Northern California and Southern Oregon anglers fishing out of all three ports in the Klamath Management Zone (the KMZ) caught Chinook salmon of prodigious proportions on the opening day of salmon season in the ocean on Saturday, May 10. The Kong-sized kings ranged from 15 to 27 pounds, which bodes well for the rest of the season, when Chinook really put on the feedbag, adding 2 pounds or more weight a month.
Although only three Chinook were reportedly caught out of the Port of Brookings Harbor on the opener, the fishing continued to get better during the week with limits or near-limits being common on Tuesday.
"Salmon fishing has been really good for us," says Jim Bithell, owner of Charthouse Sportfishing in Brookings. "The fish are here really early, which means that the season should be a good one."
Anglers are fishing the usual spots near the Oregon/California border, uphill from the buoys or in the areas off of House Rock.
Brookings is in the northern half of the KMZ, but anglers fishing in the southern half of the zone have also reported excellent catches as well.
"Opening day was pretty spectacular," says Trudie Blasi of Full Throttle Sportfishing out of Eureka's port at Humboldt Bay, California. "I think that most of the boats were back by noon."
And with their limits!
It looks like this year could be a repeat performance of last season's incredible fishing. There may have been a few slow days out of the KMZ's southernmost port, but most anglers are either limiting or near-limiting out on Chinook, and with ideal ocean conditions allowing boats to head out of Humboldt Bay practically every day.
Humboldt Bay was known last year as "Home of the 15-minute limit," which, as one can imagine, can create cacophonous conditions for combating crazy kings. This year, anglers will actually get a chance to enjoy themselves and spread out their limits over a few hours, just as owner Captain Gary Blasi predicted would happen during his pre-season forecast.
The third port of the KMZ triad also experienced some very good fishing as well.
"The opener was really good and it's been good ever since," said Leonard from Englund Marine out of Crescent City's Del Norte Harbor on Thursday. "They're just knocking 'em."
Anglers have been catching salmon as close to shore as the whistle buoy, but for the most part, fishermen are fishing in water between 180- to 190-feet deep, with their anchovies or herring being around 60 feet on the wire.
HOW TO FIND THE HALIBUT QUOTA
At this time, the quota of 3,712 pounds in the Southern Oregon Subarea (SOS) has not yet been attained. The quota update will be updated sometime toward the end of each Thursday and will be posted on the ODFW website.
To access the halibut quota data, type http://www.dfw.state.or.us/mrp in the Web address of your computer's browser. This will bring you to a Web page with six quick-link photographs of different fisheries running horizontally across the top of the page. With your mouse, left click on the third photo from the left, the "Sport Halibut" link.
This will bring you to a new page. Under the heading "Sport Pacific Halibut," left click on "Estimates," which will take you to another Web page containing columns of years. Left click on "2014" and then scroll to the bottom of the page, which will bring you to the "Southern Oregon Coast."
At this point in time, anglers have caught 21 percent of the quota, or approximately 762 pounds of halibut. This leaves 2,950 pounds of halibut begging to be caught, which is 79-percent of the quota.
A LITTLE-KNOWN FACT THAT CAN WIN A BAR BET:
Pounds on the halibut quota are given in dressed-weight pounds; that is, fish that have been headed and gutted. So in actuality, the 3,712-pound quota equates to approximately 4,950 pounds of whole un-cleaned halibut.
"And dressed weight on a halibut is pretty much 75-percent of a whole fish," says Patrick Mirick, Assistant Sport Groundfish and Halibut project leader for ODFW.