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Oregon Freshwater

Salmon, steelhead slow on Chetco River

Western Outdoor NewsPublished: Dec 11, 2018

BROOKINGS, Ore. — With salmon season nearly over and steelhead season still weeks away from the peak, fishing pressure has been light on the Chetco River, with very few fishing being caught.

The river rose after Sunday's rain, but is expected to be fishable this week. A bigger storm is expected this weekend, however, and could jump flows to 20,000 cfs.

maglipmonsterMAGLIP MONSTER — Mike Phillips of New Jersey hefts a 35-pound king he caught Nov. 30 on the Chetco River while fishing with his son, guide Rye Phillips. The king hit a 5.0 MagLip. The river has since blown out and most of the kings headed upriver.

"There are not a lot of people fishing," said guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. "Salmon fishing has been slow, so the interest in salmon has dropped off for the season. Steelhead are around, but the peak of the season isn't until January and February. The last week of December also can be good for steelhead."

If the river blows out for several days, it should fish well for steelhead as it drops back into shape, Martin said. "I am going to start my side-drifting trips as soon as the river is dropping from a substantial high-water event," he said. "We may have that high water this weekend and it could be good by the end of next week."

A week ago, Jerry Frazee of Grants Pass, Ore., released a 44-inch, 45-pound salmon caught with guide Jesse Blair. It is one of the biggest salmon reported this fall.

ICE BOX SALMON — Don Williams of Brookings, Ore., holds a 15-pound king salmon caught Nov. 25 while fishing the Chetco River with guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. The king hit a 5.0 MagLip just above Ice Box.

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