The Chetco is one of Oregonís premier salmon and steelhead rivers, and our most popular fishery. It produces more kings over 50 pounds than any other river in Oregon, as well as some of the best winter steelhead fishingin the state.
The Rogue River is one of the few rivers in the world that has salmon and steelhead fishing 12 months a year. It is especially known for its hard-fighting springers, big run of fall kings and abundant winter steelhead.
Wild Rivers Fishing
Professional River Guide and Saltwater Capt. Andy Martin
Brookings, Oregon / Gustavus, Alaska
(206) 388-8988 or (541) 813-1082
P.O. Box 1646, Brookings, OR 97415
(C) Copyright 2012 Andy Martin - All rights reserved.
All photos are the property of Andy Martin and Wild Rivers Fishing and cannot be used for any purpose without expressed written permission. Wild Rivers Fishing is a registered business name and DBA with the Oregon Secretary of State.
Chetco River Salmon & Steelhead
Home to perhaps the best fall Chinook and winter steelhead fishing in Oregon, the Chetco River flows 55 miles from its headwaters deep in the Siskiyou National Forest to the Pacific Ocean at Brookings. One of Oregon's longest undammed rivers, the Chetco flows through rugged mountain canyons with towering fir and redwood trees. It is one of Oregon's top-producing rivers in terms of trophy salmon and steelhead and angler catch rates. Each year a number of salmon in the 50-pound range are caught, as well as several steelhead over 20 pounds.
Growing up in Brookings, Oregon, Wild Rivers Fishing guide Andy Martin fishes his hometown waters during the fall salmon and winter steelhead seasons. He has spent his entire life fishing the Chetco for salmon, steelhead and sea-run cutthroat trout, and has earned a reputation of catching some of the biggest fish in the river, including the river record fall Chinook.
"Andy, the drift boat trip down the Chetco River was a blast. Your affable personality and patience go well with your fishing guide profession. The scenery was beautiful, and the fishing a blast. I hope to enlist your services again. Thank you for all the effort you put forth to make our day memorable!"
- Jeff Chambers, Sacramento, Calif.
No Oregon river produces more trophy salmon than the Chetco River, and no guide
catches more 50-plus-pounders than guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing
Winter Steelhead: Chetco has healthy run of wild fish, plentiful hatchery steelhead
From mid-December through March, the Chetco plays host to one of the best winter steelhead fisheries on the West Coast. Biologists say the Chetco has one of the highest spawning densities of wild steelhead in Oregon. Itís run of wild steelhead is healthy enough that itís one of the few rivers in the world where anglers can keep wild fish. The river also has a robust run of hatchery steelhead. During the peak season, from the last week of December through February, multiple fish days are common. Steelhead average from 6 to 12 pounds on the Chetco, but fish to 20 pounds are caught every season. The Chetco River record steelhead is 28 pounds, bigger than the Smith River and California state record.
Side-drifting is highly effective for steelhead on the Chetco, one of the first rivers where this technique was used. Guide Andy Martin is an expert drift boater, getting his customers into fish by covering lots of water, using top-quality baits, the latest light-tackle spinning gear and years of experience in reading water under all conditions and finding fresh steelhead. Andy is also one of the few Chetco guides to regularly pull plugs for steelhead. Plugs are not only effective, but produce the most aggressive strikes of any steelhead technique.
One of the best sections of the Chetco to fish during steelhead season is from the confluence of the mainstem and South Fork to Loeb Park. Most of the stretch is located within the Siskiyou National Forest, and only a very limited number of guides have the Forest Service permits to fish the upper river. Andy is one of those guides with a limited-entry permit, allowing him to take customers to extremely productive, yet lightly fished area.
The upper river also often fishes when the lower river below Ice Box is blown out after heavy rain. For more on the Upper Chetco, click here.
Call today to book your trip.
or (541) 813-1082
Fall Salmon: Trophy kings caught on Chetco from September through December
Beginning in late September, just when guide Andy Martin returns from Alaska each fall, big king salmon begin to stack up off the mouth of the Chetco. These are some of the
biggest salmon in Oregon, with fish averaging in the mid-20-pound range, and plenty of 30-, 40- and even 50-pounders caught each fall. The biggest salmon caught in the Chetco, a 65-pounder, was taken in November 2011 during one of Andyís guided trips.
Early in the season, anglers catch big salmon near the mouth of the Chetco. Fishing from his custom 21-foot jet sled, Andy trolls the lower Chetco and the ocean area just off of the mouth of the river for these big fish. The ocean bubble season, and the estuary season, often produces multiple fish over 50 pounds. Andy guided a customer to a 60-pounder at the mouth of the Chetco during the 2009 season. In 2011, one of his customers caught the first 50-pounder of the season.
Trolling plug-cut herring is one of the most effective techniques for catching big kings in the Chetco tidewater and ocean waters just off the mouth, and Andy is an expert at trolling herring for salmon. To learn more about lower river, estuary and ocean bubble season, click here.
As soon as the first rains hit the coast, Andy begins drifting the Chetco, back-bouncing roe and pulling plugs such as FlatFish and Kwikfish for these salmon. His customers fish from a spacious, top-of-the-line heated 18-foot Fish-Rite drift boat with quality gear, including Penn and Abu Garcia reels, high-end Wright & McGill graphite salmon and steelhead rods. The up-river fishery is the most popular season of the year. From November through mid-December, anglers battle large salmon with fairly light gear. Much of Andyís fishing takes place in the upper river, where he is one of the few guides with a limited-entry Forest Service permit. The upper river is one of the most scenic waterways in Oregon. For more on the Upper Chetco, click here.
Chetco River Salmon Fishing Video
Don't let high water ruin your Chetco River steelhead trip
Heavy rain and high water has ruined many a steelhead trip to the Chetco River. But guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing has saved many a trip for visiting anglers by switching to his heated, covered jet boat and fishing Spin-N-Glos and plugs during high water.
Basically plunking from a boat, anglers fish in comfort as they wait for steelhead drawn in by high water to move up river. They set out a wall of lures and baits and intercept the fish as they travel upstream. The technique can be surprisingly effective as multiple-fish days are common.
Andy also keeps his eye on several other nearby rivers that may fish better during high water to give anglers options in case heavy rain puts a kink in their trip to the Chetco.
Guide Andy Martin nets a steelhead for a customer while fishing in high water on the lower Chetco.
Right: Anglers with three hatchery fish caught plunking from Andy's jet boat on the Chetco.
Over 1,000 photos!
Click on the above links to see even more photos of Chetco River trophy kings and winter steelhead.
(541) 813-1082 or (206) 388-8988
Chetco, Smith, Rogue, Umpqua, Elk, Sixes,
Coos and Coquille Rivers at their Best!
or (206) 388-8988
Capt. Andy Martin
P.O. Box 1646
Brookings, OR 97415