Reel Deal: Chinook, rockfish biting at sea

By Adam Spencer, The Triplicate June 02, 2012 12:00 am

Fishing Vessel Reel Steel landed ten chinook salmon on Memorial Day then caught three halibut all before noon. From left to right, Lonnie Dollarhyde, Aubrey Holman, Captain Tim Klassen, Josh Holman and Tom (from San Jose). Submitted by Reel Steel Sport Fishing
Fishing Vessel Reel Steel landed ten chinook salmon on Memorial Day then caught three halibut all before noon. From left to right, Lonnie Dollarhyde, Aubrey Holman, Captain Tim Klassen, Josh Holman and Tom (from San Jose). Submitted by Reel Steel Sport Fishing
Ocean-faring vessels leaving from Eureka continue to hammer the chinook salmon, and the rockfish bite is unstoppable most places on the North Coast.

Klamath River spring chinook are conspicuously absent, but there are spring chinook to be had on the Rogue.


Early ending ocean days

“The salmon fishing continues to be absolutely phenomenal. We had five limits (10 salmon) before 8:30 this morning,” according to Tim Klassen’s Memorial Day fishing report. “If this keeps up I'm going to run out of adjectives to describe it.”

Aubrey and Josh Holman pulled into Eureka to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Aubrey gave Josh a box with some dramamine and a business card from Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, then they hit the water.

After catching quick limits of salmon, the group targeted halibut and came back with three — 10 salmon and three halibut before noon.  

Klassen said that in the last few days it’s only taken about an hour to get five-salmon limits (10 fish).

Crescent City: lings, kings

“Lings are still going crazy,” said Loren Taylor of Englund Marine in Crescent City.

Lingcod and most other types of rockfish are ripe for the picking, but the king salmon (chinook) bite in Crescent City is “hit and miss,” Taylor said.

When fishing boats do find salmon, they’ve been in shallower water than years past.  Taylor said that anglers have found the kings in about 35 to 45 feet of water.

Taylor also heard of fishermen nailing surfperch recently on Kellogg Beach.


Chinook on lower Rogue

Starting Friday, anglers can keep chinook salmon on the Rogue River from the mouth to the old Gold Ray dam site (Hog Creek).

Two adult chinook (wild or hatchery) may be kept per day, 20 per year.

“Spring chinook fishing has been excellent in the lower river this spring,” said Steve Mazur, assistant district biologist in Gold Beach. “In June, the fishing can be really good here, so with the return to zone regulations, anglers can enjoy additional opportunity.”

In the zone between the old dam site and Dodge Bridge, the wild chinook season runs July 1 to Aug. 31. Above Dodge Bridge, only hatchery fish may be kept throughout the chinook season.


Klamath springers MIA

Although several boats hit the Klamath River for Memorial Day weekend, the spring chinook continue to be caught in surprisingly low numbers.

“I’ve been down there four times, and I haven’t hooked one fish,” said Kim Hagen of Hagen’s Guide Service. “I would expect that when the low tides turn around, that’s when we’re going to start fishing.”

Fishing guide contacts: Kim Hagen of Hagen’s Guide Service, 707-457-3194; Reel Steel Sport Fishing, 707-499-4925 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ;

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