There's nothing like the "steelhead green" color that pours out of the Siskiyou Mountains in coastal rivers like the Smith and Chetco when conditions are just right, as seen this past week.
Despite being fairly late in the steelhead season, anglers are still pulling in plenty of feisty fish - mostly down-runners with a few fresh steelhead in the mix.
Anglers are still picking up some fresh steelhead from the Smith River, and the downers are plentiful and often just as fun to catch.
During a trip last Friday from Hiouchi Forks to Ruby Van Deventer Park, anglers fishing with guide Jim Mitchell of Gotcha Hooked Fish Trips had a good day side-drifting bait, landing a couple hard fought down-runners.
"The water color was really pretty - it was a good day," Mitchell said.
Steelhead fishing on the Smith slowed down this week, according to guide Mick Thomas, of Lunker Fish Trips, but they were still pulling in down-running steelhead and even a few fresh fish earlier this week. Pressure was light with the heavy wind conditions.
With more rain in the forecast next week, Thomas said, "I know that we have some more fish coming."
The wind made fishing pressure real light on the Chetco River on Wednesday as well, according to guide Andy Martin of Wild Riers Fishing, but there are still a lot of steelhead in the river.
Wednesday's catch was mostly downers, with a couple hatchery steelhead and several wild fish, Martin said.
"The river still has a really good color," Martin said.
With rain in the forecast, Martin predicted the Chetco would keep fishing until it closed for steelhead on March 31.
Lingcod are spawning off the coast of Port of Brookings-Harbor right now, providing fantastic bottom fishing, according to Martin, who took a break from river fishing last weekend to get clients limits of lings.
Ocean salmon forecast
Ocean salmon sport seasons on the North Coast appear to be in good shape for this summer with all of the options released by fishery managers last week providing fishing opportunities from May through Labor Day.
All three alternatives released by the Pacific Fishery Management Council provide seven days of fishing per week, with two chinook salmon allowed per day for the areas including the ports in Crescent City and Brookings.
The council predicts there will be nearly 300,000 Klamath River fall chinook in the ocean this season.
Fishing guide contacts:
Jim Mitchell of Gotcha Hooked Fish Trips at (707) 464-8482 and www.gotchahookedfishtrip.com; Mick Thomas of Lunker Fish Trips at 707-458-4704 and Lunkerfishtrips.com; Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing at 541-813-1082 and Wildriversfishing.com.
Reach Adam Spencer at firstname.lastname@example.org.