January 19, 2017    Headlines
Waiting On Green Water

The Smith crested at 20 feet on Wednesday night at 20 feet and has dropped back to a still high level of 16.5 feet here on Thursday 1-19 evening at 6:PM. The guidance plot calls for the river to drop to the 13 to 14 foot range over the weekend as more rain moves through the North Coast. Plunkers should find some biting fish this weekend but at these levels the river is too high for those drifting the river. The forecast calls for dry weather to return next week. This will be PRIME TIME  to get out and chase Smith steelhead. All other rivers from the Mad to the Eel and Russian need a week or more before they will be back to green and fishing.
Wally Johnson is booking steelie trips for the coming week and has room available for Smith river trips. 530 496-3291
Guide Dave Jacobs will also be offering trips on the Smith, Chetco and Central Oregon rivers. 530 646-9110

After decent to good fishing the past four days the Smith will be back on a hard rise on Wednesday 1-18. Here on Tuesday afternoon the river is still dropping with a current level of 9.5 feet or about 4900 cfs. Overall guides are seeing some decent to good counts of fish per rod action with most running 6 to 12 pounds. Guide Brice Dusi posted on his FB page of a big buck in the high teens that was landed over weekend. The guidance plots calls for the Smith to quickly jump to a high and blown level of 20 feet on Wednesday and then drop towards a plunkable level of 12 to 14 feet Thursday through Saturday. We will post a fresh update once the Smith is back in play.
All other rivers will remain high and out of play for the foreseeable future. The forecast calls for rain Wednesday, Friday and again next Sunday. Many rivers such as the Eel, Mad and Russian will need a week or more of dry weather before they are back in.

The Smith is in and fishing here on Saturday 1-14. The river started this morning at 11.6 feet and has great color. Overall guides saw scores of 1 to 3 per boat. Wally Johnson had to cancel his trips this weekend as he was dealing with heavy snow and cleaning up around his home on the upper Klamath. Wally said that the guides he spoke to reported decent catches a mix of hatchery and wild dime bright fish running from 8 to 12 pounds. The Smith is your only coastal steelie bet this weekend. The Chetco may be in play by Monday. The Smith will fish through Tuesday but will be back on the rise on Wednesday and could be out for several days.
While the coming week looks wet the longer range forecast calls for dryer conditions after January 25th. Lets hope so!

 With the exception of the Smith all North Coast rivers look to remain high and muddy through the middle of next week or longer. Here on Thursday 1-12 evening the Smith has dropped to 14 feet at the Jed Smith park gauge. The guidance  plot forecasts the river to drop to 11 feet by early Saturday and to continues to slowly drop to 9.5 feet by Tuesday. This slow drop is ideal for steelhead and we should see improved counts over the weekend. That said..... with all other rivers out and guides who have had to reschedule clients due to the recent high river flows you can expect to find lots of company on the Smith in the coming days. The Smith is the only "game in town" for the coming week. More rain is forecasted for the middle of next week which will only keep the rivers high and muddy. 

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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