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2005 salmon season gets under way


Don Terbush

For the Times-Standard

The difference between a hunter and a fisherman has been defined as a hunter lies in wait while a fisherman waits and lies. I don't believe any of it, but certainly sports salmon anglers involved in the season opener at Shelter Cove over the weekend weren't examples of waiting and lying.

"I was a bit skeptical (about the opener) when Humboldt County resident Dan Martinez walked up and asked if I had a scale that he could use to weigh a fish on Saturday, the 12th," said boat launcher Ken Vallotton.

"It was the opening day of the 2005 salmon season and several salmon had been caught so far that day but nothing much bigger than 10 pounds, which is the norm for this time of year," Ken continued.

"Dan's fish was the largest of the day, weighing 20 pounds. He caught it mooching with bait out of The Hat."

Ken reported that several limits were caught on Saturday, but all told there were only 20 salmon caught out of 20 boats. The charter boat Bite Me came in with six salmon.

Tom Kelsey and Mark Mapes were the first to catch their limits and they were back to the Cove before noon.

Half the fish were caught about 6 miles south of the Cove on The Hat and the rest between the two buoys and outside the harbor, according to Ken's report. The fish were hitting on a variety of the standard salmon lures.

On Sunday, in spite of the rain, 23 salmon were caught on only four boats, 12 of them on the Bite Me. Almost every fish caught on Sunday was found within 200 yards from the bell buoy.

Ken went on to say that that there is an abundance of feed in our area for the salmon, including herring, needlefish and krill. Anglers are also starting to catch surf perch from the beaches at Shelter Cove, he pointed out.

Meanwhile, word on the Smith and Chetco rivers is that fishing has been tough this week. And the situation probably won't improve with the PERC Chopper Westbrook Steelhead Derby this weekend.

The outlook for the Klamath and Trinity rivers is bright. Willow Creek guide Ed Duggan said it appears the Trinity is getting a fresh run of steelhead in the lower river. "I heard of a nice fresh hatchery steelie, about 5 pounds, being landed below Mill Creek

Other steelhead in the 4 to 7 pound range were being taken around Hostler Creek.

Saturday he and a couple of clients fished from Junction City down to Pigeon Point and only saw 4 adult Iron Heads. Jeff Metheny caught and released a 3-12 pound native steelie.

Fishing was reportedly better around Poker Bar and Douglas City. If you are going to fish from the bank, one of the first places would be above or below incoming streams. Night crawlers, spoons or spinners would be my recommendations for a hookup, Ed said.

The mid-Klamath is in good shape and should be fishable this weekend without a lot of rain. Fresh steelhead are coming into the river with each storm. On the upper Klamath fishing has picked up with some 12-14 pound adult steelhead being taken.

Guide Rich Mossholder's clients picked up 35 half pounders above Johnson's on Tuesday. He suggests bait or Glo Bugs.

Mad River is clearing and fish are being taken along the entire stream, reports guide Michael Merk. Spin Glos, Li'l Corkies and Popsicles are working, he said.

The South Fork of the Eel is starting to come back, reports Darren Brown. The fish range from 6 to 11 pounds and bank fishermen are scoring on roe in the Piercy area.

The main Eel and the Van Duzen are high and muddy and will require 3 or 4 days to become fishable, observes Fred Grundman.

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