Two anglers are shown filleting limits of redtail surfperch at the Port of Gold Beach fish-cleaning station. The Pilot/Larry Ellis
Fishing report for
Last week, high winds put a temporary damper on the ocean Chinook salmon fishing out of the Port of Brookings Harbor, but there were still a handful of Chinook a day meeting the sharpened end of a fillet knife.
Fishermen who had the best luck were crossing the bar at first legal light and getting a few hours of trolling in before whitecaps forced them back into port. The good news is that the salmon have been within a mile or so from shore, so anglers have not had to travel far to get their hookups.
Isolated pockets of 52-degree water were found close to shore, and the anglers who found these patches of warm water stood the best chance getting a hookup and putting a king in the box.
Many anglers were able to latch into some hefty kings just a tad under 20 pounds with the majority of fish being in the 15-pound class. Practically all of the salmon were caught near the Whistle Buoy.
According to Eric Schindler, Ocean Salmon Project Leader for ODFW, the 14- to 15-pound Chinook could be 3-year olds from the Sacramento, with a 50-50 chance at being a Snake River fish heading back to the Columbia.
Schindler also says that the 15 pounders are not likely 3-year-old Klamath River fish, since the 3s from the Klamath tend to be a little bit lighter, in the 10- to 12-pound class. We’re talking about ocean-caught Chinook. The actual Klamath River saw some action of its own last week.
The Klamath River has finally started settling into ideal water flows at approximately 10,800 cfs in the lower river. With these ideal water conditions, anglers have been puttin’ the hurtin’ on springers that are headed for Klamath River tributaries. The action is expected to keep getting better this week, with many anglers sensing that the springer run has been later than usual.
“They’re finally coming in,” says Jack Hanson of Jack’s Guide Service in Brookings. “All of a sudden I started getting all kinds of bookings. I’ve got overnight trips back-to-back-to-back.”
Catching Klamath River springers involves anchoring up from a sled, much the same as springer fishing on the Rogue River.
The ideal rig for Klamath River springers is a spinner. Anglers use a spreader bar with between 2 1/2 ounces and 4 ounces of weight. On the end of the spreader bar is a 4 1/2-foot leader with a spinner tied on the end.
After letting your rig out approximately 40 feet, you put your rod in a rod holder and wait for a spring king to hammer your spinner on its way up to the spawning grounds.
Don’t forget to pinch the barbs shut on your treble hooks, since barbless hooks are required on the Klamath River.
Rogue springer action lit up a bit last week, but according to Jim Carey from the Rogue Outdoor Store in Gold Beach, the springer run is nearing its end.
Since there is generally a two-week lull before the fall kings start making their way into the Rogue estuary, this is a good time to start tying up your spinnerbait rigs and getting all your gear prepared for the large fall Chinook run that is expected to hit the Rogue within the next few weeks.
“The fall Chinook run usually kicks off for us in the bay right around the Fourth of July weekend, where we’ll get around 7 boats starting to troll the bay,” says Carey. “And of course the ODFW prediction is for an almost twofold record.”
Next week I will be featuring how to tie your own spinnerbait rigs.
Meanwhile, with gale-force winds keeping boaters at bay and unable to cross the bar, surf fishermen have been doing quite well catching limits or near-limits of redtail surfperch at local Gold Beach beaches.
“Surfperch has still been strong for us,” adds Carey. “I’ve seen more traffic from surfperch than I have for spring Chinook.”
This is an incoming tide fishery, so you’ll need to get a tide book. Surfperch bite the best on an incoming tide, with the best action usually being two hours before high tide.
Redtails are the kings of the surfperch, with fish over 3 pounds not being uncommon. I am also of the opinion that they are the best-tasting and firmest-meated of all the surfperch, with barred surfperch running a close second. But you won’t catch barred surfperch this far up the coast as they are a southern California staple. However, the two surfperch practically look identical, except for the fact that redtails having their telltale rich tinges of pink or red on the ends of their fins.
Redtails, also called pinkfin, can be found in several locations. One good spot is near the Gold Beach south jetty, just in the corner where the ocean meets the jetty.
Another great spot is called Kissing Rock, which is at the mouth of Hunter Creek.
Another great area is at the Nesika Beach Wayside just north of Gold Beach. This area is well worth the drive. Just park at the Wayside and walk down a trail leading to the beach. From here you will want to walk down the beach and look for sloping beaches containing irregular-looking sand formations.
What you see on the beach is often indicative of what the sand looks like in the water. So a sloping beach would usually mean that the slope continues into the water. If there are irregularities on the beach, most likely there will be underwater troughs that mimic these irregularities as well.
Another great spot to fish is the Gold Beach South Jetty Spit.
Rig up by using a pyramid sinker ranging from 3 to 6 ounces. The stronger the current is, the heavier your sinker needs to be. You want your sinker to stay where you cast it.
Above the sinker tie two dropper loops spaced 18 inches equidistant from each other. Within these dropper loops, insert the loop of a number 6 snelled hook.
No matter where you go, small pieces of raw shrimp always works well for redtails. Berkley Gulp! 2-inch Camo Sand Worms are also popular baits.