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Ocean, lake anglers rake in bounty

On Oregon Waters, Larry Ellis,
he ocean finally calmed down enough toward the end of last week for a few anglers out of the Port of Brookings Harbor to venture uphill toward House Rock. Limits of big, gnarly lingcod were common.

While this article has to be turned in by early Friday morning, Jim Bithell of Charthouse Sportfishing was getting his boat and gear ready for a charter on Friday.

While the swell was only predicted to be only 3 feet on Friday, at least two more storm fronts were predicted to hit the southern Oregon coast by the weekend, creating steep swells and gale-force winds. So keep your eyes peeled on the National Weather Service for upcoming wind and swell reports for the end of the week.

Surfperch are continuing to be highlighting the surf zone on days when the ocean calms down.

Mark Gasich holds trout from Garrison Lake, photo by Larry Ellis
Mark Gasich of Harbor, Oregon holds one of the many trout he and the author caught last Thursday while fishing Garrison Lake. Only one trout over 20 inches may be kept a day. Photo by author.

"With the nice day today, people were out catching surfperch," said Larry Cody from the Rogue Outdoor Store in Gold Beach about the redtail surfperch fishing on Thursday. "And they're nice big ones - 3-plus pounds!"

Cody suggests that the best time to fish for the golden-barred slabs is two hours before high tide through one hour after the turn of high tide. But it doesn't hurt one bit to fish through the entire incoming tide cycle if possible.

The best bait seems to be something that you can buy at any grocery store.

"Pieces of cooked cocktail shrimp seem to be working the best," notes Cody.

"Cocktail shrimp firms up after it's been cooked and stays on the hook better, and the meat turns pink in color. Color seems to play a big part in getting surfperch to bite."

One of the best places to catch surfperch in the Gold Beach area is just down the beach from the Nesika Beach Rest Area.

Larry Ellis with lunker trout, photo courtesy of Larry Ellis
The author holds one of many lunker trout he caught last Thursday at Garrison Lake. Photo courtesy of Larry Ellis

Rigging up is easy. You'll want to start out with 20-pound test for your mainline. Tie a pyramid sinker on the end of your mainline ranging from 6 to 8 ounces. You want your sinker to remain where it has been cast.

Most people use a 2-hook surf rig deploying two dropper loop knots. If you do not know how to tie a dropper loop knot, visit

Tie a dropper loop knot about 18 inches from the end of your sinker, and then tie another dropper loop knot about 18 inches up the line from there.

Hook size is a matter of preference but most people just buy pre-made snelled leaders using bait-holder hooks ranging from size 8 to size 4.

There is a loop at the end of each snelled leader. After inserting the loop of the snelled leader through the dropper loop, insert the hook through the snelled hook loop and pull. Now you are ready to bait up and fish.

TIP: To keep the bait from flying off the hook, throw three or four wraps of lightweight orange or pink cotton thread around the bait and hook. Magic Thread also works quite well.

Visit the Rogue Outdoor Store and Cody will show you how he rigs up for surfperch and direct you to a few of the local hot spots.

Now that the ocean has calmed down, late winter steelhead have been still crossing the Gold Beach bar with regularity, and before too long, you can expect more spring Chinook to be caught in the lower Rogue River as well.

"We're still catching lots of bright, fresh steelhead," says Cody. "It's really quite late to be catching as fresh and beautiful steelhead as we're seeing."

Huntley Park is one of many places bank fishermen are catching these gorgeous specimens of steelhead and almost all the bank fishermen are plunking Spin-N-Glos.

Garrison Lake in Port Orford continued to kick out limits of trout averaging between 8- and 12-inches long, but there were lots of trout caught anywhere from 15 to 24 inches. Remember that the limit is 5 trout per day of which only one trout 20 inches or larger may be kept a day.

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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