The Chetco River is located North of the Smith River in the heart of Brookings, OR. This river system virtually derives out of the same watershed as the Smith River. The Chetco River is a low gradient system that has some of the best main stem spawning habitat for Salmon and Steelhead. After a big rain, when the river drops down and come into shape, it has a beautiful turquoise glowing green color.
Like most of the coastal rivers, the Salmon season starts with the rain in the Fall. Unlike the Smith River, when the river levels rise with the first big rains in the Fall, Steelhead will start to trickle in with the big push of Salmon. Most people will not target the Steelhead at this time of year, but you can put together some good numbers of early run Steelhead. The Salmon season on the Chetco River is about the same timeframe as on the Smith. Steelhead season starts fairly fast on the Chetco River in late-December.
It generally will peak in early January with some large mid-teen to twenty pound class of Steelhead mixed in. The Steelhead run will slow down to a steady trickle throughout the Winter, but you still get good spurts of fish coming through the system into March.