Smith River Fishing Info
The Smith River is a popular fishing destination for anglers for several reasons. This river is not only home to the bright king salmon and steelhead, but it is also widely regarded as California’s last wild river. It is also the only river in California where anglers are allowed to keep a wild fish.
This body of water has beautiful, clear waters, redwood trees, and beautiful scenery. The Smith River is 25 miles long, and it is the most extensive river system in the state that flows freely throughout its entire course to the ocean from the Siskiyou Mountains in Oregon.
You can find the Smith River in Northern California, 12 miles northeast of Crescent City in Del Norte County.
The Smith River is a prime habitat for steelhead, king salmon, and chinook salmon. The best section for fishing in the lower river is in the holes between the 101 bridge and Piling Hole. Because of the silting, the location and sizes of these holes tend to change, and this area is best fished by boat or wading.
Other places to fish in the lower river include Cattle Crossing, Rowdy Hole and, further upstream, Woodruff Hole and Riffle, Bailey Hole and Riffle, and Rooney Hole and Riffle. If you are a bank or fly fisherman, you can drift fish the Smith River from the forks to the river mouth, especially at the Middlefork.
Steelhead are incredible battlers, and since the river terrain is rugged, reeling one in can be a challenge. The best flies for fly fishing in the Smith River include Lady Caroline, Purple Matuka, Freight Train, Golden Demon, Fire Ant, Green Butted Skunk, and Purple Peril.
To fish in California, you need to be older than sixteen, and you need to obtain a license from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. All sports and commercial fishing activities have to be carried out following the department’s regulations.
The Prime Chinook run is from November to middle December. The California Department of Game and Fish stocks wild fish that are big and that have lived off plants from the Rowdy Creek Fish Hatchery.
From the beginning of spring to the end of summer is the Sea Run Cutthroat in the Smith River. The fish can weigh up to six pounds and can be caught from the Middle fork ranch with spinning or fly gear.
The salmon fishing season in the Smith River starts at the beginning of spring in the lower river.October is typically the most productive month for salmon fishing, especially in the Sand Hole.This fishing season lasts until middle December when the steelhead fishing becomes the prominent focus.
The steelhead fishing season is from middle December to the end of April, a significant period in Northern California anglers’ calendars. During times of heavy rain, rivers and lakes around the Smith River are not suitable for fishing. Since the Smith is continuously running, however, it provides an opportunity for fishing during this time.