Anglers still waiting for herring

February 08, 2013 11:31 pm

Last Wednesday, I drove to Crescent City Harbor to see if there were any signs of Pacific herring. They had not yet arrived, which is all the more reason to give anglers hope that they could possibly be making their annual appearance sometime this week.

Where to fish for herring has always been an angler’s dilemma. A lot of folks will be jigging for them in front of Englund Marine, on that long dock that parallels the entrance to the commercial boat basin, but the commercial boat basin is only one popular place to jig for these baitfish.

Here are 5 different examples of bait-fishing jig outfits that will all catch herring. The Pilot/Larry Ellis
Here are 5 different examples of bait-fishing jig outfits that will all catch herring. The Pilot/Larry Ellis
A lot of anglers are going to be launching their boats at the public boat launch in order to gain more access to the harbor. The public boat launch ($6) is located off of Anchor Way.

Don’t forget to purchase your California fishing license. Except for Citizens Dock and the B Street Pier, you’ll need a fishing license if you’re going to jig inside the harbor from a boat or from any of the docks, including the dock in front of Englund Marine.

Herring schools tend to move around. The best way to find the schools is to look for two different flocks: flocks of anglers jigging for them and flocks of birds diving for them.

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The Chetco River kicked out fair numbers of steelhead last week for boats side-drifting and by anglers drift-fishing from the bank, with yarn balls edging out Puff Balls and Corkies.

“The guides are averaging between two and four fish a boat and the lower river’s been producing more fish,” said Andy Martin of Wild River Fishing. “I’ve been trying all kinds of different things but what’s been working the best for me is side-drifting a small yarnie (yarn ball), with a small cluster of three or four eggs.”

Yarnies are easy to make. To learn how to make your own yarnies, visit youtube.com and type in “yarn balls” and “Troy Whittaker”.

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Surfperch fishermen are still continuing to knock the socks out of the redtails at the Nesika Beach Wayside, with many fishermen catching some slabs in the 2- to 3-pound category.

“I’ve had a fair number of old-hands out fishing for them in the last three to four weeks, and they’ve been telling me they’re getting some good-size fish,” said Larry Cody from the Rogue Outdoor Store in Gold Beach. “Most people don’t even start targeting them until April/May but the fish have been in really this year.”

The surfperch have been biting on sand shrimp and raw pieces of shrimp.

“And we’re still getting killer action on those 2-inch Berkley Gulp! Camo Sand Worms,” adds Cody. “Berkley also packages them in those little acrylic tubs, and that’s where the magic is.”

These tubs look like little miniature bait buckets and contain Berkley’s elixir that keeps the sand worms moist. Anglers have been buying the tubs and soaking their pieces of shrimp inside the liquid.

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Anglers can start expecting to see more hatchery steelhead crossing the Rogue River bar this month as they make their way into the lower Rogue estuary.

“The steelhead bite is always better when the Rogue bar is calm,” tipped John Anderson of Memory Makers Rogue River Guide Service. “The hatchery fish are coming in really good numbers now. On Tuesday, four out of six fish were hatchery steelhead.”

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Sadly, one of the angling community’s dearest friends, Monica Fischer, a life-long resident of Crescent City and Brookings, left the earth to be joined with her heavenly father on January 31.

My deepest condolences go out to her family and her husband Jeff.

As I ponder her passing, I cannot help but contemplate the old Hindu proverb that I believe she lived by every day of her life: 

“Help your brother’s boat across and your own will reach the shore.”

Tight lines.