With rough weather throughout the week, ocean anglers have had a hard time taking advantage of the ocean salmon season which opened last week. A few salmon were caught early in the week during a brief break in the wind on both sides of the California-Oregon border and there are several signs that the season will kick up soon. In the meantime, anglers jonesing for salmon have been able to catch a few on the Rogue River, which has had a surge of catches over the last week.

Bottomfishing has remained strong, and the fish are close in to shore which allows anglers to target rockfish and a few lingcod without having to go out very far.

On the ocean

Although anglers were excited to target salmon when the season opened on Saturday, it has been tough to get out far enough to target them. The best day so far this season was Monday, and a few anglers were able to catch some Chinook keepers on both sides of the border. But the wind picked back up on Tuesday and hasn’t let up.

It hasn’t all been bad news for ocean salmon, however. Anglers to the south in Eureka, where the weather has been more calm, are reporting catching limits of Chinook salmon since the opener.

Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing said usually the salmon start to bite in Crescent City roughly two weeks after anglers start getting limits in Eureka, and they hit Brookings shortly after that.

Martin said there has also been reports of lots of coho salmon on both sides of the border. Coho are not allowed to be retained in California, and they are also off limits in Oregon until later this month.

There is also a lot of bait in close to both Brookings and Crescent City, which is another good indicator that the salmon are on their way in bigger numbers.

It has been a similar story for Pacific halibut, with a few catches on Monday but not a lot of fishing pressure due to the weather.

Bottomfishermen have still be able to nab a few rockfish and lingcod despite the rough weather due to lots of fish in close to shore. Martin said there are still lots of rockfish hanging out near the surface in Brookings, as they feed on baby crab in the area.

Surf perch fishing has also remained productive this week, giving anglers another option for fish during windy conditions.

High winds are expected to continue throughout the weekend, but are

River fishing

The best river fishing around is still the Rogue River, where the spring salmon run is still going. Martin said the Rogue had a bit of a surge in catches this week. Today is also the first day that anglers will be allowed to retain wild salmon, which Martin said will likely increase fishing pressure on the river.

Anglers also started catching some trout on both the Smith and Chetco this week after both rivers reopened to fishing.

Free fishing weekend

This weekend will be the second of four planned “Free fishing weekends” for 2019. On free fishing weekends no license is required to fish, crab, or clam anywhere in Oregon including the ocean, rivers, or lakes. All other fishing regulations, including daily bag limits are still in effect, however.

As part of the weekend there are several free fishing events planned throughout Oregon, including a couple in Curry County. Libby Pond near Gold Beach will host an event today from 8 a.m. until noon. Another event will be held Sunday at Arizona Pond near Port Orford. That event is scheduled to run from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Fishing contacts: Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing at 206-388-8988; Keith Richcreek of Pacific West Coast Ocean Fishing Guide Service at 707-218-5573; Englund Marine Supply Company at 707-464-323.

Reach Michael Zogg at mzoggg@triplicate.com .

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