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Reel Deal: Heady times on the rivers

Noel Shumway of Larkspur landed this hatchery steelhead.
Noel Shumway of Larkspur landed this hatchery steelhead. Courtesy of Andy Martin / Wild Rivers Fishing
A blast of rain on Thursday brought more chrome steelhead into the Smith River and other North Coast rivers, which is predicted to keep steelhead fishing hot into next week.

The Smith and Chetco are the best local bets, both producing three to six numbers per day, with several 20-plus- pounders being pulled from the Smith.

Smith River

Last week, fishing guides were putting up good numbers with up to five or six per boat on the Smith River, including some large 20-plus-pound steelhead that the jade-colored river is known to produce.

Most guides are continuing to use roe, yarn and fish pills, but fishing guide Jim Mitchell also found plugs last week.

After peaking at nearly 9 feet on Thursday night, the Smith is expected to drop down to 8 feet Sunday night. 

Eel River

If you can make the trip for killer double-digit per boat steelhead fishing, head to the Eel River, which is having a fantastic year, according to Sepulveda.

“The Eel continues to be the big story with more huge scores,” Sepulveda wrote for Western Outdoor News. “The volume of fish pouring through the system this year is staggering and we can expect it to be a great bet all the way through March.”

Chetco River

The Chetco River has been packed with boats, but the guides that find the get-to patches of the river first are bound to get high numbers of steelhead, according to Sepulveda.

The river was on the rise Thursday, but it was expected to provide great steelhead fishing during a drop over the weekend.


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