Larry Ellis, fishing columnist

Fishing report for October 5-11

Sunday, Oct. 14, will be the last day to fish for salmon in the ocean from Twin Rocks south to the Oregon/California border and out three nautical miles. So far there have been numerous 40-pound Chinook caught.

As of Thursday, two salmon weighing 47 pounds each were tied for first place in Sporthaven Marina's Ocean Hawg Derby. One of the monster 'nooks was caught by Ken Crockett; the other by Tom Olson. A familiar derby contestant, Gary Veach made the leader board for third place, with a 41-pound 2-ounce king.

Salmon action in the ocean has seen its good and bad days, but as anyone knows who has fished in this bubble fishery, everything can suddenly bust wide open at any moment, which is especially true toward the latter part of the season.

I would not be surprised one bit if any of the aforementioned fish were bettered by a larger specimen this weekend.

For the most part, the salmon have been bunching up and congregating close to Sporthaven Beach in between 20 and 30 feet of water. The most successful anglers have been trolling "low and slow" using wire spreader bars with 20-inch droppers and 8 ounces of lead.

On the end of the spreader bar, attach a Big Al's Fish Flash in the color chartreuse and then use a 4-foot mooching leader with a big sardine, a whole anchovy or a plug-cut herring on the end.

There have also been a fair number of Chinook caught in the Chetco Bay using the same technique.

The Rogue Bay has also been enjoying a consistent coho bite. Only adipose fin-clipped coho may be retained.


Crabbers should note that Monday, Oct. 15 will be the last day they can crab in the ocean until Dec. 1. This is a period when the majority of Dungeness crab molt, or shed their shells. Molting allows the crab to grow larger shells.

However, crabbing will still remain open in estuaries, even when it is closed in the ocean. Crabbing inside the Port of Brookings Harbor has been slow this year, but the ports of Bandon and Charleston have been producing awesome numbers of Dungeness, with Charleston Harbor having the best crabbing.

While crabbing with a friend last week, I found out that Pineapple traps work fantastic at the Port of Bandon. My initial cast yielded a nice 7-incher.


There is good news for bottom fishermen this month. The 30-fathom restriction ended the end of September. Now anglers can head out to deeper water to slay the fatted lingasaur in depths of 180 feet or deeper if they so desire.

Fishermen brought some dandy lingcod to the fillet tables at the Port of Brookings Harbor last week, with many fish over 15 pounds. On Thursday, Jerry Smith of Medford caught lingcod that pushed the 20-pound mark, and his two fishing buddies caught near-limits of some hefty rockfish, which included large quillback rockfish weighing over 5 pounds.

Although a lot of anglers prefer to catch their bottom-grabbers closer to shore, the lifting of the 30-fathom restriction is good news for Pacific halibut fishermen south of Humbug Mountain.

In months past, anglers who wanted to fish for halibut in depths over 180 feet could not bring rockfish and lings into the boat, or even take already-caught bottom fish out past the 30-fathom curve. Now, anglers can legally fish for rockfish, lingcod and halibut at the same time in depths greater than 180 fathoms.

Smart halibut anglers are adding a salmon belly strip along with their black label herring, a scent that drives halibut wild.

Most halibut fishermen are fishing in depths between 180 and 240 feet near the Thomas Creek Bridge, but a few fishermen have hooked into some nice halibut outside of Bird Island as well. The Pacific halibut season will remain open south of Humbug Mountain through Oct. 31.

Tight lines!