By Larry Ellis
Pilot staff writer
The CH-CH-CH-Chetco was C-C-C- Cold last week, so the few steelheaders who braved the frigid temperatures deserved the fish they caught. Harvey Young of Fishawk River Company spanked a fewmetalheads on Wednesday, and released several wild fish back into the Chetco to continue spreading their big-fish genetics.
The river was blown out on Thursday, exceeding just a hair over 11,000 cubic feet per second (cfs), but it was starting to drop late in the evening, and by Friday it was under 10,000 cfs. With luck, it should be pulling into shape for the plunkers by today.
As of the latest weather report, there was a 100-percent chance of rain on Saturday. Depending on how much rain we get will determine how much more the river will rise starting mid-Sunday, since it takes 36 hours or longer for the Chetco to respond to a series of precipitation events.
I would suggest bank fishermen plunk with a No. 2 Spin-N-Glo in the color red rocket tiger stripe or flame chartreuse as the river drops and changes to a pea-green color. Later descend to a No. 4 winged bobber if, and only if, the river continues dropping tomorrow.
There are more places to plunk other than Social Security Bar. In essence, that spot only contains a handful of really good producing spots, so anglers should take advantage of the numerous locations the Chetco has to offer in alternative areas.
The South Bank Pumphouse area is a good starting point, as is the extreme lower end of SS Bar. A lot of folks don't take advantage of Loeb Park as much as they ought to. The upper end tends to have a lot of shifting sand, which sometimes creates new migration routes for the precious metalheads. The lower end is also a good spot as well.
In between Loeb and The Highway Hole, on the North Bank road is Willow Bar. Just upriver from Loeb is Ice Box, the first place I ever hooked a steelhead.
On the South Bank, there is also the Piling Hole Easement, just above Salmon Run Golf Course.
A lot of folks also forget that both Nook and Miller Bar (4-wheel drive recommended) are great plunking spots, as well.
Of late, everyone is saying the fishing has been on the slow side, but always the optimist, I'm hoping that these new rains bring in some fresh batches of fish.
2008 Halibut Season
Last week the annual International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) meeting was held in Portland, Oregon, to discuss the new quotas for 2008.
These meetings are held every year in a specified city ranging from Alaska to Washington, but for the first time in history, the meeting was held in Oregon. This allowed several people from Oregon to attend who might not have had the ability to travel the long distances in the past.
It was a good thing that it was held so close because the IPHC was recommending a 50-percent combined quota cut over the next two years.
Wayne Butler, from Prowler Charters in Bandon, and eight other halibut fishers who were representing the commercial and recreational industry were appointed to sit on the conference board. As a result, they were permitted to voice their concerns and were also allowed to vote on important issues, as well.
"When issues came up whether to accept staff proposals, we got to vote on them, and with nine representatives, we had a pretty good pull," said Butler.
"I think it really helped when the Halibut Commission saw the interest," said Don Bodenmiller, Marine Recreational Non-salmonid Fisheries Biologist for ODFW. "The Fishers Advisory Group saw and noted the interest from the Oregon fishers, and so did the managers, so I think it helped a lot."
As a result of everyone's efforts, the IPHC only cut Oregon's quota about 6-percent from last year's allocation.
Butler said that the 10,000 pounds that were cut would probably only have an effect toward the end of the summer season. Normally, if sufficient quota is left at the end of the season, the bag limit is raised from one to two fish per person.
Everything will depend on what the average size halibut is this year and how many fishable days we will actually get, so conceivably, this year's seasons may not be a noticeable effect at all.
Subject to the National Marine Fisheries Society's approval in March, the All-Depth Pacific halibut spring season above Humbug Mountain and south of Cape Falcon will be every Thursday, Friday and Saturday; May 8, 9 and 10; May 15, 16 and 17; May 22, 23 and 24 and May 29, 30 and 31, and June 12, 13 and 14.
The spring All-Depth quota for the aforementioned area is 159,577 pounds. No bottomfish except for black cod may be retained on an All-Depth day when a halibut is on board.
If there is any spring quota left over, then it will be rolled over to every other weekend, starting June 26, 27 and 28.
The All-Depth days for the summer season are every other Friday, Saturday and Sunday starting August 1, until the 53,192-pound quota is attained.
The nearshore halibut fishery, inside 40 fathoms, opens May 1, and will continue seven days a week.
The area below Humbug Mountain, which includes Brookings, will be open seven days a week starting May 1 in both inside and outside the 40-fathom curve. In this zone, bottomfish may also be retained when a Pacific halibut is on board on any day during the halibut season. The quota for this area is 7,541 pounds for both seasons.
Knot-tying seminar to be presented by the Northwest Steelheaders
Learn how to tie an egg loop knot. The Brookings Chapter of the Northwest Steelheaders will be meeting at 6 p.m. at the VFW hall on the corner of Pioneer and Pacific on Tuesday, Feb. 5. Members will be holding a knot tying seminar when the meeting is over. The public is welcome to attend.