Prime weather for ocean fishing is here

The holiday week has provided lots of good fishing for anglers up and down the Wild Rivers Coast. Good weather has provided calm seas that have allowed anglers to get on the ocean out of Crescent City, Brookings, and even Gold Beach.

There have been some nice Pacific halibut hauled out of Crescent City, the Chinook salmon are getting bigger near Brookings, and Gold Beach had some perfect conditions for catching lots of bottomfish.

Meanwhile the Rogue Bay had been slow for several weeks, but saw an uptick in salmon on Thursday — just in time for the holiday. The Klamath River is also back in play as the salmon fishing closure was lifted on Monday, allowing anglers their first chance to target the spring run.

Ocean fishing

Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing said he thought the highlight of the week has been the fishing out of Gold Beach, which can sometimes be difficult to get out of.

“The ocean was calm so a lot of people went out bottomfishing out of Gold Beach and they got a really nice grade of fish,” Martin said.

Anglers in Golf Beach and Brookings have also been able to catch a few Pacific halibut this week as well.

Anglers out of Brookings have also seen the Chinook salmon continue to grow as the shakers — salmon smaller than the 24-inch minimum size limit — are getting closer and closer to becoming keepers. Although some of the salmon being caught are still too small to keep, and others are pretty close to the cutoff point, he said there have been others that are nice 15-pound fish. While the king salmon have been biting more, the coho salmon have been a little bit harder to find this week, especially the hatchery coho which are allowed to be retained in Oregon.

In Crescent City the Pacfic halibut fishing was on fire for Capt. Jim Mitchell of Gotcha Hooked Fish Trips on Saturday. Mitchell said he and Rod Woodwon headed out in search of Pacific halibut at 11:30 a.m. last Saturday and after just 45 minutes the pair had had three bites, while managing to haul in two of them — one weighing in at 60 pounds and the other at 55. There have been reports of at least one Pacific halibut caught that was pushing the century mark, tipping the scales at 92 pounds.

The salmon fishing hasn’t been quite as hot out of Crescent City as it has been in Southern Oregon, but there have still been a few Chinook caught this week, including some that have started to come into more shallow water.

River fishing

Martin said the Rogue River had been slow all week, but the salmon made a bit of a showing just in time for the holiday with several reported catches on the Fourth of July. Conditions on the Rogue Bay should continue to improve as the temperature of the river continues to rise, forcing the salmon to hold.

It has also been the first week for anglers to target salmon on the Klamath River this week, but the fishing has been slow since the opener on Monday.

California free fishing day

Today is the first of two free fishing days scheduled in California this summer.

On free fishing days, anyone is allowed to fish without a sport fishing license. Although fishing is free, all regulations remain in place, including bag and size limits, gear restrictions, and stream closures. Anglers must also still have the appropriate report card when fishing for steelhead, sturgeon, or salmon in the Smith and Klamath-Trinity river systems.

Another free fishing day in California is scheduled for Aug. 31.

Fishing contacts: Englund Marine Supply Company at 707-464-323; Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing at 206-388-8988; Mike Coopman’s Guide Service at 707-218-4501; Jim Mitchell of Gotcha Hooked Fish Trips at 464-8482; Tally Ho II Sportfishing at 707-464-1236.

Reach Michael Zogg at mzogg@triplicate.com.

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