Larry Ellis holds two salmon caught this time last year out of the Port of Brookings Harbor while trolling an anchovy behind a Bechhold Bullet, fishing with Robert Phillips. The Pilot/Larry Ellis
Fishing report for
Anglers may finally get their first chance to fish for Pacific halibut, Chinook salmon, rockfish and lingcod as the National Weather Service (NWS) is predicting lowering winds and a reduction in swell size possibly by this weekend and into the first part of the week.
There are three excellent ways of ascertaining the latest weather conditions. The first two involve using your computer.
The first method is to go to the NWS website at: http://www.weather.gov/. In the upper left hand side of the screen will be a blank white box. Above the box you will find the words Local forecast by “City,St.” In the blank box type in your city of choice, which in this case would be Brookings, Oregon. The first chart will show the NWS projections on land. By moving your mouse arrow onto the ocean and clicking just outside of the city of Brookings, you will come to the ocean forecast.
Another terrific website is: http://www.tides4fishing.com/us/oregon/brookings-chetco-cove. This particular Web page displays solar and lunar charts, shows when the low and high tides are for the month and also has an animated chart that predicts how good the fishing should be. The more fish icons there are, the better the fishing is, according to its webmaster.
The third way of determining the weather and ocean conditions is to drive out to Sporthaven Beach and take a look for yourself. Often there will be a small protected area inside of the red can buoy between Chetco Point and the Best Western Motel in front of Sporthaven Beach that remains calm when the rest of the ocean is too rough to venture forth.
Last week there were a few days when recreational and charter vessels were able to bag some rockfish and lingcod.
“The days when we’ve been able to get out, we’ve limited out our passengers on rockfish with some lingcod thrown in as well,” says Jan Pearce of Tidewind Sportfishing in Brookings.
Jim Bithell of Charthouse Sportfishing was also able to limit out his passengers with rockfish on several occasions last week, with between one and two lingcod per person.
It looks like we’re finally into a mode where anglers will be having more fishable days on the big pond, and that means people will be catching more lings.
Several anglers were also able to catch some Pacific halibut after the season opened on May 1. One of the fish checkers reported seeing several halibut in the 35-pound class. So if the seas are calm, try soaking some black label herring in the canyon off of the Thomas Creek Bridge, where depths can range anywhere from 120 to 300 feet.
You’re going to need heavy sinkers up to 3 pounds for this fishery, and a stout rod with a reel loaded with plenty of 80-pound Power Pro.
Although there were no salmon reported being caught last week, I did notice some freshly filleted salmon carcasses last Monday evening in the barrels at the Port of Brookings Harbor cleaning station.
If the ocean lays down this weekend, anglers will definitely be trolling anchovies and/or herring for Chinook. Jim Bithell from Charthouse Sportfishing recommends that anglers head for the shrimp beds, which are off of Twin Rocks and House Rock.
The salmon fishing should cut loose any day now. It is common for anglers to troll between four and seven miles off of Bird Island, Twin Rocks and House Rock. Remember that Chinook like their offerings trolled excruciatingly slow, somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.4 knots. You’ll want to keep a nice tight spin on your bait by either putting a slight bow in our anchovy or using a rotating head such as an FBR or a Bechhold Bullet.
There’s also some great news for trout anglers. This could possibly be the best fishing in years for Diamond Lake, Oregon’s number 1 trout destination. On May 9, Diamond was reported to be 75-percent thawed and is anticipated to be completely thawed this weekend. Without a doubt, the best angling of the year is immediately after ice-off.
Boaters were able to launch at the north boat ramp nearest the resort and anglers were limiting out on rainbows averaging between 12 and 20 inches! These are trout that were stocked as fingerlings at 200,000 fish a year, the population rapidly accumulating by growing fast on the lake’s prolific insect populations.
“We’re estimating that 400,000 fish will be available to anglers this year,” says Rick Rockholt, business manager for Diamond Lake Resort.
In addition, the lake’s daily bag limit is now eight fish per person with one fish over 20 inches. The possession limit is a whopping 16 fish!
If you’re bait fishing, I would bring four colors of PowerBait with you – Chartreuse, Rainbow, Fluorescent Orange and Cheese – and use them on a size 16 Gamakatsu or Eagle Claw gold treble hook on a sliding sinker rig. Boaters should knock the socks off of them using a 4-inch Big Al’s Fish Flash with their favorite lure trailing behind it.
Diamond Lake is less than six hours from Brookings, only 85 miles from Medford, located on Highway 230/138.
In addition, trout fishermen will find brown trout paradise at Lemolo Lake if they continue traveling an additional 12 miles on Highway 138 between mile markers 72 and 73.
Last season this time of year, a friend and I had the best brown trout fishing we ever had, catching brownies ranging from 12 to 16 inches as fast as we could cast. It was like catching fish next to a hatchery truck, only these fish were browns and they were wild.
This year, those fish are bigger. Scott Lamb, owner of the Lemolo Lake Resort reported that brown baggers were hauling in fish ranging from 14 to 20 inches.
The bottom line is, some of the best trout fishing of the year will be occurring within the next two to three weeks. So do yourself a big favor and fish Diamond or Lemolo, or if you’re like me, make it a double – fish ‘em both. Just don’t forget to take mom along with you on Sunday.