LONGER FISHING SEASON SOUGHT

October 19, 2001 11:00 pm

See related web site link(s) at the end of the story:

aThe Trophy Fishery off the Chetco River ended just last week, but officials are already planning for next years October fishery, and this time they want two weekends of fishing.

The fishery was discussed by members of the Port of Brookings Harbor Fisheries Committee Thursday because they want to get their requested dates in to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife as soon as possible.

The October Chinook salmon fishery had traditionally been a nine to 10 day season. Fishermen accepted an earlier start to the season this year in exchange for 12 days, but that included only one fishing weekend.

Roger Thompson, vice chairman of the committee, pushed for a two-weekend season next year to attract more fishermen from the Rogue Valley and bring more dollars into the community.

He said hed prefer having two weekends, even if it meant having a nine or 10 day season. There were other problems with this years Oct. 1-12 season, said Thompson.

As in recent Octobers, the weather was too dry. Without rain, salmon dont catch the scent of the river and move toward its mouth.

Fishermen said the full moon made a difference in the fishing too, and jellyfish forced boats to crowd together.

The early start to the season helped sport fishermen avoid conflicts with commercial fishermen, who didnt go out until Oct. 13, but it also made sportsmen choose between fishing and hunting.

Thompson wanted a later start to next years season, even if it meant sharing the water with commercial fishermen for a few days.

Sport fisherman Otto Bliss said, We can fish with the commercial guys. He suggested opening the season around Oct. 10.

Other fishermen agreed most sport fishermen stay inside the Whistle Buoy, while most commercial fishermen stay outside of it.

Port Salmon Advisor Jim Welter said some commercial fishermen dont mind fishing with sport fishermen.

He said others want to keep their boats going straight ahead on autopilot and dont want to have to steer around sport boats.

Welter said he didnt care when the season was, as long as the request was made in time for authorities to act on it. He agreed it shouldnt start so early that it forces a choice between hunting and fishing.

Thompson suggested Oct. 5-13 next year.

Why give days up, said Port Commissioner Ed Gray.

Lets try for what we can get, said Bliss.

Thompson and Welter agreed to work on getting a later starting date and as many days as possible.