The first half of the chinook salmon season ended with a bang Thursday with one of the two best fishing days of the year, so far.
Fishermen stayed out on the calm sea all day, and most caught their one-fish a day per person limit of salmon. Some added good-sized lingcod, flounder and rockfish to that catch.
A 35-pound chinook was landed by Jack Sizemore of Butte Falls aboard the Corn Husker. His wife caught a 20-pounder.
The situation was reversed aboard the Maggie-O, where Dorothy Burk landed a 30-pounder between 9 and 10 a.m., and Bill Hoskinson caught a 15-pound chinook. Both live in Brookings.
Actually, said Hoskinson, the 30-pounder struck on his pole, but he and Burk had agreed she would bring in the first fish that hit on either pole, and he would take the next one.
The diminutive Burk said the big fish was hard to land. It was a fighter, she said.
Most of the salmon were being caught within two miles of the whistle buoy, said Hoskinson. They were running only 20-35 feet deep.
Local fisherman Jim Welter said chinook are usually found near the bottom, but they were close to the surface Thursday.
Hoskinson said a few fish had been caught Wednesday, but nothing like Thursday, which was the best day since Saturday.
An estimated 200 to 300 salmon were landed Saturday, but Hoskinson said Thursday might have been even better. He said there were more boats out.
Welter said Saturdays good fishing might have continued through the week, but a strong wind cooled the water temperature down to 47 degrees. He said once it had warmed up by Thursday, the salmon were back.
Stan Knox of Harbor said he and his two companions aboard the Dora Lee each landed a 20-25 pound salmon. He also caught a flounder for good measure.
Knox caught his salmon off Crescent City, where he said the fishing was good.
The second half of the season begins July 29. Thanks to the efforts of Welter with the Pacific Fishery Management Council, the limit will be two salmon a day per person. The four salmon in seven day limit remains.
Welter predicted good fishing when the season reopens, if the wind dies down.