THE RUSSIAN RIVER
The Russian River is clean and safe for swimming. The water is tested frequently to ensure its integrity. Beaches tend to be gravel, with some sandy areas. We recommend that you wear water shoes, which can be purchased inexpensively at several stores on Main Street in Guerneville.
River in Summer/Dry Season: Duncans Mills is just three miles from the ocean. Here the river is wide, there is an afternoon breeze that blows in from the ocean making it difficult, sometimes, to ascertain which way the water is flowing. There is much wildlife in this section of the river: otters, harbor seals, herons, osprey, sea birds, and deer will all make a frequent appearance. The homes in this area have beach access, and the river, with its strong tides, will remain deep even when the upper river areas have shallows in the fall before the rain. When boating to the mouth of the river, take great care to stay well above the mouth of the river; strong currents can take a kayak out to sea unless you are an experienced sea kayaker. Russian River Outfitters in Duncans Mills rents kayaks and they have a shuttle service as well.
Fishing is another important river activity. Spring brings the shad and catfish. During the summer months, large mouth, small mouth, and striped bass, along with blue gills, are caught here. For info about guided fishing trips and equipment rental, visit King's Sport & Tackle in Guerneville.
River in Winter/Rainy Season: During the winter rainy season, which generally extends from the middle of December through March, the River is very swift, cold, deep, muddy, and unsafe for swimming and boating. The Chinook head up river in the fall, followed by the Steelhead Trout. While Chinook must be released immediately if caught accidentally, Steelhead fishing is an exciting winter sport here. As long as the river is low enough for standing in waders, the river will be dotted with the hopeful. Pick up a free fishing map at King's Sport & Tackle in downtown Guerneville.