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Chetco River expected to return to prime shape for steelhead

Western Outdoor News

 Feb 02, 2018
BROOKINGS, Ore. — Blown out for much of January, the Chetco River in Oregon crested over the weekend and is now on a steady drop, setting up what are expected to be prime conditions for the first week of February.

"We got blown off the river a week ago Sunday, the 21st, and it has been blown out since," said guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. "There were quite a few fish around before it blew out." chetcorivermakes

THE CHETCO RIVER makes a great backdrop for Ella Pechan from Vanuatu Island in the South Pacific. She caught and released this beautiful steelhead while fishing with guide Steve Huber. His brother lost one at the boat. They used Lamiglas 711MTS rods, Owner hooks, a Diawa reel and P-line. With Nitro cured eggs and a Fish Pill.

The river hit 18,000 cfs last week, reaching the 12-foot mark on the gauge for the first time this season. The river was 5 feet the night before, but 4 inches of rain caused a rapid increase in flows.

On Sunday, the Chetco was down to 9,000 cfs and slowly dropping. It is expected to be down to 2,000 cfs this coming weekend.

During the high flows over the weekend, bank anglers plunking large Spin-N-Glos caught some fish at Social Security Bar and the gravel bar at Loeb State Park.

Martin said he expected the river to become fishable for drift boaters by Tuesday of this week. "We had some of the best fishing so far this season just before the last blow out," Martin said. "There should be a lot of fish spread throughout the system when the river drops back into shape. The lower river should be good for hatchery fish, and I would expect to see fresh steelhead as high as we can access the river."

During the higher flows in January, Martin said he was side-drifting with clusters of roe cured with Pautzke's natural BorXOFire and combining them with an orange Corkie.

"I like the Corkie instead of the Puff Ball because they are a little more visible in the higher flows and when the baby steelhead steal your bait you are still fishing if you use a Corky. There have been a lot of steelhead smolts in the river."

The long-range forecast at press time showed 10 days of sunny weather, something steelhead anglers have been waiting for all season.

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