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Salmon farther out, bigger

Fishing for Chinook salmon “fairly steady” in Chetco River

 Six-year-old Ryan Dunn recently caught the first fish of his life, a juvenile rockfish, from Citizens Dock in the Crescent City Harbor. Submitted by Dwight Jones
Six-year-old Ryan Dunn recently caught the first fish of his life, a juvenile rockfish, from Citizens Dock in the Crescent City Harbor. Submitted by Dwight Jones
Ocean salmon anglers are having to travel a little farther to get their limit, but the rewards have been bigger fish.


Crescent City ocean fishing


The salmon season doesn’t seem to be slowing down, but anglers are finding the fish where the ocean depth is 200 feet or more. When they find them, they’ve been nice 15- to 20-pound fish, according to Chris Hegnes of Englund Marine in Crescent City.

After travelling 4 miles west of the “sisters” sea stacks, fishing guide Jim Mitchell and his son caught a limit of four salmon in less than a half-hour.

“There’s a wall of fish out here like you won’t believe,” Mitchell said.

The rockfish and lingcod bite has remained just as good as it’s been all year, Hegnes said.

This year’s ocean fishing season has been so fantastic it’s overshadowed other opportunities available to those who prefer to stay on shore.


Del Norte shore fishing

Fishing from the jetty with a lead jighead and swim bait can be a great way to catch rockfish and lingcod in the summer time.  Always make sure to avoid the jetty during strong weather because it can be very dangerous.

Fishing from the docks in the harbor can also do the trick, and fishing licenses are not required when fishing from a public structure.

Six-year-old Ryan Dunn recently caught the very first fish of his life, a juvenile rockfish, on one of the smaller docks connected to Crescent City Harbor’s Citizen’s Dock using a #14 sabiki rig.

Surfperch can be caught from most beaches in Del Norte, especially by fishing areas with drop-offs. Recommended bait is raw shrimp or Berkley gulps fished on No. 6 size hooks, 6- to 10-pound test line and just an ounce or two of weight.

 The beaches in Smith River have been giving some anglers their limit of surfperch in less than an hour.

Anglers can keep and possess a combination of 20 fish from different surfperch species with not more than 10 fish of any one species. Redtail surfperch must be a minimum of 10.5 inches in length.

Cutthroat trout in Smith River watershed (including smaller creeks) can be caught with stealthy tactics, targeting the fish early in the morning or late at night.

“Fish toward the faster waters where they’ll be hanging,” Hegnes said.

Small spinners, spoons and panther martins will be the ticket.


Brookings ocean fishing

With excess bait fish in the ocean, Jan Pearcey of Tidewind Sportfishing said lead fish are a lot more efficient for catching rockfish and lingcod. 

The salmon bite has been great out of the Port of Brookings Harbor, Pearcey said.


Eureka salmon fishing

Reel Steel Sportfishing has continued to get limits of salmon quickly, and it has also seen the salmon get a little larger, according to their websites’ reports.

The fish are looking to be just about 15 to 20 pounds, the report said.


Shelter Cove ocean fishing

After a brief lull in the catch, salmon fishing picked up once again in Shelter Cove, according to Russ Thomas of Mario’s Marina.

Rockfish and lingcod have been just as hot as they have been all summer, but the halibut bite is more hit and miss.


Lower Klamath River

Summer steelhead in the lower Klamath have been picking up with about 3 to 8 steelhead being caught a day by boats on the hunt, according to fishing guide Ken Cunningham.


Chetco River

“Chinook fishing has been fairly steady at the mouth of the river and just outside the mouth in the ocean. Anglers trolling anchovies or spoons seem to be doing the best.  Look for the bite to continue as the amount of bait near the mouth of the Chetco has been good. Anglers are reminded to check the regulations, as hook and size restrictions differ between the river and the ocean,” according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife fishing report.


Lower Rogue River

“Fall chinook fishing has kicked off in the bay with anglers picking up a few chinook each day. Most of the fish are being caught between Highway 101 and the mouth.  With the minus tides, anglers may want to hold off until early afternoon to fish as fish move back into the estuary with the incoming tides. If the ocean is flat, anglers may want to troll off the mouth targeting chinook staging to come into the Rogue,”  reports the ODFW.

“Summer steelhead have been moving up river, but there is very little fishing pressure. Water temperatures in the Rogue have been pretty high, but with cooler temperatures expected this week, steelhead fishing may pick up,” the ODFW added in its report.

“The surfperch bite in the lower Rogue Bay has slowed.”

 Ken Cunningham Fishing Guide Service at 707-391-7144; Tidewind Sportfishing at 541-469-0337; Reel Steel Sportfishing at 707-499-4925.

Reach Adam Spencer at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it



Del Norte Triplicate:

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P.O. Box 277
Crescent City, CA 95531

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