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Fishing Reports by Drew Griffith

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The countdown is on for one last shot at a winter steelhead as we near the March 31st deadline. After that the Smith and Trinity Rivers will remain open. We had a brief window last week that saw almost all of our South County rivers come into play. I spent two hard days fishing the South Fork Eel with father and son team Tim and Dominic. We had everything you could hope for minus the fish. Great color, mild weather, and no pressure. Currently we're seeing another bout of wet weather that has everything turing brown, everything except for the Smith. These are some of the most enjoyable days to target these powerful sea run fish. Warm mild weather and light angling pressure make March a unequally special time to venture north in hopes of swining one up before the closing bell tolls. 

If you're curious about more in depth fishining info or looking to book a trip feel free to call. 602 717 0315.

Tight lines!

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Father and son duo Tim and Dominic Bruno swinging the S. Fork Eel
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Surveyor
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Fresh lilies usher in Spring
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Perfect color over the weekend with non existent pressure made for some relaxing days on the water
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A little recap from a recent trip I made to Pyramid Lake. I got to reconnect with two of my 2016 Confluence Outfitters Guide School alumni; Aaron Silverman and Robert Maldonado for an epic weekend of cutthroat fishing. Aaron is a Reno native and Pyramid Lake insider, providing Robert and I the good fortune of having our own personal guide for our fist time on the lake. Simply put, Pyramid is a strange place with strange fish. I'm hooked. We didn't rope in any monsters, but we all had a great time and each of us landed some nice fish. The only downside? Our brother Dylan Hartsell coudln't make it out! Next time. 
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Aaron braves the cold hoping for a tug
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Aaron with a specimen
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Battle ready. These fish are like nothing else
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Yours truly, getting bent
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Robert with a colored up buck. Post blizzard
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Back they go, to feed and grow.
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I fished the Smith earlier this week with a few friends and while none of us hooked up we were able to spot a few fish from the bank. It's getting to that point in the season where it can really pay off to focus on the upper river. Lot's of fish have made it in at this point and are queuing up to spawn. We even spied a few who were actively spawing and got to sit back and watch the show! The boat guys were doing well fishing the main stem below the forks with averages of 2-4 fish per boat. 

We all had our fingers crossed for a prolonged dry spell letting some of our other rivers come into play, but just like that another system is projected to sack the coast this weekend keeping everything high and muddy. The Smith looks to rise several feet over the weekend with another push early next week. It should fish well as it falls through the end of next week into the weekend. Early spring ushers in some of the most enjoyable days to be on the water here on the North Coast. Warm day time temps and the first blooms of the season make those dreary winter days feel like a distant memory. I have open dates for those who are looking for a late season shot at sea run chrome! 

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Manzanita blossoms. The first signs of Spring.
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Neil punches a cast on the upper Smith River
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Spey rods and dry bags taking a load off after another hard day of fishing
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Searching for signs of life
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Yesterday I had the opportunity to get a day of fishing in on the Smith River with fellow angler and friend Colton Schwenning. It's been a wild winter season to put it mildly. We've had an unprecendented amount of rain, leaving most coastal rivers completely blown out for weeks on end. The Smith, which can rise and drop within a 24 hour cycle, has become our saving grace for a chance to swing up the much coveted winter run steelhead. Yet that is no easy propostition, especially on the Smith. The river is notoriously challenging to fish. It guards its secrets well, and I'm not just talking about the fish. Half of the battle on this system is finding the right water for swinging flies. The Smith is an incredibly deep river and has some extreme hydrology. Having an assortment of heavy sinking tips to really get that fly down to where the fish are is paramount to success. What do I mean by heavy tips? I like 13.5 ft of T-17 for most of the runs I'll cover in a given day, but I've gone up to 15ft for when I really want to dig em out! 

Back to the other day. Bad weather was imminent. We could see the storm churning off the coast as we descended into Crescent City. We fished the lower river first, both hoping that after the recent rise and drop we might intercept a fresh push of fish coming out of the estuary. After an hour we decided to save ourselves the hassle of jockying for good water on the lower river and go above where the guide boats can access the river. The rain started coming down heavy and the temperature was falling rapidly, but the river was in perfect shape. It had fallen just below 12 feet at the Jedediah Smith park gauge and was holding color beautifully. Nothing can raise the spirits of a weary steelhead angler like the emerald glow of this river. We fished our way up the middle fork and lucked out on scoring a few choice runs to ourselves. Suddenly the rain turned to snow. It came down in big fluffy flakes through the canyon and soon it was hard to make out the ridgelines. We fished until our hands were frozen and we were soaked through and through. It had been a good day. 

You don't always find them, but it's the pursuit and anticipation that make this sport so special. It can take you to places that you would never find yourself in otherwise. Always in the back of your mind is the memory of the last time one grabbed and the hopes that some day you will find that big scary fish to remember for a lifetime.

I have open dates through March for guided steelhead trips on the coast. There is still lots of great fishing ahead!

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Colton firing another cast to the far bank on the Smith River.
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Braving the elements. Steelheading in winter is like working for the postal service. Rain or shine.
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A perfect Smith River hen. Fish like this are what its all about.
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Snow day on the Smith.
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