Big storms and lots of rain have ruled the last week on the Wild Rivers Coast, largely keeping ocean anglers off the ocean throughout the week. All the rain has sent rivers back on the rise after a couple days of fishing last weekend, and steelhead are reportedly pouring into local rivers.

River fishing

Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing said steelhead fishing on the Chetco River was great last weekend, after a couple days break from storms. He said his boat hauled in five fish Saturday before the river blew out Monday. The Chetco River was pretty high for the rest of the week, even for plunkers targeting steelhead from shore.

On the Smith River, the weekend was a little bit slower, though there were definitely steelhead in the river and several bites and catches reported.

The rain kicking off last Sunday seemed to be just what the Smith River steelhead needed, however. While still a little on the high side for drift boats, anglers plunking from shore reported perhaps the best week of steelhead fishing on the Smith River yet this season.

Martin said the Smith River will likely be back in good shape for drift boats by Monday, while the Chetco River will probably be close behind and draftable by Tuesday.

On the ocean

All the storms on the West Coast have made for a choppy ocean in Northern California and Southern Oregon over the past couple weeks.

Martin said there haven’t been many anglers out in search of bottomfish in the past seven days. Meanwhile, Oregon anglers hoping to kick off the crabbing season got some bad news last week with the announcement that domoic acid levels in the crab out of Southern Oregon was still too high to open the season. Another test will be conducted Monday.

Down in California, recreational crabbers have been hauling in limits for more than a month ever since its season opened.

Although the waves and swells in Northern California made it difficult to drop pots this week, Cpt. Jim Mitchell of Gotcha Hooked Fish Trips said he was able to get quite a few crab fairly quickly.

Sport crabbers have been able to easily fill their pots all season, and Mitchell said Dungeness crab are starting to fill out nicely, which has been the main complaint about the crab so far this year.

Fishing contacts: Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing at 206-388-8988; Englund Marine Supply Company at 464-32306; Jim Mitchell of Gotcha Hooked Fish Trips at 464-8482.

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