The heart of winter steelhead season begins with the average size running from 6 to 12 pounds and fish over 20 a possibility. This is the best time of year to intercept fish just entering the rivers. While the numbers may build in the coming weeks, the beauty and strength of these fish is at its peak when fresh in from the salt. We cover a wide range of rivers this time of year to stay on top of the constantly changing conditions. Depending on water heights a January steelhead trip could take you to the Smith River, Chetco River, Eel River, Elk River, Sixes River, Trinity River or even one of the smaller, out of the way coastal streams.


Winter steelhead continue strong and we begin to see a mix of fresh fish from the ocean and "runbacks that have already spawned. This month can produce great action on any of our rivers and we frequent the same ones as in January. Smith, Chetco, Eel, Elk, Sixes and Trinity.


While this month marks the end of our winter steelhead season, it can be one of the best. Usually runbacks outnumber fresh fish but both are still available. While we're still on the Smith and Chetco this time of year, I start spending more time on the Eel. The cold winter days have softened a bit and the smell of cottonwood buds remind us spring is in the air. With warm days, good fishing and few other boats, March is a great month for one last crack at the winter season.


With spring weather comes hot striped bass fishing on the Sacramento River out of Colusa. Drifting live minnows can produce lights out action when the bites on. These great eating, hard fighting fish are a blast and the fact that is all happens so close to Sacramento and the Bay Area makes for an easy trip for a lot of people.

May, June and July

Our ocean season is in full swing out of Trinidad Harbor, just north of Eureka. Halibut, salmon, rockfish, lingcod and albacore are our focus in addition to pulling sport crab pots for a few dungeness to round out the bounty. Spring king salmon are also on tap in the Lower Klamath River as well as a good summer steelhead run.


The famed fall salmon run on the Lower Klamath River gets under way. Summer steelhead are also in the river. Drifting bait through the riffles and runs from our jet boats can give up big numbers on both species. Ocean fishing is still an option as well.


Early fall is one of my favorite times of year in the Pacific Northwest. The days are still long and warm but the often cool evenings bring the first fall colors to the hardwoods. King salmon are abundant running 6 to 30 pounds on the Klamath and Trinity and the first silver salmon begin their accent. They are joined by a healthy run of fall steelhead that include large numbers of 1 to 2 pound "halfpounders" in addition to adults between 3 and 12 pounds.


By this time the fall colors along the Trinity and Klamath are in full splendor and the numbers of steelhead and salmon are swelling by the day.


Typically the first rains of the winter greet the northwest and with them come giant king salmon. The Smith, Mad, Eel and Chetco all become inundated with fish as rivers rise and cool from the low flows of summer. Salmon over 50 pounds are caught every year and are a possibility on any of these rivers.


Kings are the focus for the early part of the month with thoughts starting to turn towards winter steelhead by the end. Excellent fishing can be had for both in December depending of the year and conditions.