Larry Ellis, fishing columnist

Fishing report for

July 20-26

There is a lot of bait inside the port of Brookings Harbor. It's been here for at least a month. Most of the bait is small anchovies. You can tell where the bait schools are by looking for the pelicans and seagulls.

Almost every night about an hour before sunset, flocks of seagulls and pelicans can be seen dive bombing for baitfish. It's an incredible spectacle; something that many people would gladly pay admission to see. So if you have nothing better to do, and want to soak in the laid-back ambiance of friendly folk swapping far-fetched fabricated fables, take a drive to the crab dock on the south jetty.

Since there is so much bait in the harbor, it is also a good time to rig up for salmon. Now, this is not what you would call the most exciting action in the world, but if you feel like doing some bait fishing where you actually stand a chance of hooking up with a salmon, this is the way to rig up.

You're going to want to use a minimum of 20-pound test loaded on your bait casting or spinning reel.

Through the end of your line, thread on a plastic Slido (50 cents each), then slide down a 5mm bead. Tie a barrel swivel to the end of your line.

The bottoms of these Slidos have a snap where you can attach a pyramid sinker ranging between 4 and 6 ounces. The stronger the tide, the heavier your sinker needs to be.

You're also going to need an Eagle Claw mooching leader (about a dollar) and a 3-inch diameter bobber (2 to 3 dollars). And of course, you're going to need a tray of anchovies or herring, which costs approximately 6 bucks.

The mooching leaders are longer than you'll need them to be, so cut off a 4-foot piece. Thread the leader through the middle of a round cork or Styrofoam bobber. The bobber should be about 20 inches away from the top hook of the mooching rig. This rig is meant to keep your baitfish off of the bottom to avoid crab and bullhead.

Now insert the top hook of the mooching rig from the lower jaw of your baitfish so the hook point comes out of the baitfish's skull, the hardest part of its head. Insert the bottom hook of the mooching rig through the end of the baitfish and you're ready to cast.

Be aware of where the main boat traffic is and make your cast short of the boats to avoid getting some four-letter profanities thrown your way.

After your cast, reel in your line to take the slack out of it, and make sure that your barrel swivel is snug against the Slido.

Now put your rod in a sturdy rod holder and wait for the rod tip to double over. You may not get bit at all, but since there is so much bait in the boat basin, it's a guarantee that there are salmon nearby.

This is the most common practical baitfishing rig for salmon and it really works well when the fish are on-the-bite. Don't be surprised if you catch a lingcod andndash; they're closer to the rocks.


Chinook salmon have been coming into the fillet station with regularity, although some days have been better than others.

This is how I would describe last week's ocean salmon action. If you're not hooking up with a chrome-bright king, you're watching someone else who is netting one. So that means the fish are out there, and according most anglers, they're out there in large numbers. Everybody can see them on their fish finders.Whether they feel like biting is another thing.

There has been a very strong morning bite, close to first legal light. In case people don't know, there are legal fishing hours for salmon in the ocean. It is defined on page 11 of the ODFW fishing regulation pamphlet as being one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset.

These regulations fall under the heading of "Freshwater", but I was assured by ODFW personnel that even though the word "saltwater" is not used, the same regulations as far legal fishing hours still apply to salmon in the ocean.

Since the ocean was a bit windy in the afternoon, most dogs of the salt have been getting up early and hitting the ocean in the morning when it is less windy.

The best bait still seems to be, hands down andndash; anchovies, although some people have been whacking Chinook on watermelon-colored Apex lures and blackjack-colored Brad's Cut Plugs.

Inside the Brad's Cut Plugs is a compartment where you can add various scents. Some anglers claim that they have been doing well stuffing the bait compartment with a herring fillet and/or tuna.

Thursday was by far the week's best day, with so many salmon coming to the fillet tables, anglers had to take a number to get a vacant spot to clean their fish.


When I spoke with the ocean salmon representative on Thursday, the coho quota was far from being reached. It is looking like for those of us south of Humbug Mountain, the rest of July will be game on with coho, if you can find a hatchery fish. All native coho must be released.


The Rogue River has finally started seeing some action this week.

"In the past three days we've seen increased numbers of fall Chinook in the Rogue Bay," says Jim Carey, owner of the Rogue Outdoor Store in Gold Beach on Thursday. "We saw 21 fish yesterday and we've probably seen 25 this morning. The majority of the action is happening right off the mouth of Indian Creek on the high tide. When we go into a lower tide, the fish move down toward the mouth."

Carey says anglers trolling a spinnerbait rig, which is an anchovy trolled behind a spinner blade has been the go-to method.

"There are some nice fish coming in," says Carey. "I've seen a 35 pounder and a 40-plus"

Tight lines!