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Updated 4:21pm - Jul 26, 2016

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Smith River supplies; trout multiply

Michael Lemons, Tony Hobbs and Val Riddick hold lingcod and rockfish caught March 30 out of Brookings with Wild Rivers Fishing.
Michael Lemons, Tony Hobbs and Val Riddick hold lingcod and rockfish caught March 30 out of Brookings with Wild Rivers Fishing. Courtesy of Andy Martin / Wild Rivers Fishing
Although many North Coast waterways closed for steelhead fishing at the end of March, the Smith River is open from the Hiouchi Forks to the mouth through April, and with the amount of fresh steelhead still being landed, never say die seems to describe the state’s largest undammed stream best.

Smith River

Even this late in the year, when it would be common to catch more downruning steelhead, guides are finding at least half of their catches to be fresh steelhead.

“I think there will be some good fishing to go on the rest of the month,” said fishing guide Mick Thomas.

Thomas has been side drifting roe and pulling No. 30 Hotshots with silver-black bills or silver prism bills. On Tuesday, Thomas’ boat landed four steelhead and five on Monday with about half being fresh steelhead.

Spring run steelhead, also known as bluebacks, have also started to show up, Thomas said.

On Tuesday, after not getting any bites running plugs and side drifting roe, yarn and a puff ball, fishing guide Jim Mitchell started dipping his homemade “yarnies” made with yarn and a puffball into a scented mixture.  He hooked four native, fresh fish with the combination, although he only landed one as the others spit the hooks next to the boat, he said.

Mitchell shows you how to make your own at gotchahookedfishtrips.com under the “techniques” section.

Cutthroat trout

Spring is one of the best times to fish for coastal cutthroat trout in Lake Earl, according to fishing guide Mick Thomas, as the lake becomes murkier as summer progresses.

Two cutthroat trout, at least 10 inches long, hatchery or wild, may be kept per day.

Brookings fishing

Lingcod are still spawning near Brookings, but many of the legal-sized fish have been caught as it’s hard to catch keepers, according to guide Andy Martin, but there are now more black rock fish. 

Fishing guide contacts: Mick Thomas of Lunker Fish Trips at 707-458-4704; Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing at 541-813-1082.; Gotcha Hooked Fish Trips at 707-464-8482.

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


Del Norte Triplicate:

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P.O. Box 277
Crescent City, CA 95531

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