Adam Spencer, The Triplicate

The weekly totals of chinook salmon caught in the lower Klamath River has continued to drop, but much farther upriver, a several-mile-long stretch of the Klamath below Iron Gate Dam is reportedly loaded with salmon.

Closer fishing action can be found in the estuaries of the Smith and Chetco Rivers, as well as bottom fishing in the ocean before the North Coast's season closes Oct. 31.

Lower Klamath R.

A decline in salmon catches in the lower Klamath should be expected this time of year, but considering the mammoth forecast of salmon projected by the Department of Fish and Game, it seems early for the slow-down.

Just 172 adult chinook were harvested below the Highway 96 bridge in Weitchpec from Oct. 1 to 7, compared to the season's early-September peak of 1,468 in one week, according to the DFG's Klamath River Project.

Tony Sepulveda, a guide with Green Water Fishing emailed this report:

"While the Klamath run hasn't lived up to the lofty DFG forecast, we're still enjoying really solid fishing. The salmon have been running 10 to 20 pounds with a few monsters mixed in like the 37-pound fish we landed last week. I've been spending most of my time back-bouncing eggs in the deeper holes and running a few plugs here and there.

"While not as numerous as the salmon, adult steelhead have been sprinkled into the counts and most days involve at least one encounter. Side drifting roe and a fish pill in the riffles has been the ticket for metalheads running 5 to 10 pounds."

Pacific Ocean

Although the lingcod bite has been "spotty," the rockfish bite is staying steady and ripe as it's been all season, according to Captain Craig Strickhouser of Tally Ho Sportfishing.

With ocean conditions settling down, Strickhouser said, "I'm looking forward to a good week."

Chetco River

Despite the lack of rain, fish are pushing into the Chetco River, and being caught in the estuary, especially near the mouth of the river, according to a report in the Redding Record-Searchlight.

The Chetco is currently open from river mile 2.2 down to the mouth.

Smith River

It's still very early for the Smith, but a few anglers have been having luck in the estuary with kastmasters and cleos below the mouth of Rowdy Creek (the only stretch of the river open during the low-flow closure), according to a report in the Record-Searchlight.

Fishing guide contacts: Tony Sepulveda of Green Water Fishing Adventures at 707-845-9588; Tally Ho Sportfishing at 707-464-1236.

Reach Adam Spencer at