Northern CA Freshwater

Smith River remains closed below Rowdy Creek

Western Outdoor NewsPublished: Nov 07, 2018

SMITH RIVER — The Smith River briefly topped 600 cfs last week, but the increase in flows was short-lived and did not last long enough for the river to open to salmon fishing above Rowdy Creek.

Flows increased from 250 cfs to 800 cfs for a few hours on Tuesday, but were down to 400 cfs by the end of the day on Wednesday and 240 cfs over the weekend. Flows must remain above 600 cfs at the Jed Smith gauge to allow for an opener above Rowdy Creek.

estuarykingESTUARY KING — Ethan Timko, 10, of Fairfield, holds a king salmon he caught Oct. 28 while fishing the lower Smith River with guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. The king hit a cluster of roe cured with Pautzke’s Fire Cure fished below a bobber.

With most of the river closed, anglers are focusing on the Sand Hole and Piling Hole. "Fishing was pretty good a week ago, but slowed by Wednesday and was poor over the weekend," said guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. "I was taking clients to the Smith in late October and trolling the Sand Hole at first light and then bobber fishing. We got limits for three days, but the rain allowed most of the salmon holding in the estuary to shoot upriver. It was enough for the fish to move up, but not enough to allow DFW to open the river above Rowdy Creek."

Guide Mick Thomas stuck with the Smith all week, but said catch rates dropped as the week went on. Fishing was slow over the weekend.

A few fish are now holding at the mouth of Rowdy Creek and at the Piling Hole. Decent numbers of hatchery fish were caught in October at the Sand Hole, and indicator fishing could be good at the mouth of Rowdy Creek once rains arrive.

Big numbers of salmon have been reported from the Bailey Hole to Gasquet, where fishing is currently closed. The next chance of rain is next week.

bobberkingsBOBBER KINGS — Jackie and Carl Howe of Bend, Ore., hold a pair of king salmon they caught Oct. 27 while fishing the Smith River with guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. They were fishing salmon roe below bobbers.

mouthofsmithMOUTH OF SMITH was the place to be last week when Jackie Howe of Bend, Ore., caught this chromer hatchery king salmon near the mouth of the Smith River on Oct. 27 while fishing with WON Field Reporter and guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing.

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