Adam Spencer, The Triplicate

There are boat loads of great steelhead to be caught in the Smith and Chetco rivers, but no boats on the drift.

The rivers have continued to stay at a level that's too high for drift boats or most side drifting, but anglers have been having some luck plunking for steelhead from the banks.

Smith River

The Smith is predicted to be on a steady drop through the weekend, providing great opportunities to side drift and plunk for steelhead.

The river should probably drop to a drift-boatable level starting today.

"The Smith will be the place to be for the next couple days," said Andy Martin, of Wild Rivers Fishing.

At least some plunkers caught some impressive steelhead earlier this week.

"It was a plunker's paradise," said guide Mick Thomas.

But today will be the day that Thomas and others will find out what exactly the rivers have in store after all of the recent rain.

Chetco River

Conditions have been similar on the Chetco, with a high river great for not much more than plunking for steelhead.

The Chetco takes a little longer to drop in flows than the Smith and it was not predicted to be ready for side drifting until Saturday, maybe Friday at the earliest, according to Martin.

Martin predicted the Chetco will provide good fishing well into next week.


There were many anglers catching surfperch off the beach near Port of Brookings-Harbor before the ocean became too rough for fishing, according to Martin.

Once the ocean calms down, surfperch fishing should be good again.

Rowdy Creek Derby

Rowdy Creek Fish Hatchery's32nd annual Steelhead Fishing Derby will take place from today through Saturday on the Smith and Chetco rivers.

The derby promotes catch and release and the winner is determined by whoever catches the most accumulated inches of fish, not the single biggest fish or most caught.

"Our goal, as always, will be to continue to provide you with an atmosphere of camaraderie, amazing rivers, lots of fish and tall tales from the time you arrive on Thursday afternoon until you depart on Sunday," said Rowdy Creek's website.

For more information or to check for availability for the derby, contact derby coordinator Billie Kaye Gavin--‐Tygart at (707) 954--2260.

Fishing contacts: Mick Thomas of Lunker Fish Trips at 707-458-4704 and; Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing at 541-813-1082 and

Reach Adam Spencer at