Chetco, Smith, Rogue, Umpqua, Elk, Sixes, Coos and Coquille Rivers at their Best! phone_iphone541.813.1082  /  206.388.8988

Salmon season starts hot, slows with low water

The 2021 drift boat salmon season on the Chetco, Smith, Elk and Sixes rivers started hot, as big storms brought impressive numbers of fish in, but ended on a slow note, as prolonged low, clear water made fishing tough the second half of November and in early December.

Capt. Andy holds a pair of Chetco River kings from early November.

In October and early November, the action was great. The Wild Rivers Fishing crew of Andy, Michael, Rye, Mick, Sam and Shane bounced around from the Smith to Chetco and then Elk and Sixes, getting into decent numbers of kings on each trip. The rivers then blew out in early November, and then slowed as the rain stopped.

Capt. Michael with a chromer Sixes River king salmon.

Action overall was above-average early in the season, but slow during the second half. Focus now turns to winter steelhead, which are already showing up on the Smith and Chetco rivers, and should get better with rains in mid-December. A few more bright salmon also should show up on the Chetco and Smith, and especially on the Elk and Sixes, after the first big rain of December.

The first drift boat salmon trips started in late September, when rains increased flows on the Smith River and a bunch of jacks moved in. Andy, Rye and Sam got in on the action, and caught big numbers of salmon on plugs. Lots of doubles on the smaller kings stacked up in the lower section of the Smith.

In mid-October, more rains fell, and the drift boat season got underway on the Chetco and Smith. We used bobbers and eggs, plugs and divers and bait to get into fish on both rivers. Another big rain in early November brought in the last decent fishing on the Smith and Chetco, which then slowed as the bulk of the fish moved upstream to spawn.

The action was good on the Elk and Sixes for a couple of weeks, but they too got low and clear and the action slowed.

Peak season for steelhead fishing is late December through February. With several local guides working out of our office, we have some availability. Call (541) 813-1082 to schedule a winter steelhead drift boat trip.

Here are some more photos of our 2021 drift boat salmon season on the Chetco, Smith, Elk and Sixes rivers.

Our Signature Trips

•   Chetco River   •

The Chetco is one of Oregon’s premier salmon and steelhead rivers, and our most popular fishery. It produces more kings over 50 pounds.

•   Smith River   •

The Smith River is known for its large run of giant king salmon, as well as numerous steelhead of over 20 pounds.

•   Rogue River   •

The Rogue River is one of the few rivers in the world that has salmon and steelhead fishing twelve months a year!

•   Coquille Bay   •

The Coquille and Coos Bays have most prolific early fall salmon fishing on Oregon Coast!

•   Elk and Sixes   •

For sheer numbers of king salmon, the Elk River is hard to beat. The Elk and Sixes both have late fall runs, peaking in December.

•   Brookings Ocean Charters   •

Capt. Andy Martin spent 10 years guiding in Alaska but now guides and runs charter boats year round in Brookings, Oregon.

Call Captain Andy Martin   •   541.813.1082 / 206.388.8988 Wild Rivers Fishing, P.O. Box 1646, Brookings, OR 97415