January 18, 2018    Headlines
Smith Salmon

The Smith has crested here on Friday 1-18 at 12 feet or about 10K CFS. The river looks to drop into the weekend and should be in perfect shape. Guide Dave Jacobs reports fair action with most boats scoring a fish to three the past few days. Dave says the top bet is the Chetco but it looks to blow out due to the recent fires and resulting debris and ash that tends to dirty things up a tad quicker. Dave will be off the water for a ew days as he works his booth at the Sacramento ISE show.

The Smith is dropping out here on Monday 1-15. The good news is that rain is starting to fall and the Smith will be coming into prime shape this week. Currently at 7:PM the river has dropped for three days to just 7.9 feet. The guidance plot calls for a small rise late Tuesday to 9 feet, The river will then drop to around 8 feet on Wednesday before another into Thursday to 12 feet and then dropping on Friday. These rises will allow fresh fish into the system and we should see good scores in the coming days.
Through the grapevine we are hearing of 1 to 2 fish type scores on the Smith and slightly better action of 2 to 4 fish per boat on the Chetco. Again these rains should turn things on or at least up.
Down south the Mad river steelie action is solid. Lots of anglers are taking two fish limits mostly flossing below the hatchery.

The bulk of Monday's 1-8 rainfall fell south of the Mendo / Humboldt county line. On the Smith river through 7:Am Tuesday 1-9 just .56" fell in Gasquet while totals to the South ran from 2" at Ft Seward on the Eel to nearly 6" at Venado on the Russian (west of Healdsburg).
The Smith has seen just a slow rise to a still low level of 7.6 feet here on Tuesday evening. The guidance plot calls for the river to rise through Wednesday to 9 feet, drop to 8 early Thursday before rising again late Thursday to 10.7 feet. The river will then come into play dropping through Friday and Saturday. Regular readers Bruce checked in to report a skunk off the bank today fishing the Smith but said one guide at the take out Mike Coopman had a single fish. The action will only improve as the river comes up in the days ahead.
The Chetco is giving up 1 to 3 fish scores for those drifting from Lobe to the SS hole. Here too it's a bit clear and low but recent and coming rains look to turn the bite on.

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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.

The North Coast river low flow closure hotline is 707-822-3164.

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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