February 21, 2017    Headlines
Steelies Push In!!!

The Smith river saw a hard rise on Monday and is starting to roll over here on Tuesday 2-21 afternoon. The Smith dropped to as low as 12 feet over the weekend and catches were good. Dave Jacobs checked in today to say the plunking has been great when the river is dropping with guides hooking 6 to 12 fish and landing half. The river crested at 19.4 feet earlier today but is quickly dropping back now.
With the river guidance plot calling for river to drop through Sunday Dave expects the fishing to only get better. The guidance plot calls for the river to drop to under 13 feet by Thursday and continue to drop to 10.5 feet by Sunday. With the slow drop, good color and lots of fish in the system this is an excellent time to get out while we are still in the peak of the season.
ALL rivers to the south are high and muddy and will remain so for a week or more.
On the Mad liners are picking up good numbers below the hatchery after a very slow start in January. The Mad is very high and needs ten plus days of dry weather before it will be fishable for those working roe or plugs.
The South Fork Eel has been high and muddy since the New Year.
The Russian is seeing a good return to the hatchery but here too anglers have been unable to fish due to the high and very dirty flows.
Our advise.... head north and fish the Smith and by the weekend the Chetco.

The Smith crested late Thursday 2-16 at 20 feet at the Jed Park gauge. Since then we have seen a steady drop to fishable levels on Sunday morning. Here on Sunday 2-19 evening the Smith dropped as low as 12 feet and is seeing a very small rise to 13'. The guidance plot calls to the Smith to rise to 15 feet late Tuesday 2-21 and then slowly drop back into shape by Wednesday or Thursday. We are still in "prime time" and while the fish counts are not huge at 2 to 4 fish per boat there have been lots of BIG fish in the mix.
A major storm looks to stay south of the far North Coast on Monday and Tuesday. While the Smith will drop we expect major rises on the Mad, Eel, Russian and all rivers / streams south of the Humboldt / Del Norte line. With all reservoirs full rivers like the Mad, Klamath and Russian will see above average releases off local lakes and dams and this will prolong the high and muddy flows.

After dropping back in shape on Wednesday 2-15 heavy rain overnight has put the Smith back on the rise. The Smith dropped to 10 feet on Wednesday and guides saw some great catches. Here on Thursday 2-16 we are seeing a hard rise with flows jumping to 20 feet.
 This season has been more about quality than quantity with lots of BIG fish and some true trophies in the mix. Mike Coopman had a FB post of a 20 plus pound native that was safely released on Wednesday. There have been at least two other fish in the 20 plus class on the Smith this season and the Chetco has seen lots of big fish as well. Despite the near record rainfall these catches are impressive considering the few days that the Smith and Chetco have been fishable. The guidance plot calls for the Smith to drop back to 12 feet late Saturday with another rise expected next Monday and Tuesday. Longer range forecasts calls for 5 to maybe a week of dry weather beginning the middle of next week.
With the wet forecast all other North Coast rivers are high and muddy and most need a week of dry weather before they will come in. The Smith, as always will be the first river back in. The Chetco will follow a day or two later.
Wally Johnson is booking steelie trips for the coming week and has room available for Smith river trips. 530 496-3291
Guide Dave Jacobs will also be offering trips on the Smith, Chetco and Trinity rivers. 530 646-9110

The BnB Hiouchi Lodge
For readers looking for river front fishing access and lodging a reader turned us on to this little gem. The is located right on one of the best holes of the main stem, just below the Forks flat and directly across from the "Covered Bridge". 
They have three rooms, a single and two doubles and very reasonable rates that include breakfast or lunch and just a nominal fee for dinner if you wish. You have full access to their private bank access, great meals and clean comfortable rooms. Rates are VERY reasonable and you will never stay in a hotel when fishing here again.  I'm making reservations for February and can't wait to go! 510 967-4615

Rules for the Smith River
 New rules have been adopted by the Cal F&G commission for the Smith River. Only barbless hooks will be allowed in all reaches of the Smith River. The  Klamath-Trinity Salmon Report Card has been renamed North Coast Salmon Report card and will now be required on the Smith River also. The annual bag limit for  wild trout or steelhead was reduced to zero and no more than five wild Chinook may be kept per year.

River Levels:



For river status (low flow closure) updates from Fish and Game please call +1.707.442.4502 for the North coast and +1.707.944.5533 for Central coast streams. Be sure to check out the California Fish and Game regulations before you go. Regulations vary on every river and you need to pay attention to bait and hook restrictions. Due to winter closures on HWYs 5, 101 & 299 we recommend you check Caltrans road conditions as well.
Prime steelhead flows on the Smith river are between 12 and 9 feet. Fish are caught in higher flows by those plucking and even in the low and clear waters below 8.5 feet but prime fishing is always found with a dropping river in the 9 to 12 foot range. No one can predict the best day or conditions but put in a few days in and you will be rewarded. All of our sponsors have room available for the prime January - mid March period. Please call the DFG flow information hotline at 707 822-3164 for additional information.

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