, Fishing News
New Feature

Click on Columnists  to access travelogues, field reports, advice, humorous tales and answers to your Q’s! 


Website of the Week


Plunkers rule the Chetco River

On Oregon Waters, Larry Ellis,

ast week Mother Nature provided steelhead anglers the opportunity to deploy several fishing techniques.

From Saturday through Monday, the Chetco hovered between 2,800 and 3,000 cfs, which are perfect water flows for drift boaters to side-drift or pull plugs. It was also choice water for shore anglers to drift-fish Corkies, yarn balls or Puff Balls, all being used with or without roe.

Then on Tuesday, the river decided to respond to the vast amounts of rainfall that occurred during the week and sharply rose to 8,000 cfs, and it kept on rising to 14,000 cfs on Wednesday. At this point the river turned chocolate brown and it became blown out and unfishable - but it didn't remain that way for very long.

Late Wednesday the river started dropping and by Thursday morning, plunkers were again catching steelhead at their usual spots on the Chetco which ranged from Social Security Bar clear up to the boat launches at Miller and Nook Bars.

John Killen from Medford, Oregon limited out on winter steelhead on the Chetco River, photo courtesy of Larry Ellis
John Killen from Medford, Oregon limited out on winter steelhead on the Chetco River last week while plunking a Spin-N-Glo from the bank. Photo courtesy of Larry Ellis

The incredible thing about the flows on Thursday is that the 8,250 cfs water flows provided anglers with picture-perfect slate-gray to pastoral-green water that remained very fishable. And these were really nice fish, averaging between 10 and 12 pounds.

For the Chetco River, 8,000 cfs is usually sufficient enough water flow to blow out the river. But this season, anglers (notably those who were plunking) have been doing quite well with water flows that have exceed 8,000 cfs, mainly because the Chetco has been maintaining high flows in the 5,000 to 9,000 cfs range, and that has kept the Chetco River with perfection visibility for plunking in the 8,000 cfs area.

Under normal water conditions, the Chetco is usually fishable for plunkers when the river is between 4,000 and 6,000 cfs. But this week if there aren't too many torrential downpours, and as long as the river doesn't rise more than 2,000 to 3,000 cfs a pop, I would expect that the Chetco will be quite fishable for those plunking Spin-N-Glos when the river is between 6,000 and 8,200 cfs.

The Chetco River at 8,200 cfs opens up a whole gauntlet of new fishing holes that are not normally accessible during lower water flows, making the river a lot more fun to fish.

With this week's forecast of heavy rain throughout the weekend, I would expect plunking to be the technique that rules the Chetco at least through the middle of the week, possibly even toward the end of the week.

There may be times when the river will blow out, but as long as water flows don't exceed 15,000 cfs, look for those moments on a dropping river when the Chetco approaches 8,000 cfs. If the water has any green coloration to it, by all means break out the plunking box.

If the river contains milky-green colors flowing through any parts of the river, that is snowpack that has been melted, a very good water condition for catching winter steelhead.

Remember that at 8,000 cfs, the fish will be moving up the sides of the river, avoiding the faster water in the middle, so making short casts becomes the norm when the river is high.

But how short is short? Well, I have a theory behind that distance factor.

If the bank you are fishing drops off right away and slopes down to 3 feet you'll be making very short casts to that 3-foot water for your most hookups, and that may only be 6 feet away from the bank.

Now if the bank has a less incline, then sometimes making a cast up to 15 feet from the bank might be the correct call here. You are more or less keeping your eye on the current seams and letting them guide you to make the correct cast, which will be right on the edge of fast and slow water underneath the current seam.

The daily limit for steelhead is 2 fish, of which only one may be a wild winter steelhead. Wild steelhead can be identified by having an intact adipose fin. The rest of their fins also look perfect, having never been rubbed off while running against the concrete hatchery raceways.

So according to the rules, you may keep 2 hatchery steelhead a day, or one wild steelhead and one hatchery steelhead, with no more than 1 wild steelhead a day; 5 per year.

Tight lines!

Larry Ellis, author, writer, columnist and photographer has had a 50-year passion for fishing in California and Oregon's saltwater and freshwater venues. He is a well-known writer for Oregon, Washington and California Fishing and Hunting News, Northwest Sportsman, California Sportsman and Pacific Coast Sportfishing. He currently writes monthly for Salmon Trout Steelheader Magazine, and is the weekly fishing columnist for "On the Water" for the Curry Coastal Pilot Newspaper. He particularly loves living in his hometown of Brookings, Oregon - The heart of salmon country and gateway to fishing paradise. Posted with permission of the Curry Coastal Pilot of Brookings, Oregon

Fishing Reports

A Hot Summer’s Day on Chico Creek
A Hot Summer's Day on Chico Creek, Steven T. Callan
On Patrol by Steven T. Callan
07/25/16 -- I’ve been exploring Northern California’s streams -- above and below the surface -- for most of my life. One of my most memorable adventures took place on a hot summer’s day in 1964, not long after my sixteenth...Full Story
Brownie’s Choice
Art work by Isabella Langaman
By Don Webster
Disregard the story’s title. I don’t really have a “first” name. If I did, it would probably be something like Leviathan or Behemoth or maybe Lunker. Officially, I’m a trout. A brown trout. A giant, brown trout. Possibly the biggest, fattest...Full Story
Keddie Ridge
Scouting Deerheart Lake, photo by Phil Akers
Article and photos by Phil “Flip” Akers
11/14/15 -- Adjacent to both Lake Almanor and Mountain Meadows, between the towns of Westwood and Greenville, is a seemingly forgotten piece of backcountry; Keddie Ridge – aka Ridge World – where ancient rocks... Full Story
Let’s check out the Upper Sac
Lake Siskiyou with Mt. Shasta standing sentinel. photo by Phil Akers
Article and photos by Phil "Flip" Akers
09/06/15 -- The Upper Sacramento River – The Upper Sac – begins at Lake Siskiyou’s Box Canyon Dam and continues ~37 miles downstream to Lake Shasta. It is a classic freestone river born from the Mt. Shasta and Mt. Eddy... Full Story
How to make Tuscan Tuna Salad with Fennel By Frank Galusha
05/04/15 -- OK, you went ocean fishing. If your fish is fresh or if you have processed, vacuum packed and frozen your catch properly, there are many ways to enhance your meals. Almost everything taken from the ocean is not... Full Story
German brown trout afternoon in Modoc
german brown trout in Modoc creek.
By Lea Huetteman
09/04/14 -- Catching a German Brown Trout from the creeks in Modoc County is a fine way to spend an afternoon. There are many creeks in this part of California that drain the Warner Mountains. Stream trout fishing in this region opens...Full Story
Throw the kitchen sink at them
Indian Paintbrush is a favorite wildflower that carpets wilderness landscapes. Phil Flip Akers,
Article and photos by Phil Akers
08/20/14 -- Our wilderness areas are special, where Mother Nature is landlord and natural forces operate freely. Within the wilderness you will find no roads, shelters, picnic tables, toilets, or other conveniences. You enter at...Full Story
Humboldt Bay: Busy port, excellent fishery
Woodley Island Marina, Humboldt Bay, Eureka, California
03/06/04 -- Humboldt Bay, a busy commercial harbor and home port to many charter and private offshore fishing boats, is also popular with shore-based anglers and small boaters seeking bottomfish, sharks, crabs and clams...Full Story
Pulled into the pipes: Green Sturgeon
green sturgeon
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
03/04/14 -- [Posted with permission of FISHBIO] Living in the Sacramento River can be a risky business for juvenile green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris). The young fish must swim through a gauntlet of water... Full Story
Not Just Any Fish
California Golden Trout, California Heritage Trout Challenge, Not Just Any Fish, Phil
By Phil "Flip" Akers
02/14/13 -- Trout have inhabited California waters from the Sierra Nevada and Warner Mountains to the Pacific Ocean since prehistoric times. However, most of the trout caught by anglers are either hatchery raised fish...Full Story


Your outdoor adventures have only just begun
Northern California Fishing News, Northern California Hunting Reports

Fishing News

Northern California and Southern Oregon offer superb fresh and saltwater fishing. Before you make a trip, make sure you have
up-to-date news about where the fish are biting!

Hunting News

This region is also famous for its world-class hunting opportunities. Make sure you are armed with the absolute latest news by checking
the reports being filed daily at

Northern California Outdoor News, Northern California Outdoor Reports Outdoor News 

If you like to explore the great outdoors your choices are essentially infinite in Northern California and Southern Oregon. Use our news pages to plan your next outing!

Northern California Destination News, Northern California Destination Reports


So many places to visit and so little time, but if you scan
these pages you'll know in advance what lies ahead and what
not to miss in the almost-mythical State of Jefferson.
Buddy Photos

You are there! Towering mountains, vast valleys, unique shorelines. Land, water and air bursting with life. Opportunity presents itself. Llghting is right. Click! An image is captured for the ages.

Photo Galleries,

Photo Galleries

A preview of coming attractions...if you are planning a trip to this area be forewarned: What photographers have captured will whet your appetite for what will be an outdoor journey filled with wonders.  

Product & Services Directory

Don't let anything come between you and a wonderful weekend, vacation or or auto tour in this region. The fine product and services providers listed here will have what you need to enjoy your visit.  

Come back to for more Northern California and Southern Oregon fishing, hunting and outdoor news, reports, information, opinions and photos.


A friend to all who love the outdoors since 2006

Website Design Photo Credits: thanks the following individuals for contributing photographs for use on our Home and Section pages: Anders Tomlinson of, Casey Allen of Bayside, CA; Jason Haley of Medford, OR; Steve Breth of Burney, CA; Tracy McCormack of Eureka, CA; Grant Thompson of Grand Junction, CO; Richard Bott of Shingletown, CA; Ron Loftus of Yreka, CA; Scott Caldwell of Montague, CA; Lorissa Soriano of Alturas, CA and the late Dave Menke, formerly with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Website Design by Anders Tomlinson

©Copyright 2005-2015 by Frank Galusha, Editor and Publisher. Articles and photos are copyright protected and are published exclusively on the Internet by the publisher and may not be copied, displayed, reproduced or published in any other form without the express written permission of same who reserves all rights. Material supplied by others is the copyrighted property of the respective authors. Re-use of any MyOutdoorBuddy content, graphics and photos without written permission by the author(s) for any purpose is strictly prohibited.