River Fishing Salmon and Steelhead
Chetco, Smith, Rogue, Elk, Sixes, Coquille have world-class salmon fishing
The salmon and steelhead fishing on the Chetco, Smith, Rogue, Elk, Sixes, Coos and Coquille rivers is legendary. Many say it's the best fishing outside of Alaska. Pro Guide Andy Martin, who has fished these rivers his entire life, is ready to take you on the ultimate drift boat and jet boat trip for these world-class fisheries.
During the late summer and early fall months, Andy targets the trophy kings in the Rogue Bay, Coos Bay, Coquille Bay and Chetco River estuaries by trolling anchovies, herring or spinners in the tidewater areas of these rivers. Andy also ventures onto the ocean just outside of the mouth of the Chetco out of Brookings, Oregon. Andy is one of the few guides licensed to fish customers on rivers as well as the ocean off the Oregon Coast. He also fishes the tidewater of the Smith, as well as the upper section of the Klamath River in the early fall.
In late summer, from August through September, the Rogue Bay, Coos Bay and lower Coquille River often produce the best estuary king salmon on the Oregon Coast. All have healthy runs of wild salmon, and abundant hatchery fish. During the peak season, fish-after-fish action is common. Many anglers leave with limits. The salmon in all of the rivers run from 15 to 30 pounds, with much bigger fish common on the Coquille and Rogue. Andy fishes these rivers from his custom 26-foot jet boat, perhaps the most comfortable and stable guide sled on the river.
In October, the action turns to the Chetco and Smith river estuaries, which are known to kick out several fish over 50 pounds each fall. Andy has been fortunate enough to get customers into some of the biggest king salmon in recent memory on the Chetco, including a 58-pounds salmon in the Chetco estuary and a river-record 65-pound king salmon out of the drift boat upriver on the Chetco.
Once the first fall rains arrive, Andy puts the jet boat away and begins running drift boat trips, floating through some of the most scenic areas on the planet, helping his clients catch large salmon on eggs or plugs. When anglers aren’t reeling in chrome-bright salmon, they are enjoying the views of towering redwood trees, tree-covered hillsides, waterfalls and distant mountains. Both the Chetco and Smith rivers are national Wild and Scenic rivers. These are some of the most beautiful, pristine and productive salmon and steelhead rivers in the world.
Salmon season runs until early December on the Chetco and Smith, and until early January on the Elk and Sixes rivers. Andy is one of just a few guides with a special-use permit from the U.S. Forest Service to guide on the Upper Chetco, home to outstanding king salmon fishing late in the season and superb steelhead fishing without the crowded conditions on the lower river.
The first steelhead arrive on the Chetco and Smith rivers in November and continue through March. Andy is a light-tackle steelhead specialist, using ultra-light spinning gear to side-drift for steelhead that sometimes top 20 pounds. Multiple-fish days are common on the Smith, Chetco and Rogue rivers. He also allows anglers to experience plug fishing when conditions are right.
Steelhead season runs through March.
In late March, hard-fighting, great-tasting spring salmon arrive on the lower Rogue River near Gold Beach. Fishing is best in April and May. The spring king salmon, known as springers, are arguably the hardest fighting of all salmon. Fishing is done from a covered and heated jet boat.
Andy and his crew are among the busiest and most-sought-after Chetco River fishing guides and Smith River fishing guides.