64 new Steelhead photos

Check out my latest photo album of Steelhead fishing (mostly from the Smith River) on my Facebook page. We’ve gotten some rain lately, so Fish On!

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Fishing the North Coast article about Humboldt fishing conditions:

Smith River

If the rain forecasts hold, it looks like the river may open on Saturday, reports Crescent City guide Mike Coopman. “It doesn’t look like the river is going to come up to a driftable level, but it should be enough to bring in some fresh fish. We’ll have to wait and see if we get enough water to put the fish that have been in the river for awhile now on the move,” Coopman added.

Steelhead seekers headed to the Chetco

If you see a convoy of drift boats headed north from Humboldt in the next few days, chances are their final destination will be Brookings.

The first significant rain in weeks is on the way — with the Chetco being the closest benefactor for North Coast anglers. A slow rise is forecasted to begin Wednesday and should peak sometime Saturday evening at over 7,000 cfs.

The river will most likely add quite a bit of color and will be full of debris for the weekend, but should be in prime shape by early next week.

The Smith is also predicted to rise, but not nearly to the levels of the Chetco. If the rain comes as planned, the Smith — which should open when the flows reach 600 cfs — will peak at just over a 1,000 cfs on the Jed Smith gauge early Sunday morning.

Those flows pale in comparison to what the river should be doing in January, but hey, it’s a step in the right direction and should be enough water to get some fish moving.

Here in Humboldt, rivers that are controlled by low flow regulations look like they’ll remained closed due to lack of water. These include Redwood Creek, Mad, Eel, Van Duzen and the Mattole.

Weather outlook

Enjoy the rain this weekend, as it looks like we’re headed back to a dry pattern starting Sunday. According to Reginald Kennedy of Eureka’s National Weather Service, after a dry Friday, Saturday will bring the heaviest amounts of rain. In the Humboldt area, we should see anywhere from a tenth to a quarter inch while Del Norte could see up to a half-inch or more. The ridge of high pressure will rebuild Sunday, keeping us dry for at least the next week, according to Kennedy.

Smith River Rowdy Creek Hatchery update:

Dry conditions have really put the kibosh on returning salmon and steelhead, according to hatchery manager Andrew Van Scoyk. “In a nutshell, the lack of rain has really kicked our butts. “As of Wednesday, we’ve only spawned two salmon, which will give us about 9,000 eggs. On a normal year, we get about 110,000 to reach our goal of producing 100,000 juveniles. Our last salmon arrived on Dec. 4, and we’ve been dry since,” Van Scoyk added.

Steelhead are in the same boat as the salmon, according to Van Scoyk. “No steelhead have returned to date, not because they aren’t in the river, but because there isn’t enough water in the creek for them to navigate back. Normally, we’d have over 100 by now. Hopefully the rain that’s coming this weekend gets us started.”

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