Anglers in Oregon got some good news this week as the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officially opened up the sport crabbing on Friday. Crabbing out of Crescent City has already been open for a couple weeks, but with heavy competition from the commercial fleet Dungeness crab have been difficult to come by in Northern California.
Steelhead fishing has been pretty strong all week, especially on rivers in Southern Oregon, while Oregon ocean anglers have also had a few days of calm enough weather to get back out bottomfishing.
On the ocean
Sport crabbing is now open in Southern Oregon, but it remains to be seen how the season will go. The ocean was too rough on Friday — the first day that sport crabbing opened — to drop or pull pots.
If the crabbing in Crescent City is any indication, however, it could be a slow sport season. Crabbers in Northern California are reporting that Dungeness have been hard to come by in the first couple weeks of the season.
It is fairly common for the sport crabbing to slow down after the commercial fleet gets in on the action, and with only three days separating the start of sport and commercial crabbing out of Crescent City it may well just be a slow sport season all around.
Prior to the crab opening in Oregon, sportfishermen did have a few days window with good weather to get out in search of bottomfish.
Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing said there is still lots of fresh water coming out of the Chetco River, making fishing near the port difficult. Martin said bottomfishing has been strong this week to the north of Brookings, however, once anglers get outside of the freshwater coming from the river.
Martin said lingcod fishing has been fair, but a little bit slower than rockfish this week.
It has been a fairly good week of steelhead fishing on local rivers, especially up in Oregon where anglers have been catching fish on every river from the Chetco to the Rogue all week long.
“The beginning of the week was pretty good, there were a lot of fish in the river, and there are still a lot of fish in the Chetco,” Martin said. “We are actually seeing a lot more than we are catching. The lower river, from Icebox down, we are seeing fish splash and roll. They are showing themselves. They haven’t been biting very well, but they are.”
Martin said many of the steelhead being caught on the river are hatchery fish.
Meanwhile, the Smith River was fishing a little bit on the slow side early in the week, but Mike Coopman of Mike Coopman’s Fishing Guide Service said there have been at least a few fish caught every day, while the steelhead bite has picked up a little bit towards the end of the week as a few more fish entered the system.
Storms starting Friday and predicted to last through the weekend may blow out the Smith for a few days, but it is expected to round back into shape for some more solid steelhead fishing next week.
The California Fish and Game Commission will be considering a petition to list the Upper Klamath-Trinity river spring chinook as an endangered or threatened species under the California Endangered Species Act.
The meeting is scheduled to take place at the Resources Building Auditorium located at 1416 Ninth Street in Sacramento, starting at 8:30 p.m.
Coopman said such a listing would close fishing for spring salmon on the Klamath River, and may have an effect on ocean salmon fishing as well.
“Those people that want to be involved, it would be very important for them to be at that meeting in Sacramento,” Coopman said.
Fishing contacts: Jim Mitchell of Gotcha Hooked Fish Trips at 464-8482; Joe Martin of Rogue Coast Sport Fishing at 541-425-7210; Mike Coopman’s Guide Service at 707-218-4501; Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing at 206-388-8988; Englund Marine Supply Company at 464-32306; Chetco Outdoor Store at 541-469-9151.
Reach Michael Zogg at email@example.com .