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Eureka, Rogue Bay kicking out big kings

On Oregon Waters by Larry Ellis, author badge,

ishing for ocean Chinook has taken a nose dive as of late out of the ports of Brookings Harbor and Crescent City. Make that a belly flop. Fishermen trolling out of the two ports have been occasionally raking in a whopping one or two Chinook per day -- and that’s for the entire recreational sport fishing fleet.

The few Chinook that have been caught out of the Port of Brookings Harbor were caught primarily by anglers fishing for bottom fish. So if you’re using a mooching rig with a herring or an anchovy, you might think about pinching those barbs shut. It is rare that a lingcod or a rockfish will spit a barbless hook, and it sure makes things a lot easier when you slide that hook out of the lingasaur’s mouth with ease.

That being said, there is one other port within the Klamath Management Zone that is raking in limits of fat, succulent Chinook since the red-hot bite started over a month ago.

Gary Blasi from Full Throttle Sportfishing out of Eureka, California has been clocking corpulent kings with regularity on his boat the Seaweasel II. But Gary isn’t catching his Chinook out in front of Humboldt Bay as he had in recent years.

“We’re having to run long distances to get them,” says Blasi. “We’ve been fishing down off of Cape Mendocino. That’s 24 miles each way. But the fishing has been fantastic for 5 to 6 weeks now.”

The popular spot is also known by the locals as “The Pinnacles”.

“It’s either been limits all the way around or only one or two fish shy of a limit for the boat,” says Blasi. “And we’ve had more than limits on the hooks every day.”

So once again, the Port of Eureka leads the pack of ports that belong to the Klamath Management Zone.

“These are nice big fish,” notes Blasi. “Up to 32 pounds. And there’s lots of them in the mid-teens to low-twenties.”

Gary’s been fishing in 100 feet of water while his rods are only 50 feet on-the-wire.

Rogue Bay still kicking out big Chinook
But while the salmon action in the ocean out in front of Crescent City, Brookings and Gold Beach has been down, the activity in the Rogue bay has been picking up. I visited the Rogue bay three times last week, and if you wait long enough, you will see fish being caught.
Anglers troll the swift gut of the Rogue River for salmon while anglers in the background fish the Gold Beach south jetty spit for both Chinook and redtail surfperch. Photo by Larry Ellis
Anglers troll the swift gut of the Rogue River for salmon while anglers in the background fish the Gold Beach south jetty spit for both Chinook and redtail surfperch.

“We’re continuing to produce fish each day -- no complaints whatsoever,” says Jim Carey, owner of the Rogue Outdoor Store in Gold Beach. Rogue bay’s is still continually kicking out over 40 fish a day.”

Most of the fish have been sucking in the Rogue bay’s stalwart spinnerbait/anchovy rig, while Carey also has been saying that straight spinners have been producing as well. Carey’s establishment breaks wire on new spinners every day, with Cascade blades in green and chartreuse tints being the predominant styles and colors.

As I pulled into Jot’s Resort on Thursday, guide Gene Garner was sauntering up the ramp from the boat dock with what looked to be a 30-pound Chinook.

John Parmenter from Creswell, Oregon caught this 28-pound Chinook, photo by Larry Ellis
Rogue River Hawg -- John Parmenter from Creswell, Oregon caught this 28-pound Chinook on Thursday by trolling a spinnerbait/anchovy setup in the Rogue Bay while fishing with guide Gene Garner of Gene Garner Guide Service.

“I also lost a really big fish that snapped 40-pound test like it was nothing,” said John Parmenter, one of Garner’s clients who ended up landing the whopping 28-pound king.

Garner also said that he had caught two 30-pound-plus Chinook on Wednesday.

Other guides kept walking up the boat ramp with their clients’ catches, including Sam Waller, owner of Jot’s Resort and Greg Eide, another noteworthy Rogue bay guide.

“It’s been a pretty good season,” said Greg Eide of Greg Eide Guide Service, who was also carrying up four gorgeous specimens of Chinook that his clients caught on Wednesday and Thursday. “All of the guides are doing really well.”

I have noticed that at least 1/3 of the salmon have been jacks, which are the 2-year-old component of the salmon run. A high percentage of jacks is an indication that the fishery is healthy, and is a sign that a large 3-year-old population of kings should be coming back to the Rogue next year.

“The fishing’s been very steady,” said Waller, describing the Rogue bay’s daily activity.

Bottom fishing remains stellar out of the port of Brookings Harbor
Meanwhile, anglers are continuing to catch plenty of limits of large lingcod, which is usually unheard of during the month of August. This is far and above, the best lingcod fishing I have seen in my 34-years’ experience while fishing out of the Port of Brookings Harbor.

Carl Cole from Rogue River, Oregon hoists two perfect eating-size lingcod, photo by Larry Ellis
Carl Cole from Rogue River, Oregon hoists two perfect eating-size lingcod that he caught on Tuesday while fishing out of the Port of Brookings Harbor.
The crabbing has also been phenomenal for anglers setting their pots in depths of 100 feet.

In addition, several anglers towed their boats up to Charleston Harbor at Coos Bay and a few boats cashed in on some hot tuna action that was occurring approximately 30 miles from shore. That is not to say that the action has been hot and heavy every single day. On some days, a few boats were getting between 8 and 20 albacore a day, while others have been praying for a few fish.

“Tuna fishing has been spotty,” said Paul from Englund Marine in Coos Bay on Thursday. “Some guys are getting them while others are not. Most of the guys have been going a little bit north of here.”

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. On the Water by Larry Ellis is posted with permission of the Curry Coastal Pilot of Brookings, Oregon.

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