March 2012

by greenwater on March 28, 2012

Rain, rain and more rain. While it has wiped out a good chunk of March’s steelhead fishing, I’m glad to have it. The South Fork Eel has flirted with fishable a few times in the past couple weeks only to have the next system roll in and knock it out again. The Smith River has had some fishable days and was actually pretty good considering the time of year. While I have a ton of confidence fishing our southern rivers (Eel, Mad, Mattole) this late in the season, fishing up north can be a little hit or miss in March and I tend to avoid it. Despite my reservations, the Smith has been giving up decent numbers with some bright fish still in the mix. As of today the river is again on the rise and will be back out of commission. For me, this series of storms will officially mark the end of winter steelhead season. I’m getting striper gear in order and starting to think about drifting live baits for Sacramento River striped bass. The rain is exactly what we needed to suck fish out of the delta and it should be hot fishing as soon as things settle in.


Striper Season Ahead

by greenwater on March 12, 2012

As we come into the middle of March, the calendar still shows a couple good weeks of steelhead fishing to come but it seems mother nature may have other plans for us. With a series of big storm systems bearing down on us the rivers are all forecasted to rise and may stay big and dirty for some time. With luck, we’ll still get a few more days in before the April first steelhead closures if the weather allows. It’s been a great season as whole (for more detail you can look back at my fish reports at ). I want thank all of you who got out fishing with me and helped keep Green Water Fishing Adventures growing.

I finally had to do a rate increase this winter bumping up to $200 per person for all my trips from $175. I drug my feet on this one for a long time as every other reputable guide was already there or higher. However with gas prices being what they are, there’s no way to avoid it with all the highway miles the job requires and the thirsty nature of big outboard jets.

Looking ahead, I’ll be down on the Sacramento River near Colusa with the jetboat for the spring striper run. It’s a fun fishery with big numbers running 2 to 8 pounds and some larger ones sprinkled in. They’re great eating, fight hard and make an easy day trip for a lot of you guys in the Valley and Bay Area. Right now the open days are April 21st, 22nd 23rd, 24th and 25th. We can accommodate up to 5 people in my boat and I’ve got some other guides working the area as well that can help out with bigger groups.

Again, thanks to everyone for your support and friendship. Looking forward to getting on the water with you soon.



by greenwater on March 10, 2012

After last weeks trying battles with gale force winds here on the North Coast, the brutal conditions gave way to an idyllic week of winter steelhead fishing. Blue skies, jade green rivers and hot action epitomized a perfect day on the water.

Once the South Fork Eel River dropped into shape bellow Garberville early in the week, the bite was on and scores ran high. My toughest day was 6 landed out of 7 hooked and on my best we put steel to 13 fish ranging from 5 to 14 pounds. Steelhead fishing really doesn’t get any better.

As waters continued to clear, I slipped down to the Main-stem Eel River on Friday and found more of the same. The first few spots of the morning came up dry but we got our first fish at about 9:00 am and never looked back. We wrapped the day up with 11 landed out of 12 hookups. Another boat was on the drift with me guiding a pair of fly guys and they were getting in on the action as well. After catching a few drifting bait, they switched over to the long rods and hooked 4 more with glow bugs under an indicator.

Snowmelt kept the Mad flowing dirty for longer than normal but once the color came around the action was good. I heard of good anglers landing as many as 8 fish in a day with a mix of downers and bright wild fish making up the majority of the count. Typically the hatchery fish start to thin out this late in the season

The Smith River still had a steady trickle of fish both moving up out of the salt and back down out of the creeks. If you hit it on the wrong day it was a tough go but with the right timing there were some good days to be had. Pressure was exceeding light until the derby started on Friday and that always ups your odds.

The Chetco, while not red hot, was still giving up fish for most boats. 2 to 4 a day was pretty typical through the week with lucky and good guides landing up to 7.

Sadly, all good things must come to an end and it looks like this bite is no exception. Light rain has started to fall and the forecast is calling for a series of stronger systems on the way. The silver lining is the fact that we’ve still got a few weeks left in the season and I’d expect action to pick right back up where it left off once the weather subsides.


by greenwater on March 3, 2012

It’s been a week of change here on the North Coast and with the last front the deck has officially been shuffled on our southern rivers. The Mad and Eel have gone from low and clear to unfishable although they won’t be out for long.

I spent the early part of the week on the Main Stem Eel and while fishing was solid, numbers slipped a bit from the previous weeks. It was hard to get a read on whether there were fewer fish around or if scores were suffering from the relentless wind we battled. My guess is a little of both. Scores ranged from 3 to 8 fish a boat and a high percentage were still bright fish just arriving from the salt. While I really can’t complain about the fishing most days, I was a bit frustrated by the relentless breeze and the difficulty of presenting a bait in it.

The Mad, while getting on the low side early in the week, was still kicking out decent numbers. As has been the case, a lot of them were colored up but there were still some bright gems in the mix. Rick Wetzel from Mad River Tackle was on the river as usual and reported "a few really hot bites if you got lucky and found a pod of fresh ones".

To the North, the Smith and Chetco dodged most of the moisture. The splash they got was just enough rain to breath a little life into them, bringing in some new fish, washing some downers out of the creeks and putting a little color to the water. Counts were solid for Thursday and Friday which is breath of fresh air after the tough fishing early in the week.

The longterm forecast calls for clear skies through at least March 10th and all our rivers will be back in play well before then. I’ll be heading to the South Fork Eel and I’m pretty excited to see what the high flows brought us. March is one of my favorite times of year there and I wouldn’t be at all surprised by double digit scores.

The picture is of a flawless, Eel River, plug caught hen landed in the crippling winds of last week.