Northern CA Freshwater

Steelhead hit-and-miss on Smith River

Western Outdoor NewsPublished: Jan 16, 2019

SMITH RIVER — Steelhead season appeared it was about to kick into high gear on the Smith River over the weekend before catch rates dropped on Sunday. Fishing has been hit-and-miss for the past week.

smithironheadSMITH IRONHEAD — Kevin Miller of Georgia holds a 10-pound hatchery steelhead caught Dec. 23 on the Smith River while fishing with guide James Keeling. The fish was caught at Simpson Flat on roe and a Puffball.

Most guides got customers into two to four fish on Saturday before scores dropped to one or zero on Sunday. "The fishing has been good one day and then slow the next," said guide Mick Thomas of Lunker Fish Trips.

Heavy rain fell last week, drawing in fish early in the week and producing good catch rates for plunkers on the lower river. Several steelhead were caught near the water tower and Highway 101 bridge by boaters anchoring and fishing Spin-N-Glos.

After a few slow days for driftboater side-drifting upriver, catch rates increased on Saturday. Guides Sam Stover and John Klar both got customers into a double-hookup on Saturday.

Heavy rain is expected this week, and could have the river blown out before it drops for the weekend.

sandholekingSANDHOLE KING — Ernie Ballou of Brookings, Ore., holds a 14-pound king salmon caught in late October on the Smith River. He was fishing at the Sand Hole.

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