Eel Drifts? - Spey Pages
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Old 01-15-2019, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
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Eel Drifts?

Hey All. I am looking for some drifting advice for the Eel. Both the South Fork and the Main Stem. I am really hoping we get a window after this set of storms roll through. I need to get out! My buddy and I have always walked and waded but, this year we are bringing the drift boat. From a little research on Google Earth and from the map on the Humboldt Fish page, I have an idea for put-ins/take-outs but I am curious as to what “typical” drifts are. There is only so much you can learn from the computer. Plus, it isn‘t uncommon for us to fish too long in one spot or two and in the end find ourselves racing daylight! So, any ideas on how long from P.I. to T.O. would be helpful(given ideal steelhead flows). I was also curious about that low water bridge in Holmes, is there a go around or, is it a drag your boat around it type deal. Also, please correct me if I am wrong, the main stem from the forks down seems fairly tame and other than that bridge, it seems pretty straight forward(again, one can only glean so much from google maps). The South Fork seems a little more serious in spots and any tips on this fork would be appreciated.


All the best and tight lines!

Jay
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Old 01-15-2019, 12:50 PM
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PM on the way.
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Old 01-21-2019, 03:51 AM
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Put in at boat ramp in rio dell and take out at east ferry .
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Old 01-21-2019, 12:54 PM Thread Starter
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Put in at boat ramp in rio dell and take out at east ferry .
Thank you Scintillate. We are thinking of heading up Friday night and fishing through Tuesday. I doubt the main stem will be in shape in that window. Hoping we might be able to hit the S. Fork towards the end of the trip.

Anyone have any Mattole tips? Best drifts to access swinging waters? How is the drive from Fortuna to Petrolia?
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Old 01-21-2019, 01:49 PM
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put your time in...

pick up a Streamtime map at most shops and explore. That's the most fun. It's all about the adventure.
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Old 01-21-2019, 02:19 PM
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I think there is a low bridge in benbow to watch out for.

The road to Mattole is sketchy to say the least.

Definitely should watch "Murder Mountain" on Netflix before you drive out into them there hills!!

make sure you keep your ears open if you hear the dueling banjos start playing don't get out of the boat.

locals weren't to friendly last time I was out there and I have lived up here for 20years

Actually got stopped by a local in full waders with rod in hand and was asked if I was there to rip off his weed plants!
......soo just a little bit of a paranoid bunch. stay on your toes.
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Old 01-21-2019, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
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pick up a Streamtime map at most shops and explore. That's the most fun. It's all about the adventure.
Already have!
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Old 01-23-2019, 01:48 PM Thread Starter
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Hey All,

We haven't given up hope yet for this weekend.... I know flows are still a little high still but, they are dropping! Dropping being the key word here.... Fish the drop!

So, we have come down to two options and haven't really decided which yet. Plan A is to head to the Smith and fish it Saturday through Tuesday. I am sure it will be pretty quiet up there this weekend. Wink wink. Plan B is to head to the ol reliable Trinity. Fish it over the weekend and then on Monday morning head over to the S. Fork Eel, if conditions warrant. Assuming no major slides, Monday may be just about perfect for SF Eel...

Neither of us have fished The Smith before so that will be a new experience. We definitely have tempered expectations.... Anyone have an idea as to what the ideal flow range is for swinging on The Smith is? Do we stick to the main stem for swinging or are there good spots further up above the forks?
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Old 01-24-2019, 11:08 AM
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Swinging up a Smith River steelhead is on my short list. I love that river but it can be a bit pushy if the levels are a high... . As far as location, the Streamtime map offers clues on where to scope the water but the river has changed a bit since publishing, notably the South fork.

Get out there while its dropping! Let us know how you do!!
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Old 01-25-2019, 03:00 PM Thread Starter
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So, we have decided to go with plan B. We had to cut our trip from 4 days to 3. From the South Bay Area the Smith is just too long a drive for 2.5 days of fishing.... especially for my buddy heading up from Santa Barbara(gotta suck being a steelheader all the way down there!). We're staying in Lewiston around Bucktail. Probably will fish below J.C. Maybe do the D.C. to J.C. float. Any hazards in the canyon to be aware of?

We are fishing through Monday, if any of you are up there and come across a white and blue Hyde XL Low Pro say hi. We can swap lies and beers!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/163473...7698301176565/



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Old 01-25-2019, 04:45 PM
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Man - killin me. All places on my list...
Let us know how it plays out!


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Get out and make a cast - it does wonders for the soul.
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Old 01-25-2019, 06:33 PM
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Man, I'm glad I stumbled across this thread. This is my neck of the woods and I had no idea about the Streamtime maps.

Keep on Chooglin'
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Old 01-30-2019, 01:17 PM Thread Starter
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Man, I'm glad I stumbled across this thread. This is my neck of the woods and I had no idea about the Streamtime maps.
The maps are good but, dated! I like them for access points. But as we all know, rivers change, so the fishing info can be off! They also seem to be more "gear" driven than "fly" driven. Just my $0.02....
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Old 01-30-2019, 02:41 PM
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The maps are good but, dated! I like them for access points. But as we all know, rivers change, so the fishing info can be off! They also seem to be more "gear" driven than "fly" driven. Just my $0.02....
Just knowing where the access points to some of these rivers is good enough for me. Driving along some of these rivers for miles and miles looking for a spot makes me feel like Clark Griswold in European Vacation - "I just can't get left!"
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Keep on Chooglin'
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Old 01-31-2019, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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So, we made it up to the Trinity late Friday night and fished through Monday. We fished mostly the J.C. area. It wasn't great fishing but it wasn't bad either. Saturday we were one of 4 or 5 boats drifting from Evans Bar or Sky Ranch down. Thankfully, once we passed the anchored-up gear guys, we were pretty much the lead boat. We did get a couple on Saturday morning nymphing but, it ended up being a short drift. I unfortunately decided to take a swim and ended up with at least a couple of gallons of water in my waders... I did get to fight one steelie though, while butt naked! My buddy was hooked up again while I was wringing out my long-johns and said he needed help! C’mon! So, he hands me his rod and grabs the net out of the boat. Fish went on two runs while I am standing there in all my glory! I was expecting the floatilla to arrive any second! Thankfully, Adam was the only one to have to witness that. We finally landed it and got down the river to the take out around 1:00 and went back to the cabin in Lewiston and finished our day up there. Sunday we floated from JC Camp to Bahgdad. Adam picked up two more nymphing and I got a nice brownie on the swing just before taking another dip. I did the ol slow motion sit down! Thankfully I had a dry bag in the boat for just such emergencies…. It just wasn’t my weekend for wading thankfully, the temperatures were mild. It definitely could’ve been a lot worse! Monday was our last day and we fished up in the Lewi area, Bucktail to Steelbridge. Tough day for me, not even a touch, Adam landed three more with the last one taping out at 24”. All of the fish were wild and released to go on and do their business! Definitely not best weekend of fishing but, it beat not fishing! And, from talking with others, it seems we did better than most. We didn’t hear a report in three days of anyone having more than one fish to the boat. And, we didn’t see a lot of auxiliary action either, no runners or risers. The only fish we saw in three days were at the end of our line.

Doesn't look like the Eel is going to be fishable for a while again. Other than today and maybe tomorrow.....
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