Reel Deal: Steelhead can still be caught on the Smith, at least until the next rains

Written by Adam Spencer, The Triplicate March 10, 2014 03:28 pm

John Coots from Yuba City with a hatchery steelhead caught in the Smith River.
John Coots from Yuba City with a hatchery steelhead caught in the Smith River. Photo courtesy of Mick Thomas/ Lunker Fish Trips
The windows for steelhead fishing on coastal rivers were slammed closed with heavy rain earlier this week, but the fast-to-clear Smith River should drop enough for some action this weekend — until another predicted storm system spikes the river sometime Sunday.

Smith River

On Tuesday, several boats tried the Smith River for steelhead, with most people landing two to three fish per boat, although most were down-runners, according to guide Mick Thomas of Lunker Fish Trips. Several fresh-from-the-ocean steelhead were also caught before the Smith started dropping Tuesday as well. The mix of fresh steelhead and down-runners caught has been pretty close to equal.

Thursday’s rain pushed the Smith up to 14.5 feet on the Jed Smith gauge, making it a bit too high to fish Friday, but today and Sunday should provide great steelhead action — at least until the rains predicted for Sunday push the rivers back out of fishable levels.

“It just keeps going up and down like a roller-coaster,” Thomas said.

Brookings ocean

Tidewind Sportfishing based in Port of Brookings-Harbor went out for its first fishing trip last weekend, with happy customers pulling in limits of rockfish and also catching a few lingcod.

Rough ocean conditions have put trips on hold since then, but Tidewind hopes to get some trips going again next week when the seas calm down.

“We’re going crazy stuck on land!” said Rachel Flescher, of Tidewind.

Chetco River

The rains have mostly put the Chetco River out of play for steelhead anglers for the next few days, but anglers targeting the upper reaches today and Sunday before the next storm strikes might have some luck, according to staff at the Chetco Outdoor Store.

The Chetco should shape up for fishing next week during the dry weather.

Ocean salmon outlook

The Pacific Fishery Management Council will hold its annual meeting today to determine the allocations for commercial and recreational ocean salmon seasons with alternatives for public review to be released Thursday.

Klamath River spit rules

The California Fish and Game Commission is currently taking 
public comment on alternative regulations for sport fishing at the  spit of the Klamath River:

Same 2013 regulations: Spit area would close after 15 percent of the total Klamath River Basin quota is met, but only if the department predicts that total basin quota would be met.

Option 1: Spit area would close after 15 percent of the total Klamath River Basin Quota is taken downstream of the Highway 101 Bridge.

Option 2: Spit area would close after 15 percent of the Lower Klamath River subquota is taken downstream of the Highway 101 Bridge.

Option 3: Spit area would remain closed to all fishing all year.

To provide comment, email:   This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ; fax (916) 653-5040; mail Fish and Game Commission, 1416 Ninth St. Room 1320, Sacramento, CA 95814 or speak in person at the next Fish and Game Commission meeting.

Fishing contacts: Tidewind Sportfishing at 541-469-0337 and tidewindsportfishing.com; Mick Thomas of Lunker Fish Trips at 707-458-4704 and Lunkerfishtrips.com; Chetco Outdoor Store at 541-469-9151.

Reach Adam Spencer at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it