Coastal rivers are looking fantastic - if you're into whitewater boating. But most rivers have been too high to get out on a drift boat, making plunking the main fishing game in town.
Local anglers have seized upon the steelhead season, catching a decent amount when conditions allow.
While the commercial guys wait for the season to open, recreational crabbing has been quick and easy, pulling up meaty crabs when the ocean is inviting. Crabbing from the piers is possible even during storms.
Catch 10 crabs in less than one to two hours with Tally Ho Sportfishing, which is taking folks on sport crabbing trips when conditions permit.
Fishing guides will have more time for finishing touches on Christmas decorations as high flows helped cancel many fishing trips this week.
Plunking is the name of the game during high flows. Although the Smith dropped down to 10.7 feet on the Jed Smith gauge at 3 p.m. Wednesday, the river was predicted to continually climb for a few days, peaking at 19 feet Sunday morning.
When it comes to plunking, fishing guide Don Vecchetti said, "If you want a good spot you gotta get up there an hour before dark."
Vecchetti wasn't about to give up his plunking spots, but he said the most productive spots are downstream of the Hiouchi Bridge.
He recommended Spin-n-Glos in orange scale or half chartreuse/half red with white wings.
"You don't necessarily need bait;sometimes just a rig without bait or with just a shot of steelhead eggs," he said. "But scent is important. Shrimp scent is always a good bet plunking or side drifting."
Guides hoped to have drift boats back on the Smith by Sunday or Monday.
Most of the Trinity has been too high and dirty for fishing, but from Junction City to Lewiston, fishing guide Ed Duggan predicted that steelhead fishing would be fair to good.
There has not been a big wave of steelhead yet, unless they snuck into the systems during high flows. Duggan predicted a big wave of steelhead soon.
Fishing guide contacts: E.B. Duggan "D" Fishing Guide at 530-629-3554; Don's Reel Time Guide Service at 707-487-2309; Jim Mitchell of Gotcha Hooked Fish Trips at 707-464-8482; Tally Ho Sportfishing at 707-464-1236.
Reach Adam Spencer at firstname.lastname@example.org .