Smith, Chetco best weekend options

FNC 1_7 photo

Dick Bruce of Trinidad landed this bright steelhead while drifting the Smith River on Monday. Also pictured is Jon Stocum of Bayside. The Smith and Chetco rivers are still in good shape and will be the best options for the weekend. Photo courtesy of Kenny Priest/Fishing the North Coast Guide Service

Public meeting on Klamath fishery coming next week

And then there were two….as in the number of coastal rivers that still have a hint of green. The Smith and Chetco were the sole survivors of the storms that pounded the region earlier in the week. All stretches of the Eel, Van Duzen, Mad and Redwood Creek are currently blown out, with very little relief in sight. Rain is in the forecast almost daily for the next week or so, which is great news for the quick-clearing rivers to our north. The Humboldt rivers on the other hand, won’t likely have enough breaks in the rain to drop back into shape in the next week or so. If you’re looking to fill your steelhead fix this weekend, your best bet lies to the north.

Weather update
According to Reginald Kennedy of Eureka’s National Weather Service, the current wet pattern we’re experiencing now will stick around through Saturday. “The heaviest rain will be from Friday night into Saturday morning. Rainfall totals for the region will range from one to one and a half inches. Sunday is looking dry, but a weak system will move in on Monday dropping another half to three-quarters of rain. Monday night into Tuesday looks dry, but a fairly wet system will hit Tuesday and hang around into Wednesday. Precipitation totals could be as high as two inches,” Kennedy added.

CDFW to hold public meeting on Klamath River sport fishery
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is inviting the public to attend an informational meeting to review regulatory options and receive public input for the 2016 Klamath River sport fishing seasons, area closures and bag limits.

The meeting will be held Tuesday, Jan. 12 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Board of Supervisors Chambers in the Del Norte County Administrative Building, 981 H St., Suite 100, Crescent City.

One focus of the meeting will be the current sport fishing closure at the confluence of Blue Creek. The public is encouraged to provide input regarding this closure.

Regulatory options for the Klamath River will be considered at the California Fish and Game Commission meeting in February 2016 with the official regulatory notice of proposed change being distributed to the general public afterward. Klamath River regulations are slated to be adopted by the Fish and Game Commission in April 2016.

The Rivers:
Chetco River
The water color on the Chetco is beautiful reports guide Alan Borges of Alan’s Guide Service. He said, “The color is perfect, but the flows were a little high on Wednesday. The few boats on the water all landed a couple, but I thought it would fish better. It’s possible the extra water moved the fish around a bit. The river is dropping very slowly and there isn’t much rain in the forecast, so the conditions should be ideal through the weekend.”

Smith River
The Smith is in excellent shape and there’s plenty of fish around reports guide Mike Coopman. “It looks like the river will fish through the weekend. There’s some rain in the forecast, but no enough to hurt anything. Right now, the river is loaded with fish from the top to the bottom and the boats are really doing well,” Coopman added.

Eel River (main stem)
“The main stem was just starting to come into real good shape, but with the rain we’ve had to our south, we’re back to square one,” said Paul Grundman of Rio Dell’s Grundmans Sporting Goods. As of Wednesday, flows were above 28,000 cfs on the Scotia gauge.

Eel River (South Fork)
The South Fork blew out on Monday and doesn’t look like it will fish until late next week at the earliest. It fished well from the top to the bottom from last Friday through Sunday, with scores ranging from two to four fish per trip. As of Wednesday, flows were at 6,500 cfs on the Miranda gauge.

Van Duzen
Flows were good, but it was still a little off color before it blew out on Monday reports Grundman. “Yager Creek was dirty, which kept the lower river murky. I think it was fishable above, but I didn’t hear of any reports,” Grundman said. As of Wednesday, flows were nearly 4,500 cfs on the Grizzly Creek gauge.

Mad River
Jens Hansen of Arcata’s Mad River Tackle & FeelFree Kayaks reports prior to the Mad blowing out on Monday, the river was full of steelhead. “I was on the river over the weekend and saw lots of hatchery fish landed. There were quite a few boats out as well, and I heard they did really well pulling plugs. With rain in the forecast for the next week, it looks like it will be awhile before the river is bait fishable,” Hansen added.

Upper Trinity
The Trinity is in great shape from top to bottom reports Steve Huber of Steve Huber’s Guide Service. He said, “The majority of the boats are still working the Junction City area and landing quite a few fish in the four to six pound range. We’re still seeing the last of the late fall run fish, and a few winter fish are starting to trickle in. The entire river is green, though it’s a little clearer on the upper end.”

#fishingthenorthcoast #wintersteelhead #smithriver #eelriver #chetcoriver

Find “Fishing the North Coast” on Facebook and for up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information. Questions, comments and photos can be emailed to