The cleaning station at the Port of Brookings Harbor was once again abuzz last week with the sound of electric fillet knives as anglers were cleaning limits of rockfish, cabezon and greenling. At times all eight tables were being used.
Fishermen caught their bottom-grabbers straight out from the jetty jaws and both ways from the middle as they worked local reefs, pinnacles and kelp beds, with the reef huggers being caught on shrimp fly rigs, leadfish, twin-tail plastics and swimbaits.
Even though the salmon fishing in the ocean has recently been a little on the slow side, about a handful of Chinook are still being filleted each day, with some anglers actually limiting out. The anglers who have had the most success trolled all day until the salmon suddenly just went on the bite.
Many of these out-of-the-blue bites happened in multiples, and when that happens, they are often associated with a tide change. So if salmon fishing is a little sluggish, get out your tide books and make sure that your line is in the water during that two-hour window of opportunity that happens from one hour before and through one hour after low or high slack.
Many anglers who caught salmon in the ocean last week reported that their fish bit within this two-hour porthole.
Meanwhile, Rogue River mouth action suddenly turned on last week, with several anglers catching their Chinook trolling a spinnerbait/anchovy rig.
"We had a big bite on the Rogue on Monday and Tuesday," said Jim Carey from the Rogue Outdoor Store in Gold Beach. "We heard of 50-plus fish caught (a day), but that's not all of them by any means. I'm sure the guides will tell you that there were well over 75 fish caught on both days. These past two days were probably the two stronger days we've had all of last year, and by far the strongest that we've had for this year. "
Wednesday was a good day as well, with anglers reporting the bite occurring during all hours of the day.
This action has been a long time coming. How long it will last is anybody's guess. The hot bite can shut off as fast as it turned on, or it could continue to hold its own off and on throughout the summer. So give Jim or Larry Cody a call at the Rogue Outdoor Store to get the latest skinny on these beautiful fat Chinook.
There is currently 29-percent (1,063-pounds) of Pacific halibut left on the quota for the southern Oregon coast.
By popular request, folks have asked for some quick and easy recipes for preparing their catch. Here are two of my favorite recipes for rockfish and salmon.
Rockfish a la Mayo
I thank Mark Gasich of Brookings for this no-nonsense rockfish recipe.
All you need is some rockfish, cabezon or lingcod fillets, some canola oil, your seasoning of choice (Old Bay Seasoning works just fine), Best Foods Mayonnaise (regular) and Panko Bread Crumbs.
Fill a pan about one-half inch full with the canola oil and heat it to 350-degrees Fahrenheit. Use an oil thermometer to ensure that the temperature is accurate.
Thoroughly dry your fillets with paper towels, then sprinkle them with Old Bay Seasoning or your seasoning of choice.
Spread each fillet with a very light coating of mayonnaise, just barely enough to coat the fillet.
Now coat both sides of the fillet in the Panko Bread Crumbs. Cook until golden brown and then drain on paper towels.
This is a no-fail recipe. I have had people thank me for this recipe who have had nothing but misery cooking fish in the past.
Ellis' Salmon Dip
This dip works especially great with all that salmon that you've canned the past couple of years.
You'll need 1 1/2 cups of Chinook salmon, one 8-ounce rectangular box of Philadelphia Cream Cheese (not the tubs), 5 T of sweet pickle relish, 3 capfuls of Wright's Liquid Smoke and Cow Camp Garlic Seasoning.
Place the cream cheese in a large bowl.
Drain the salmon well on several paper towels. You may have to drain the salmon twice to remove most of the juice.
It's also extremely important to drain the pickle relish on several layers of paper towels to remove most of its juice as well. This will take between two and four changes of paper towels to get your nearly-dry ingredients.
Add the well-drained salmon to your cream cheese and mix thoroughly, followed by the sweet pickle relish and then the liquid smoke.
Finally sprinkle a liberal amount of the garlic powder to the concoction and blend. The Cow Camp brand is my favorite.
Transfer the mixture to a smaller container, cover with Reynolds Wrap and let it season overnight in the refrigerator.
This is an excellent dip/spread that tastes great on celery sticks, Triscuits, Wheat Thins or bagels.