November 29, 2016    Headlines
Salmon Run Wanes
Waiting On Steelies
As the salmon bite winds down we are looking ahead to the first steelhead of the season to push in over the coming weeks. Here on Tuesday 11-29 the Smith is dropping into great shape. Flows have dropped from 12 to 11' on the Jed Smith state park gauge. If this was the last week of December it would likely be "game on" but being late November it's still a tad early to get excited. After one of the best salmon runs in ten plus years we should see a healthy return of steelhead. Traditionally the first big push of Smith steelies arrive mid to late December with the peak of the run going through mid to late February. With the higher river flows we could see the steelies arrive by early December.
Wally Johnson will begin his trips on the Smith and Chetco rivers on January 1st. The peak run dates of January through February are filling fast. 530 496-3291
Guide Dave Jacobs will also be offering trips on the Smith and Chetco rivers.

 The salmon action on the Smith has been spotty this past week. Early last week guides were seeing a fish or two per boat and not nearly the action reported in late October and early November. Here on Sunday 11-20 evening the Smith has jumped from 9.5 feet to 13. This latest rise will bring the last of the Smith salmon in and provide a few opportunities to those (like me) who missed the banner October bite. There are some rumors of a few steelhead being hooked on the Chetco but that said its still a few weeks early to be thinking North Coast steelhead just yet. 
In years that we see strong salmon runs the steelie runs are usually strong as well. With the salmon run (and rains) trending to the earlier side of the calendar the steelhead bite may follow suit in early December. 

On Friday 11-18 guide Dave Jacobs said he is headed back over to the middle / upper Sac to chase salmon there for the next few days. With rain on the way and a big rise on the North Coast rivers expected this weekend he say that his clients odds are better in the Valley for the next few days. He will be headed back or have boats fishing the coast once the rains pass later this week.

The BnB Hiouchi Lodge
For readers looking for river front fishing access and lodging a reader turned us on to this little gem. The is located right on one of the best holes of the main stem, just below the Forks flat and directly across from the "Covered Bridge". 
They have three rooms, a single and two doubles and very reasonable rates that include breakfast or lunch and just a nominal fee for dinner if you wish. You have full access to their private bank access, great meals and clean comfortable rooms. Rates are VERY reasonable and you will never stay in a hotel when fishing here again.  I'm making reservations for February and can't wait to go! 510 967-4615

Rules for the Smith River
 New rules have been adopted by the Cal F&G commission for the Smith River. Only barbless hooks will be allowed in all reaches of the Smith River. The  Klamath-Trinity Salmon Report Card has been renamed North Coast Salmon Report card and will now be required on the Smith River also. The annual bag limit for  wild trout or steelhead was reduced to zero and no more than five wild Chinook may be kept per year.

River Levels:



For river status (low flow closure) updates from Fish and Game please call +1.707.442.4502 for the North coast and +1.707.944.5533 for Central coast streams. Be sure to check out the California Fish and Game regulations before you go. Regulations vary on every river and you need to pay attention to bait and hook restrictions. Due to winter closures on HWYs 5, 101 & 299 we recommend you check Caltrans road conditions as well.
Prime steelhead flows on the Smith river are between 12 and 9 feet. Fish are caught in higher flows by those plucking and even in the low and clear waters below 8.5 feet but prime fishing is always found with a dropping river in the 9 to 12 foot range. No one can predict the best day or conditions but put in a few days in and you will be rewarded. All of our sponsors have room available for the prime January - mid March period. Please call the DFG flow information hotline at 707 822-3164 for additional information.

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