GUIDE CORNER: GREG BONOVICH

This is the third submission introducing the experts who fish the inter-dam stretch of Putah Creek. These guides know the Putah like the back of their hands and their shared knowledge will be appreciated. Consider hiring a guide if you want to quickly get up to speed on tackling this challenging fishery!

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Greg Bonovich with a beauty

How long have you guided on Putah Creek?

I have been officially guiding the creek since 1990.

Why do you think that Putah Creek is a special fishery?

I feel Putah is a special place to fish mainly because we have had a ranch here for over 30 years  and as a young man I would spend just about every waking moment exploring the creek and its tributaries.

What are the challenges that you see to the health of the fishery?

I believe currently the main issue with the creek is the heavy siltation which hopefully may have subsided with the high flushing flows from the “glory hole”. Another issue is the continuance of fishing during the spawning season. I decided to quit fishing or guiding the creek years ago from Dec 1 till March 1. I strongly feel that hooking , harassing, and eventually releasing these spawners is causing a lot of harm to the ability to spawn and also the health of the fish. BTW it is almost impossible to avoid the supposed spawning sites as the fish spawn all over the creek not just 3 or 4 select areas as a lot of folks believe.

How can people best help the fishery stay healthy?

People should try to educate others about the issues Putah Creek is facing (stated above) also be involved in the clean ups spawning augmentation and many other programs that benefit the creek.

Describe your favorite day on Putah Creek

The day that I remember most on putah was back about 30 or so years ago in the late Fall at access # 5. I had a couple of hours to burn before I had to be at work so I walked down to the creek and caught my first fish over 25″.  I have caught bigger fish since that one ,but that particular big hook jawed male rainbow has been forever stuck in my memory. Another memory moment was when I had a client from New York who had never fished in her entire life and she hooked into a HUGE brown trout ( around 10 plus pounds). I noticed the fish sipping a trico spinner fall at the backside of access 5 in the morning. I tied on a pattern that matched the bugs and we literally crawled as close as we could without spooking the fish. The fish was rising about every 60 seconds like clockwork, so I had her time her cast accordingly and about the third or fourth cast the brute sipped that little size 18 spinner. I told her to set the hook, but the fish kinda did it for her. He stayed calm and didn’t really fight too hard for a minute or two. I just told her to keep her rod tip high and hang on for dear life! Then Mr Brown decided he had enough and took off downstream for Lake Solano and promptly took her fly with him. Back in those days we could catch some nice browns and my biggest was a 28″ male that I took on a black leach in lake solano, but this trico sipping monster was even bigger!

If you were to fish ONE fly on Putah Creek, what would it be?  Is there a difference selection according to season/ water flow?

I really don’t have a favorite fly and even if I did I wouldn’t tell you 🤗

Whats your favorite flow (CFS) to fish?

My favorite flows to fish the creek are 200 to 400 cfs.

What would you say your “specialty” is for fishing the PC (technique) – how may you be different than other guides?

My favorite technique to fish putah is nothing fancy, just indicator or high stick nymphing. I believe in the old saying “it’s the little things that count” like stealth/ squeaky clean drifts/ proper hook set/ ability to really read water/ simple efficient casts and maximum efficiency.

Contact information:

Greg Bonovich, 707-480-3809
GregBonovich@gmail.com
www.putahcreekflyfishing.com

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