Another year has flown by, and it’s almost the end of August already. That means fall salmon are either here already, or not too far away. If you’re wanting to get out and chase the biggest fish the Northwest has to offer, this is the run you’ll want to hit. Here’s a look at a few fisheries you may want to try out.
The fall salmon season has been under way all month, but catches have been rather lackluster. Despite what is expected to be a great return of fish to the Rogue, catches have remained low overall. There have been a few decent days, however, it remains hit and miss. A 50 fish day has typically been followed up by a 10 fish day and vice versa. Everyone still expects the fishing to pick up as we get into September, so don’t count out the Rogue bay just yet. If you’re unfamiliar with the fishery, it’s all trolling that takes place right around the 101 bridge and below. There is some bank opportunities off the sand spit on the south side or the north jetty.
Best Baits: Rogue Bait Rig with an anchovy or a weightless spinner.
Recommended Guide: Bruce Craviotto
Timing: End of July through October
The Middle Rogue is starting to see it’s first push of fall salmon. Fish are holding up everywhere from Gold Hill to Rainie Falls. These early fish are often in great shape, but you will have to wade through some darker fish as well. As we get into September we’ll see the fishing improve greatly, especially if there is a cool down in the weather. There are also two main sections that people concentrate on. There is the area below Grants Pass, and the area between Gold Hill and the town of Rogue River. Most people start the run by fishing high up near Gold Hill, and then working their way down to stay in fresh fish. There are some great bank spots available including Finley Bend, Robertson Bridge, and Rainie Falls. Check out the Fishing Map for these spots and more.
Best Baits: Sardine wrapped KwikFish and back-bounced eggs.
Timing: Mid-August through September 30th
If you’re wanting the best shot at hooking a 50+ pound king salmon in the lower 48 this is the river for it. Last year guide Andy Martin put multiple 50 pound fish into the boat, including one beast that weighed in at 65 pounds. The fishing typically starts off on Oct 1st with the opening of the “Chetco Bubble”, which allows anglers to fish the ocean up to 3 miles from the mouth. That season runs until Oct. 14th when anglers are then restricted to the lower 2.2 miles of river, which makes it a tidewater trolling show. The upper river then opens on Nov 3rd (although this could be changed due to early or late storm events). There is plenty of bank access through out the entire stretch of the river. Anglers will fish off of the jetties with large spoons until the upper river opens. Click here for a map of the Chetco River.
Best Baits: Bubble Fishery and Tidewater – Plug cut herring
Upriver – Sardine wrapped KwikFish and Roe
Recommended Guide: Andy Martin
Timing: End of September through Mid-December
If you’re looking for shear numbers of fish, the stretch of the Klamath River just below Iron Gate Dam is unbeatable. This fishery isn’t for filling up the fridge though, as most of the salmon are in extremely poor shape by the time they get that far up the river. They also aren’t very large on average, however double digit days are the norm. Last year the Klamath saw some of the best fishing ever, and guides were setting boat limits for the number of fish caught in a single day. On the best days guide Scott Caldwell reported hooking his clients into 75+ fish. What’s even better is that this years return is predicted to be 4 times larger than last years. If the salmon show up like they’re supposed to, we’ll be experiencing some phenomenal fishing. Most anglers focus on the stretch from just below the dam to Klamathon Bridge, however there is extremely limited bank access.
Best Baits: Roe and Sardine wrapped KwikFish.
Recommended Guide: Scott Caldwell
Timing: End of September though October