The lack of rain over the past couple weeks has essentially brought an end to what was one of the best salmon seasons in recent memory. The ocean fishing through our sister company on our Trinidad based charter boat "Fishy Business" was nothing short of spectacular for most of July and August. Most days I had limits of fat kings in the box by 11 am and we were moving on to look for halibut. The Trinity and Klamath had big numbers of salmon pushing in by the end of August and fishing was red hot through the middle of November. Double digit days became the norm and the jacks were so thick on the Klamath I found myself trying to get away from them at times to get through to the bigger fish. The Smith River didn't fish as well as it did last year but I think that was more a function of the dry weather making conditions tough. Sonar counts in the lower river showed very similar numbers to the year before but with the low water they were a bit tougher to entice. Regardless, there were still some great days and the size of the fish on this river is really what makes this place so special.
With all the negative press regarding salmon runs in recent years it's nice to see such a positive trend. The numbers of juvenile fish in the ocean this year and the number of jacks on the Klamath and Trinity both point towards next year being another fantastic season. While I know it seems really early to start thinking about fall dates, September and October are selling out faster and faster each year as people quickly become regulars after getting a taste of these great rivers. About half my dates are already locked down so if you'd like to get a prime slot it doesn't hurt to book well in advance. Last year the bookings caught me off guard and I felt bad when so many of my regulars couldn't get the dates they wanted.
While a few more salmon may trickle into our rivers on the next rain, it's doubtful the numbers will be significant. I'm breaking down my kwickfish and back-bounce rods and getting ready for the first big push of winter steelhead that will surely be riding in on the next rain. There are already scattered reports from the Eel, Trinity and Smith with the peak of the season being January and February. I've still got some available dates for both months so let me know if you'd like to break the winter doldrums by getting out on the river. We'll be fishing the Smith, Chetco, Elk, Sixes, Trinity, Mad, Eel and Van Duzen rivers.
In closing I'd like to thank all the familiar faces and new friends that continue to make each year busier than the one before. I hope the holidays are great to you all and I'm looking forward to fishing with you all again in the new year.