Jack Hanson of Jack's Guide Service holds a nice springer caught on the Klamath River. The Pilot/Larry Ellis
Fishing report for
April 27-May 3
As I’ve often said, Brookings is the most strategically-located city on the West Coast for anglers craving to put the hurtin’ on a plethora of freshwater and saltwater fish.
Case in point. Brookings-area anglers don’t necessarily have to travel 27 miles to the Rogue River in order to put a springer on the stringer. In fact this year, you might want to consider heading the opposite direction. Just 47 miles south of Brookings, located off of Highway 101 is the Klamath River, and this year’s projection of Klamath River springers could possibly set a new river record.
“We’re looking at a huge run this year,” said Sara Borok, the California Fish and Game biologist for the Klamath River Project. “We’re looking at over a 330,000 fish (fall Chinook) run in the river. “Add on top of that a prediction of 80,000 springers.”
Normally, most of the springers finning their way up the Klamath are of Trinity River origin, a tributary of the Klamath River located 44 miles from the river’s mouth. But this year, a vast majority of spring kings are also heading up other tributaries of the Klamath as well, such as the Salmon River which is located 66 river miles from the Klamath’s mouth.
Spring Chinook are in the Klamath right now, and the season is expected to peak well through July. As of this writing, the Klamath was too high and muddy to fish, but within the next week, anglers anchored up from jet boats will be setting out traditional spreader bar/spinner setups that are so popular on this river of kings.
There are so many springers expected to enter the Klamath this year, California has set a limit of two kings and one hatchery steelhead per angler per day through August 14 below the confluence of the Trinity. And unlike the Rogue River, where anglers grin and grimace as they are forced to release hawg wild kings before June 1, this year on the Klamath, you can keep both hatchery and wild Chinook. That’s the upside of having a tremendously large springer run.
But there is a downside to this year’s robust run, albeit a small one. Anglers will still have to use barbless hooks. So knowing that the only thing keeping your hooks firmly embedded in a salmon’s mouth is constant pressure, always make sure that your rod is bent and tension is felt at all times. Often when kings are hooked using barbless hooks, spinners will seemingly pop out of a salmon’s mouth just like a jack in the box, when it is finally netted.
Now here’s a little teaser for the Klamath’s fall Chinook fishery which starts after August 14.
“This year, 67,600 is the quota for fall Chinook on the Klamath,” adds Borok. “So anglers will be able to keep up to four Chinook per day. I’d rather see fish in people’s coolers than see them lying dead on the bank.”
Now that is almost an unconceivable amount of fall Chinook, especially considering that there will be a possession limit of 8 Chinook per angler.
I don’t know about you, but I’m buying a California fishing license and tag and heading for the Klamath – ASAP!
Considering this year’s expectedly large run of spring and fall kings in the Klamath River, it will be well worth your while to hire a guide. Two good ones are Jack Hanson and Jim Bansemer, but there are lots of others to choose from.
The Rogue continued to spit out occasional springers with Wednesday and Thursday being banner days. Water temperatures between 52 and 56 degrees kept springers on the bite.
After the bar settles down this week, more springers are expected to enter the Rogue. There were still some late-run winter hatchery steelhead being caught as well, and these were fresh fish from the ocean, not spawned-out downers!
Boaters are netting springers using spinnerbait-type rigs trailing an anchovy while anglers setting out plugs such as Brad’s Wee Wigglers were having better luck on the steelhead.
The bank action was about as good as it gets on Wednesday and Thursday as well, by plunkers fishing at the usual bank-fishing haunts, with several multiple hookups occurring on Wednesday. Spin-N-Glos and Brad’s Super Bait Cut Plugs are catching their fair share of springers.
This week, diminishing swells and calmer seas should entice boaters to finally get their first shot at trolling for salmon in the ocean, fishing for halibut and hammering some gnarly lingasaurs and rockfish.
Salmon anglers should come equipped with several trays of anchovies and they should change out their baits at least once every half hour.
Lingcod and rockfishermen should have an assortment of jig heads ranging from 2 to 12 ounces to which twin-tail plastics and single-tail Mogambos are attached. Use the least amount of weight as possible that keeps your plastics working at fairly steep angle to the boat. The further your lines are away from the boat, the more likely they are to hang up on pinnacles and reefs.
Serious lingcod anglers should use large herring for bait or catch a kelp greenling (minimum size 10 inches) and use it as live bait on a heavy jig head.
Surfperch fishermen have also been catching their share of redtail and striped surfperch as well, with the redtails coming from areas like Kissing Rock (the mouth of Hunter Creek) and just south of the Nesika Beach Wayside.
The best spots to fish are where there are deep pockets. To know how to find these pockets, take the advice of Larry Cody from the Rogue Outdoor Store in Gold Beach.
“When you’re watching the waves and everything is cresting along the same line, you’ll notice that one spot doesn’t crest until the wave gets closer to the beach. That’s your key that there’s a pocket right there,” advises Cody.
These deep pockets are often fairly close to shore. Cody says that the Gulp! Camo worms have been working well, as well as pieces of shrimp and strips of squid.