YeeeHah!Smith River Permit

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by NIrodneck, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. Just found out got a float permit for the Smith launch Jun 13th. Always a crap shoot when to put in,even more to recieve one!
    Bill Aubrey and Brett Angel like this.
  2. That's a great date if the flows hold up. Go for the float primarily and put fish catching down the list. That's not to say the fishing will suck, it's only to say the great scenery is a given, the fish depends on too many to count variables.

    Kent Lufkin likes this.
  3. Good for you, denied. I suppose after being invited on someone else's permit last year, they track those names to see who actually floats, and denies them if chosen for their own permit, at least that's what my cynical thoughts are telling me...

    Great trip!
    Alex MacDonald likes this.
  4. Don't despair, Greg. I also kept my record intact, unfortunately. I'm hoping my buddy scored. If not, we will try to get a last minute one. Damn! If I ever score one, I'll PM you.
  5. Crying in my virtual beer almost made me forget to congratulate the lucky drawee.
    Alex MacDonald and Derek Young like this.
  6. We've got a June 19 launch, can't believe it. I've been on quite a few April trips, but this will be a first for the "prime" time. Anyone ever caught the Brown Drake hatch in there? Suppose I should be prepared, any suggestions?


  7. Mid June should be a mixed bag of hatches from a few goldens to PMDs to Caddis. It won't be the same from put in to take out so show up with a variety of attractors, terrestrials, nymphs, and the 4 order patterns, plus SJWs, and buggers. There are a lot of Sculpins in the Smith and some monster browns.
  8. Skookum! Those are not easy to get. Take lots of pictures...we will be expecting a prompt, complete report.
  9. Thanks MT Trapper for the tips, its always been a junk box/streamer trip for me, looking forward to the potential of dry fly fishing.
  10. Congrats...just go.

    I missed doing a "working trip" in 1978. It is one of the regrets in my life.
  11. One of my favorite Smith River campsites - Lower Givens.


    It makes for a really great last night on the river campsite. The only downside is the last half of the last day of the 60 miles float is always such a let down. As you leave the canyon and return to civilization it's a bit on the depressing side.

    Alex MacDonald and Bill Aubrey like this.
  12. First year putting in for a permit, and I drew 7/7/13. We did an outfitter trip in 2011 the same week, and it was still high/off color and just becoming fishable. We still did really well. Has anyone fished the Smith in early July during a more typical year?

    Beautiful picture of Givens, will try to score that one this year. I've attempted to add of photo of Lower Rattlesnake, where we camped the last night of the 2011 trip.

    Attached Files:

  13. I guided the Smith for several years and I have no idea what a typical year is any more. It's all about flows, which are all about snow pack, which is all about climate.

    If we have a warmer than average winter, late winter, or early spring, or if we get <avg precip, it translates into low snow pack which means you'll likely be dragging your raft down parts of the river, but especially above Tenderfoot.

    This latest drought has been ongoing since the late 1990s except for a few anomalies like 2011. Since the late 1990s our winters are nothing like they used to be. The sub zero 2 - 3 week stretches and minus 20 to minus 30 nights are just a memory. This translates to low snowpack because it melts off in late winter or early Spring. That frozen reservoir of ice and snow isn't there until late June like it used to be.

    If I were a betting man, I'd bet that this year the flows in early July will make for a tough float. Pack light, spread your group out into more boats, and don't even think about using a hard sided boat.

    But, keep a close eye on this website:

    If the snowpack stays near the >120% Avg range until late April and the weather stays <Avg highs, your chances of decent flows goes way up.

  14. I have fished that river quite a bit. Try super big when it's dark.

    Go Sox,
  15. Anybody with a permit need an extra body? I would promise to behave.;)
  16. Awesome picture, Trapper.
  17. Here's a few more Smith River photos.

    Most of my time on the Smith I had oars or a spatula in my hands. Rarely a camera. The one trip I did where I was free to shoot photos, the water was high and off color and the weather was crap, so the photos are pretty so-so. But, if you are interested in what the river looks like, these should help out a bit.


    When I guided we set up a wall tent and 5-man tents for every two anglers. This camp site is Canyon Depth. It's really a great site. Most of the campsites are set up for Upper, Middle, and Lower, so you have others fairly close. Canyon Depth is a single site.


    Rock Garden


    Much of the float is through a limestone canyon. Some places the top of the rim is ~ 1000 ft above you.


    The campsites have fire rings and most are treed. You'll need to bring your own firewood though.


    This is very high water and the fishing suffers. It was also raining. I've been on this river when it was near 100 F and as low as single digits and snowing. I remember one trip where we launched on June 9th and got 15" of snow on the 10th with a high in the teens.

    Be prepared, there's no place to find refuge if you aren't.

  18. Trapper-Are there any campsites you don't like? I went through my Smith River journal and have only been truly disappointed by one site.
  19. The photo's are just sinister!!
  20. About the only one I can think of I really didn't like was County Line.

    There are some I've never stayed at though. When I guided, the outfitter would send two freighters a day ahead of the launch to get the gear boats set up, loaded, and ready to go. They were mostly college guys. One of them would be standing by the Ranger's cabin when the Ranger arrived, so got first shot at campsites. Unless the freighters got drunk or fell in love with one of the other campers there and missed the early morning alarm, we used the same campsites over and over. Canyon Depth, Upper and Lower Givens were my favorites, but most of them were pretty nice.

    Every year since 2005, the outfitter I worked for, Mike Geary of Lewis & Clark Expeditions, takes a group of wounded soldiers on a 5-day Smith River trip. One year, I think it was 2007, a documentary film crew went with us. If you're interested, here is the film.

    Alex MacDonald likes this.

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