The Mad river is located 15 miles north of Eureka in Humboldt county. It originates at Ruth Lake about 100 miles to the southeast. The species of the Mad include steelhead, king and silver salmon, and resident trout. The Mad has become known for its excellent winter steelhead, due in large part to the operation of the Mad River Fish Hatchery. The hatchery is also working to improve the chinook runs on the river. This past season saw an excellent return of Kings on the river. The hatchery is located about one mile southeast of the town of Blue Lake on the south side of the river. You can visit and see steelhead and chinook fry and smolts that will be introduced back into the river.
The best fishing on the Mad lies from the hatchery to the mouth. This area provides good access for waders and bank fishermen. The area above the hatchery has limited access due to private property and few roads, however some good areas can be accessed by wading upstream. This area offers a chance at some wild Mad River Steelhead.