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Steelhead spread throughout Chetco

Western Outdoor News
Published: Jan 03, 2018
BROOKINGS, Ore. — Steelhead are spread throughout the Chetco River, but low, clear conditions made fishing tough most of last week. Each time the river rises after rain falls, fishing has perked up for a few days.

ANDREW AND ANTHONY Zinselmeir of McKinleyville hold a pair of hatchery half pounder steelhead caught Dec. 28 on the Chetco River while fishing with guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. The Chetco has had big numbers of halfpounders this season. 

"When the river has been in good shape, the steelhead fishing has been good," said guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. "We have been catching one to three adult steelhead a day whenever the flows are above 2,000 cfs. When it gets under 2,000 cfs, we have been catching halfpounders and getting one or two chances a day at an adult steelhead."

Don Williams of Brookings caught a 12-pound steelhead with Martin last week, while Skip Eckle of Monterey caught a 10-pound steelhead.

"We have been drifting roe with pink or orange Puffballs," Martin said. "There are decent numbers of hatchery steelhead in the lower Chetco, and some bigger wild fish up high. There also are a ton of halfpounders. Some days we are catching close to a dozen halfpounders between 16 and 20 inches."

January and February are the peak season for steelhead on the Chetco. Martin said fishing should be good as rains bring fresh steelhead into the river.

"December is still early in the season, and fishing has been decent in December, so the peak season should be good," Martin said.

Although no fresh salmon have been reported in recent weeks, Martin said there are still plenty of dark salmon ready to spawn in the upper river. Some holes have a few dozen kings staging until they spawn. Carcasses from spawned out salmon are also abundant in the upper river.


CHETCO PAIR — Skip Eckle of Monterey and Don Williams of Brookings, Ore., hold a pair of steelhead caught Dec. 22 while fishing the Chetco River with guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. The steelhead were caught side-drifting roe.


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