Early-migrating salmon in Smith River
The ocean has been a little rough lately for fishing, but the lingcod bite is ferocious when conditions are right.
Fishing guides from across the state who have descended on the Klamath River have made for a busy scene, and the fishing is starting to slow down. The Smith River is starting to see some salmon to share the load of fishing pressure.
Now that the additional release of water from the Lewiston Dam on the Trinity River is over, the lower Klamath River is a bit shallower, but the temperature is staying around 66 degrees, according to Sara Borok, environmental scientist with the Klamath River Project, in an email.
“Things are starting to calm down, but are in no way over yet on the lower Klamath river,” Borok said. “We have the best tides for fishing at night and anglers aren’t getting to fish those right now. There are still fresh fish moving into the river at this time.”
There have been 7,480 adult chinook harvested in the lower Klamath, with 2,709 estimated below the U.S. Highway 101 bridge, indicating that a closure of the spit is not imminent, Borok said.
Fishing guide Gary Whittaker has been fishing from the shores of the lower Klamath to avoid the traffic, finding the most luck with red and silver “Blue Fox” spinners.
Whittaker advised against boating in the dark morning hours when fog is common and visibility is low, creating dangerous conditions. He’s been going out in the early afternoon and fishing until dark.
“Every high tide seems to be producing fish for me,” he said.
Anglers at the mouth of the Smith River have been catching a few of the early-migrating salmon coming into the river.
Fishing guide Jerry Hogan said several people were posted just a couple hundred feet upriver from the ocean, using gold ¾-ounce kastmasters and cleos. Although anglers have seen many salmon swim into the system, they have been pretty hard to catch, Hogan said.
Although many fish have been spotted swimming up at Del Loma RV and Campground on the Trinity River, the catch has been slow, according to Ed Duggan.
“From Weitchpec on up, it’s kind of hit and miss,” he said.
Crescent City ocean fishing
Rough ocean conditions have kept many sea-faring anglers off the water the last few days, but a good weather window was in the forecast for today and Friday, providing opportunity to hook some hungry lingcod.
Captain Craig Strickhouser of Tally Ho Sportfishing said that since lingcod recently started breeding on the north reef, the bite has been on fire.
“The lingcod are going crazy,” Strickhouser said of lings averaging 15 to 20 pounds. “We’re limiting on lingcod pretty much every time we go out.”
Fishing guide contacts: Jerry Hogan of Smith River Guide Service at 707-464-6052; Tally Ho Sportfishing at 707-464-1236; Gary Whittaker of Wild River Fishing at 707-498-4491 and wildriverfishing.com; E.B. Duggan “D” Fishing Guide at 530-629-3554.