When ocean salmon fishing is hot, like it currently is in Crescent City, and seas turn rough, as they will be through this weekend, anglers blame Murphy's Law. Might be a good time to hit the Klamath or Rogue Rivers, which are also currently a safe bet for catching salmon.
Lower Klamath River
The estuary of the lower Klamath River may be the best place to get your fishing fix this weekend if the ocean is rough, or you don't have access to an ocean boat, as fishing from the bank near the mouth has really improved recently.
It's up for debate whether the Chinook salmon currently being caught are spring-run Klamath salmon or early fall-run fish, but either way anglers are hooking plenty of salmon from both the spit at the river's mouth and aboard jetboats throughout the lower Klamath below Blue Creek.
Aaron Funk, of Kamp Klamath, said that salmon caught from the spit are weighing 8 to 17 pounds.
"There are fish spread throughout the system at this point," said fishing guide James Keeling.
And for the kids, or anyone up for a lighter catch: "Redtail surfperch are going crazy," Funk said, adding that the best bait to use is uncooked shrimp from Grocery Outlet. The perch are caught about 30 to 40 feet into the ocean from the spit at the Klamath mouth, Funk said.
There have been reports of summer steelhead caught as well, but anglers are reminded to release steelhead with extreme care, do not take them out of the water, and revive the fish so that it is certain they will swim away fine. The Klamath's current warm water conditions stresses the steelhead and makes them more susceptible to dying if not released properly.
Crescent City ocean
Anglers hitting the water early out of Crescent City Harbor have been getting quick limits of salmon, with enough time to also bring in limits of bottom fish for some anglers, according to Leonard Carter of Englund Marine Supply in Crescent City Harbor.
California halibut have also been caught off the coast of South Beach near the closed Beachcomber Restaurant, Carter said.
Unfortunately, a hazardous seas warning has been issued by the National Weather Service from Pt. St. George north to Cape Blanco that will last through Sunday afternoon.
The salmon bite out of Port of Brookings-Harbor went "absolutely wide open" on Tuesday, according to Scott Stewart of Ultimate Catch Charter and the Chetco Outdoor Store. Several anglers returned to port with a limit of 8 salmon by 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Stewart said.
"The salmon bite has been flat off the hook," Stewart said. "Somebody told me that last year was the best they'd seen in 30 years and that this year is twice as good."
The best fishing has been near the California border or straight out from port in 120 feet of water, fishing at 40 feet below surface, Stewart said.
Rogue River estuary
Anglers trolling the Rogue River estuary are catching about one salmon per boat, Stewart said.
"Wide open" and limits of salmon as early as 8:30 a.m. seems to be the case for Reel Steel Sportfishing out of Eureka. Capt. Tim Klassen's reports said that there are larger fish showing up now and the fish are now in transition from krill to bait fish.
Fishing contacts: Englund Marine Supply at 707- 464-3230; Chetco Outdoor Store at 541- 469-9151; Kamp Klamath RV Park and Campground at 707-482-0227; Ultimate Catch Charter at 541-813-0330; James Keeling's Guide Service at 707-22-DRIFT (223-7438); and Reel Steel Sportfishing at 707-499-4925.
Reach Adam Spencer firstname.lastname@example.org.