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
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
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