Anglers on the Klamath and Trinity Rivers are finally experiencing the chinook salmon fishing that was expected with the second highest predicted return of salmon on record.
Jay Hamer of Gold River, Calif., holds the two king salmon he caught in the ocean and the mouth of the Chetco River on Oct. 8 while trolling plug-cut herring with guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. Courtesy of Wild Rivers Fishing
Lower Klamath River
Below the confluence with the Trinity River, 398 adult salmon were harvested in the first week of October, with the majority (319) coming from below the Highway 101 Bridge.
Almost 200 jacks were caught above the 101 bridge, but most of the adults were caught near the mouth.
“Usually it’s getting pretty quiet down at the mouth, but since the mouth is now flowing almost straight out center, fish did make two huge pushes in the last week,” said Sara Borok, California Fish and Wildlife scientist.
Chetco bubble fishery
The Chetco bubble season closes after Sunday, but the chinook salmon that have been seen most recently are averaging 30 pounds, according to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing.
The largest salmon caught thus far for the Sporthaven Marina derby weighed in at 50.5 pounds.
Although the fish are large, anglers have to work to get them.
“We’ve been getting fish every day, but it’s not like the summer when you just go out and get ’em,” Martin said. “You have to spend a significant part of the day to get your fish.”
Martin said smaller baits, plug-cut herring and whole anchovies, have been working best.
Crescent City ocean
When the ocean lies down enough to get out, rockfish, lingcod and even an occasional halibut are still biting. Bottom fishing on the North Coast ends Oct. 31.
Many anglers have been successfully targeting tuna just 30 miles offshore this week. Commercial boats, like Fishing Vessel Charlie, have been selling tuna off the boat in Crescent City Harbor.
Although the Smith River is still hovering above 600 cubic feet per second, avoiding the low flow closure to most other North Coast rivers, the fish that entered the river with late-September’s heavy rains are nowhere to be found.
“It’s been pretty quiet,” said Jim Mitchell of Gotcha Hooked Fish Trips. Mitchell predicted that anglers might get away with some bobber fishing, but it seems like salmon took advantage of early-October’s high flows and jetted upriver.
Fishing guide contacts: Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing at 541-813-1082, Gotcha Hooked Fish Trips at 464-8482.