The ocean salmon season has finally arrived, at least for anglers north or the California-Oregon Border, as sportfishermen will finally be allowed to join the commercial boats in targeting salmon. California anglers will still need to wait about two weeks before being allowed to fish for the pink meat, but there are plenty of other fishing options to keep fishermen occupied.

On the ocean

The big news on the ocean is today’s salmon season opener in Oregon, where anglers have been preparing for the start of the season for the last few weeks.

Although there is a lot of excitement for the 2018 season after a full closure last year, it’s hard to tell if there are many salmon in the area until sportfishermen are able to get out an look.

Anglers are reporting lots of bait in the area just outside the harbor, which is a good sign for salmon, which feed on the smaller fish.

David Castellanos of Brookings River and Ocean Fishing said the commercial fleet has gotten off to a slow start to the season, however, which could indicate the best salmon fishing of the season is still a little ways off.

Oregon anglers will be allowed to target salmon through Aug. 26.

Just to the south, sportfishermen will have to wait to join in on the salmon hunt until June 1. The salmon season will remain open in Northern California through Sept. 3.

Meanwhile, there are still lots of fish that can be caught on both sides of the state border.

The bottomfish are still biting well out of both Brookings and Crescent City. Castellanos said he was able to get out of the Port of Brookings three times this week and got lots of lingcod and bottomfish with each trip. Lots of anglers out of Crescent City Harbor are having similar luck hauling in lingcod and rockfish.

The Pacific halibut season is also still in full swing on both sides of the border. Sportfishermen out of Brookings reportedly had a solid week of fishing with several big halibut hauled in throughout the week.

Crescent City had a great week for Pacific halibut last week, with a fish over 100 pounds, and a couple more around 80 pounds being hauled in. A few smaller halibut have been reported this week, though the bite seems to have slowed at least a little.

The Pacific halibut season will remain open in Oregon through Oct. 31, or until the area sub-quota is met. California sportfishermen have until June 15 before a forced break from halibut fishing. The Pacific halibut season will reopen in California from July 1-15, and again from Aug. 1-15 and from Sept. 1-Oct. 31 — or until the area’s quota is met.

Currently, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s in-season tracker has a projected 2,764 pounds of halibut already caught this season towards the quota of just over 30,000 pounds.

River fishing

River fishing is still a little bit on the slow slide on the Wild Rivers Coast, though there are still some spring salmon being caught on the Rogue River. Anglers closer to Brookings will have a chance to get back out on the Chetco River to target trout starting next Thursday.

Fishing contacts: Keith Richcreek of Pacific West Coast Ocean Fishing Guide Service at 218-5573; Dave Castellanos of Brookings River & Ocean Fishing at 541-698-7029; Chetco Outdoor Store at 541-469-9151; Englund Marine Supply Company at 464-32306.

Reach Michael Zogg at mzogg@triplicate.com.

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