Storms last week and over the river brought flows up on the Smith, Chetco and Rogue Rivers early this week and all three have yielded some pretty good fishing throughout the week. The big news, however, came as the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced the opening of the recreational crab season this week following two straight clean tests.

On the ocean

The crab season is now open out of Crescent City and recreational crabbers have had an opportunity to throw their pots all week. It has been fairly slow in the early going however, with few crab wondering into pots throughout the week. The crab that have been hauled in are fairly large and filled with meat however. Sportcrabbers saw competition for Dungeness crab increase on Friday as the commercial fleet was finally allowed to start pulling pots.

Up in Oregon, the commercial crabbers will be allowed to start pulling pots starting Feb. 1. Recreational crabbers will still have to wait until two tests in a row for domoic acid come back clean.

In the meantime, Oregon sportfishermen are still able to target bottomfish, but the weather has made the fishing difficult. Andy Martin of Wild River Fishing said a few boats went out on Thursday, but struggled to catch much as they were forced to stay close to shore due to the weather, while also dealing with lots of fresh water coming out of the Chetco River.

River fishing

Steelhead fishing has produced some catches on the Smith, Chetco and Rogue rivers this week, but the best river fishing has been on the Rogue River. Martin said angles have been hauling in between six and eight steelhead per day between wild and hatchery fish. The river is still running high, however, and will likely only get better as it continues to round into shape.

Steelhead fishing started out pretty strong on the Smith River at the beginning of the week after big storms sent the rivers on the rise, but by the end of the week the Smith was running fairly low and clear. Jim Mitchell of Gotcha Hooked Fish trips said the steelhead were biting on Wednesday with about four or five steelhead per dift boat, but the number of catches have waned each successive day since with about one or two fish per boat on Friday. Although there are still steelhead in the river the Smith will likely need a little bit more rain for the fishing to pick back up.

On the Chetco River Martin said anglers had a great day on Thursday and Friday morning started out the same way. That changed about midday on Friday when a slide below Redwood Creek has dumped a lot of debris into the river. Martin said the slide may continue to make fishing difficult over the weekend, especially since the Chetco River is still running fairly high.