Chetco Bubble fishery kicking out some big kings

Fishing the NC_10_11 photo
Paul Bochner of Reedsport, OR holds a 30-pound king salmon caught Oct. 7 off the mouth of the Chetco. The Chetco Bubble fishery will close this Sunday, Oct. 14. Photo courtesy of Andy Martin/Wild Rivers Fishing.

The Chetco bubble season got off to another slow start, but quickly rebounded with plenty of big kings hitting the net over the weekend. “Fishing was fair on Saturday and good on Sunday once everyone figured out where the fish were,” said Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing out of Brookings. “Big swells to 10 feet and strong northwest winds made trolling tough at times, but good numbers of salmon were holding between Salmon Rock and the red buoy. Sand was churned up from the swell, so Fish Flash flashers were more effective with the dirty water. A few salmon to 40 pounds were weighed in, but most were 15 to 25 pounds. There also were a lot of jacks and small adults landed. The minimum keeper size is 28 inches.” According to Martin, the forecast looks better this weekend, with a smaller swell and lighter winds, especially on Sunday. “With less swell, the areas near the beach and right at the mouth of the Chetco will be more productive, added Martin.”

The bubble season will wrap up on Sunday, Oct. 14. The daily bag limit is one (1) Chinook per angler. If you plan on making the trip to Brookings for the weekend, make sure and check the forecast prior to leaving home. For a complete list of regulations, visit

Weekend marine forecast

The gusty north winds and steep seas will gradually diminish during Thursday, leaving good conditions beginning on Friday. Northeast winds are forecasted for Friday up to 5 knots with waves NW 3 feet at 5 seconds and NW 2 feet at 13 seconds. Saturday forecast is calling for N winds up to 5 knots and waves N 7 feet at 7 seconds and NW 2 feet at 12 seconds. Sunday is looking a little better, with N winds up to 5 knots and NW waves 5 feet at 9 seconds and SW 3 feet at 18 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

Free recreational vessel exams

On Saturday October 13 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., there will be free recreational vessel exams at Woodley Island Marina. H and I parking lots will be available for people wishing to bring their vessel in on a trailer for an inspection. If you would like to schedule an inspection for another date and time, you may contact Floyd Spencer at 707-677-2077.

Upper Klamath quota update

In a press release issued on Wednesday, the CDFW projects the recreational catch of fall Chinook salmon will meet the Upper Klamath adult fall Chinook Salmon quota below Iron Gate Dam for the 2018 season as of 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Oct.14. This triggers the closure of the adult Chinook Salmon fishery on the main stem of the Klamath River from 3,500 feet downstream of the Iron Gate Dam to the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec. All reaches on the main stem Klamath (except the within 100 yards of the mouth) remain open for harvest of jack (two-year-old) Chinook Salmon (22 inches or less). All adult Chinook salmon caught must be immediately released and reported on the angler’s report card. Anglers may still fish for adult Chinook salmon in the Upper and Lower Trinity River sub-quota areas. You can monitor the quota status of open and closed sections of the Klamath and Trinity rivers by calling the information hotline at (800) 564-6479.

Trinity flows dropping

Flows coming out of Lewiston Dam will be reduced beginning Sunday, Oct. 14, going from 450 cfs down to 300 cfs by next Tuesday.

Willow Creek weir trappings

“We had some success at the Willow Creek weir this past week, but it wasn’t quite what we were hoping for,” said Mary Claire Kier, an Environmental Scientist on the Trinity. “The steelhead showed up and we got a few Coho, but the Chinook numbers dropped from the prior week, partially due to bear damage to the weir.” For the trapping week of Oct 1 through Oct. 7, 39 Chinook jacks were trapped at the weir. To date, 239 jacks have been trapped compared to 865 for the entire 2017 trapping season. This past week, 169 adult Chinook were trapped, bringing the season total to 826. In 2017, 1,895 total adult Chinook were trapped.

The Oceans:


Rough water since the weekend has kept the ocean fleet tied up. Last Friday a few boats took advantage of a short weather window and ran for tuna. Among the boats was Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “The warm water was roughly 30 miles from the entrance, west of Trinidad,” said Klassen. “There were two good patches about a mile and a half apart that both had tuna. We worked those areas for 25 albacore, with sizes ranging from 12 to 25 pounds. We had some really good live bait stops, and got a few on the troll as well. The next weather window looks to be early next week, we’ll just have to see where the warm water ends up after the wind comes down.”

The Rivers:

Lower Klamath

The mouth has sanded over, but it’s not completely plugged reports Alan Borges of Alan’s Guide Service. “There isn’t a lot of fish on the lower river right now. The fish that are there are moving quickly. The bigger concentrations of fish are upriver now, and all the ones we’re catching are bright. This time of the year, you really need to chase the fish, they aren’t holding at any of the spots very long. We’re starting to see some nice adult steelhead around and some Coho have shown up” Borges said.

Upper/Middle Trinity

According to guide Steve Huber, the slide on Deadwood Creek blew out the upper Trinity earlier in the week. He said, “That was one of the creeks impacted by the fire. Once the water started to clear, the fishing picked right back up. There’s plenty of both salmon and steelhead on the upper and middle sections. All methods – pulling plugs, roe, and fly fishing – are catching fish. There’s a lot of salmon already on their spawning beds, which is a really good sign. The water levels will be dropping starting on Sunday, so we could use a good shot of rain,” added Huber. The Trinity remains open to the retention of one adult king and one jack, (or two jacks) and two hatchery steelhead.

Lower Trinity

Curt Wilson of Curt Wilson CA Fishing Guides reports the Trinity has been really good, with lots of fish on the lower end. “The river was pretty dirty on Monday due to a slide up river, but it cleared back up by Tuesday,” said Wilson. “We’re catching our share of adult kings, and there’s lots of jacks around as well. All of the kings are coming on Kwikfish or back-bounced bait. We’re starting to see some nice steelhead show up too,” Wilson added.

Lower Rogue

The Rogue Bay has slowed with only a few fish a day being caught according to Martin. “Many of the silvers also have moved upriver. Boat pressure is now light on the Rogue,” said Martin


Jacks are being caught on bobbers and roe at Social Security Bar up the Chetco reports Martin. “Last week’s rain was not enough to raise the river enough for drift boats to navigate the river,” added Martin. 

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