Fishing Reports

First ocean charter of year yields limits of lings, rockfish

BROOKINGS, Ore, (Jan. 23, 2024) – After weeks of rough, windy conditions on the Oregon Coast, conditions improved enough this week to allow Brookings Fishing Charters to run its first ocean charter of the year out of Brookings, which ended with limits of nice lingcod and rockfish. High flows from the Chetco River have made fishing slow closer to the harbor, but north, from Bird Island to House Rock, water conditions are better, and there are plenty of hungry rockfish and lingcod.

An angler holds a nice limit of lingcod caught aboard the Miss Brooke Jan. 23, 2024.

January and February are productive times to catch lingcod out of Brookings, as long as the weather cooperates. Windy weather with big swells and rough bar conditions have limited the opportunity to fish on the Oregon Coast so far this year. But between storms, as the ocean settles down, rockfish and lingcod tend to be very aggressive and willing biters.

Lingcod move into shallow water to spawn during the late winter. Smaller males, from 18 to 24 inches, arrive first, staging in areas where larger females will soon migrate in to spawn. Often, there are large numbers of males for every female, and the males are extremely aggressive. They often attack anything near them that resembles another fish. With decades of experience fishing the Oregon Coast, the Brookings Fishing Charters crew has dialed-in techniques to catch lingcod during the winter months in shallow water with light tackle. It is often some of the most exciting, action-packed lingcod fishing of the year!

Capt. Andy with a pair of nice lingcod caught aboard the Miss Brooke.
Doubles of nice rockfish were common during the first charter of the year, as the fish were aggressively feeding.

Big schools of rockfish are feeding in shallow water, along rocky reefs and kelp beds. Many of the rockfish caught during the first charter of the year were full of surf smelt. Lots of feed in the water has resulted in healthy fish, with fat black, blue and canary rockfish quickly attacking shrimp flies and grubs lowered from the Miss Brooke. Anglers reeled in doubles and triples of nice rockfish once the schools of rockfish were located in shallow water.

Capt. Mike with a pair of big lingcod from the first charter of the season out of Brookings.
Longtime customer Dave of Brookings organized the first charter of the season with a group of local friends. They all caught limits of rockfish and lingcod.

Brookings Fishing Charters will run trips during the winter as the weather allows. Conditions often improve by late February to allow fishing several days a week, but instead of booking a specific date well in advance, anglers are encouraged to call our charter office, (541) 813-1082, to get on the winter fishing call list. As conditions allow, we will put together trips with a day or two notice when the forecast looks promising. Open seat alerts also are posted on our Facebook page.

With fast six-pack boats operating during the winter months, Brookings Fishing Charters can take smaller groups, and run trips at short notice since fewer anglers are needed to put a charter together. The six-pack boats are the fastest boats in the fleet, and can get to the fishing grounds quickly and fish in shallow water, where lingcod fishing is best during the winter.

A nice steelhead caught on the Smith River Jan. 23 with Capt. Sam.

The Brookings Fishing Charters crew also runs drift boat trips for steelhead on the Chetco and Smith rivers during the winter months. High water has limited the opportunity to fish so far this season, but when conditions are good, the fishing also has been decent. Capt. Rye, Andy, Travis, Mick and Sam are licensed river guides and ocean charter boat captains, and take customers down the rivers in custom drift boats, using light spinning tackle to catch steelhead in the scenic Smith along Redwood National Park, and the Upper Chetco deep inside the Siskiyou National Forest. To learn more about river trips, visit

We have also updated our recipe section, with dozens of tasty ways to prepare rockfish, lingcod, halibut, salmon and steelhead. Check out the recipes here.

Creamy Lingcod and Shrimp Pasta is just one of the delicious recipes in our recipe section.

We will learn the season dates for salmon, halibut and the Point St. George Reef Lighthouse in April. Halibut season is expected to run its normal May 1-Oct. 31 season out of Brookings. The lighthouse and other California waters closed early last year, and tighter bag limits are expected this year, similar to Oregon limits that have been in place to ensure the fishery is sustainable. Typically, the lighthouse opens in May, with good fishing the entire summer. California waters are expected to have a depth restriction of 120 feet or shallower this year, but that will have minimal impact on the Brookings Fishing Charters fleet, since our crew specializes in fishing shallow water with light tackle for big fish.

The Oregon lingcod and rockfish season is open year round, with a five-fish limit for rockfish and two additional lingcod. The minimum size for lingcod is 22 inches.

To book an ocean charter, visit, or call (541) 813-1082.

Here are a few more photos from the first charter of the season out of Brookings.

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