, Fishing News
New Feature

Click on Columnists  to access travelogues, field reports, advice, humorous tales and answers to your Q’s! 


Website of the Week


Hot Chetco Estuary King Action

On Oregon Waters by Larry Ellis, author badge, my outdoor buddy

oday, Saturday October 1, fishing in the ocean for Chinook salmon will open for 3 days in what locals-area king hunters call the Chetco Chinook Trophy Season, otherwise known as the bubble season. The first leg of this season will last through October 3. The season in the ocean will then close for 4 days and then re-open again on October 8 and 9 for two final days.

It is critical to note that the bubble and bay fisheries are two completely different entities, and each fishery has its own border lines and sets of regulations.

In the ocean bubble fishery, the daily bag limit is 2 Chinook, of which only one wild Chinook (non fin-clipped) may be kept each day. The other Chinook of the limit can be a hatchery (adipose fin-clipped) Chinook. You may also keep two adult hatchery kings as part of your 2-adult Chinook limit. This year, finding a hatchery Chinook has been like looking for a needle in a haystack.

2 men with 30 lb. chinook, by Larry Ellis
Duane Stainbrook (left), formerly of Brookings and another fisherman fished with Joe Whaley (right) of Joe Whaley's Guide Service on Thursday. The party trolled the Chetco Bay and caught these two mid-30-pound Chinook. Photos by Author

In the ocean, you can use no more than 2 single-point hooks, and all hooks must be barbless. No treble hooks are allowed in the ocean when fishing for salmon.

The minimum length for adult Chinook in the ocean is 24 inches, but to play it safe, I would only keep Chinook that are at least 25 inches long to allow for the possible one-inch shrinkage factor.

Man with crabs, by Larry Ellis
Last week, Dan Birdwell from Brookings, Oregon knew right where to go when he had a hankering for crab cocktail - the Port of Brookings Harbor's crab pier, where he caught at least 7 Dungeness crab casting a folding crab trap.

The bubble fishery also has definite boundaries. Since it is a state-run fishery that is held in state waters, you are only allowed to fish no further than 3 miles from shore. The second boundary is from Twin Rocks south to the Oregon/California border, but trust me on this one - most fish will be caught between the red can buoy and the jaws, and along Sporthaven Beach.

For the bay fishery, it is also very important to know where the Chetco River ends and the ocean begins. To figure this out, just draw an imaginary line between the north jetty and the south jetty. All water outside this imaginary line comprises the ocean. All water inside (or upriver) from this imaginary line constitutes the actual Chetco River and Bay.

The Chetco Bay fishery will last throughout most of October, or until the major fall rains hit and raise the river.

The success of the ocean bubble fishery is always directly related to the success of the Chinook harvest in the Chetco Bay, which this year has been phenomenal. Therefore, the bubble season is expected to be ultra stellar because lots of kings have been landed in the bay since September 10 - and big ones at that.

Plenty of kings in the mid-30-pound category have been boated in the Chetco Bay this September, and I predicted that at least one 50-pound king would be hooked, whether it was in the bay or in the ocean. I have good reason to back up that previous statement. Last Thursday, a local-area, seasoned-veteran guide, as he put it, "got savaged by a bomb" while fishing in the bay.

"I had on at least a 50 pounder that just killed us in the morning," said Jack Hanson of Jack's Guide Service. "It went out to sea on us and took a right, and then made tracks for Salmon Rock."

With the ocean closed for salmon fishing, Hanson had no choice but to put the screws to Salmonzilla so that the boat would not cross the Chetco River/ocean line of demarcation.

"I put the breaks on it and we couldn't stop it whatsoever," noted Hanson. "The drag was maxed - it just didn't matter. It was just like a submarine. That's when I said, 'We gotta stop here - can't go; can't go chase him.'"

So how should you rig up for these fisheries? Since fish are stacking up like cordwood just outside the Chetco Bay, I would fish for the ocean fish similarly to the way you fish for salmon in the bay, minus the barbed hook and treble hooks.

Come prepared to use spinnerbait/anchovy setups, nose cones like the chartreuse-colored Bechhold Rotary Bullet Bait Holder, or just troll cut-plug herring, and generally speaking, folks fish with flashers in the ocean, such as the 8- or 10-inch Big Al's Fish Flash in the colors chartreuse or BMK.

Last year, the hot ticket in the ocean for most of the recreational season was trolling cut-plug herring or large cut-plug sardines. Be sure to troll your cut plugs slower than your whole baitfish.

Generally speaking, troll your cut-plug baitfish between 1 and 1.4 miles an hour, and troll your whole baitfish between 1.8 and 2.2 miles an hour, whether you're in the ocean or in the bay.

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

A Hot Summer’s Day on Chico Creek
A Hot Summer's Day on Chico Creek, Steven T. Callan
On Patrol by Steven T. Callan
07/25/16 -- I’ve been exploring Northern California’s streams -- above and below the surface -- for most of my life. One of my most memorable adventures took place on a hot summer’s day in 1964, not long after my sixteenth...Full Story
Brownie’s Choice
Art work by Isabella Langaman
By Don Webster
Disregard the story’s title. I don’t really have a “first” name. If I did, it would probably be something like Leviathan or Behemoth or maybe Lunker. Officially, I’m a trout. A brown trout. A giant, brown trout. Possibly the biggest, fattest...Full Story
Keddie Ridge
Scouting Deerheart Lake, photo by Phil Akers
Article and photos by Phil “Flip” Akers
11/14/15 -- Adjacent to both Lake Almanor and Mountain Meadows, between the towns of Westwood and Greenville, is a seemingly forgotten piece of backcountry; Keddie Ridge – aka Ridge World – where ancient rocks... Full Story
Let’s check out the Upper Sac
Lake Siskiyou with Mt. Shasta standing sentinel. photo by Phil Akers
Article and photos by Phil "Flip" Akers
09/06/15 -- The Upper Sacramento River – The Upper Sac – begins at Lake Siskiyou’s Box Canyon Dam and continues ~37 miles downstream to Lake Shasta. It is a classic freestone river born from the Mt. Shasta and Mt. Eddy... Full Story
How to make Tuscan Tuna Salad with Fennel By Frank Galusha
05/04/15 -- OK, you went ocean fishing. If your fish is fresh or if you have processed, vacuum packed and frozen your catch properly, there are many ways to enhance your meals. Almost everything taken from the ocean is not... Full Story
German brown trout afternoon in Modoc
german brown trout in Modoc creek.
By Lea Huetteman
09/04/14 -- Catching a German Brown Trout from the creeks in Modoc County is a fine way to spend an afternoon. There are many creeks in this part of California that drain the Warner Mountains. Stream trout fishing in this region opens...Full Story
Throw the kitchen sink at them
Indian Paintbrush is a favorite wildflower that carpets wilderness landscapes. Phil Flip Akers,
Article and photos by Phil Akers
08/20/14 -- Our wilderness areas are special, where Mother Nature is landlord and natural forces operate freely. Within the wilderness you will find no roads, shelters, picnic tables, toilets, or other conveniences. You enter at...Full Story
Humboldt Bay: Busy port, excellent fishery
Woodley Island Marina, Humboldt Bay, Eureka, California
03/06/04 -- Humboldt Bay, a busy commercial harbor and home port to many charter and private offshore fishing boats, is also popular with shore-based anglers and small boaters seeking bottomfish, sharks, crabs and clams...Full Story
Pulled into the pipes: Green Sturgeon
green sturgeon
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
03/04/14 -- [Posted with permission of FISHBIO] Living in the Sacramento River can be a risky business for juvenile green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris). The young fish must swim through a gauntlet of water... Full Story
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


Your outdoor adventures have only just begun
Northern California Fishing News, Northern California Hunting Reports

Fishing News

Northern California and Southern Oregon offer superb fresh and saltwater fishing. Before you make a trip, make sure you have
up-to-date news about where the fish are biting!

Hunting News

This region is also famous for its world-class hunting opportunities. Make sure you are armed with the absolute latest news by checking
the reports being filed daily at

Northern California Outdoor News, Northern California Outdoor Reports Outdoor News 

If you like to explore the great outdoors your choices are essentially infinite in Northern California and Southern Oregon. Use our news pages to plan your next outing!

Northern California Destination News, Northern California Destination Reports


So many places to visit and so little time, but if you scan
these pages you'll know in advance what lies ahead and what
not to miss in the almost-mythical State of Jefferson.
Buddy Photos

You are there! Towering mountains, vast valleys, unique shorelines. Land, water and air bursting with life. Opportunity presents itself. Llghting is right. Click! An image is captured for the ages.

Photo Galleries,

Photo Galleries

A preview of coming attractions...if you are planning a trip to this area be forewarned: What photographers have captured will whet your appetite for what will be an outdoor journey filled with wonders.  

Product & Services Directory

Don't let anything come between you and a wonderful weekend, vacation or or auto tour in this region. The fine product and services providers listed here will have what you need to enjoy your visit.  

Come back to for more Northern California and Southern Oregon fishing, hunting and outdoor news, reports, information, opinions and photos.


A friend to all who love the outdoors since 2006

Website Design Photo Credits: thanks the following individuals for contributing photographs for use on our Home and Section pages: Anders Tomlinson of, Casey Allen of Bayside, CA; Jason Haley of Medford, OR; Steve Breth of Burney, CA; Tracy McCormack of Eureka, CA; Grant Thompson of Grand Junction, CO; Richard Bott of Shingletown, CA; Ron Loftus of Yreka, CA; Scott Caldwell of Montague, CA; Lorissa Soriano of Alturas, CA and the late Dave Menke, formerly with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Website Design by Anders Tomlinson

©Copyright 2005-2015 by Frank Galusha, Editor and Publisher. Articles and photos are copyright protected and are published exclusively on the Internet by the publisher and may not be copied, displayed, reproduced or published in any other form without the express written permission of same who reserves all rights. Material supplied by others is the copyrighted property of the respective authors. Re-use of any MyOutdoorBuddy content, graphics and photos without written permission by the author(s) for any purpose is strictly prohibited.