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Chetco opens early to bobber fishing

Soon Ae Phillips of Brookings holds one of the 30-pound plus albacore that she and her husband Bob caught while fishing out of the Port of Charleston last week.

Starting September 1, old familiar haunts on the Chetco River such as Morris Hole and Tide Rock that were closed to salmon fishing early in the season since 2009 will now become open again for fly fishing and bobber fishing, but with certain anti-snagging restrictions.

Fly angling gear must include a strike indicator, and bobber angling gear must include a bobber and a leader no longer than 36 inches in length. Any weight other than the bobber or strike indicator may be no more than 36 inches from the hook when suspended vertically. The leader below the bobber or strike indicator must remain suspended in the water column and not resting on the river bottom.

Usually the jack Chinook arrive first in the beginning of September, which are then followed by the larger adults later in the month.

Opening the lower tidewater holes early to bobber fishing will allow anglers to catch more chrome-bright hatchery-raised Chinook.

Fishing for the Slam’n Salmon Ocean Derby may decide to turn on this weekend since weather conditions are expected to be relatively calm. The wind waves should be in the neighborhood of 1 to 2 feet, and the wind is expected to die down between 5 and 7 knots.

So if you’re having trouble getting salmon to bite in the ocean, you might give the area called salmon alley a shot, which is a slot running about 100-feet deep between Chetco Point and Bird Island.

If I had three people fishing on board, I would troll anchovies behind chartreuse-colored Bechhold Rotary Bullet Bait Holders. I would run one line close to the bottom, at the 90-foot depth, another line running off the other downrigger about 20 feet higher than the first downrigger, and then I would run a Delta Diver for the center rod at approximately 17 or 19 pulls, and let the fish tell you which depth they prefer.

If you are not the nose cone type of angler, make sure that you put a bend in your anchovy so that the baitfish is spinning fast and tightly, just like a drill bit. And make sure your trolling speed is between 1.7 and 2.0 miles an hour.

The Rogue

The Rogue River estuary is still averaging about 40 fish a day, but be forewarned — it has been quite crowded. But generally after Labor Day, the crowd starts thinning.

“We pushed over 40 fish yesterday and there is a bite going on right now as we speak that is hot and furious,” said Jim Carey, owner of the Rogue Outdoor Store in Gold Beach on Tuesday. “So we’ve got fish moving in just about every day, and today I think we’ll probably push between 50 and 60 fish.”

The number one rig of choice in the Rogue Bay is the Rogue Bait Rig, a spinnerbait rig that employs usually a number 4 green-on-green or an Oregon Duck-colored blade.

The only thing that spoils the fishing in the bay is when the Army Corps decides to let out water from Lost Creek Dam, which cools off the bay water to 67 degrees and sparks the salmon, which were kegging up in the estuary to make tracks upriver. But all in all, folks should expect to see some very good quality Chinook being caught in the bay at some point during this week.

The Klamath

Anglers fishing on the Klamath River, side-drifting or boondoggling the riffles and using big gobs of roe from the Roy Rook Boat Ramp up to Blue Creek have been catching kings like it is going out of style. Boondoggling is another term for back-dragging, or dragging roe behind the boat, straight down the pipe, backward.

“The Klamath’s been wonderful,” said Jack Hanson of Jack’s Guide Service in Brookings on Tuesday. “There’s a phenomenal batch of fish between 10 and 30 pounds.”

On most days, Hanson has been limiting out his clients on both salmon and steelhead on the Klamath, and the wide-open steelhead bite up at Blue Creek has still continued to thrill fly fishermen.

“The fly fishing has just been incredible. I mean, it’s been non-stop”, says Hanson.

Hanson emphasizes that high sticking is a critical technique here, where fly anglers keep their rods high so that the fly line can be properly mended, thus providing a more direct connection from the rod to the fly line, to the fly, and finally to the fish’s mouth.

Remember that the Klamath River is a barbless hook only river. Use floating fly line with flies resembling bumble bees such as the McGinty or a Brindle Bug. You can also do well using wet flies and nymphs. Bead-head Brindle bugs, bead-head zug bugs, bead-head prince nymphs, and anything with a lot of buggy legs also works phenomenally, Hanson recommends.

Tight lines! 

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