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Ocean salmon season ends Sunday

On Oregon Waters, Larry Ellis,
ne hour after sunset on Sunday, August 7, the general season for ocean salmon fishing in Oregon's KMZ will come to a close. On a scale of 1 through 10, I would rate this season a 2-1/2. But although very few Chinook came to Oregon boats' nets, the season still beats last year, which I rated a big fat zero.

California's KMZ however, especially off of Humboldt Bay in Eureka still continues to be rated PDG (pretty darned good). I'd give Eureka a solid 8 at least. And the California KMZ will still remain open until August 16.

So if you have a hankering for catching a Chinook in the ocean, most definitely consider making the 100-mile trip south and fish with any number of great charter boat operators in Eureka (if you can get in), or tow your boat down to Eureka and launch at any number of boat launches at Humboldt Bay.

The fishing, is in fact, so good that most charters such as Full Throttle Sportfishing are booked solid until the end of the season. The last I heard, the fish are still close to the jaws of the north and south jetties.

The next chance southern Oregon anglers of the salt will have at catching a salmon in the ocean in the Oregon KMZ will be on September 3, 4 and 5, which falls on a Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Bottomfishing Still Tops
Anglers who are getting out early and beating the wind are still catching their 7-fish marine bag limit.

Lingcod fishermen are also having a fair amount of luck fishing outside the Port of Brookings Harbor using leadfish, plastics and whole herring.

There has also been some thresher-shark action in both Oregon and California. If you catch a shark with a tail longer than its body, there is a good chance that's a thresher and is also considered to be an esteemed food fish.

Rogue Bay Still Kicking Out Fall Chinook
Anglers who are trolling spinnerbait/anchovy rigs are still catching fall Chinook in the Rogue Bay.

There are quite a few jack Chinook being caught in this fishery, but as far as adults go, they run anywhere from 14 to 27 pounds, with the majority of the fish averaging about 22 pounds.

Erin Zlatek with ocean Chinook, by Larry Ellis
Erin Zlatek from Gold Beach was fishing with her husband Matthew on the lower Rogue Bay last week when she caught this beautiful 20-pound fall Chinook by trolling a straight anchovy. Photo by Larry Ellis

Do not confuse a spinnerbait/anchovy rig used for salmon with a spinnerbait lure that is used for largemouth and smallmouth bass. These are two completely different animals.

When we use a spinnerbait/anchovy rig, we are referring to what is basically a slip-tie mooching rig with the bottom hook removed and a loop tied at the back end to accept a treble hook.

The top sliding hook is almost always a size 1 or 2 octopus-style hook. The top hook is not used to hook the salmon at all, but is used solely for adjusting the tension of the baitfish, which is almost always an anchovy.

You can buy these home-tied spinnerbait/anchovy rigs at Jot's Resort, Lex's Landing and the Rogue Outdoor Store, all in Gold Beach. Mike at the Chetco Outdoor Store also ties a mean spinnerbait rig himself.

Lying on top of the top hook are about 7 beads, usually from 3 mm to 5 mm in size. On top of the top bead is a quick-change plastic clevis which allows you to interchange the color spinner blade of your choice. The go-to spinner blade colors for the Rogue Bay are green-on-green, and the Oregon Duck, the latter having diagonal green colors plus a chartreuse color as well. Usually a number 4 spinner blade is what folks use in this neck of the woods.

In addition, numbers 3-, 4- and 5- gold or copper Hildebrandt spinner blades are also great colors and sizes as well.

Spinnerbait/anchovy rigs are used on a spreader bar with about an 18-inch dropper leader leading to cannonball sinkers ranging from 2-1/2 to 4 ounces.

Anglers have also been doing well using the same mooching-type leader without any beads or spinner blades, deploying just one anchovy, which is referred to as using straight bait. Both Erin and Matthew Zlatek of Gold Beach caught their salmon last week using straight bait.

For additional one-on-one instructions in rigging up these fantastic salmon-catching marvels, visit Jot's Resort, Lex's Landing or the Rogue Outdoor Store in Gold Beach.

Tight lines!

Larry Ellis is the author of the recently published "Buoy 10 - The World's Largest Salmon Run!", a 14-mile long salmon fishery on the Columbia River. It is the first book ever written about the Buoy 10 fishery. He is also the author of "Plug Fishing for Salmon. Both books can be found at, and Larry currently writes monthly for Salmon Trout Steelheader magazine and is also the weekly fishing columnist 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.

Fishing Reports

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german brown trout in Modoc creek.
By Lea Huetteman
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Throw the kitchen sink at them
Indian Paintbrush is a favorite wildflower that carpets wilderness landscapes. Phil Flip Akers,
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Pulled into the pipes: Green Sturgeon
green sturgeon
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
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Not Just Any Fish
California Golden Trout, California Heritage Trout Challenge, Not Just Any Fish, Phil
By Phil "Flip" Akers
02/14/13 -- Trout have inhabited California waters from the Sierra Nevada and Warner Mountains to the Pacific Ocean since prehistoric times. However, most of the trout caught by anglers are either hatchery raised fish...Full Story


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