SMITH RIVER






March 26, 2017    Headlines
Steelies Season Winding Down

North Coast Steelie Season Winding Down
Most rivers continue to remain high and muddy as we wrapped down the 2017 season. The Smith blew out on Wednesday and is just coming back into shape here on Sunday 3-26. The river has seen three small rises in the past week each one putting the Smith just a tad too high to make it worth a drift. Early last week guides were seeing a mix of fresh fish and some down runners but so far there has been no big push of downers like we usually see. As the river drops back in over the coming week we should see more blue backs or younger two year olds in the mix plus down runners and a few fresh adults. With all the rain it has been a season of the Smith and Chetco and not much else. The Smith remains open through April. The majority of other rivers with the exception of the Klamath and Russian close on April 30th.
All rivers from the Mad to the Russian remain muddy and high.



The North coast saw light to moderate rainfall on Wednesday 3-15. Most rivers saw just a slight rise and a tint of color added to the flows.
Here on Thursday 3-16 the Smith rose a foot on Wednesday and has dropped back a foot to the 10.9 level on Thursday afternoon. Guides are still seeing some fresh fish mixed in with their post spawn ocean bound cousins. The peak of the season is in the rearview mirror but there is still enough fish to warrant a trip.
The Chetco is still giving up some chrome but mostly down bound fish with decent counts of over the past week. 
The South Fork Eel is literally flat lined at 9.4 feet at Miranda as of 6:PM Thursday 3-16. While this is still a tad high the South Fork should be showing some Saint Patty green and is worth a look. The Eel should be a great bet this weekend as flows slowly drop. The entire south fork could be in by Saturday making this a top bet.
The action on the Mad has been slow by most reports. We saw a good push of hatchery fish in early January to mid February but the bite (at least from the reports I am getting) are of mostly slower action of down run fish being taken by liners below the hatchery


Alaska Vacation
For readers looking for an Alaska adventure we still have ONE WEEK available at our Kenai peninsula vacation cabin in 2017
Due to a late cancelation the "prime time" week of June 11th -18th just opened up. This is the peak of the Russian river early season sockeye run and the peak of king run on the Kasilof river. The local Cook Inlet action is also hot at this time with easy limits of  pacific halibut and solid king action in the salt.
Our fully equipped, coastal home sits on three wilderness acres on the "middle Kenai peninsula".  Being centrally located we are within 30 minutes of five rivers including the Kenai, Kasilof and Anchor and just 20 minutes north of the saltwater tractor launches in Ninilchik and Deep Creek.
Most of our guests do a combination of fishing on their own and a day or three of guided river, fly-out or saltwater trips between trips. With our centrally base location your options are unlimited.
For all our guest's we include a three hour tutorial (at our Sebastopol home) covering tackle, tactics, best locations. We can also hook you up with some of the best guide, charter and fly-out contacts in the area.

The three bedroom/ 2 bath cabin comfortably sleeps 6 and weekly rates are just $1500 per week (Sunday to Sunday). Additional info and pictures can be found
here.
If you have any questions please give us a call at 707 479-0992


The BnB Hiouchi Lodge
For readers looking for river front fishing access and lodging a reader turned us on to this little gem. The BNBHiouchi.com 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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