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

Steelhead arrive in Chetco, Smith rivers

Frequent storms with heavy rain have steelhead season off to an early start on the Chetco and Smith rivers. A mix of hatchery and wild steelhead have already been caught on both streams, and now anglers are waiting for a break in the weather to get on the water.

Capt. Michael holds a Chetco steelhead caught in December 2021.

Steelhead began arriving in late November, but low, clear conditions made getting a good drift difficult. After heavy rain in early December, steelhead arrived in big numbers on the Chetco and Smith. The water has been high for the past few weeks, making side-drifting difficult, but giving plunkers using large Spin-N-Glos a good opportunity to catch fish from shore.

Our guides have had some success so far this season side-drifting when flows are below 4,000 cfs, and also have caught steelhead anchoring in the softer water near shore and fishing 3.5 MagLip plugs.

Capt. Mick with a nice Chetco steelhead from early December.

Peak season for Chetco River winter steelhead is the last week of December, all of January and February, and the first week of March. The season runs through March 31. The Smith River also fishes best during the same time frame, but remains open through April.

Many visiting anglers will book two days, so they can fish the Smith River and the Chetco River during their same trip to the coast. Our guides are licensed in Oregon and California, and also have special use permits for the Wild and Scenic Upper Chetco River, located within the U.S. Forest Service boundary.

The Chetco fishes best for steelhead between 2,500 cfs and 3,500 cfs. The Smith River will fish during higher flows. The Elk River to the north of the Chetco also fishes well immediately after a heavy rain, while other rivers take a couple of days to come into shape.

To book a trip with a local, year round fishing guide, call Wild Rivers Fishing at (541) 813-1082.

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