CHETCO RIVER




Captain Dave Jacobs 530 646-9110

January 29, 2015    Headlines
Winter Steelies

Time to Think BIG
All North Coast rivers are dropping and getting "skinny" here on Thursday 1-29. The Smith is down to 7.3 or just 1900cfs. Flows this low are not what any steelhead angler wants. Yes there are fish in the system but approaching them much less hooking one in these ultra low clear flows is tough to impossible. Rain is needed on the Smith before we see the action improve.
The Mad has greened up and is flowing at 6.6 feet or under 500cfs. This means that anglers bouncing roe in the holes or under a bobber are going to out fish the flossers and liners by a wide margin. Fishing here was solid all this past week but will be more challenging each day that we don't see rain.
Now is a good time to think big or at least big water. The South Fork Eel is in to the main stem and has lost most of it's color. Many guides like Tony Sepulveda are now working the main stem and being a bit quiet on what they are finding. I can't blame any guide who is staying mum when there are only so many good floats available. Earlier this week Tony reported 6 fish hooked each day on the south Fork. I would bet he will be on the main stem Eel until the rains return.
Wally Johnson has been scratching out a few fish on the Chetco says he may be breaking out the jet sled to fish the lower Klamath by this weekend. Two weeks ago under similar low flows he was reporting up to 5 adults and a dozen half pounders each day. They were drifting roe from Blue Creek to the Glen. This is a good bet until the rains return.
I have not received a Chetco guide report sine the weekend but private anglers are seeing good action and some big fish working the lower river. The fishing is not wide open but some toads are in the mix.
On the Russian with the lack of rain and ultra low releases off the dams flows are down to 260cfs at Healdsburg. I have received only a handful of mostly dead slow type reports the past two weeks but second captain Jared Davis on the Salty Lady sent in a get video of a bright fish hooked in a "frog water" hole on Tuesday. It appeared to be hooked on a bobber and bait setup.
Pray for rain as if we don't see some soon many rivers could close due to low flows.
The bottom line is that if you are fishing with a top guide they have both the knowledge and skill to put their clients onto the best fishing available. That said there are fewer options as the rivers drop out.

Rivers Dropping, Some Fishing Others Low and Clear
With the lack of rain most North Coast rivers are back to low and clear after a decent rise last week. Here on Tuesday 1-27 Tony Sepulveda reported in from the South Fork Eel. Tony says the river is in great shape and the action is good but not as great as the past few seasons. Over the past two days working the lower river from Myers to the main stem his clients hooked 6 fish both days. He is working both roe and plugs with most coming on bait. The south Fork is at a great flow but Tony said is more clear at the current level than he would usually expect. He will be floating the South Fork and Main stem Eel until the rains return. Lower left is a picture that Tony sent in today of a big native that was released on the Eel.
The Smith is down to 7.6 feet and is low and clear. There are a few fish being hooked but in these low flows are hard to approach much less hook.
On the Chetco it is also low and clear. Wally Johnson reports that guides who know where to find fish in low water are still getting a few each day. Top boats saw up to three fish today but overall Wally says that most are working hard for 2 or three hookups.
The Mad river is dropping into shape with a current level of 6.8 feet or 600cfs. Fishing here last weekend was good with most anglers tossing beads for limits. As the color drops out it's time for the roe and spoon tossers to show how to make a fish eat and bait or well placed spoon or plug.


Chetco / Smith Drops In
On Thursday 1-22
the best scores have been coming out of the Chetco and Mad rivers. Wally Johnson reported 5 hooked today on the Chetco but just one to the net. The river is in great shape but with the slow action down south on the Smith the boat pressure has picked up. Tony with Green Water Guide service reported a twosome landed out of four hooked and also said that the Smith is in great shape but there are just not a whole lot of fish in the system.
Down on the Mad the river is still muddy but bankies are seeing limits of bright fish. We received a report from regular reader Larry N. who said between two of them they landed 12 fish on Thursday to around 12 pounds. Larry said that the bait bite was not happening due to the mud but a few more days of dry weather should improve the bait bite.
The South Fork Eel is flat lined at 9 feet and is still about a foot high in the Garberville section. By the weekend the middle South Fork will come into play. Tony Sepulveda says that he will be moving south this weekend as the river drops in and expects that by Saturday it will be fishing. 

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