January 2012

by greenwater on January 18, 2012

I’ve spent the last week on the Smith and Chetco Rivers. The water has continued to drop due to the dry weather but bright fish have kept pouring in. While not wide open fishing, the bite has been solid with most days producing 4 to 6 hookups. Today we had our first real weather arrive after what seems like an eternity and it seemed like the shift turned the fish on. John Sellers of Fortuna joined the 20 pound club with me today on a low, clear Chetco River. He hooked the fish drifting roe and a fish pill along a shallow break. When he swung on the bite it erupted in 18" of water and went burning off the flat with it’s back out of the water like a spooked bonefish. Congratulations to John on a fantastic fish and most impressive part is the fact that he opted to release it. John’s a relative newcomer to steelhead fishing, catching his first on the Eel with me last winter. With his big fish resting in the net we talked about the importance of keeping those genetics in the gene pool. John was immediately on board. We took a few pictures and sent him on his way. We ended the day by 1:00 pm with 6 landed out of 10 hooked, a 20 pounder and a double hookup. Not a bad day.

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by greenwater on January 13, 2012

After the heavy rains that pelted the Northcoast a couple weeks ago we’ve been back to dry weather. Rivers are falling but fish are still entering and there are plenty of good fishing days to be had. For the most part, I feel like steelhead fisherman put way too big an emphasis on rain. Unlike the salmon that really do shut down in low water, steelies continue to enter the river and can still be caught by fishing long fluorocarbon leaders, small hooks and presenting your bait far from the boat with a natural drift. While the fish tend to be a little spookier in these conditions, you have the potential to run into huge pods of fish due to the fact that there’s fewer areas for them to spread out in and they move upriver far slower than they would in high water. In short, don’t be scared of low, conditions.

For the past week I’ve been bouncing around and for the most part the fishing has been pretty good. The Trinity was a little disappointing only turning up one adult to go with about a dozen halfpounders but the rivers to the north have ranged from solid to red hot. Both the Smith and Chetco are producing and if your in the right place at the right time there’s the potential to run into huge pods of fish. A boat working the Smith for me a few days ago came back with stories of a hundred steelhead stacked in a run that was only 2 feet deep. Needless to say, they had a lot of fun that day.

It looks like we’ve got some wet weather coming in towards the end of next week which should bring all our rivers up and shuffle the deck. Until then, I’ll be sticking it out up north and hopefully the good fishing continues. The picture is of Wayne Terry posing with a flawless Smith River winter steelhead. While she wasn’t the biggest fish we caught this week, she embodies perfection.

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by greenwater on January 5, 2012

Rain! After almost six weeks of dry weather the first big winter storm of the season brought the water we’ve been waiting for. The Smith and the Chetco both got high and dirty bringing in loads of steelhead that had been building up in the salt. The first day the Smith dropped back into fishable shape scores were huge. As the rivers have cleared the bite has come back down to earth a bit but fishing is still solid. I was on the Chetco today where action wasn’t wide open but we picked away at nice, bright hatchery fish all day ending up with 4 in the box going 6 to 10 pounds.

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