It has been a pretty slow week of fishing on the Wild Rivers Coast, particularly in California where the steelhead season has run out of steam and the ocean remains closed to boat-based anglers.
Oregon fishermen have a few more choices with bottom fishing open and the spring salmon run starting to kick up on the Rogue River, but anglers on both sides of the border have been reeling in lots of red tail surf perch, especially when conditions are good.
On the ocean
Anglers can still get a few crab out of Brookings and Crescent City, and bottom fishing is producing some good fish in southern Oregon, but overall it has been a slow couple weeks for anglers.
Many fishermen have used that down time to hit the beaches in search of red tail surf perch.
Jim Mitchell of Gotcha Hooked Fish Trips said perch are biting especially well off of Kellogg Beach, just south Smith River, while anglers in Oregon have been having lots of luck on beaches just north of the border.
“I’m using sand crab that you can find on the beach, and just a 3 or 4 ounce weight,” Mitchell said. “I try to cast it just beyond the second breaker there.”
Mitchell said that routine has yielded lots of perch and on nice days he has been able to catch his daily bag limit of 10 surf perch in just a few hours.
Although it is getting late in the season and most of the commercial crabbers have given up the chase, there are still reportedly a few crab for recreational anglers to haul in out of both Brookings and Crescent City. The main event for boat-based anglers right now is bottom fishing though.
Capt. Dave Castellanos of Brookings River and Ocean Sportfishing said he was able to take a boat out for a couple days early in the week and was able to nab limits of rockfish, with near-limits of lingcod.
Conditions are only expected to improve this weekend which should make for a productive weekend of sportfishermen.
Bottom Fishing is still closed in California, but the 2018 opener is coming right around the corner with the date set for May 1.
Meanwhile, Pacific halibut fishing is set to open on both sides of the border on May 1. The season in Oregon will remain open through Oct. 31, or until the area’s sub-quota is met. In California Pacific halibut fishing will be open May 1-June 15 and again from July 1-15, from Aug. 1-15, and Sept. 1 to Oct. 31 — or until the quota is met.
Oregon ocean fishermen will also be able to start targeting salmon on May 1, while anglers in California will have to wait until June 1.
With the Chetco River still closed and the Smith River no longer yielding steelhead the main place for fishing on a river right now is the Rogue, where the annual spring salmon run is slowly picking up steam.
Anglers have been catching a few salmon here and there over the past few weeks on the Rogue River, but prime salmon fishing is likely still at least a few weeks off.
Fishing contacts: Dave Castellanos of Brookings River & Ocean Fishing at 541-698-7029; Tidewind Sportfishing at 541-469-0337; Chetco Outdoor Store at 541-469-9151; Englund Marine Supply Company at 464-32306; Jim Mitchell of Gotcha Hooked Fish Trips at 464-8482.
Reach Michael Zogg at firstname.lastname@example.org .