Oregon Freshwater

After slow start, Chetco bubble season busts open

Western Outdoor NewsPublished: Oct 12, 2017

BROOKINGS, Ore. — The annual fall ocean salmon season at the mouth of the Chetco River opened to slow fishing on Saturday before the action busted open Sunday afternoon, when the first 50 pounder of the year also was landed.

The so-called Chetco bubble season, where anglers are allowed to troll for king salmon in the ocean out of Brookings as fish stack up and wait for rain, runs Oct. 6-7 and 14-15 this year. The four-day season, which is much shorter than previous years' season, is the only ocean salmon season of 2017 between Eureka and Gold Beach, Ore.

FIRST COOS KING — Marylou Kuehn of Brookings, Ore., holds her first ever king salmon, caught Oct. 1 on the Coos River while fishing with guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. The fish hit a herring trolled with a Yakima Bait Big Al’s Fish Flash.

Angler Don Williams of Brookings, Ore., fishing in his own boat, caught a 49.83-pound king on Sunday on a plug-cut herring combined with a green Big Al's Fish Flash flasher. The salmon was weighed by ODFW at the dock, after it had already been bled.

"Fishing was slow on Saturday, but improved dramatically on Sunday," said guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. "On Saturday, the Department of Fish and Wildlife checked 250 boats and only counted 40 salmon. On Sunday, there were well over 100 salmon caught."

Martin limited out his customers on Sunday, while three guides working for him also caught limits.

"A bunch of fish showed up between the whistle buoy and red bell on Sunday afternoon," Martin said. "We had a couple of double hookups and everybody on the boat ended up catching a king between 15 and 30 pounds."

Bill Bennett of Los Angeles caught a 38-pound king while fishing with guide Rye Phillips.

Martin said he expects fishing to be good this weekend as more fish show up. Trolling plug-cut herring with Yakima Bait flashers produced most of the fish during the opening weekend.

Fishing in the estuary, meanwhile, was slow over the weekend, but good earlier last week. Heavy surf conditions may have prevented many new salmon from entering the estuary, Martin said.

crabsandkingsCRABS & KING — John Breslin of Sacramento took the drive to Coos Bay, Oregon, for a day of fishing with guide Steve Huber in Coos Bay trolling herring behind a Big Al’s Flasher. His nice king went well with a limit of crabs they also caught.

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