John Rickard Reports on 1.8.2020
Happy New Year, New Decade and New Season. Tis the season of winter steelhead. My first fishing report of this new decade is a bit of a farce, because I, nor most of my team have been out much on the waterways we promote. We have taken a short two week break and have spent time with friends and family over the holidays, as well as visiting foreign waters chasing all sorts of fish. As my Baja tan fades and signs of fresh steelhead show, its time to get back to work. Two rivers that indicate a lot about fishing options in California are the Klamath and the Smith.
This time of year we primarily fish the middle to upper sections of the Klamath. i.e Happy Camp to Iron Gate. This represents inland steelhead. The Klamath has been an excellent choice since early fall and remains strong today. Nice fish are being caught up near Iron Gate. Most are summer/fall fish but some new big boys are showing up, looking fresh and fighting strong. If you are ok with the cold and love catching steelhead I believe this is the best option in California.
The Smith River is California’s only un-damed river and flushes its watershed in days rather then weeks. It is thus a prime indicator for what is happening on our Northern California and Southern Oregon coastal rivers. This week the Smith took a big jump and is around 11k or 12 feet at Jed Smith. This is the pulse that the fish have been waiting for and its likely that its neighboring rivers are also experiencing a movement of fresh fish. Though these flows are great for the fish they are a bit too high for most fly fishermen. There will be short windows of opportunity over the next week as they dip into shape only to go back out with the next rain. Our forecast shows waves of medium storms that will prove some chaos on the coast. Knowing where to be when is the game.
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