Brookings salmon opener best in years
The ocean salmon season off the coast of Brookings started with a bang over the weekend, but the hot opener, which produced limits for Brookings Fishing Charters customers, wasn’t a complete surprise.
As the ocean salmon seasons for the West Coast were being developed this spring, the Brookings Fishing Charters crew pointed to forecasts and last year’s catches in predicting a stellar season on the Southern Oregon Coast. Those predictions turned out to be true on Saturday, June 20, as the six passengers on the Miss Brooke of Brookings Fishing Charters landed 12 adult king salmon for full limits. They also hooked and lost more than a dozen more kings.
Many private boaters also enjoyed great success during the opener. The second day, Sunday, June 21, also produced good fishing, but swells, choppy seas and strong winds limited catch rates.
ODFW fish checkers said the opener was outstanding. Most boats had at least one fish, and there were well over 100 boats fishing.
The ocean season out of Brookings runs June 20-Aug. 7. The last few years have resulted in fair to slow fishing for ocean salmon, with the exception of high numbers of shakers, or salmon that are too small to keep, last year. Last year’s shakers are still around, but instead of 20- to 24-inch fish, they have grown to 10- to 20-pounders this season.
Federal biologists estimate there are more than 500,000 adult salmon from the Sacramento River, 220,000 salmon from the Rogue River, 180,000 adult kings from the Klamath River, for a total ocean abundance close to 1 million adult Chinook salmon. Unlike the last few years, when those salmon stayed off of the Golden Gate, or offshore of Humboldt Bay, this year some of the bigger schools are off of Brookings. Massive schools of herring and anchovies are keeping the fish close to Brookings.
The last really good salmon year off of Brookings for sport anglers was 2014, when fishing was wide open all of July. This year’s opener rivals the great fishing of 2014, and most years the salmon fishing gets better later in the summer, in July and early August.
Brookings Fishing Charters trolls for salmon with downriggers, divers and spreaders. Using light tackle, customers get to enjoy the hard fight of these prized fish, which are excellent table fare when caught in the ocean.
The 2020 limit for salmon is two kings a day. Wild or hatchery king salmon may be kept. Coho salmon, including hatchery silvers, must be released. The minimum size is 24 inches.
Brookings Fishing Charters runs six-pack charters daily. Aside from salmon, lingcod and rockfish trips also are available. The crew of Brookings Fishing Charters are locally-based captains and deckhands with boats moored year round at the Port of Brookings. These captains have extensive local experience.
Aside from ocean salmon, the Brookings Fishing Charters crew also guides on the famous Rogue River Bay. Here, thousands of king salmon stack up at the mouth of the Rogue River in Gold Beach, Oregon, waiting for fall rains to move upriver. Hot weather inland keeps the Rogue River above tidewater in the 70- to 75-degree range, too warm for salmon. The salmon stack up in the bay until the water cools and they can continue upriver.
To book an ocean salmon fishing charter, visit www.brookingsfishing.com or call the Brookings Fishing Charters booking office at (541) 813-1082.