Dungeness and Bottomfish Galore - Rogue Springers on the Way!
Port of Brookings Harbor - Brookings, OR (Curry County)
by Larry Ellis
The weather started getting progressively nicer outside the Port of Brookings Harbor, which begged bottom-grabbing hunters to cross the Chetco River bar and limit or near-limit out most of the week on Dungeness crab, rockfish and some pretty hefty lingcod.
With local rivers still high, that prompted anglers to head south for their limits. Anglers need to be aware not to fish deeper than 30 fathoms (180 feet) starting Sunday. But that depth restriction won't keep fishermen of the salt off the water, since most of fish will be caught in depths ranging from 60 feet to 120 feet.
One great spot where anglers head south to is a place called Akin Point. Akin is not always marked on the map, but it is the first place where anglers heading south will find steep rocky outcroppings from shore. Those outcroppings will continue to create ridges and valleys underneath the water as they progressively slope offshore, where they hold bottomfish like crazy.
You always know when you've hit this highly-productive fishing zone when you see a sudden rising of depth, which starts at the point itself and continues to rise and fall about a mile or so offshore as you parallel the shoreline.
Just a little further south of Akin, another great spot in which to hone in is a small area that rises from 80 feet to a 35-foot plateau.
I used to be able to find this spot with ease by lining up the red can buoy with a house that was built on a rock in the Chetco Cove area.
I would continue to follow this line from 'the house on the rock' lined up with the red can buoy until the 35-foot high spot just made itself readily apparent on the depth meter. The Coast Guard is said to have moved the location of the red can over the years, but the underwater spot never moves.
It's well worth motoring around the area as you head downhill to try and find this dynamite high spot.
Anglers have been throwing their favorite leadfish, whole baitfish or plastic concoction on these southern spots and reaping the benefits of some dandy rockfish and lingcod.
Anglers have also had quite a bit of luck finding limits or near-limits of Dungeness crab in depths ranging from 40 to 60 feet in rocky areas that are adjacent to sandy areas. The best bait has been freshly-carved up rockfish and lingcod carcasses which could be found right in the Port of Brookings Harbor's fillet station.
Jim Carey from the Rogue Outdoor Store in Gold Beach has also reported that fishing for Spring Chinook (also called springers) is just starting gear up.
"It hasn't been that dazzling but we are getting fish at this time, so slowly but surely it's kicking off," said Carey about lower Rogue springers last Thursday. "We're probably around 18, 19, 20 (springers) since the first one was caught about 3-1/2 weeks ago. "I know of multiple fish that have been taken over the past couple days, but it seems like the biggest one we've had so far is a 20 pounder, and I know of 5 fish that were taken off the bank in the past few days. We've had others of course to the bank but they had to be released because they were wild."
Carey noted that even with the last major rain, the water conditions looked good for springer fishing but it still didn't look like any major runs have hit the lower Rogue.
"They've been getting them on the bank from Huntley Park to Canfield Riffle, but nothing has been really good yet," said Mike Van Camp from the Chetco Outdoor Store in Brookings.
Any week now, springer fishing on the lower Rogue should bust wide open.
Meanwhile, anglers who are fishing for the guaranteed fish taco have been hitting various shorelines and fishing for redtail surfperch.
Crissey Field and McVay Park are the two strongest surfperch fishing bets on the south coast. The best bait has been frozen raw shrimp that comes about 40 to 50 to the package in the frozen food selection of your local supermarket. For about 8 bucks this gives you enough bait for several outings.
I like these smaller-size shrimp because you can get between 2 and 3 baits per shrimp. I prefer using size 4 or 6 snelled hooks with two baits hanging down from dropper loops.
I will thread on a pretty hefty size piece of shrimp and then throw about 5 winds of Miracle Thread on the setup to insure that the bait stays on the hook. Surfperch are not afraid of eating baits that are up to 1-1/2 inches long.
Last Saturday at the fish cleaning station, Monty Moncrief cut open the stomachs of all the surfperch he had caught, and they all had a plethora of crustaceans inside their bellies, including one whole crab that measured about 2 inches side-to-side.
Larry Ellis, author, writer, columnist and photographer has had a 50-year passion for fishing in California and Oregon's saltwater and freshwater venues. He is a well-known writer for Oregon, Washington and California Fishing and Hunting News, Northwest Sportsman, California Sportsman and Pacific Coast Sportfishing. He currently writes monthly for Salmon Trout Steelheader Magazine, and is the author of two books, "Plug Fishing for Salmon" and "Buoy 10, the World's Largest Salmon Run." Both books can be bought from Amato Publications (amatobooks.com), Amazon and eBay. Ellis particularly loves living in his hometown of Brookings, Oregon - The heart of salmon country and gateway to fishing paradise.
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