It has been a good first week of the season for ocean salmon fishing in Southern Oregon, with sportfishermen hauling in Chinook throughout the first week of the season. Anglers in Northern California are set to join their counterparts to the north when the ocean salmon season opens in California on Friday.

In the meantime, there are still Pacific halibut and bottomfish available on both sides of the border and few salmon in local rivers.

On the ocean

It has been over a year since anglers on the Wild Rivers Coast have been allowed to target salmon on the ocean, after a full closure to the fishery in 2017.

Anglers in Southern Oregon were finally able to get out in search of the popular pink meat and found that they are already in the area. Sportfishermen seem to be having the most luck between five and 11 miles away from shore between 80 and 120 feet.

The recreational salmon fishing season is still closed in California, but anglers are now less than a week away from Friday’s opening.

Although it’s difficult to predict how the salmon bite will be out of Crescent City, there are several good signs. Commercial salmon fishermen are reporting catching lots of salmon throughout the week, though many of them are on the small side. Furthermore, Ca1pt. Keith Richcreek of Pacific West Coast Ocean Fishing said there are big bait balls and lots of birds hanging out near Crescent City Harbor — which is generally a good sign.

Still, Richcreek said there is no way to know for sure how the salmon fishing will be until anglers are able to start getting out to search.

Anglers on both sides of the border have been able to target both Pacific halibut and botttomfish with some success this week.

Things have quieted down a little for halibut fishermen out of Crescent City since a hot start, but there are still a few being caught throughout the week in California. Although most anglers out of Brookings have been focused on salmon since Saturday, sportfishermen are still reportedly catching a few Pacific halibut as well.

Meanwhile bottomfishing has remained strong out of both Oregon and California whenever ocean conditions allow anglers to get out.

River fishing

Salmon fishing on local rivers has been a little bit tougher than it has been for ocean anglers out of Brookings, with the Rogue River’s spring run slowing down significantly this week at it nears the end of its run. There are still a few springers on the Rogue, however.

Meanwhile some of the first spring Chinook have been hooked in the Lower Klamath River.

The bite on the Klamath is still slow, however. The run generally starts picking up steam in June.

Fishing contacts: Keith Richcreek of Pacific West Coast Ocean Fishing Guide Service at 218-5573; Jim Mitchell of Gotcha Hooked Fish Trips at 464-8482; Chetco Outdoor Store at 541-469-9151; Englund Marine Supply Company at 464-32306.

Reach Michael Zogg at mzogg@triplicate.com .

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