Curry County on the extreme south coast of Oregon is where the famous Rogue River spills into the Pacific Ocean, serving as the entry point for some of Oregon’s best runs of salmon and steelhead.
The county also is home to several other excellent salmon and steelhead rivers, particularly the Chetco and Elk. Several creeks and rivers in the area offer modest harvest from their healthy runs of wild winter steelhead. A handful of lakes offer good fishing for trout and the occasional largemouth bass.
Look for regulations on this area in the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Southwest and Marine zones.
Curry County is lightly populated. Its incorporated cities are Brookings, Gold Beach and Port Orford. Unincorporated communities include Agness, Carpenterville, Harbor, Illahe, Langlois, Marial, Nesika Beach and Winchuck. Other points of interest are the Rogue River – Siskiyou National Forest (including Kalmiopsis Wilderness), Cape Blanco and Humbug Mountain.
Listed alphabetically, here are some of the best fishing spots in Curry County:
This tiny pond is a kids-only (age 17 or under) fishery for stocked rainbow trout, with the best time to take the little ones between the first planting in March until about July. This one-acre pond is at Arizona Beach State Park, about 15 miles south of Port Orford. See: Arizona Pond Fishing.
Chetco River and Bay
This is a powerhouse of a winter steelhead stream and one of the best places to catch the biggest Chinook salmon of your life, although numbers of the latter have been down lately and some angling restrictions should be expected, so check regulations. Most fall Chinook are caught in the bay near Brookings in September and October, and often in the river into November. Watch for special regulations that can keep the river above tidewater closed until later in the season. Winter steelhead fishing can be quite fantastic, starting in December and continuing through February and perhaps early March. See: Chetco River Fishing.
The Elk, which flows into the Pacific between Port Orford and Cape Blanco, has an excellent fishery for fall Chinook salmon. This is one of the coast’s later runs, which might get going in October but is likely to peak in November and might still be going in early December. A modest steelhead fishery occurs in January and February. Spring and summer trout fishing can be good, and access to them is easier on U.S. Forest Service land in the upper river. See: Elk River Fishing.
This small stream that enters the Pacific Ocean between Bandon and Port Orford has a modest fishery for often late-running fall Chinook and a good run of wild winter steelhead. You can keep the occasional hatchery steelhead you might catch. Wild steelhead must be released at this writing. Access is limited by private property. This stream can take awhile to clear after a rain.
A good place to catch trout just in from the beach on the southern Oregon Coast, including a healthy population of wild cutthroat trout. Look for a nice dose of hatchery rainbow trout (and maybe some trophy-sized fish) to be planted in mid-spring. That’s when fishing will be at its best. There also are some largemouth bass in the lake, which is located on the north side of Floras Lake State Park. Follow directions to Boice Cope County Park, where you’ll find lake access and camping. See: Floras Lake Fishing.
A nice-size lake in Port Orford with good fishing for stocked rainbow trout from March into June or early July. Larger trout often are planted here along with the typical legals. Check the stocking schedule just in case another dose of stocked trout in early fall, which would perk things up again. There also are cutthroat trout and largemouth bass in the lake. See: Garrison Lake Fishing.
Illinois River (shared with Josephine County)
The remote lower section flows through Curry County before joining the Rogue River. The stretch is hard to access but open seasonally for steelhead, with some limited harvest of wild fish available on part of the river. Expect best results in late winter months.
This is a small lake in the national forest near the South Fork Elk River that is periodically stocked with rainbow trout. Fishing should be good after plantings. There is a small first come, first served campground. From Port Orford, follow Forest Road 5325 for 28 miles along the Elk.
This pond, also known as Libby Creek Pond, is along the Rogue River about eight miles up North Bank Rogue River Road and Libby Creek Road, an easy drive from Gold Beach. The pond is occasionally planted with generous numbers of rainbow trout, so watch ODFW’s stocking schedule for the South Coast. This is a private pond opened to the public. No boats are allowed.
This is a small river located nine miles outh of Gold Beach has regular runs of wild fall Chinook salmon and winter steelhead. The problem here is that most of the river above a small tidewater area flows through private property and is difficult to access. You can cast for salmon from the bank into the tidewater stretch during the fall season. Winter steelhead are present in best numbers from January to March, and at this writing there is a modest bag limit for wild steelhead.
Rogue River (shared with Josephine and Jackson counties)
Southern Oregon’s most famous fishing river offers excellent fishing for runs of Chinook salmon and steelhead in the lower section running through Curry County to the Pacific at Gold Beach. Fall Chinook fishing can be very good in the bay, starting in July with better catches in August and September in the bay and lower reaches. Spring Chinook enter this area roughly April to June, with fair catches in the bay but better results above tidewater. Above tidewater also is where most steelhead are caught, with high catches usually coming from January to March. Also read: Rogue River Fishing for Salmon, Steelhead and Trout.
This coastal stream on the north side of Cape Blanco offers a pretty good fishery for both fall Chinook and winter steelhead. Fall Chinook arrive here somewhat later than many rivers, so you might fair best about November. The salmon fishing will overlap a bit with the steelhead run during December, but the steelies are usually here in better numbers in January and February, after salmon fishing closes. This is one of several south coast rivers where it is legal to harvest a modest number of unclipped (wild) steelhead. See: Sixes River Fishing.
This small stream sits just north of the California border. It has only fair fishing at best for fall Chinook (November peak), and poor return years can trigger restrictions from ODFW, so check the most recent regulations carefully. There also is fishing during the winter months for steelhead. This is another of several southern Oregon streams with a modest harvest bag for wild steelies. Also see: Winchuck River Fishing.
Fishing in Neighboring Counties
Coos County: To the north, this county has excellent salmon and steelhead fisheries in the Coos and Coquille systems plus the bass mecca of Tenmile Lakes.
Douglas County: To the northeast (small shared boundary), offers a variety of great fisheries from coast to Cascades, including the versatile Umpqua River and incomparable Diamond Lake.
Josephine County: To the east, this area includes salmon and steelhead fishing in the Rogue River’s middle reach and a largemouth bass fishing hot spot at Lake Selmac.
More Fishing Resources:
In addition to other sources, the following websites were very helpful while compiling these county fishing pages, and the information there is valuable to all Oregon anglers.
For current regulations, trout stocking, weekly angling reports and more, find links on the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Fishing Resources Page.
For boating information about these waters, see the Oregon State Marine Board’s launch locator map.