The weekend promises to be excellent for the winter Steelhead | Fish the North Shore

If you’re looking to hit one of our local rivers in search of winter rainbow trout, this is your weekend. The lack of recent rainfall, both a blessing and a curse, has allowed the rivers to drop and take on the emerald green hue that anglers dream of. From Chetco to South Fork Eel, all coastal rivers will be fishable, although some might use a bit of wet stuff. The Smith, always the first to fish and the first to clear, runs empty but still produces. Here in Humboldt the Mad should be perfect by the weekend for anglers and boats. The main stem of the eel is finally rounding off and has turned green. It is still high but may be fished by the end of this week or the weekend. The South Fork eel is also in pristine condition and drops some brilliant winter rainbow trout. If it’s rainbow trout you’re looking for, you’ll want to take advantage of the river conditions this weekend.

Weather Outlook

According to James White of the National Weather Service office in Eureka, we will stay dry throughout the week and weekend. “The 8-14 day outlook no longer shows below normal precipitation,” White said. “There is a chance that at the end of next week we can finally see a change in weather patterns.”

Extension of low-flow fishing closures

As a reminder, low flow regulations that went into effect October 1 for the Eel, Mattole, Redwood Creek, Smith, Van Duzen River and September 1 on the Mad, will be extended through April 30, 2022. The California Fish and the Game Commission unanimously approved the extension from January 31 to April 30 in December due to drought conditions. The low flow regulations will come into effect on September 1, 2022 on all rivers subject to low flow fishing closures.

The rivers


The Mad is still a bit insistent and is flowing at 1,575 cubic feet per second starting Wednesday and turning green. The conditions attracted boats and lots of anglers over the weekend, and the fishing was pretty good. The river will be in great shape the rest of the week and at its peak on the weekends. If you’re looking to catch a rainbow trout, this is probably your best bet.

main eel

The main stem was running at 5,350 cfs on Wednesday and is getting back into shape. The water color is good, but the water volume is still a bit high. He should be in good shape by the weekend.

South Fork Eel

The South Fork was in great shape this weekend and drew quite a few people. The peach was not hot. Most boats had a chance to catch a few fish, but there were a lot of skunks. It is expected to be less than 800 cfs by the weekend.

Van Duzen

The Van Duzen was under 600 cfs on Wednesday and is very fishable. A few anglers took advantage of the weekend, but reports were hard to come by. Will be in excellent condition all week.

Smith River

Flows had fallen to 3,400 cfs on the Jed Smith gauge on Wednesday. Conditions are low and clear and fishing pressure is light as many anglers have moved to the Chetco. There are fish in the river, but you will need to be stealthy to succeed. There would be quite a few seals and sea lions making fishing even more difficult.


Rainbow trout fishing remains good on the Chetco, with most guides getting two to four fish a day, reports Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. “Big crowds on Saturday and Sunday reduced the impressive catch rates of a few days earlier, but the fishing was still decent,” Martin said. “Boat pressure eased on Monday and catch rates improved to near or near limits. A mix of wild and hatchery steelhead trout are spread throughout the river. drift gear and get a few rainbow trout from shore Rogue fishes rainbow trout well as the winter run seems to be above average Anchoring and finding 3.5 MagLips has been the best Anglers on foot use Spin-N-Glos at Lobster Creek and Huntley Park.

Kenny Priest (he/him) operates Fishing the North Coast, a Humboldt fishing guide service specializing in salmon and rainbow trout. Find him on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and For up to date fishing reports and information on the North Coast River email [email protected]

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