TOP FIVE FISH MYTHS, CHETCO SALMON BITING FAIR TO MIDDLIN'

November 15, 2008 12:00 am

By Larry Ellis

Fish report for November 7-13

Warning: Objects in this column may appear larger than they actually are.

As we all know, when it comes to fishermen, they always tell the absolute truth regarding the size of their catches.In other words, they never deliberately delve into deception.

OK, maybe in the course of spinning a few yarns around the plunking populace they may stretch the truth, fabricate a falsity, tell a tall tale, express an exaggeration, misrepresent the facts, impart an inaccuracy, disclose a distortion or mention a myth – but out and out deceit is never the actual intention.

Speaking about myths, when you talk to as many fishermen as I do, you really do hear some whoppers. So this week, I decided to convey ...

TOP FIVE MYTHS MOST COMMONLY ENCOUNTERED AT THE BROOKINGS FILLET TABLES

1 THE SALMON WERE SO THICK YOU COULD WALK ON THEIR BACKS

Out of all the whale-tails I've ever heard, this is probably the most common urban or suburban legend I've ever encountered.You not only hear this statement regarding the Chetco, but for all other rivers in the world that have salmon runs.

One day at the cleaning station I decided to put this fable to the test.As soon as the next guy made that statement, I asked him if he had ever really walked on their backs.

The answer was of course, "no."

I then asked if he had actually witnessed any other people walking on salmons' backs, which led to louder, more affirmative "No."

That's when I said, "How could you even stand up.I mean, wouldn't the slime on their backs cause you to slip and fall, and possibly even cause serious injury from hitting your head on a rock? Oh, I forgot, they were SO thick that their copious quantities alone would have prevented you from hitting your head on a rock.You would of course, merely hit your head on another salmon's back."

That's about the time when I wished I had taken karate.

2 FISH ALWAYS BITE BETTER IN THE RAIN

You hear this one a lot, especially from people who don't fish at all.So I suppose that for people who never get to fish, any self-respecting salmonoid who bit in the rain could prove that statement to be true.

But come on!Why would the wetness of rain ever affect the appetite of a salmon. After all, they spend their entire lives totally immersed in water, which of course makes them pretty darned wet already.A little rain isn't going to make them any wetter.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, it rains most of the time during the peak of the salmon season anyway.And one of the worst times to be fishing is during a rising river.Two thumbs down on that theory.

3 FISH ARE BITING ON EVERYTHING BUT THE KITCHEN SINK

Once again, how does one actually know this to be true? In all the years I've fished, I have NEVER actually seen anyone use a kitchen sink for bait.

But just for the moment let's just pretend that statement is true.Would that not mean that fish would bite just as easily on an electric can opener as they would on a night crawler? I don't think you need a lab coat and a Bunsen burner to disprove that old fable.

4 BANANAS ARE BAD LUCK FOR FISHING

Unfortunately, this one is true, sadly.

And lastly – drum roll please. ...

5 THE FISH ARE BITING SO WELL EVEN OUTDOOR WRITERS ARE CATCHING THEM

Pardon me while I puke. In order for this one to be true, the fish would have to be so thick you could walk on their backs, and it would have to be raining while I was fishing with my Sony T.V., but only after having fasted for a week so there was no trace of bananas left in my system.Myths – BUSTED!

CHETCO RIVER SALMON BITING FAIR TO MIDDLIN'

I've been to the cleaning station and several of the take-outs on the Chetco almost every day this week, and for the most part, the fishing has been pretty good.

On every occasion I witnessed lots of our typical November, 30-pound Chinook, a few in the upper teens and twenties, and lots of jacks.

For the most part, when the river was not rising, anglers pulling sardine-wrapped Kwikfish through power riffles were able to get a few kings to open wide and say "Ahhhh."

When the river came down below 4,000 cubic feet per second (cfs), there were a lot of people puttin' the hurtin' on a few Chinook by back-bouncing roe.

Fish are well-spread throughout the system now, so many anglers making drifts from Low Water Bridge down to Loeb State Park, from Miller down to Loeb, or from Ice Box down to Social Security Bar were rewarded with kings ranging from jack size up to the 30-pound class.

And there were some fresh chromers in the bag.One one particular day I caught up with Gary Early from earlyfishing.com who had a couple nice adults in the box.

When the fishing was good, many anglers were saying it was the best fishing they have seen in a decade, with many salmon hooked and lost.

Remember that the Chetco fishes best for back-trolling Kwikfish from 4,500 cfs down to about 3,000.Below 3K a lot of anglers switch to back-bouncing roe.

I fished with a good friend, Mike Josephson, on Thursday. Mike had caught the dickens out of the salmon the days before, but we got skunked that day.The Chetco was on-the-rise until about 2 p.m., which put most of the fish off-the-bite that day.

You can't ask for better fishing conditions.The only problem is keeping the leaves off your rig, so check your outfit frequently, at least once every five minutes.

On Thursday the riverhad about 1 1?2 feet of clarity and on Friday it should have had perfection visibility.The color for today and tomorrow should also be good as well.

Tight lines!