Reel Deal: Ocean halibut open, salmon next week

Written by Adam Spencer, The Triplicate May 13, 2014 10:54 am

Ocean anglers from across the region are gearing up for the North Coast’s recreational salmon season opener on Saturday and the opening of the groundfish season next Thursday.

Recreational slips for dock space in Crescent City Harbor’s recently completed, state-of-the-art inner boat basin are filling up fast and fishing-focused tourists are starting to move into RV spaces for the summer.

Ocean salmon

Although the prediction for ocean salmon is much less than the last two banner seasons, it should still be a good ocean salmon season on the North Coast this summer, with fishery managers predicting nearly 300,000 Klamath River fall chinook.

Starting Saturday and going through Sept. 7, anglers from the Oregon-California border to Horse Mountain can fish for ocean salmon (except coho) seven days a week. Two fish per day can be harvested, and for chinook there is a minimum size limit of 24 inches.

In Shelter Cove, where the ocean salmon season is already open, the catch has been pretty good when the weather conditions allow, but as of late, anglers have only been able to fish a few hours in the morning before being blown back into shore.

“The wind has been howling in the evenings,” said Virginia Jones, owner of Mario’s Marina in Shelter Cove.

When anglers get a chance to fish for salmon, Jones has seen the fish coming back in the 12- to 15-pound range, plus a 25-pounder over the weekend.

Tally Ho II Sportfishing is open for business and willing to go for ocean salmon trips when conditions allow. Contact Capt. Craig Strickhouser to book a trip at 707-464-1236.

Englund Marine Supply Co. will be awarding a rod and reel combo to the angler who catches the heaviest salmon and lingcod of the season.

Groundfish opens Thursday

Speaking of lingcod, the tasty whitefish, rockfish and other groundfish can be caught by boat-based anglers on the North Coast starting Thursday. Tally Ho II Sportfishing specializes in groundfish trips.

Out of the Port of Brookings-Harbor, the lingcod and rockfish bite has been “very good” when the ocean isn’t looking nasty, according to Scott Stewart of Chetco Outdoor Store.

Halibut

Halibut fishing out of Crescent City was good on opening day last Thursday with a fair amount of fish caught, according to Chris Hegnes of Englund Marine in Crescent City.

Stewart said the halibut fishing out of Brookings was very good on opening day with a couple 80-pound halibut hauled in. This year, there is a 3,700-pound quota for halibut from the Oregon-California border to Point Blanco, which many predict will be reached very quickly.

“That’s going to bring a lot more Oregon fishermen down (to Crescent City),” Hegnes said.

Lower Rogue River

Spring salmon fishing on the lower Rogue River has cooled off, according to Stewart.

Fishing Contacts: Tally Ho II Sportfishing at 707-464-1236; Englund Marine Supply Co. at 707-464-3230; Mario’s Marina in Shelter Cove at 707-986-7595; Chetco Outdoor Store 541-469-9151.

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