Local anglers took advantage of the rain and fished the main stem of the Smith River while it was high enough to bust the low-flow closure. But the flashy Smith drops quickly, forcing anglers to fish below the mouth of Rowdy Creek until the next showers.
Klamath salmon can still be found in great numbers far upriver with a lengthy drive, but salmon in the lower Klamath River has slowed down greatly. Steelhead, however, are just getting started.
Hordes of salmon are waiting for the right time to migrate up the Smith River and spawn. And while they wait dozens of anglers from boat and bank have been fishing the area below the mouth of Rowdy Creek, which remains open during low flow closure.
Everything above Rowdy Creek is closed when the flow at the Jed Smith river gauge is below 400 cubic feet per second.
Recent rains pushed the flow up high enough on Tuesday and Wednesday (peaking around 2,500 cfs Tuesday morning), giving several anglers a chance to see lots of salmon roll and even land a few, said fishing guide Andy Martin.
Call the Department of Fish and Game's low-flow closure hotline at 707-822-3164.
Steelhead fishing has started to pick up from Blue Creek to Johnson's Riffle, but salmon fishing in the lower Klamath has dropped significantly.
Only 58 adult chinook were caught in the Klamath below the falls at Highway 96 bridge in the week ending Sunday. That brings the season total up to 7,990 adult chinook, according to preliminary data from the DFG's Klamath River Project.
In the Weitchpec and Orleans stretches of the Klamath River, the salmon are seen, but hard to catch.
"There are lots of fish there, but it's harder to fish because they don't seem to be taking much," said Ed Duggan, "D" Fishing guide, adding that some salmon are hitting on spinners.
"While this year hasn't turned into the miracle season biologists were predicting for the Klamath Basin, fishing remains solid. I've put the jet boat away and have been drifting the Klamath and Trinity for good numbers of salmon with a few adult steelhead mixed in. Most days we're landing between five and 10 salmon for my two or three guys with scores running much higher on a few floats when they really wanted to bite," said Tony Sepulveda of Green Water Fishing Adventures.
Salmon on the Trinity near Junction City are already spawning and fairly beat up, Duggan said, but a few fresh fish for eating can be found in the mix.
Lately Duggan's been fishing from Salyer to Willow Creek,catching one to four steelhead per trip. The steelheads' origin has a roughly 60-40 ratio of native to hatchery fish.
Fishing guide contacts: Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing at 541-813-1082; Tony Sepulveda of Green Water Fishing Adventures at 707-845-9588 or www.greenwaterguides.com; E.B. Duggan "D" Fishing Guide at 530-629-3554.
Reach Adam Spencer at email@example.com.