Fishing on the Chetco was once one of southern Oregon’s best-kept secrets, but word has gotten out about the river’s October run of huge chinook and its superlative influx of winter steelhead. If river traffic becomes too heavy, the late-summer ocean salmon season out of Brookings may be the best in the Northwest.
Boatless anglers can try their luck at the public fishing pier at the harbor and on the south jetty at the mouth of the Chetco. Chinook season generally runs mid-May–mid-September, but that’s subject to change, so check the regulations.
Various fishing trips for salmon, tuna, and bottom fish can be arranged through Sporthaven Marina (16374 Lower Harbor Rd., Brookings, 541/469-3301). In addition to fishing charters, Tidewind Sportfishing (16368 Lower Harbor Rd., 541/469-0337, www.tidewindsportfishing.com) offers whale-watching excursions in season.
In the fall and winter, look upriver. Pick up literature on fishing and a Siskiyou National Forest map at the ranger station in town. In addition to offering printed matter about Siskiyou and Kalmiopsis Trails for hikers, the rangers can tell you where to find some good fishing holes on the nearby Chetco River, noted for its good fall salmon runs and winter steelhead.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel