Smith River California

Crescent City, California

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1 Review
4 out of 5
Premier chinook fishery, also known for great steelhead, but upper reaches are difficult to access. Rising in the Siskiyou Mountains, a finger of the Coast Range, the Smith River is California’s longest undammed river. Its drainage covers more than 325 miles, though only the lower reaches—the 15 miles or so from the estuary to the junction of the Smith’s Middle and South Forks, and about 15 miles up each of those forks—are considered prime fisheries. The river sees some of the finest runs of chinook salmon and steelhead (state records for both came from the Smith) in the country, and it’s also home to cutthroat, some of which reside in the river year-round while others run to salt. Once heavily logged, most of the watershed is made up of parks: The Smith River National Recreation Area to the north, Six Rivers National Forest to the south, and the Jedediah Smith and Del Norte State Parks in between. Magnificent redwoods, sitka spruce, giant rose-bay rhododendron, and lush ferns frame the rivers. Species: Chinook, steelhead, cutthroat. Angling methods: spin, bait, and fly-fishing.

Smith River (California) Professional Review and Guide

"Premier chinook fishery, also known for great steelhead, but upper reaches are difficult to access. Rising in the Siskiyou Mountains, a finger of the Coast Range, the Smith River is California’s longest undammed river. Its drainage covers more than 325 miles, though only the lower reaches—the 15 miles or so from the estuary to the junction of the Smith’s Middle and South Forks, and about 15 miles up each of those forks—are considered prime fisheries. The river sees some of the finest runs of chinook salmon and steelhead (state records for both came from the Smith) in the country, and it’s also home to cutthroat, some of which reside in the river year-round while others run to salt. Once heavily logged, most of the watershed is made up of parks: The Smith River National Recreation Area to the north, Six Rivers National Forest to the south, and the Jedediah Smith and Del Norte State Parks in between. Magnificent redwoods, sitka spruce, giant rose-bay rhododendron, and lush ferns frame the rivers. Species: Chinook, steelhead, cutthroat. Angling methods: spin, bait, and fly-fishing."

Activity Type: Fly-Fishing
Nearby City: Crescent City
Access: Moderate to Difficult
Season & Limits: October through March
Local Maps: Northern California DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer
Driving Directions: Directions to Smith River (California)

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May 2018