Chris Castineau, of Gasquet, Calif., catches a steelhead on Jan. 1 on the Chetco River, side-drifting roe past Loeb Park. The Pilot/Larry Ellis
I’ve been thinking about writing this article for some months now, but now because I’ve heard far too many stories about people finding that their crab traps have been emptied when they had left them overnight in the ocean, I’ll address it.
Maybe the pots just didn’t catch crab — maybe they did. But be that as it may, as far as I know, it is still against the law for other people to tamper with another person’s crab trap in the ocean.
I didn’t make a big deal about this issue at first, but now I’ve heard more than 30 stories from folks who I consider to be reputable people claiming to have had their pots emptied by poachers.
If you are one of these people, I have only one suggestion: zip tie the heck out of your pots.
And don’t just zip tie them in one or two places. Go crazy with the zip ties. Triple zip tie them even. Yes, it’s a big hassle to have to do that, but I don’t see that there are any other peaceful solutions.
If you zip tie your pots and find out that they have been cut, don’t take matters into your own hands. Report it to the Oregon State Police.
And that’s my opinion, for whatever it’s worth.
Recreational crabbers have been getting their fair share of Dungeness crab this year, and most of the people I’ve talked to have stated that their pots are overflowing. Jumbo Dungees is what I’ve been hearing most of the time.
One fellow even told me that he had to throw back nearly a limit of legal crab because his crab pot overfloweth. He claimed that his crab were heavy and nearly 90 percent full.
People on the B Street Pier in Crescent City are still continuing to haul in limits of crab as well.
Larry Cody from the Rogue Outdoor Store in Gold Beach also reported that the crabbing in Port Orford has been excellent as well.
I expect the good crabbing to continue.
From what I’ve heard, the Chetco River continues to kick out fair numbers of steelhead with an occasional Chinook and chrome-bright specimens.
Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing had his clients pulling the 3.5-inch MagLip last week when a big salmon hammered one of Yakima Bait’s most recent popular steelhead plugs.
It took some expert oarsmanship to bring the 50-plus pound king from Pete’s Place all the way down to the North Fork, where the fish was eventually landed by Brian Renner from Ferndale, Calif. Jennifer Anderson from Cottonwood, Calif., part of the team, also landed a nice steelie that looked to be in the 10-pound category.
Martin says that the fishing has been good on most days, when he has been doing a combination of plug-pulling and side-drifting.
The Chetco is predicted to come up around 8,000 cfs sometime the beginning of this week. Fluctuations in river flows may be favorable for plunking as the week goes on.
A couple of new regulations will take effect in 2013. First, the limit for sturgeon will be one per year. Second, no salmon fishing will be allowed above Nook Creek on the Chetco River.
The Lower Rogue River continued kicking out a fair amount of winter steelhead for plunkers and a few brave boats. Most of the fish have been wild, but a few were of hatchery origin.
Larry Cody of the Rogue Outdoor Store in Gold Beach expects that the Rogue might lower enough for anchor-up scenarios this week. If it does, look for water that’s in the 3- to 6-foot range and set out Brad’s Wigglers, Wee Wigglers, Tadpollies and 3.5-inch MagLips.
Meanwhile the Elk and Sixes rivers have had their share of good steelhead days as well.