Could this be the last big weekend for salmon fishing on the Smith? Word on the water is a fuzzy Yes (hey, it’s hard to get fisherman to commit!).
I was walking the bank this morning — with a guests Francisco and Michelle, and always-ready-for-a-walk Molly — and based on the chit-chat with a few guides drifting by the bnb it’s clear the salmon have mostly blown on through the lower river. Guides and bank fishermen alike are rigging for lighter-weight fish — either weaker salmon or smaller early-run steelhead.
Not that I’d make immediate haste to Hiouchi for steelies — it’s going to take a few more weeks for the larger steelhead to invade the Smith — but the changeover in runs is in process.
Today, conditions on the Smith were good-to-excellent with at least half a dozen guides putting in at the forks in Hiouchi. After about an inch and half of rain over the past 36 hours, the river was dropping from a high of 11 feet at the Jed Smith gauge to just under nine — very good conditions for either species.
And with storms on the way, NOAA is forecasting a spike in river height this coming Tuesday and Wednesday to over 14 feet, conditions for fishing are looking up. A dropping river starting Thursday and through the weekend bodes well for the last of the salmon.
Bottom line, if you like to hedge your bets and fish for two species for the price of one, now would be a good time to make that call to your favorite guide.
** The shot at the top of the story is local guide Sam Stover who broke current to swing by the bank this morning and say hi; the below is looking upriver to the forks in Hiouchi where the middle and south forks of the Smith join together.