Fishing derby results
First place: Louie Damonte and Greg Gerhardt with guide Mark Wakeman in one boat and Pat Pilling and Steve Tout with guide Todd Puett in the other with 16 fish totaling 463 inches.
Steve Tout was also awarded the Top Rod with the most fish caught, eight.
Second place: Craig McRae and Jack Biondini with guide Mike Coopman in the first boat and Garry Penning and Wes White with guide Willie Plunkett in the second with 12 fish totaling 342 inches.
Third place: Marc Mondavi and Jeff Richardson with guide Val Early in one boat and Dennis Widner and Jim Davis with guide Sean Clemens in the second with 11 fish totaling 333 inches.
Biggest fish: Jim Davis caught the largest steelhead at 39.5 inches.
Steelhead fishing has tapered off slightly on the Smith and Chetco rivers, but the catching has remained consistent enough to keep the streams full of anglers.
A few spring salmon were caught on the Rogue River earlier this week, possibly indicating that there will be a very large run this year.
Fishery managers’ predictions for the amount of Klamath River fall chinook in the ocean this year were released this week and the 299,282 salmon are much lower than the last two record years.
The Chetco River will probably be the best bet for catching steelhead as the river was still producing lots of fresh fish as late as Thursday, according to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing.
“There are a lot of downers, but that has increased the action throughout the day,” Martin said.
The river should provide great steelhead fishing this weekend, but it is expected to blow out from rain early next week.
Steelhead fishing on the Smith River has been pretty hit and miss this past week, with guides getting skunked one day and then having phenomenal fishing the next.
“It has not been on fire but people are still getting fish,” said Jim Mitchell of Gotcha Hooked Guide Service. Mitchell said the steelhead were mostly holding in the fast water and most of the bites were real quick, making it all the more important to set the hook like you really mean it.
“I tell my clients to hold the rod tip at eye level and swing from there to behind their ear,” Mitchell said.
Mick Thomas of Lunker Fish Trips had a really slow day Tuesday, losing all three fish that were hooked. Then come Wednesday — “it’s like taking candy from a baby,” he said. His boat landed eight of the 10 steelhead hooked, having a “phenomenal day,” he said.
“There are still lots of fish in the system — there’s no doubt about that,” Thomas said.
About a half-dozen spring salmon have already been landed on the Rogue River, prompting some guides to say it will be a great season.
The 299,292 Klamath River fall chinook predicted to be in the ocean this year by fishery managers is less than half of the 727,700 predicted last year. In 2012, there were 1.6 million Klamath River Fall Chinook predicted to be in the ocean.
After accounting for the necessary escapement and tribal allocations, that leaves only about 18,000 adult salmon for the rest of the vast Klamath River watershed.
Sport fishing at the mouth or spit of the Klamath River may soon be much more restricted.
There will be a meeting on possible new regulations from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center, 921 Waterfront Drive, Eureka, Room 211-212.
Options being discussed are: Spit area will close after 15 percent of the total Klamath River Basin Quota is taken downstream of the Highway 101 Bridge; spit area will close after 15 percent of the Lower Klamath River subquota is taken downstream of the Highway 101 Bridge; or spit area will remain closed to all fishing all year, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Nearly 12,000 adult chinook were harvested by sport anglers below the Highway 101 bridge last summer, with a fishing frenzy present for weeks at the spit of the Klamath.
Fishing contacts: Jim Mitchell of Gotcha Hooked Fish Trips at (707) 464-8482 and www.gotchahookedfishtrip.com; Mick Thomas of Lunker Fish Trips at 707-458-4704 and Lunkerfishtrips.com; Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing at 541-813-1082 and Wildriversfishing.com.