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Bottomfishing still off the charts

On Oregon Waters by Larry Ellis, author badge,

nglers who got up early in the morning to beat the howling afternoon northwest winds were able to again bring limits of lingcod and rockfish to the fillet table at the Port of Brookings Harbor. And with winds slated to die down to 5 knots or less this Sunday, fishermen might again be having a go at seas in the afternoon. It all depends on the swell height.

As of this fishing report, 5-foot swells were predicted to hit the local vicinity, and if the swell drops another foot or two, fishermen will again be hauling in limits of lingcod and rockfish in the afternoon. So keep your eyes peeled on the National Weather Service forecasts as well as the Magic Seaweed website for up-to-the-minute ocean conditions.
Tom Meyer from Redding, California was glad to escape the triple-digit heat last week to hammer these lingcod and black rockfish in the cool climate outside the Port of Brookings Harbor. Photos by Larry Ellis
Tom Meyer from Redding, California was glad to escape the triple-digit heat last week to hammer these lingcod and black rockfish in the cool climate outside the Port of Brookings Harbor. Photos by the author
Meanwhile there have been a few salmon caught by fishermen fishing for rockfish and lings using mooching rigs and herring. So make sure to take a pair of pliers and pinch those barbs shut.

"People ought to be trolling for these salmon," advises Mike Van Camp from the Chetco Outdoor Store in Brookings. "Folks should be trolling anchovies or herring right alongside the perimeter of the kelp beds. I mean, there's fish in close here and nobody's taking advantage of it."

There are also some isolated schools of sardines still hanging out in the harbor at the Port of Brookings Harbor, and anglers being persistent and using sabiki rigs are hauling out some monster sardines.

Halibut season closes in California, still open in Southern Oregon
The Pacific halibut season in California closed as of August 13 due to the expectation of meeting or exceeding their quota. But the season in the SOS, the Southern Oregon Subarea still remains open 7 days a week. The SOS is an area from Humbug Mountain south to the Oregon/California border.

I personally saw 4 halibut cleaned at the Brookings fish-cleaning facility last week, so more must have been caught. Although they are not the big barn doors that were being caught in recent years, a halibut is a halibut. Most are ranging anywhere from 14 to 25 pounds.

Electric reels are starting to catch on for the recreational sport fleet. Pulling 2-pound sinkers from 350 feet is easy when using electric reels and you are able to cover a lot more ground in a shorter period of time this way.

Crabbing still excellent
The crabbing has still remained stellar for those setting their pots in approximately 100 feet of water. Limits for Dungeness crab are common and the shells are still hard and their bodies are well filled out.

Rogue Bay still kicking out quality kings
Not everybody who is trolling in the Rogue bay is hooking up with Chinook, but there are some select anglers who are clocking kings with regularity.

John Anderson is one of them. So is Greg Eide, among other numerous experienced Rogue Bay guides. Last week Greg had to take two trips to haul four kings up the boat ramp at Jot's Resort. So some anglers are limiting out on Chinook in the Rogue. And we're talking fish from the mid-teens to the lower thirty-pound class.

Father and son Jack and Joe Connelly from Sacramento and the Bay area hoist a 24-pound Chinook, photo by Larry Ellis
Father and son Jack and Joe Connelly from Sacramento and the Bay area hoist a 24-pound Chinook; one of four big kings they caught last week while trolling a spinnerbait/anchovy setup with a green-on-green blade in the Rogue River Bay while fishing with guide Greg Eide of Greg Eide Guide Service.

If everybody around you is hooking up, but you are coming up empty, consider hiring a seasoned professional Rogue River guide like Anderson or Eide. Even if you don't hook up (which is highly unlikely with these guys), it is tuition well spent. If you pay attention and ask questions, you will get an education that is priceless. Every nugget of information that you learn adds up to the mother load, but only if you remember what was done. Not getting bit could mean something as subtle as having a dropper leader one or two inches too long or too short, or it might be the way you are rigging up your anchovies. Or it could be that your trolling speed is too fast.

Fishing the Rogue bay is not for the impatient. Even the best of guides get a lesson in humility from time to time. But here is what you might see if you park along the cat houses or near Lex's Landing or Jot's Resort. Sometimes anglers might troll for hours without a bite. Then suddenly one angler's boat can be seen turning sideways, a telltale sign that a fish is on.

A few minutes later another boat will get a hookup. This type of action will repeat itself for several minutes or up to an hour or more, where 20 or more fish might go on the bite. Then the action suddenly stops as fast as it started. Guaranteed, if you stay long enough, you will see salmon, whether they are on the end of a fisherman's line, or are just jumping and splashing in the bay on their own volition for no apparent reason. The point here is that every minute you spend on the Rogue with an experienced guide is an invaluable opportunity.

Next week - the super secret way of hooking up a Rogue Bay anchovy.

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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