Northern CA Freshwater

Smith River: Big steelhead run

Western Outdoor NewsPublished: Feb 05, 2020

SMITH RIVER — This year's strong steelhead run on the Smith River continued last week, as shore anglers and drift boaters continued to catch big numbers of fish, even with high flows.

guidephilGUIDE PHIL DESAUTEL of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service holds the native hen steelhead caught plunking on the Smith River with Steve Suveg of Manhattan Beach while using a 50/50 Spin ‘n’ Glo with eggs.

The river blew out to begin the week, but was fishable by Monday for plunkers fishing Spin-N-Glos from the lower gravel bars and from anchored drift boats. The best fishing was at OutHouse, just above the Society Hole, the first few days of the week, with up to 20 steelhead a day caught there. By Thursday, anglers were side-drifting, and finding fish from the Forks to Ruby.

Guide Mick Thomas of Lunker Fish Trips said the Smith is having a strong steelhead run this year. He expects fishing to remain strong through February.

As flows drop this week, shore anglers will switch from still-fishing Spin-N-Glos to drifting roe and Corkies. Good conditions for drift boats side-drifting roe and Puff Balls is expected for the next couple of weeks.

Flows Sunday at Jed Smith were 6,070 cfs, or 9.95 feet. Flows were 46,000 cfs a week ago.

Rowdy Creek Hatchery is having a good return of steelhead, with the 2020 count already well above last year's numbers.

backyardchromerBACKYARD CHROMER — Paul Bair of Klamath Falls, Ore., who owns a house on the Smith River near Ruby, holds a steelhead he caught and released Jan. 24 while plunking with a Spin-N-Glo from his back yard.

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