March 24, 2015    Headlines
Winter Steelie Bite Winds Down

Far North Coast Rivers Rise
After a prolonged period of dry weather heavy rain pushed through the North Coastal rivers on Monday / Tuesday 3-24. The Smith saw the biggest rise since January jumping from 9 feet to 16 feet today. This will push the downers into the main stem and guides could see some pretty good scores (mostly downers and bluebacks) in the days ahead. Fishing pressure has been very light and for the few guides working the Smith the past two weeks scores have been a solid 2 plus fish per stick.
The bulk of the rainfall fell north of Cape Mendocino with the Smith seeing 1.8", the Eureka area (Mad river) seeing 1.2". and Fort Seward on the Eel seeing just .68. South of the Mendo county line rainfall totals were less than a few 10ths.
We received one Eel report last weekend from a regular reader who reported 2 fish on the main stem on Saturday. Otherwise reports have been far and few between the past ten days and many guides have not had much interest from clients this late in the season.
On the Russian we did get a couple of good reports from hard core bankies who reported 1 to 3 fish per stick working the Dry Creek to Whoeler bridge areas this past weekend.  The Russian is low, skinny and clear but those in the know are hooking a few late run fish.
There is only one week left to yet another tough season. The good news is you will find light pressure on every system, the bad news: this fourth year of drought will have a big impact on returns in the coming years.

Rivers Low and Clear, Rain Coming to Far North Coast This Weekend
Rainfall was light from the most recent system bringing just .10 to .70 totals which did little to change flows on the North Coast rivers on Wednesday 3-11. Overall all coastal river remain low and clear and it's looking like the "Fat Lady" is warming up a full three weeks before the season ends on most rivers.
The Smith is trickling at just 6.55 feet here on Thursday 3-12 afternoon. the Chetco, Eel, Mad and all others are low and clear. The forecast does call for up to an inch of rain north of Cape Mendocino this Friday into Saturday but overall most areas will be lucky to see a 1/2 inch. With the dry watersheds and low river flows an inch of rainfall will do little to improve the conditions on the coastal rivers. Any rain will soak in and the rivers will see little to any rise much like the most recent sprinkling.
Our top bet for metalheads is the upper Klamath where Wally Johnson is still seeing 4 to 8 adults and a dozen plus half pounders per day. The adults are not big with most running 4 to 6 pounds with the occasional fish topping out at 8 pounds. The action is good and looks to remain that way into April, much longer than most years.
This current four year drought is going to have a long term impact on all of our river fisheries over the next few years, more so than many will expect. 

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.

Caught Fish? Looking for timely informative updates? Check out a FREE trial to the Northern California Hotsheet, California's fastest growing fishing newsletter. The Hotsheet is emailed three to four evenings per week direct to your desktop. No hunting the web for information or waiting on an outdated magazine to arrive in the mail. These in-depth reports keep you on top of what is happening TODAY so you can catch more fish tomorrow! Just $3.50 per month when you subscribe for one year. You can receive a free week's trial copy by e-mailing a request to



www usafishing Copyright © 2005 All rights reserved