The Chetco River closed to anglers on Monday but sportfishermen in Southern Oregon were able to keep on fishing with a few solid days of bottomfishing over the weekend and through the early part of this week. Meanwhile, anglers are still catching a few steelhead, mostly downers, on the Smith River and anglers on the Rogue River are catching a few spring salmon.

River fishing

The Rogue River has started to move on from steelhead, although there are still a few in the river, in favor of spring salmon. Although it is still fairly early in the run, anglers have been catching a few more early salmon this week than last.

High flows are expected on the Rogue River over the weekend, not only due to precipitation in the area, but also due to dam releases from upstream for flood control. Although the river will likely blow out, there may still be some springers pulled in by plunkers from shore.

The Smith River is still producing fish but the steelhead being caught are now almost entirely downers — steelhead heading back downstream to the ocean after spawning. The Smith River is expected to rise over the weekend, which should help get down running steelhead on the move. This late in the season, catching a bright steelhead fresh from the ocean is still possible, but likely a rare exception.

On the ocean

It was a productive weekend for sportfishermen on the ocean out of Brookings last week. In addition to limits of bottomfish, Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing said most boats seemed to be catching limits or near-limits of lingcod on Saturday and Sunday. Martin said the lingcod fishing slowed down early in the week but anglers were still able to limit out on bottomfish, which were starting to move in close to shore.

Rough weather is predicted over the weekend, but Martin said bottomfishermen may be able to get back out by Tuesday. Martin said with high flows coming from the Chetco River, anglers may need to go a little further out for bottomfish in order to get away from the fresh water coming out of the estuary.

Martin said crabbing out of Brookings has been fair as well, with a couple keepers per pot following about a half day soak.

Ocean salmon season

The Pacific Fisheries Management Council has been in meetings in Rohnert Park since Tuesday in which they are discussing, among other topics, the final ocean salmon fishing seasons for the various regions on the Pacific Coast.

The PFMC is expected to officially announce the ocean salmon seasons on Tuesday.

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Klamath salmon season

The California Fish and Game Commission will also be holding a meeting, scheduled for April 17 in Santa Monica. Among several topics on the agenda, one is of particular local interest as the commission decides what to do about the upcoming salmon season on the Klamath River.

“We had a meeting in Crescent City on March 7 to kind of set the guidelines of what would be good for the stakeholders and also be conservation-minded as far as the spring Chinook,” said Mike Coopman, of Mike Coopmans Fishing Guide Service. “What we came up with, with the Department of Fish and Wildlife scientists, was a July 1 opener. Fish and Wildlife was looking at whether they could make that happen, as there has never been a candidacy-listed fish that has ever been allowed to be fished for.”

The proposal would move the opening of the Klamath salmon season up about a month and a half. The opening date has traditionally been Aug. 15.

The meeting will be live streamed at on April 17, scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. A full meeting agenda can be found online at

Fishing contacts: Mike Coopman’s Guide Service at 707-218-4501; Joe Martin of Rogue Coast Sport Fishing at 541-425-7210; Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing at 206-388-8988; Englund Marine Supply Company at 464-323.

Reach Michael Zogg at .