December 16, 2014    Headlines
Smith Steelies Up Next

Most but NOT ALL North coast rivers are back on the rise here on Tuesday 12-16. The bulk of the rainfall this afternoon has been from the Mendo / Sonoma county line and south.
The Smith is in great shape and has drop from 9.5 to 9.1 feet over the past 24 hours. The first steelhead of the season are pushing in but being the week before Christmas few guides have been out. That will change right after the big holiday as anglers look to get out on some of the best conditions after two years of drought.
Rivers to the south from the Mad to the Eel, Duzen and Russian are all muddy and rising. The long range forecast calls for dry weather all next week and possibly into the New Year. As rivers open to fishing and steelhead move in we are looking forward to posting some positive reports after a long two years of low flows.
Now is the time to get those prime time January and February guide trips booked. Both Wally Johnson and Tony Sepulveda have gift certificate available for those looking to get that "perfect" gift for the angler (s) in the family. 
These prime dates also book up well in advance for the Hiouchi Lodge. There is no better spot to stay the night than here. They offer great lodging /dinner and lunch packages and are located on one of the most productive steelies holes on the main stem (just below the Covered Bridge). .

BIG rain is on the way and we will see significant to even flood stage rises on many North and Central Coast rivers late Wednesday 12-10 into Thursday 12-11. Flows may briefly top flood stage but on most rivers (those with dams) flows will drop rapidly due to low releases off of the reservoirs. The good news is that this will allow the first of the winter steelie run to move in and set the stage for the North Coats steelie run. The Smith river is any readers "best bet" for December steelies with the Mad, Eel, Chetco all big producers come January. We will begin our regular North Coast river reports around Christmas. Until then let the rivers rise and the late fall salmon spawn and the first of the steelies push in.

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 in 2011. 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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