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Fishing on the Russian River

Fishing on the Russian River

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The Russian River tells a rich story of Sonoma County, both historically and ecologically. For as long as can be remembered, there has been an intimate relationship between the people of the Russian River and the fish, specifically the salmon and the steelhead. This tale of fishing begins with the Pomo people’s communal fishing forays, winds through Russian exploration and early American settlement, and lands in the present time. For millennia, fishing has been a cultural cornerstone on the Russian River. Unfortunately, this once lively and productive salmonid fishery is dying. Overfishing, gravel mining, increased sedimentation from logging and agriculture, dams, and overdevelopment along the riverbanks and tributaries have all caused a decline in salmonid numbers. Thankfully, through collaborative efforts of local residents, nonprofit organizations, ranchers, farmers, and government agencies, fish populations are rebounding.