Phil's Smiling Salmon Guide Service

Immerse yourself into the spectacular scenery of the Smith River with Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service. One of California’s most plentiful rivers is a perfect place for your next fishing trip. Your guide, Phil Desautels, has been fishing the area for over 35 years. Each trip down the Smith River is just as special as the first one.

To make the most of this beautiful river, you don’t need a fast boat. The best way to catch fish is to slowly drift downriver, on a quiet, 18’ Willy drift boat. The captain will prepare everything you need for fishing, including rods and tackle for spinning, drifting, and fly fishing. He can also bring a cooler, just notify him in advance.

The Smith River has the largest Steelhead in California, with fish over 20 pounds caught every year. You’ll also find giant King Salmon with a few over 50 pounds being caught each season. Phil will show you the best techniques to catch them. This is the right time to get the hang of a new technique or teach your kids the fishing basics. It’s never too early to get them to love the outdoors!

Your fishing equipment is fully covered by the captain and you can keep the catch within regulations. Phil will also clean and fillet your catch, so you’ll have a tasty dinner to look forward to after the trip.

Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service will help you tangle lines with some seriously huge Steelhead and Chinook (King) Salmon! These trips are available year round, so join anytime.



Select date to see available trips and rates:

  • Private trip
    Full Day Trip - Salmon
    FREE Cancellation 7 days notice
    8 Hour Trip, starts at 6:00 AM
    Seasonal trip Sep 27 - Dec 14
    $450
    You'll meet the captain early in the morning and fish all day! There's nothing better than catching huge Chinook Salmon in these serene river. Capt. Phil will prepare everything you need for fishing but you need to bring food and drinks and prepare your fishing license.
  • Private trip
    Full Day Trip - Steelhead
    FREE Cancellation 7 days notice
    8 Hour Trip, starts at 6:00 AM
    Seasonal trip Dec 15 - Mar 31
    $450
    You'll meet the captain early in the morning and fish all day! There's nothing better than catching Steelhead in this serene river. Capt. Phil will prepare everything you need for fishing but you need to bring food and drinks and prepare your fishing license.
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About the Captain

Phil Desautels
Smith River, California, United States
6 Fishing Reports
ID & License verified
12 Customer Reviews
Response time 2 hours
Member since November 2018
Capt. Phil has been a river guide for over 35 years. Back in the day, when he was going to college, his friends had drift boats and were making money – he thought this was cool so he bought one himself, and found that doing so allowed him to pursue his passion, make some money, and introduce people of all ages and skill levels to the joy of angling. His favorite part of the job is being outside, exploring nature, and enjoying the smiles on the faces of his guests when they land their dream catch. Capt. Phil also takes part in a tournament each year. It's a big Steelhead derby, and all the money raised goes to a local hatchery.

About this listing

Targeted Species

Rainbow Trout (Steelhead) Rainbow Trout (Steelhead)
Salmon (Chinook) Salmon (Chinook)

Boat Specs

WILLY BOATS (Drift boat) originally built in 1994, and restored in 2018. Powered by a 1HP Two Stroke Armstrong engine.

Length
18 ft
Capacity
3 persons

Types of Fishing

River Fishing

Fishing Techniques

Light Tackle
Spinning
Jigging
Fly Fishing
Drift Fishing

Amenities

Fighting Chair
Ice Box
Fighting Chair
Ice Box

Trip Includes

Rods, reels & tackle
Lures
Catch cleaning & filleting

Cancellation Policy

Free cancellation up to 7 days prior to trip

Customers can cancel or modify their booking up to 7 days before the trip date free of charge. If the trip is canceled or modified later, or in the event of a no-show, 100% of the deposit will be charged.

Listing Policies

Pickup not included
Transfer to/from departure site is not included in trip rates.
Child Friendly
You Keep Catch
Catch and Release Allowed

Payment

Book with 15% deposit
When the captain confirms your trip, FishingBooker charges your credit card a 15% deposit to guarantee your reservation.
Pay remaining balance to captain
The remaining balance is to be paid directly to the charter operator on or prior to your trip date in one of the following payment methods:
Cash
Checks

Smith River Fishing Calendar

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Customer Reviews

Rating Summary
Photo by reviewers (1)
5.0
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
out of 5 stars from 1 review
Boat
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Crew
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Experience
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Fishing with Phil
Angler Rating
1
0
0
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Anglers Claimed
Good experience
100%
Friendly captain
100%
Recommend this charter
100%
Appropriate for children
0%
Satisfied with the boat
100%
Catch intended fish
100%
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1 review
Ryan B.
Weaverville, CA
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent  5.0
Experience:
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Boat
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Crew
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Overall

Fishing with Phil

VERIFIED   Full Day Trip - Steelhead on March 12, 2021
Phil is a well seasoned guide. He Knows steelhead n salmon fishing extremely well! Phil is good conversation n funny too. Seems...
Ryan B. recommends Phil's Smiling Salmon Guide Service
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Ryan B. recommends Phil's Smiling Salmon Guide Service
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FAQs about Phil's Smiling Salmon Guide Service

Phil's Smiling Salmon Guide Service offers the following trips to customers:
  • $225 per person - Full Day Trip - Salmon (8 hours)
  • $225 per person - Full Day Trip - Steelhead (8 hours)

When you book a trip with Phil's Smiling Salmon Guide Service , you can expect the following amenities onboard:
  • Fighting Chair (Yes but usually not needed)
  • Ice Box (An Ice Chest can be Provided with Notification)

Trips booked with Phil's Smiling Salmon Guide Service include:
  • Rods, reels & tackle
  • Lures
  • Catch cleaning & filleting (We will Clean or Fellet you catch.)

Phil's Smiling Salmon Guide Service offers the following type of fishing:
  • River Fishing (We Are Drift Fishing in the Redwoods.)

Phil's Smiling Salmon Guide Service offers the following fishing techniques:
  • Light Tackle (We are tackling big Fish on Light Gear )
  • Spinning (Casting Light Rods for Steelhead )
  • Jigging (Back Bouncing for Big King Salmon )
  • Fly Fishing (I am Scott Rods and Ross Reels Equipped)
  • Drift Fishing (Light Spinning Rods Drifting Bait for Steelhead )

Top targeted fish species with Phil's Smiling Salmon Guide Service include:
  • Rainbow Trout (Steelhead)
  • Salmon (Chinook)