Northern CA Freshwater Fishing Report

Chetco River continues to produce big steelhead as river drops

Western Outdoor NewsPublished: Jan 16, 2013

BROOKINGS, Ore. — Plenty of steelhead are continuing to show up in the catch on the Chetco River, even as flows drop and the river clears.

With no significant rain expected for at least a week, anglers will soon be dealing with "low and clear" conditions.

"The river has been dropping fast, and the fish are already moving over to the faster, deeper slots," said guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. "We've been getting fish every day on plugs in the upper river, and then side drifting the lower river in the afternoon and picking up a few more fish."

CHETCO STEEL — Graham Curry of Tucson, Ariz., holds his first ever steelhead, a 35 incher he caught and released Jan. 1 while fishing the Chetco River with guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. The steelhead hit a cluster of roe cured in Pautzke's BorxOFire fished with a size 2 Lazer Sharp octopus hook and Wright & McGill sidedrifting rod.

Several larger-than-average steelhead were once again reported in the Chetco last week. Last Thursday, Ron Haynes, fishing with Martin on the upper Chetco, landed an 18-pound hatchery steelhead. A number of fish around 15 pounds were reported.

Flows on the Chetco were down to 1,800 cfs Sunday morning. They are expected to remain at that level through the week.

Last Tuesday, while running plugs near Redwood Bar on the Chetco, Bob Baitinger of Quincy and John Slikker of Oakland, hooked into a double while fishing with Martin. They landed the steelhead after fighting them through the riffle below Redwood Creek.

Anglers focusing on the lower river have been finding fresh fish coming in each day from Social Security Bar to the North Fork. Side-drifters using tiny roe clusters and Puff Balls have fared best.

"There have been new fish each day with the tide," Martin said. "Those fish seem to hold between the North Fork and Freeman the first day, and them move upstream the next."

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