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Published: August 17, 2005

By Benjamin McMorries  Pilot staff writer

After a month-long intermission, the Chinook salmon season re-opened Sunday in the Pacific Ocean from Horse Mountain, California to Humbug Mountain, Oregon.

The first half of the Horse to Humbug season was on tap for just two weeks from May 21 to July 4.

The second Chinook season runs 29 days total, through Sept. 11.

Fog was the order of the day for Sunday's opener. The thick mist minimized the use of vision from early morning until late afternoon. Many came home without a Chinook to show for their efforts.

Fishermen who were able to locate Chinook said they were probably individual straggler fish, not members of a big school massing for a run up one of the local rivers. In addition, most of the Chinook taken on Sunday were relatively small fish.

On Monday, the same story came out of Brookings Harbor fog and scattered, smallish salmon. Although the Chinook results have not been spectacular, the Pacific Ocean is still teeming with life.

The disappointment of not landing a big, bad Chinook last weekend was eased for some anglers who managed to return to port with a "booby prize" limits of lingcod and marine fish. Ocean anglers may take five marine fish per day. The exception being cabezon, a species that had it's season closed on Aug. 10. In addition to the five marine fish, anglers may also keep two lingcod over 24 inches.

Still, most fishermen admit that no ocean fishing expedition, in late summer at least, is complete without two fat, ocean-fresh Chinook salmon in the icebox.

During the first half of the 2005 Chinook season, some area fishermen took part in one of the most prolific periods of early salmon angling in recent memory. The news that something big was brewing in the ocean off Brookings started to leak out of Curry County during the final weekend in June.

By "Big" Monday, June 27, Brookings was the place to be for ocean Chinook salmon. The awe-inspiring stretch of good luck, characterized by limits of two Chinook for all, lasted through July 4.

Sporthaven Marina owner Jerry Hogan said the last part of June was the most productive for Brookings' ocean Chinook in the last 14 years.

Well-known Brookings' fisherman Monty Montcrief said the salmon caught in June and July were probably destined for the Sacramento or Klamath rivers.

The current salmon doldrums, Montcrief explained, are a result of late-arriving local Chinook. Those fish which are destined for the Chetco, Smith, Winchuck and Pistol haven't finished feeding in the ocean, Montcrief said.

Monty said anglers are now playing a waiting game with the Chinook salmon.

But on Monday at least one angler brought a big Chinook home. The fish was measured at 42 inches (the length restriction is 24 inches minimum this year). It tipped the scales at 35 pounds, the report concluded.

Montcrief said the alternative for die-hard Chinook aficionados is to locate salmon in the Rogue River. They won't be in the bay, however, they'll upstream near Lobster Creek Bridge.




Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM  Pacific

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