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Exotics & excitement for Brookings anglers

On Oregon Waters by Larry Ellis

ll I can say is, welcome to the other Baja! It happens every time there is an El Nino event, or just when the ocean water temperatures go haywire. Oregon forgets that it's Oregon and somebody ends up catching one or more fish that by all rights should be swimming in tropical waters.

Like the Opah that was caught by Steve Wallace of Escalon, California toward the end of July.

There were also a few unconfirmed reports a few weeks ago of billfish of some sort finning on the surface of the ocean. Marlin and swordfish all tend to do that. I know that for a fact because I've seen them performing that couch-potato-type activity on numerous occasions. On one of those instances, my dad harpooned a broadbill (swordfish) while walking the plank.

 This 8 1/4-pound canary rockfish was plucked off a pinnacle at House Rock last week by Cliff Adams from Eagle Point, Oregon while fishing out of the Port of Brookings Harbor. The big goldfish inhaled a leadfish.

This 8 1/4-pound canary rockfish was plucked off a pinnacle at House Rock last week by Cliff Adams from Eagle Point, Oregon while fishing out of the Port of Brookings Harbor. The big goldfish inhaled a leadfish.

Then last Sunday I got to the fish-cleaning station here at the Port of Brookings Harbor, when Tiffany and Robert Berg were steaking out and filleting a very large thresher shark.

"I was fishing for salmon when it hit," said Berg. "Two hours later we hoisted it over the deck."

That wouldn't be so surprising except that Tiffany had caught another thresher shark two weeks ago. Baja - Aha!

As a matter of fact, there were a lot of fish caught incidentally while trolling for salmon that day. Like the two Pacific halibut I almost got a picture of...and the countless numbers of large lingcod. The list goes on and on.

 Shaun Turner from Redmond, Oregon caught one of the last Chinook of the general season last week, this 23-pound 6-ounce king while trolling an anchovy out of the Port of Brookings Harbor. The next ocean salmon season in southern Oregon is coming up soon - the Chetco Bubble Fishery October 1-11.

Shaun Turner from Redmond, Oregon caught one of the last Chinook of the general season last week, this 23-pound 6-ounce king while trolling an anchovy out of the Port of Brookings Harbor. The next ocean salmon season in southern Oregon is coming up soon - the Chetco Bubble Fishery October 1-11.

Fishing for salmon in the ocean is now officially over, as the general season ended September 7. But there is one last ocean salmon season to look forward to - The Chetco Ocean Terminal Fishery that takes place October 1-11. So don't put your ocean salmon gear in mothballs yet.

Although the general salmon season was quite a disaster, the October salmon should be here in full force. Here's why.

During the general salmon season, fish from the Klamath and Sacramento make their way from Fort Bragg up to Canada and back. Those fish were hard to access because they were favoring deep, cool water.

The Chetco Bubble Fishery's salmon have no choice but to come in close to the jaws of the north and south jetties. When Mother Nature tells these fish it's time to spawn, they will be on their spawning mission to do exactly that. And that means that ocean salmon aficionados will probably see more action in one day than they saw in the entire general season.

The fishing should actually be quite good in both the ocean when October rolls around, and also in the Chetco bay within a few weeks. My reasoning is that with extra-warm river temperatures, those fish should be working the tides multiple times because they will hit uncomfortably-warm 80-degree water temperatures upriver.

When Chinook hit that wall of warm water, they will turn around and head back to either the bay or back out to sea. As a matter of fact, I would not be surprised one bit if the early component of the Chetco run comes in and out of the estuary a dozen or more times.

So get ready to troll the estuary.

In the meantime, the Rogue bay finally turned on again after about a 10-day low period. Remember that one shot of rain we had a few weeks ago? That cooled down the river water enough to give them the courage to shoot upriver.

 A large Chinook netted on the Rogue River by the Oregon South Coast Fishermen got a lot of attention as it swam around in a large tank at the Slam'n Salmon Festival in Brookings last week.

A large Chinook netted on the Rogue River by the Oregon South Coast Fishermen got a lot of attention as it swam around in a large tank at the Slam'n Salmon Festival in Brookings last week.

But now the Rogue is starting to warm up again and that means that there will be more Chinook and coho kegging up in the estuary. Also, the Army Corps of Engineers is not going to be letting out a lot of water, because, well, there isn't that much water to let out - thanks to the drought. That's bad news for wells but great news for Rogue bay fishermen.

"That rain kind of slowed things down," said Sam Waller, guide and owner of Jot's Resort in Gold Beach on Thursday. "The water temperature went way down and those fish shot upriver. But the day before yesterday, they showed back up again. We had four yesterday that weighed 100 pounds for the four of 'em, and we've got two in the box today. It's been pretty good fishing."

One of Waller's fish on Thursday weighed approximately 30 pounds, and the day was far from being over. Another sporting goods owner also reported that the fishing had picked up as well.

"We've been in a lull for almost 10 days, but it picked back up yesterday,"

echoed Jim Carey of the Rogue Outdoor Store. "There's been fresh fish coming in every day, and we were seeing some bigger fish today. We expect those really big fish to come into the river in September."

So keep your bait on ice and plenty of green-on-green spinner blades on hand to put on your spinnerbait/anchovy rigs. Bet you a salmon egg that a 50 pounder gets weighed in this month.

Danny Clyde from Brookings took Matt Toney from Red Bluff, California out for some light-tackle bottom fishing out of the Port of Brookings Harbor last week when they caught limits of large black rockfish which included some huge blue rockfish as well.

Danny Clyde from Brookings took Matt Toney from Red Bluff, California out for some light-tackle bottom fishing out of the Port of Brookings Harbor last week when they caught limits of large black rockfish which included some huge blue rockfish as well.

Meanwhile fishing for rockfish and lingcod has as usual been totally off the charts for anglers fishing out of the Port of Brookings Harbor. These have been some of the nicest grades of rockfish I have seen in several seasons, and the lingasaurs continue to get caught in hefty sizes. Whatever you like to use - just use it!

Crabbing has also continued to be quite good; again for those setting their pots in 100 feet of water downhill from the whistle buoy. Yee-haw! It's good to live in Brookings.

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. Posted with permission of the Curry Coastal Pilot of Brookings, Oregon.

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