Reel Deal: Salmon on Smith

Written by Adam Spencer, The Triplicate November 22, 2013 04:31 pm

James Ruddell of Grants Pass holds a 30-pound king salmon caught in the Smith River on Wednesday while fishing with guide Andy Martin.
James Ruddell of Grants Pass holds a 30-pound king salmon caught in the Smith River on Wednesday while fishing with guide Andy Martin. Photo courtesy of Wild River Fishing
When Mother Nature graced Del Norte County with 1–3 inches of rainfall earlier this week, coastal river anglers collectively thanked the skies for the long-awaited opportunity to target Smith River salmon.

Several salmon hooked in the Smith were landed Tuesday and Wednesday, although some anglers reported that leaves and moss made fishing difficult at first. The Smith should be open for drift boats through the weekend.

Smith River

At least 1.5 inches of rain fell throughout Del Norte County on Monday and Tuesday, with 2.5 inches recorded at some places in Big Flat. The Smith peaked at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday at a height of 11.2 feet and a flow of 8,300 cubic feet per second on the Jed Smith river gauge.

Before the river peaked Wednesday morning, fishing was tough Tuesday due to high concentrations of moss floating in the river, according to guide Phil Desautels of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service.

“You couldn’t run a plug for more than five minutes, it was so thick,” Desautels said.

The moss didn’t affect everyone, however, as one guide reported 16 fish caught Tuesday, according to Scott Stewart of the Chetco Outdoor Store.

Once debris cleared out late Wednesday morning, however, salmon fishing picked up for other anglers as well.

“The moment the leaves were gone, the bite really turned on for a while,” said guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. whose client hooked five salmon and landed four from the Hiouchi Bridge to Ruby Van Deventer park fishing with plugs Wednesday.

At the Rowdy Creek Fish Hatchery, 90 fish were counted following the rainstorms.

Don Mcleod, of Arcata, holds a chrome-bright Chetco River chinook salmon caught last week fishing with Cast Guide Service.
Don Mcleod, of Arcata, holds a chrome-bright Chetco River chinook salmon caught last week fishing with Cast Guide Service. Photo courtesy of Cast Guide Service
Chetco River 

Rains pushed the Chetco River up out of drift boat levels this week, but the river is expected to drop back into shape today and should fish great through the weekend, according to Stewart.

There have already been several steelhead seen in the Chetco this week, Stewart said.

Fishing guide contacts: Chetco Outdoor Store at 541- 469-9151; David Castellanos of Cast Guide Service at 541-698-7029 and castguideservice.com; Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing at 541-813-1082.

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