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Brookings: Bottomfish and river Chinook

On Oregon Waters by Larry Ellis author badge,

arge quantities of Chinook continue stacking up daily in the lower Chetco River tidewater holes such as Morris Hole, Tide Rock and Social Security Bar. The most successful anglers are using freshly-cured roe or live sand shrimp underneath a bobber and they are getting most of their hookups within the first two hours of legal light.

There are a lot of smolts in the river, so anglers are encouraged to use large hooks to avoid hooking the juvenile salmon.

Anglers are catching a mixture of fresh incoming chromers as well as fish that are sporting darker coloration. There were also a few anecdotal reports of big fish snapping anglers' lines.

D. Collins with salmon, photo courtesy of Larry Ellis
D. Collins from Crescent City, California took a trip up to Social Security Bar on the Chetco River last Tuesday and caught Chinook salmon while using roe or live sand shrimp underneath a bobber.

ODFW showed up on Thursday to confirm that there are indeed some monsters in the river, while they were conducting the first of several seining episodes for the Chetco Broodstock Program which took place last Thursday.

"It was a really spectacular day," said Richard Heap, member of the Oregon South Coast Fishermen on Thursday. "We probably sent about 34 fish to the hatchery at Elk River (the hatchery that raises Chetco River salmon), and we handled 186 fish.

"And there were some really big fish with plenty of them in there - no question about that," Heap added. "We were looking for a large grade of fish. I know that we put a couple of males in the hatchery truck over

40 pounds, and two females in the truck over 40 pounds. And there were lots and lots of 30-pound fish."

Males traditionally are the salmon that grow the largest. But a 40-pound female clearly demonstrates the great genetics of the Chetco River's Chinook.

Seining large Chinook is the philosophy behind the Chetco Broodstock Program. The doctrine of the program is that big fish beget big fish, and the ideology behind ODFW's modus operandi has been proving itself every year.

Remember that from the powerline crossing at river mile 2.2 upstream to Nook Creek, from Sept. 1-Nov. 3, angling is restricted to fly angling and bobber angling only with one single point hook. Refer to page 35 of the Oregon Sportfishing Regulations for further details.

ODFW will be repeating the seining procedure at noon this coming Tuesday. The public is welcomed to join in on the hauling in of the hawgs. Bring your waders and be prepared to get baptized in the thrashing water of the Chetco River.

Rogue River Bay still producing Chinook
The lower Rogue River estuary is still kicking out an occasional 25-pound plus Chinook, and although the fishery is starting to slow down a notch, one key component of the October fishery has yet to materialize.

"We're still waiting to get our Indian Creek fish back," said guide Sam Waller, owner of Jot's Resort in Gold Beach.

Indian Creek, a tributary of the Rogue is located approximately one-half mile upriver from the Highway 101 Bridge in Gold Beach.

The Curry Anadromous Fishermen, a fishing club in the Gold Beach area raises and fin clips 75,000 Chinook salmon smolts each year that are timed to come back to Indian Creek during the month of October. Perhaps this will be the week when those Indian Creek kings will be returning.

"I think that all we need is a little bit of rain to get those fish to head upriver," says Waller.

Rockfishing still stellar out of the Port of Brookings Harbor
Fishing for rockfish and lingcod still remains very good out of the Port of Brookings Harbor. Anglers are finding their fish by motoring south and fishing off of Akin Point, or they are heading uphill on flat days to fish off of Bird Island, Twin Rocks or House Rock.

Mark Gasich with his rockfish limit, photo courtesy of Larry Ellis
Mark Gasich of Brookings played the daily double last week and scored his limit of rockfish in the ocean outside the Port of Brookings Harbor and then trolled for and scored a nice Chinook inside the port's harbor.

Shrimp flies, plastic grubs, plastic worms, twin-tail plastics, swim baits, jerk baits and leadfish are all top producers, but my favorites are single-fishing 5-inch jerk baits or leadfish.

Anglers still have one more week to try and catch a Pacific halibut in the Southern Oregon Subarea before the season ends one week from today, October 31. 65-percent of the quota still remains.

Persistent crabbers are continuing to score the occasional Dungeness or red rock crab by throwing crab snares, crab rings and Pineapple Butterfly Traps off of the crabbing pier at the Port of Brookings Harbor.

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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