Conditions on the Chetco and Smith Rivers are in a holding pattern of sorts until it starts raining to draw in more fish.
The Klamath River near Klamath Glen is producing some nice steelhead trout, and some guides expect another push of salmon with the next big rain, but it’s getting fairly late in the Klamath salmon season.
Last week’s rains made for a leafy day last Thursday, but when the Smith River started to drop, fishing improved in a big way.
Friday kicked off a weekend of great fishing for drift boats with plenty of fresh kings caught and even a few steelhead trout in the mix.
On Friday, fishing guide Jim Mitchell hooked seven and landed three big chinooks: a 28-pounder and two 25-pounders.
Good fishing continued through the weekend with a much more varied catch Monday: two steelhead, three cutthroat trout, four jack salmon, and one adult salmon, Mitchell said.
Since then, the river has dropped below a drift boat level, and the forecast shows that it will stay low through the beginning of next week. Time to fish from shore.
Mitchell’s advice on shore fishing early in the morning: cast a glow-in-the-dark, green and white, 3/4 ounce Kastmaster or Cleo in a deep hole and salmon might hit it while it sinks to the bottom. If nothing bites on the way down, slowly retrieve the lure once it hits the bottom. Use a camera flash to charge the glow-in-the-dark lure, re-flashing it every fourth cast.
An hour before sunrise or after sunset, use a gold 3/4 Kastmaster with the same technique.
The Chetco fished fantastic from its Halloween opener through the weekend, but it is currently plagued by the same low water conditions.
Fishing guide Andy Martin caught fish every day from Halloween through Wednesday, but he said that “fishing had slowed down quite a bit” since then.
Martin was switching from running plugs to back-bouncing roe depending on conditions.
Some monster Chetco salmon were caught over the weekend, including a 61-pounder and two 50-pounders, Martin said.
The Chetco will be hot again, once rains suck in more fish.
Sport crabbing trips
Tally Ho Sportfishing is offering recreational crabbing trips from a charter boat this year.
Captain Craig Strickhouser will set commercial-sized crab traps a day or two before the trip, and clients will go out on the boat to help pull pots and take home their limit of 10 Dungeness crabs.
His first trip will be Saturday, and there are still five openings. The cost is $70, with an almost guaranteed take-home of 10 Dungeness crabs.
All clients need is a sport fishing license, an ice chest or bucket for carrying crab, and clothes appropriate for the elements.
Call Tally Ho at 707-464-1236.
Tyler Bower of Crescent City won the contest for the largest groundfish at Englund Marine with his 41-pound lingcod caught from Tally Ho II in September. The award was announced Thursday after the close of the sport groundfish season.
Fishing guide contacts: Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing at 541-813-1082; Jim Mitchell of Gotcha Hooked Fish Trips at 707-464-8482.