February 2014

by greenwater on February 23, 2014

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The best steelhead season in decades is rolling along to a new tune this week with water in all our rivers.  The Smith and Chetco hosted the annual Rowdy Creek Hatchery fundraiser tournament and there were good numbers of fish in both rivers.  On the first day the Smith fished reasonably well with up to 4 fish a boat landed while the Chetco gave a few up despite being very high and dirty.  By the second day the color had rolled over on it and counts jumped up as high as 9 for the high boat.  The Smith was a tougher bite on day 2 but still saw some great fish tallied.

The Eel has drawn big crowds for the last couple days and the bite has been really good.  Most of the river is in nice shape at this point and there are fish scatted up and down it’s entire length although they’re a bit banded out.  There were some huge numbers posted by guys who found themselves in the right place at the right time while other boats scratched for a couple chances.  The river is still holding a fair bit of color for the height but expect it to drop out quickly.

The Mad also came into play towards the end of the week with perfect conditions and good action.  The majority were wild fish as is to be expected this time of year but there were as few bright hatchery fish to be had.  Drifting roe and a Fish Pill accounted for most of the hookups but jigs under floats and spoons also put some beauties on the bank.

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by greenwater on February 8, 2014

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Winter weather has finally found it’s way to the North Coast. Rain is falling and all our rivers are on the rise making for prime steelhead fishing conditions. The state issued an emergency extension on low flow closures but it seems it will be a non factor as water levels climb towards normal and all rivers should be open.

Despite low water, the past week was possibly the best I can ever remember. I spent time on the Smith, Chetco, Eel and Klamath and they all had great fishing at times. In my steelhead seminars at International Sportsman’s Expo last month I discussed the potential for big scores in low water on our rivers and the past few days have been a prime example. Long, light leaders and small baits have been the key.

The Eel got a splash of rain last week bumping flows to just over 600 cfs and ushering in a legendary flood of steelhead. Most of the pressure was from bank anglers and hundreds of fish were landed. Average scores fell into the obscene category with 20 hookups per rod not uncommon. The Mad gave up similar numbers the first day it opened to fishing. Every depression from the hatchery to tidewater was loaded and the fish devoured anything thrown in their direction. Spinners and spoons were a great option as it was difficult to drift a bait with the lack of current.

The northern rivers also saw great action. The Chetco gave up double digit scores after the slight rise last week and the Smith was loaded as well. Early in the week I floated from the Forks to Peacock Bar with only 2 other boats on the river and hooked fish in almost every hole. Both of these rivers fell back out quickly but there was still action to be found for those in the know.

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