GOLD BEACH – The Chetco River upstream of the Harbor water intake tower at river mile (RM) 3 will remain closed to chinook angling through Nov. 30 to protect salmon stacked up at the head of tide due to low water flows, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife managers announced today.
The Chetco River was scheduled to open to chinook angling beginning Nov. 1. The Winchuck River will also close Nov. 1 to protect chinook staging in tidewater.
However, ODFW is providing a limited angling opportunity on the lower Chetco River.
The Chetco will open Nov. 1 from the Harbor water intake tower, located at approximately RM 3 on the south bank, downstream to the mouth of the river. The Harbor water intake tower is approximately one mile downstream of Social Security Bar.
"Fish aren't kegged up in the lower estuary, so people can still try their luck fishing there," Confer said. "Opening the lower three miles of the Chetco will provide an angling opportunity for both boat and bank anglers, while at the same time protect the chinook that are holding at Social Security Bar.”
Hundreds of chinook are holding at the head of tide on the Chetco, primarily at Social Security Bar, and the fish are extremely vulnerable to legal and illegal fishing. The Chetco and Winchuck closures will remain in effect through the earlier of Nov. 30 or a significant rainfall event that allows the fish to move further upriver.
According to ODFW biologist Todd Confer, many people support the closure.
"Most people are expecting the closure and think the river should be temporarily closed. They agree we need to maintain healthy stocks of fish," Confer said.