The Eel River

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The Eel River



California's Eel river is rapidly developing a reputation as one of the great success stories of salmonid rehabilitation. After harboring one of the largest runs on the west coast, harsh logging practices and overfishing had reduced the river to a shadow of it's former glory. With catch and release regulations in place and more conscientiously minded land stewardship practices the Eel River has rebounded as one of the areas top steelhead and salmon producers.



Most of the fishing takes place from the South Fork around Garberville down to tidewater on the Mainstem. King salmon flood the river on the first fall rain of the season and action can be red hot. While the average fish runs smaller than the Smith and Chetco, scores running into the double digits aren't uncommon when the Eel's fishing good.



Winter steelhead action kicks into gear by the middle of December, peaks in January, February and March, and runs into April. With no hatchery on the river, the Eel boasts a run made up of hard fighting, acrobatic wild fish. While it doesn't receive as much press as the Smith, it grows big steelhead giving up just as many high teen fish as the rivers to the north.