hand chasing sockeyes and rainbows on Sunday through Tuesday instead. Such terrible choices that we Alaskans are forced to make.
To all those counting down the last 32 minutes, enjoy!!!