Copyright 2014 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Guide to the Nestucca River Oregon

There are five launch sites available for drift boats. The five foot level is the magic marker for
the steelhead to move in. Most years the rains that come in October bring the river up to a
fishable level. It can happen sooner than that some years.

The Chinook Salmon enter the river beginning anywhere from late April and on into the
summer. The season closes for the Chinook in mid June. The peak of this season is around
the middle of May until the season ends in the middle of June. The Fall run of Chinook Salmon
arrive in the tidewater area by the month of September and hold there until the freshets send
them on up the river. This usually occurs during October, November and December. This run
usually peaks about the middle of October or slightly later.

Chinook Salmon runs consist both of hatchery and wild salmon. The summer runs of steelhead
consist mostly of hatchery raised fish but there are some wild ones. The peak of the summer
run is in July. It starts in June and can last on into January. The fall rains usually creates
another prime period of fishing. The winter run of Chinook Salmon starts about the middle of
November and last through the month of May. The wild fish tend to be at their strongest point
of the run from the later part of March through April. The hatchery fish usually peak towards
the end of December.  

The Chinook Salmon average around 15 to 20 pounds. The fall run can average a larger size
and usually run from 20 pounds up to 26 pounds. The average steelhead in the Nestucca
River probably averages from 9 to 12 pounds. run in the 18- to 20-pound range while fall fish
run a bit larger at 25 to 28 pounds. Steelhead weigh anywhere from 10 to 12 pounds. Of
course, the prime fishery for fly anglers are the steelhead.
Nestucca River, Oregon
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Photo Courtesy of
Dennis McCarthy