Reel Deal: Herring run begins in harbor

By Adam Spencer, The Triplicate February 15, 2013 03:43 pm

Phil Barker of the Bay Area holds a wild steelhead he caught and released Feb. 2 while fishing the Sixes River in southern Oregon with guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing.
Phil Barker of the Bay Area holds a wild steelhead he caught and released Feb. 2 while fishing the Sixes River in southern Oregon with guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. Courtesy of Andy Martin / Wild Rivers Fishing
If you fish for lingcod and rockfish, now’s the time to fill your freezer with bait as Pacific herring have just started their annual run in Crescent City Harbor.  

Harbor herring

Quick! Grab a light rod, a cooler and a handful of sabiki rigs, then wet a line, because the Pacific herring run in Crescent City Harbor doesn’t last for long.

Anglers have just started to pull out a few herring, but the run has yet to reach red-hot status, according to staff at Englund Marine.  Like in years past, however, the run should pick up, and fishermen will soon enough be catching a few at a time. 

To catch Pacific herring, anglers typically use Sabiki rigs, long pieces of line with six small hooks that can be purchased from local tackle shops. With Sabiki rigs, a light action rod, and a few small pieces of lead (usually half-ounce is plenty), you will be pulling out herring by the handful in no time.

To store the caught herring, dump a 3- to 4-inch layer of ice in the bottom of an ice chest or bucket, then sprinkle a liberal layer of non-iodized salt. Repeat the ice/salt layers until the cooler or bucket is full. The ice/salt slurry will kill the herring as soon as they are tossed in and keep them fresh until they are canned, or vacuum-sealed for future use.

A fishing license is not needed when fishing for herring from public docks: B Street Pier and Citizens Dock.  

Smith River steelhead

Dry weather has made steelhead fishing pretty tough, but the Smith has continued to produce  steelhead for anglers, some days better than others.

Fishing guide Jim Mitchell’s boat landed five of the nine steelhead hooked on Saturday — all on plugs.  On Monday, he targeted the same holes with the same plugs and came up with nothing but small steelies.

“I went from hero to zero, but that’s just how that river is,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said there are lots of 3- to 4-pound steelhead in the river, sometimes called “peanuts.”

One to two fish per boat was the average report from Monday with hardly anybody out in the low, clear water, Mitchell said.

“We need some rain!” Mitchell said.

Chetco River

Dry weather has the Chetco fishing slow as well, according to guide Al Kutkzey.

“We’re still catching a fish here and there, but we are not catching much,” Kutzkey said.

Fishing derby

The first of Rowdy Creek Fish Hatchery’s two annual derbies, the Chopper Derby, will be held next weekend, Feb. 21-23. For more information or to enter the derby, go to www.rowdycreek.com/derby or call 707-954-2260.

Fishing Guide contacts: Jim Mitchell of Gotcha Hooked Fish Trips at 707-464-8482; Albert Kutzkey of Kutzkey Guide Service at 530-941-3474.

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