Massive rain storms starting on Sunday have sent steams all along the Wild Rivers Coast on the rivers coast, but there are still lots of steelhead in the rivers. Plunkers have been doing well targeting steelhead and although the flows have still been a little high, anglers were able to start drifting the Smith River, and the Upper Chetco River by the end of the week with promising conditions for over the weekend.
In other news, the Pacific Fisheries Management Council has released its preseason report, which forecasts ocean abundance of salmon throughout the West Coast. The PFMC will use these numbers when setting the ocean salmon season, and overall the report looks promising.
Heavy rain started to fall on Sunday and has continued throughout the early part of the week. The extra precipitation has blew out all the rivers in the area, but they have already started to round back into shape which should allow for productive steelhead fishing over the weekend.
While the rivers have been high, plunkers have been able to haul in steelhead heading upstream near the banks throughout the week, while drift boats started to get in on the action on Friday on the Smith River.
Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing said the Chetco River is a few days behind the Smith as far as rounding into shape, but he said the Upper Chetco River was driftable by Friday, and they were catching steelhead while seeing lots more.
The Rogue River was also fishing well prior to the rise in river level, but remains blown out as of Friday afternoon.
On the ocean
It has been a rough week for ocean anglers with stormy weather and big swells, but the forecast in Oregon, where bottomfishing is still open, looks promising for the upcoming week.
Martin said there is still a lot of fresh water coming out of the Chetco River, which will force bottomfishermen out of Brookings a little further North, but Martin said anglers should be able to catch fish out past Chetco Point.
Ocean salmon forecast
The PFMC released its annual its first preseason report for ocean salmon this week and the numbers look fairly promising, which could bode well for the upcoming ocean salmon seasons.
The Klamath forecast is down a little bit this year at 274,000, but the forecast for the larger 4-year old salmon is much higher at 106,000 compared to just 28,000 last year. The Rogue River forecast is 384,000 and the Sacramento River forecast is 380,000, which is up from 229,000 in 2018.
The full preseason report can be found online at https://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/2019_Pre-I_master_Final_022819.pdf
Fishing contacts: Jim Mitchell of Gotcha Hooked Fish Trips at 464-8482; Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing at 206-388-8988; Englund Marine Supply Company at 464-32306.