February 11, 2016    Headlines
Rivers Drop In

Smith Drops Out/ Chetco Could Use Some Color
Wally Johnson with Seiad Valley Guide Service reported Thursday 2-11 that the Smith has dropped out with the water gin clear and flows down to 8.5 feet. There are fish in the river but getting them to bite is tough in these conditions.
Wally has been on the Chetco most of the past week where the fishing and catching have been solid. After several days of 3 to 7 fish scores it was slower for many guides today. Wally said that with the Smith dropping out that there was a bit more pressure on the Chetco and scores ranged from 1 to 4 fish. There is a good mix of both hatchery and native fish in the mix and an inch or two of rain will turn things back on.
The South Fork Eel is green above Benbow as of Tuesday and should be in down to Garberville or Myers by Friday 2-12. With all the rain we have not had a South Fork Eel report yet this season but this is "prime time" and over the next few days the south fork should be in puuuuurect shape.
The Mad looks to drop to green and bait anglers should find plenty of biters below the hatchery. 

Smith and Chetco In & Solid Action
The Smith has been giving up lot of steelies the past few days. Here on Saturday morning the river has been holding in the mid foot range and still has some color. Overall guide counts on the Smith have been running from two to seven fish hooked and 2 to 6 fish landed the past few days. The river has been holding steady in the mid 9 foot range over the past 24 hours but looks to drop and clear by Sunday or Monday.
Guide Wally Johnson reports that light rain Friday evening will only keep good color and flows on both the Smith and Chetco through the weekend. We spoke to Wally on Saturday 2-6 at 11:AM who was on the Chetco this morning and asked "how's the fishing"? his reply "why don't you get you butt up here. We have hooked 7 and have 5 to the boat and still more time to fish." Wally further said that all boats and bankies are seeing solid action from top to bottom." There are both hatchery and native fish in the mix with most running from 6 to 12 pounds.
Regular reader Bruce S. from Petaluma chimed in with an email of six fish hooked and 4 landed on the Chetco on Friday. Bruce is a spoon tosser but did not say if he found his action on his favorite Cleo or on roe.

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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