Ahh, the Smith. While many coastal rivers will close to steelhead fishing at the end of March, the Smith River is open through the end of April, and even late in the season steelhead anglers are catching plenty of fish.
Dave Lee, of Chico, holds one of several steelhead he landed Mar. 19 while fishing the Chetco River with guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. Photo courtesy of Andy Martin / Wild Rivers Fishing
Before this week’s rain came in, the steelhead bite had reportedly slowed down a bit in the lower river, but anglers fishing from the banks of the upper reaches of the Smith were continuing to catch fresh-from-the-ocean chrome, adult fish.
The Smith was climbing fast as of press time Friday night, and it was expected to peak around 14.5 feet on the Jed Smith river gauge around 5 a.m. on Saturday.
It’s anyone’s guess where the steelhead will be and if there will be new fish after this latest storm, but most anglers predict the Smith’s steelhead season will provide good fishing through April.
The week’s heavy rain put the Chetco out of play for the last few days of the season in March.
Klamath rules meeting
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife will be holding an informational meeting on the options for Klamath River fall Chinook sport fishing regulations from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors chambers.
The 2014 lower Klamath regulation options range from status quo to complete closure of the Klamath spit.
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.
The public is encouraged to provide input on potential fishing season options to the California Fish and Game Commission, which is scheduled to decide on the options during its April 16 meeting.
The season for abalone anywhere in California north of San Francisco Bay opens Tuesday.
New regulations for 2014 include: no abalone diving before 8 a.m. and an annual limit of 18 abalone with only 9 taken south of Mendocino County.
The season runs from April through November, except for July, when abalone take is prohibited. No more than three abalone may be possessed at any time, and only red abalone can be taken.
Fishing contacts: Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing at 541-813-1082 and Wildriversfishing.com.