Fly Fishing The Chetco River Oregon
Fly fishing the Chetco River varies greatly from its
headwaters to its coastal waters. It is a 56 mile long Wild
and Scenic River that begins in the Kalmiopsis
Wilderness and flows to the Pacific Ocean. It changes in
many respects as it flows from high mountains into the
sea near Brookings and Harbor. The Chetco is located
in the southernmost part of Oregon near the California
The headwaters of the river are small and consist of fast
flowing pocket water. There are lots of cascades and
rapids. Once it flows out of the wilderness section, its
declination isn't as great and the stream slows down
some. The fast water section is about 28 miles long.
Mislatnah Creek flows into the Chetco near the end of
the uppermost section of fast water.
Below Mislatnah Creek there's a eight mile long section
classified as scenic water. It is wider and not as steep as
the uppermost section and the water slows down some.
This section terminates at the confluence of Eagle
The lower section of Chetco River is about ten miles
long, much wider and slower. It terminates at the
Siskiyou National Forest boundary line. The elevation of
the stream changes from about 3200 feet to sea level
on its way to the sea.
The Chetco River has trout, salmon and steelhead.
There is a good population of winter run steelhead, Fall
run Chinook, and sea-run Cutthroat. The upper section
has wild rainbow and native cutthroat trout. Fall run
Chinook and Winter Steelhead consist of both native
and hatchery fish. While there's some supplemental
hatchery fish added to the stream in the lower reaches
of the river, the Chetco is home to native, naturally
reproducing populations of chinook and coho salmn and
steelhead as well as coastal cutthroat trout.
Another distinction the chetco has is the fact most of its
water flows through public land. As mentioned above,
the upper half of the river flows through the remote
canyons of the Kalmoiopsis Wildernes and from there,
through the Rogue river Siskiyou National Forest. Only
about ten miles of the Chetco River flows through
private property and that's near the port of Brookings
The Chetco River doesn't exist without threats but so
far, mos to fhem have been overcome. The river serves
as a source of water for the communities of Brookings
and Harbor and supports over one-hundred species of
wildlife. It is an invaluable refuge for anglers and others
who enjoy the outdoors.
The trout season runs from May 27 through October 31
Steelhead season is best December through March.
Late Spring can be okay for rainbows depending on the
runoff and weather.
Summertime is the best time for trout fishing.
Early Fall is usually very good.
Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and Trout Flies
Copyright 2016 James Marsh
|Type of Stream
Steelhead (wild and hatchery)
Rainbow Trout (wild)
Cutthroat Trout (native)
Chinook Salmon (native and
Small to Medium, 56 miles long
Southwestern Coastal Oregon
Trout: May 27 to October 31
Steelhead: Dec. through March
Access to the wilderness section is
by trail. Roads and trials access the
lower two sections.
State of Oregon
National Weather Service
USGS Stream Flow Data:
Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and
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