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Fishing Reports for North Coast

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Good

Green water returned to the rivers of the North Coast this past weekend after the first significant rainfall of 2018. This past week saw everything from the Eel to the Smith in prime condition and fish were found in both systems for anglers willing to put in the time and effort. 

I fished with Sang on Saturday up north. We had an awesome day poking around the Smith looking for fresh steelhead. While we didn't get into any fish we did dail up some hedgehog mushrooms between swing runs. Not a bad reward for a day on the river. 

A succession of storms are making ready to hit the coast starting tonight and continuing into next week. The Smith is projected to make it's most significant rise of the season over the weekend. All rivers will see a hard rise by early next week and in all likelihood we will see many blow out. Time to hunker down behind the vice and crank out those bugs!

 

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Sang bright eyed and bushy tailed in the first run of the day
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A hat full of fresh hedgehogs
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To the far bank
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Waiting for the big pull.
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Colton Schwenning swung up this savage buck fishing the coast over the weekend.
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The usual suspects
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Days end.
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Wet weather has finally returned to the North Coast. After an unsettling dry December the new year has begun with all coastal rivers set for a significant rise. Most if not all rivers subject to low flow restrictions should see enough of a push to open. The Smith is projected to bump up tonight by several feet, and rise again mid week. 

The Eel River is forecast to add multiple feet by mid week. With some projections calling for a rise of 4ft or more, the main stem Eel will in all likelihood blow out. The good news is that with such a significant rise the stretches of the Eel that have remained closed to fishing since early December should stay open through the end of January when low flow restrictions end. Rain is always a welcome sign and necessary ingredient for winter steelhead. Coupled with king tides that occured earlier this week, things are looking very fishy indeed. 

The coast is calling.  

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Tools of the trade.
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Good

Had an awesome day with Steve looking for some chrome up on the North Coast. After almost a month of dry weather we were finally treated to some rain earlier this week giving our coastal rivers a much needed recharge and putting some color back into the water. As expected, the rain brought more than just a hint of green back into the rivers. A fresh pulse of sea bright steelhead finally got what they too had been waiting for and have shown up at long last.

Steve went 1 for 2 today, bringing a chrome dart to hand before hooking up with a nice adult that ended up coming off. I saw a few fish holding from the bank and also witnessed another spey fisherman hook up and land a nice adult. All said and done, the fishing on the coast was good. Things should start to really heat up here in the next few weeks as more rain is forecast to fall. I'm looking forward to the new year and spending days on the water chasing chrome. 

Happy holidays from the North Coast!  

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Soaking the bucket, waiting for the pull
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Chrome dart.
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Steve finds a nice adult. Gets corked. Gets the fin!
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Sunrise
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Beautiful days on the coast.
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Good

I had a chance to get out on the water this week with fellow angler and regular steelhead bum Colton Schwenning. I was excited to use my new 14 ft raft for the first time and do a little scouting to see if any fresh fish had come in from the salt despite the lack of rain. It didn't take long. I found a beautiful dime bright hen that was all too eager to come to the fly. A sure sign that even with low and clear conditions the steelhead are making their first push on the coast. 

We ended the day with Colton finding two nice half pounders. The weather was beautiful and it was exciting to see a river transformed from what is usually a burly torrent of water to a gentle coastal stream. All in all it was a great day and the fishing did not disappoint.

Dry conditions continue but perhaps not for much longer. Wet weather is forecast on the coast early next week with some projections calling for half an inch of rain. While this isn't a significan amount it might be enough to coax a few fish to begin moving up river. Some of the smaller coastal systems have closed this week due to low flow restrictions, but there are still plenty of great options for wetting a line and hoping for the tight line grab of fresh chrome here on the North Coast!

See you on the water.  

 

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A beautiful bright wild hen on a clear day. Always amazed. Always grateful.
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Hope dies last on the coast. Every good cast can be the one
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New whip ready for action.
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Slow

Someone turned the faucet off on the North Coast. Sustained dry weather has all rivers running low and clearing fast, some more so than others. The salmon runs seem to be winding down as we move further into December. I fished on the Eel River last week and heard a report of some nice half pounders being caught. The main stem Eel is holding good color, along with the Van Duzen. 

The next forecasted rain for the area looks like it will be here by the weekend, with more rain projected into the following week. The first runs of winter steelhead are due to make an appearance at any time, and with some wet stuff on the way fishing should pick up.

For low flow fishing closures on the North Coast call: (707) 822-3164  

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Prawn flies and clickers. Hard to beat the classics
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End of the day on the coast
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Salmon runs have come to their end. Steelhead on tap
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Good

The rains that were forecast to show up came and delivered. All systems on California's North Coast saw significant rises over the weekend and the roller coaster continues with more wet weather on tap. With so many variables in weather and flows finding the perfect conditions can be fleeting. 

You can study graphs and projected rises compared to rainfall percentages until the cows come home. Your best bet is to get out when you can and forget the forecast. The fishing has been amazing at times, and slow during others, but for swinging flies that's par for the course. All it takes is one. 

I'm looking forward to transitioning into winter steelhead in the coming weeks. They're already starting to show up on the coast with the runs of salmon. Usually Thanksgiving is the unofficial start of the season, and with this next big push of rain it looks like it'll start off with a bang! 

 

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A freshly minted coastal king.
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Chris with the prize.
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Colton with a chromed out king
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Sometimes it really is that simple. Pink or Chartreuse?
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A beautiful hen on the coast.
View All Reports by Drew Griffith    |    View Drew Griffith's Calendar    |    View All North Coast Reports

Rain is on tap for the North Coast. This looks to be the biggest rise of the fall season to date, and with it will come a push of fresh fish from the salt. All rivers from the Eel to the south to the Smith in the north have projected rises varying in degree from 1 foot to 3 plus. Batten down the hatches and break out the vice. Kings are coming to a coastal river near you. 

The Trinity should also receive a fresh pulse of fish with the rain we have in store. The lower river has been somewhat of a desert with most fish concentrated in the upper and middle stretches. 

 Happy hunting

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The prize
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Chartreuse is hard to beat when it comes to targeting fresh Kings.
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