Fish On… Within The Smith River National Recreation Area

Fish On… Within The Smith River National Recreation Area


[ Music ] [ Background Sounds ] [ Music ]>>[Background Music] You know
this is the real this world. This world is home to world-class
steelhead fishing. This world is both home and birthplace to
countless fish that travel incredible journeys. And this world is home to a
magnificent natural free-flowing river, the largest wild and scenic
river in the country. This is a Smith River National Recreation Area. Location? Well, it’s all located up
in the northwest corner of California. The thrill, the excitement and
the challenge of both catch and just plain watching large fish have drawn
people like myself to the Smith River for years. I’ve been coming here since I was oh,
knee high to a grasshopper I guess. An easy access provides some of the best
fishing holes we found anywhere with quite a few of them not much more than a stone’s throw from this boat launch just
light off the South Fort Road. To reach many of the special areas of the
Smith, Highway 199 provides lots of access areas to the river as it winds its way along
the Middle Fork, and this whole stretch is so beautiful and extraordinary that the Forest
Service has designated it as a scenic byway, and this is the main travel route right through
the Smith River National Recreation Area. And this is a mighty big area,
305,000 acres to be exact. I know this figure may not mean a whole
lot, but just try to imagine a fishing river such as this running through an area
about half the size of Rhode Island. Believe me, that’s a lot of river to walk. Besides the good-natured anglers you come
across every so often along the river, it seems that more and more you bump
into somebody just plain fish watching; it seems to be popular nowadays just like catch
and release with today’s environmental concerns, and what people are watching
are phases of the life cycle. Both steelhead and salmon begin
their whole life cycle right here. Try, but our young fish which have
hatched from eggs travel downstream and eventually enter the ocean,
and they grow to maturity. Incredibly, they find the mouth to their
native river and use great strength to travel back upstream to their birthplace. Here the surviving female uses her last reserve
of energy to prepare a gravel nest for her eggs. After the eggs are fertilized, this adult
salmon will die leaving a new generation to repeat this cycle. Steelhead can repeat the ocean to scream
journey as many as three or even four times. One of the real uplifting
joys of walking the river and just wetting the line is
to stop and look around you. With the rains and all the other weather
year round, things are changing every day. That’s right, every single day the river and
streams are constantly adding more features. And with fresh new water
them steelhead start running. [ Foreign Language Spoken ] For thousands of years the Tolowa Indians along
here have used the fish as a staple of life. Salmon could not be caught until the salmon
ceremony was completely in Yontocket. With their traditional homeland of
villages along the banks of the Smith, they still today care for and
give thanks for this resource. The Tolowa Indian people call
such a beautiful location on the Smith River Hiouchi,
meaning up well in river stream. The river today is still as
crystal clear and pristine as it ever was, even way back in the old days. At times, it’s a real challenge to keep
it this way and maintain our fishery; that’s where the Forest Service comes in. They not only protect, but even more important
they provide fisheries restoration enhancement programs; it’s a vital step in
maintaining the quality of outdoor life. The Forest Service at the Smith
River National Recreation Area works from the river’s origin all
the way down to the ocean. They conduct restoration projects along the
river way such as re-vegetating slide areas and creating areas where the fish can rest
and spawn, and taking and keeping track of how many fish are in certain places,
and what the conditions are like. Come on through and experience our corner of
the world, it’s sure unique and special to us. You won’t see it any other place. Experience it and be a part of it. To experience top-notch fishing
and make new friends, contact the Smith River National Recreation
Area Visitor Information Center in Gasquet. We’re located along Highway 199 at
just about the North Middle Fork. And this scenic Highway 199 by-way connects
and goes directly across from major Highway 101 at Crescent City to major
Interstate 5 at Grants Pass, Oregon. We’re eight hours north from San Francisco,
and six hours south from Portland. Come on by; it’s worth the trip. [ Music ]

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