Klamath River            Smith/Chetco Rivers         Sacramento River      Feather River

Smith River Fishing &
Chetco River Fishing


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The Smith River is definitely the fishing jewel of all California rivers. Located just below the Oregon State border, it meanders along state route 199 through the Siskiyou national forest on its way to the Pacific Ocean. It is known for its swift crystal clear aqua waters, scenic towering redwood trees, majestic steep canyons, and of course its enormous strain of salmon and steelhead. This river, like most of the smaller coastal rivers, is fished from a drift boat and is dependent on river flows brought on by the beginning of the fall/winter rains that normally begin in November/December. The run of Salmon begins to show in the river by mid to late October and are usually spawned out by early January. These fish normally average between eighteen to twenty-five pounds, however each year forty and fifty-pound fish have been caught. In 1988, the California State’s second largest king salmon was caught on the Smith, weighing in at sixty-eight pounds. Salmon fishing in the Smith River begins with Ken Cunningham's Guide Service.

The steelhead on the Smith River is a very special species, whose large size and elusive qualities attract fishermen from all over the world. The Smith holds the California State record at twenty-seven pounds four ounces, which was caught in 1976. Each year, usually during the month of January, several steelhead are caught in the twenty pound plus class, but due to the quantity of fish in the annual run, many fishermen return home either empty handed or talking about the trophy that got away. These fish are, like I stated above, very elusive and when hook are a challenge to land. Either way a drift boat trip down the Smith River is very serene and Godly.

Much like the Smith River, the Chetco River is packed with fish. The population of salmon and trout is very large due to the high quality water it contains offering fisherman some of the best salmon and trout fishing in the country. It has remained relatively untouched since the 1850's when the Gold Rush drove visitors into the area because of the mountainous region.



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