The ocean salmon season is now open on both sides of the border as California anglers were allowed to get out in search of salmon last Friday, joining their counterparts in Southern Oregon which have been targeting salmon since May 19.

There have been a lot more salmon caught out of Crescent City than have been kept through the first full week of the season. Though anglers have been able to catch the fish between 8 and 10 miles offshore out of Crescent City without much problem, many of them have been below the minimum size of 20 inches, and have had to be put back.

“It’s a lot of fun if you just want to go out and do catch and release, but it is not very good for filling the smoker or the freezer,” said Capt. Keith Richcreek of Pacific West Coast Ocean Fishing Guide Service.

Fishermen in Oregon are also catching some salmon here and there, though they are still a ways away from shore with most catches coming between 7 and 15 miles out.

The Chinook salmon will likely start to come much closer to shore as the season progresses, though the timing of that move is difficult to predict.

Halibut

There are still a few Pacific halibut being caught out of both Brookings and Crescent City this week, though the big fish have been hit-or-miss for most of the season.

Although the halibut season in Southern Oregon will remain open and uninterrupted throughout the summer, their Californian counterparts will be taking a couple weeks off for the first of three, two-week closures to the fishery planned throughout the season.

Pacific halibut will close in California next Friday through the end of the month, reopening from July 1 to 15. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has projected that about 4,891 pounds of Pacific halibut were hauled in during the month of May, with another 106 pounds projected through June 3.

The total quota for the season in California is 30,940 pounds. The CDFW’s projection is just a gauge for how the season has been going. The California Recreational Fisheries Survey’s estimates, which haven’t been released, are what determine when the quota has been met.

Bottomfishing

Bottomfishing has remained strong out of Oregon throughout the week. There are also still lots of rockfish and lingcod in California, though the bite has been a little more difficult this week for one of the areas most plentiful fish.

Richcreek and Capt. Craig Strickhouser of Tally Ho II Sportfishing said they were still able to catch some fish, especially black snappers, but a high drift has been making things a little bit difficult.

The bottomfish bite is also likely suffering from large amounts of bait such as krill and shrimp in close to the harbor. Capt. Jim Mitchell of Gotcha Hooked Fish Trips said the fish appear to be well fed at the moment, and thus less likely to bite. Mitchell said even the bottomfish that he was able to coax into biting were full of bait.

Fishing contacts: Tally Ho II Sportfishing at 707-464-1236; Keith Richcreek of Pacific West Coast Ocean Fishing Guide Service at 218-5573; Jim Mitchell of Gotcha Hooked Fish Trips at 464-8482; 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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