If I hear from one person that a fish has been caught - that's just a rumor. If I hear from more than one person that the same fish has been caught - that's gossip. But if I see with my own two eyes that a fish has been caught, and I take a picture of it - you can take that to the bank.
And that's exactly what three fellows did in the Chetco bay on Tuesday of last week - they cashed in on some serious silver bullion smack dab in the middle of two banks straddling the Chetco bay.
I could have said that the fish were as shiny as re-chromed bumpers, an expression that we commonly used back in the day. The problem with using that expression nowadays is that nobody in this day and age would have the slightest idea what a chrome bumper actually is, since bumpers have been made of plastic for several decades. Suffice it to say, the fish were so bright that if I had used a fill flash to take the photograph, the reflections would have blinded me.
In fact, I weighed in each fish with my trusty Berkley digital scale. One weighed 25 pounds, 8 ounces, the other weighed 15 pounds and some change, and the other one was a jack, but a nice 4-pound 10-ounce jack Chinook.
The two largest salmon were caught in the same boat by both anglers at the same time. They call that a double.
Although the action isn't red hot in the Chetco bay, it's a good start. Sometime in September, somebody always catches a salmon in the Chetco estuary. That gives people enough optimism that the salmon are on the way and gives anglers hope that the October bubble fishery in the ocean may be something exciting to look forward toward, which, by the way, is only nine days away.
The Rogue River has had its struggles this year, but last week the action picked up and Chinook were caught in fair numbers. Coho were caught as well. You can keep the coho in the river and bay if they are of hatchery origin. You have to let the wild ones go. There were reports of several hatchery coho caught last week as well - doubles even!
This is also the month when the Indian Creek Chinook start coming back to the hatchery, so the fishing can be awesome on the Rogue just below Indian Creek. According to John Weber, STEP biologist for ODFW, several Indian Creek salmon have already been caught. Those Indian Creek fish are designed to provide an extended Chinook fishery in the Rogue bay throughout the end of September and into October.
The bottom fishing outside the Port of Brookings Harbor finally turned on again last week. For the most part, folks who went uphill caught more lingcod. Those who went downhill caught more rockfish. The good bottom fishing should continue to be stellar this week.
The Port of Gold Beach also had some fantastic rock fishing and lingcod fishing when folks could cross the bar.
Remember that ODFW has a kiosk in the Port of Brookings Harbor fish-cleaning station where folks can cut the snouts off their hatchery salmon and place them in certain designated plastic bags. Instructions on how to perform a "snoutectomy" are printed on the outside of the kiosk.
Inside the kiosk are pencils, forms and plastic bags. People are encouraged to turn in their hatchery snouts. Fill out the forms and put down your real name and address. If your snout (not yours, the fish's) has a coded wire tag inside it, you will be automatically entered in a drawing for which there will be multiple prizes. If your own personal snout has a coded wire tag inserted inside of it, then you were once a fingerling.
Hatchery fish = adipose fin missing. Wild fish = has adipose fin.