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Smith River anglers face winter conditions

Western Outdoor NewsPublished: Feb 13, 2019

SMITH RIVER — Anglers fishing the Smith River experienced snowy conditions twice in one week, with mixed results for steelhead.

Heavy snow fell a week ago Monday, and then again Saturday night. The snow was so heavy over the weekend that Highway 199 was closed between Hiouchi and Gasquet and guides were not able to reach the Forks launch on Sunday.

snowstormdaySNOWSTORM DAY — Sam Stover and his customers fished the Smith River Feb. 4 during a rare North Coast snowstorm. Guide and WON Field Reporter Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing took the photo and provided the information.

"It was cold and snowy," said guide Mick Thomas of Lunker Fish Trips. "I had to use a chainsaw to clear a tree just so I could get out of my driveway. I had 4 inches of snow in my drift boat when I woke up.Then we couldn't launch any higher than the Outhouse because of the snow and downed trees."

Fishing was fair on the Smith last week. Guides caught one to three steelhead a trip most of last week.

"I fished the Smith last Monday during the snow, and the fishing was pretty good considering the conditions," said guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. "There was a big school just under the Highway 199 bridge You could see a few dozen steelhead right in the middle of the river. Three guides worked the school over and everyone caught fish. Mick ended up getting five in that flat. I got a couple and the other guide got a couple."

Flows at the Highway 101-Dr. Fine Bridge on the Smith were down to 14 feet over the weekend. The big stormed expected this week is forecasted to bring flows up to 18.7 feet Tuesday and Wednesday before dropping to around 17 feet for the weekend.

Most of the fish being caught on the Smith are wild fish, but a few hatchery fish are being hooked. The best fishing has been in the Cable Hole flat, at the Gauge Hole and around Rip Rap and Simpson Park. Several guides also got fish late in their drift just before coming into Ruby last week.

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