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Home arrow Opinion arrow Reel Deal: Steelies still running in smith

Reel Deal: Steelies still running in smith

Although many guides have moved on to the next fishery, some guides are still pulling fresh steelhead from the Smith River.

A series of minus tides that will last today through Wednesday will provide opportunities for shellfish gathering and possibly suck some more spring salmon into the Rogue River.

Smith River steelhead

Many anglers have hung up their steelhead gear for the season, but some anglers like guide Mick Thomas of Lunker Fish Trips are still finding plenty of fresh fish.

“There’s still quite a few fresh fish in the system, and they seem to keep coming,” said Thomas, whose drift boat landed five steelhead Monday, including four fresh fish. “I’m surprised that the numbers are still this great.”

Although typically March fishing sees much more downrunners than fresh steelhead, Thomas said this year is different.

Thomas has been switching off between side drifting roe with fish pills and running No. 30 Hot Shots with silver and black bills.

From Dec. 15 to March 23, the  sonar fish counter at Fred Haight Boat Launch counted 8,774 fish this year, most of which are thought to have been steelhead.

Although there have been some days where there were more downstream fish than upstream fish, there are still more new fish than downrunners. From March 12 to 19, there were 124 upstream fish and 63 downstream.  

“The upstream movement has
really slowed down, but there is still a lot of fish in the system,” said Zack Larson, who manages the fish counting operation.

“I really believe that this will go through the end of April this year, and that’s the first time for a lot of us on the Smith River,” Thomas said.

Shellfish and low tides

A -0.26-foot low tide at 7:04 a.m. today kicks off a series of minus tides that should make for a great opportunity to gather shellfish through Wednesday.

Since the California Department of Public Health finally lifted a quarantine on shellfish gathering (due to concerns of Paralytic Shellfish Poising toxins) on March 15, now there is a short window to gather tasty shellfish. The coming low tides include:

• Thursday 7:04 a.m.: -0.26 ft

• Friday 7:49 a.m.: -0.56 ft

• Saturday 8:37 a.m.: -0.68 ft

• Sunday 9:30 a.m.: -0.62 ft

• Monday 10:29 a.m.: -0.43 ft

• Tuesday 11:34 a.m.: -0.21 ft

• Wednesday 12:43 p.m.: -0.02 ft

This year razor clams gathered in Del Norte County may only be dug north of Battery Point.

Brookings ocean fishing

Lingcod fishing continues to be good out of Brookings, although dealing with the wind is sometimes a challenge, according to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing.

“The herring, sardines and bait fish seem to be out-fishing everything,” Martin said.

Many anglers are having the best luck dragging herring close to the bottom with a banana weight above a leader, similar to a salmon mooching rig, Martin said.

Rogue River spring salmon potential

After a few inches of rain last week, Martin  found some luck fishing for spring salmon on the Rogue River, but with low-water conditions, the bite did not stay strong for long.

Water temperature on the Rogue  is above 50 degrees, which is when Martin said that salmon bite more frequently, but the river is just too low to draw in many salmon.

Still, significant tidal swings that will accompany minus tides today through Wednesday could potentially bring in more salmon.

The best fishing on the lower Rogue will be from two hours before low tide to two hours before high tide, Martin said.

Fishing guide contacts: Fishing guide contacts: Mick Thomas at Lunker Fish Trips at 707-458-4704; Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing at 541-813-1082.

Reach Adam Spencer at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

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