Fishing Reports

Steelhead arrive, lingcod bite between storms

BROOKINGS, Ore. (Dec. 14, 2023) – Fall salmon season is quickly coming to an end on the Southern Oregon coastal rivers, while the first steelhead of winter have shown up. Offshore fishing for lingcod and rockfish, meanwhile, remains good when weather conditions cooperate. Our saltwater captains have switched gears to steelhead, and will be running drift boat trips on the Chetco, Smith, Elk and Sixes rivers through March, but will also take customers on ocean bottom fishing charters during the winter as conditions allow.

The first winter steelhead of the season caught with Capt. Andy on Dec. 13 on the Chetco by Scott of Denver. We will be running drift boat trips through March.

We fish for steelhead from drift boats, with a guide rowing two customers downriver. Light spinning rods are used to cast small clusters of roe. Steelhead are known for their non-stop fight, and pound-for-pound are one of the most prized gamefish. They also are caught on some of the most beautiful stretches of river in the country. Capt. Andy, Mick and Travis have special use permits to take customers on the Wild and Scenic Upper Chetco, while Rye, Sam and Shane fish the lower end of the river, where hatchery fish are more abundant. All of our charter boat captains are also licensed river guides. For more information on river trips, visit

Capt. Sam runs the falls on the Elk River. The coastal rivers of Southern Oregon offer great salmon and steelhead fishing, and are among the most beautiful anywhere.
A large king salmon caught on the Chetco this fall with Capt. Rye.
Capt. Mick holds a lunker fall king salmon caught by John Curry on the Upper Chetco.

Salmon season was decent this year on the Chetco, with the best fishing in late October and early November. A few kings will continue to trickle in through the end of December, but the vast majority of the run has already spawned. We saw big numbers of hatchery kings this year, and a lot of jacks, a good indication of what’s in store next year.

Nice limits of lingcod caught on the Dash in early November. Winter fishing for lingcod and rockfish is often good, as big fish move into shallow water to spawn.

While the best weather of the year for ocean charter fishing is April through September, calm weather days in the winter months often lead to wide-open fishing. Lingcod spawn in shallow water, where they can be caught on light tackle in calm, protected coves. We will be running ocean charters as conditions allow this winter. Call (541) 813-1082 to get on our call list for winter fishing.

Gift certificates make great stocking stuffers! We offer gift certificates for ocean and river trips, and our tackle shop. They can be printed and mailed with brochures, or emailed as a PDF. Call (541) 813-1082 for information.

Here are some of the photos from this past salmon season with Capt. Mick, Rye, Sam, Andy and Shane.

A 36-pound lingcod caught with Capt. Rye at Mack Arch in early November.

Here are a few late-season lingcod and rockfish photos from November.

To book a trip, visit or call (541) 813-1082.

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