River Fishing Report 2/28/2015


As expected, the light rains toward the end of this week had little effect on river flows and conditions. Judging from the lack of precipitation in this week’s forecast, flows will likely continue to drop. Steelhead will probably be easily spooked, so be prepared to get your stalk on.

Reports from all the North Coast rivers are indicating slow action. The Mad River in particular has seen a big drop in the bite, while the upper Klamath is producing a few more fish and looks promising. On a positive note, fishing pressure has been low, so this might be the week to find a stretch of water with some elbow room.

For up-to-date information on flows, see the  River Flow page.


Fly fishing– Golden Stone Rubber Legs, Copper Johns, Brindle Bugs, Burlap Specials and Silver Hiltons. For nymphing, use a Black Rubber Legs or Golden Stone Rubber legs with a Copper John under it.

Other- Little Cleo’s (blue, silver, maroon, copper), Kwikfish, Spinners #3- #5’s (blue, silver or copper blade with an orange, blue, pink or chartreuse body) and Spin-n-glo.

Bait- Roe or night crawlers with a puff ball in front of your worm to float off of the bottom.


CDFW reminds anglers that their steelhead, abalone and salmon report card were due in January.

This season, the California ocean salmon sport fishery is scheduled to open on or after April 4, 2015.

PSMFC currently anticipates commercial salmon fisheries will open on or after May 1, 2015 depending on port location.

Although the final season won’t be established by the Pacific Fishery Management Council and the Fish and Game Commission until early April.

See Regulations page for more.

Low Flow River Closures

All coastal rivers are flowing!

CDFW shall make information available to the public by a telephone recorded message updated, as necessary, no later than 1:00 p.m. each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday as to whether any stream will be open or closed to fishing. It shall be the responsibility of the angler to use the telephone number (707) 822-3164 designated in the sport fishing regulations booklet to obtain information on the status of any stream. See Low Flow Restrictions page for more information.

River Fishing Report

Chetco River

The Chetco River continues to run low and clear with no new reports to date. Results of The Rowdy Creek Fish Hatchery derby held on Friday and Saturday should be posted soon.  Clear water will make the steelhead spook if disturbed.

See Chetco River flows.

Smith River

The Smith River has been clear with numbers of steelhead hooked dropping.

The Smith River flow has fallen to approximately 2,000 cfs (7.1 ft) and the downward trend is expected to continue.

Klamath River (Lower)

No current steelhead reports available.

Lower Klamath River flow is about 11,800 cfs (12 ft) and projected to slowly decline.

Klamath River (Mid)

No current reports available.

The Klamath River flow at Orleans is about 5,000 cfs (5.8 ft) and projected to slowly decline.

Mad River 

The Mad River continues to run clear up the number of steelhead reported declining. Current flows are at 800 cfs (6.8 ft) and projected to slowly decline. See Mad River flows for up-to-date data.

Trinity River

The bite on the Trinity has been slow, with a few wild adults reported and the half-pounders are still coming in as well as a few browns. Flows are low and the water is extremely clear.

The Trinity River Hatchery trapping summary (Feb 5-11) showed little increases in steelhead with:

Total combined Chinook has remained at 0 since December 17, 2014.

Total combined Steelhead slightly increased from 91 to 93..

Anglers may keep track of the status of open and closed sections of the Klamath and Trinity rivers by calling 1 (800) 564-6479.

Eel River  

The Eel is still producing some steelhead, despite low flows and clear conditions.

The main stem and south fork Eel River have been turbid and are starting to clear. Reports are that Scotia will be fair this weekend, while the South Fork Eel is in good condition.

With no substantial rainfall in the near  forecast, flow is expected to continue to slowly decline. As of this writing, the Eel River flow is 2,970 cfs (12 ft) at Scotia. The south fork Eel near Miranda is about 752 cfs (8.4 ft) and slowly declining.

Van Duzen River

Very low flows and high visibility are making things tough for steelhead anglers.

The current Van Duzen River flow is about 200 cfs (1.1 ft)  and slowly declining, so low flow closure (150 cfs minimum may be just around the corner.

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