California will be closing its bottomfishing season at the end of the day on Sunday just as the season reopens in Oregon on Monday. California ocean anglers still have today and tomorrow to target rockfish and lingcod by boat before the Oregon anglers have their first shot at bottomfish in over four months.

Meanwhile, crabbing is still closed in Southern Oregon but red hot in Northern California. Although the crab are still a little less meaty than ideal, anglers are reporting that they are starting to fill out more and more.

Bottom fishing

It has been a pretty good week for anglers on the ocean in Northern California.

Capt. Jim Mitchell of Gotcha Hooked Fish Trips said he and some friends were able to haul in four limits of nice lingcod without much trouble while also nabbing some rockfish as well.

The marine forecast is looking promising for the last few days of the season in California with two-foot and four-foot waves predicted on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

Starting on Monday, Martin said, the ocean forecast is looking great for the first day of bottomfishing in Oregon. Though swells will likely pick up some on Tuesday, Martin said it should still be fishable.

River fishing

There have been a few steelhead caught on both the Smith and Chetco rivers this week, but both rivers are running low and clear.

“It has really been kind of slow, but there are fish in there,” said Martin, who has been on the Chetco River all week. “There were a few adult (steelhead) caught on the lower end of the river on Wednesday but it wasn’t red hot. Up above there are still a ton of half pounders (juvenile steelhead) and we were able to catch several of them and even some hatchery ones. The water is just low and clear right now.”

Rain on Friday, predicted to continue into the night, should help bring up the flows on both rivers and usher a fresh batch of steelhead into the systems.

“It should be a good New Year’s weekend of fishing with the river on Saturday and Sunday, then the ocean on Monday and Tuesday,” Martin said.

Sport crabbing

Ever since the sportcrabbing season began in Northern California, anglers have been hauling in lots of crab with nearly every pot. Although most of the crab are large enough to keep, the meat content is still too low to open the commercial season by a couple percentage points. A few crab are still enough for a nice meal for the recreational pot throwers, however.

Mitchell said he dropped three pots for about five hours and hauled in a total of 36 crab.

“They are starting to get there — they are filling out pretty well,” Mitchell said. “It shouldn’t be long before they start to get pretty full.”

Crabbing is still closed out of Brookings due to elevated levels of domoic acid.

Fishing contacts: Jim Mitchell of Gotcha Hooked Fish Trips at 464-8482; Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing at 206-388-8988.

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