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North Coast: , by Drew Griffith: Slow beginnings, another rise on tap: 2 stars

We can officially say we are at the beginning of another winter steelhead season here in Northern California. With a series of moderate rain events and healthy rises under our belt the coastal rivers have all been in decent shape throughout the past two week period, but the steelhead have been characteristically hard to come by. I fished on the Smith river one week ago with Cory Robertson from the bay area. We squeeked into fishable conditions by the skin of our teeth and began the day with the river dropping from the top of 12' falling from where it had crested at 16.5' the prior afternoon. Conditions were ideal for swinging; marginal visibility and high cfs forcing fish to take the inside lanes. Cory had never cast a spey rod before this trip, but he was a quick study, getting dialed into his double spey to the point of being able to send out forty feet of running line by the time we were finished in the first run of the day. We pushed our luck in that first run and managed to beat the rain but by the time we stopped again to fish we were in for it. We ended the day with our Gor-Tex soaked through taking one last look back at the river which now had fallen to around 11.5' and had cleared significantly throughout the day. We didn't find one, but it was rewarding enough to have taught Cory how to cast and fish a spey rod with confidence. 

 

Looking ahead things are lining up to bring us into the next decade with favorable river conditions on the North Coast. A steady rain is falling on the gutters as I type this report and should continue for most of tomorrow. Everything from the SF Eel to the Smith is on the rise once more. As we draw closer to the end of the month we should see the first big push of winter fish come into their home rivers to spawn. It looks like after this system moves through things will quiet down for the holiday week giving the rivers the needed time to drop and clear up enough to be fishable. The Smith will probably stay fishable throughout this rain event. Look for the SF Eel to come online sometime midweek and the MS Eel to be a player by late next week at the earliest. For everyone who has been biding their time waiting for ideal conditions to take shape on the coast your wait is nearly over. Merry Christmas! 

Cory waiting for that steel handshake
Cory waiting for that steel handshake
Standard winter steelhead swing thing
Standard winter steelhead swing thing
Eel River projection
Eel River projection
Smith River Projection
Smith River Projection
Shiny and chrome
Shiny and chrome
Next 10 open days for Drew Griffith: Nov 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14
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