Welcome to our fishing report. Since we spend over 200 days on the water each year we have a pretty good handle on what's happening in the fisheries we target. For those of you who will be going out with us this season, you can visit this page to follow how those fisheries are stacking up. And for those who may be considering a trip, you'll be able to follow the action and see what you're missing.
**HOT** 2016 Early Fishing Lines - PDF Format
August 14 - Sorry for missing last week's report. It was a pretty quiet first week of August although we had long time friends, Steve and Tami, get married and the Wounded Heroes Event took place where the troops were treated to a couple days of salmon fishing. This past week we really saw the silver action improve (although not the weather most of the time as evidenced by the foggy pictures). It was great to see some good sized silvers show up. Gary had one tip the scales at 13 pounds on Sunday. It has also been a time when we are starting to downsize our Alaska boats and equipment; preparing for the end of guiding in Alaska on the Kenai and Kasilof River. As such, we said good-bye to drift boat #99. #99 has been a lot of different boats for Val but this will be the last boat #99 seen on the water in Alaska. Boat numbers under 100 will be taken out of circulation to avoid people trying to buy lower numbers, according to Parks. The end of a journey that began many years ago. #99 fished a lot of people and taught David and Morgan how to row a boat too. It's bittersweet but time. In the meantime, we have some great silver action to look forward to for the rest of the month as well as incredible fishing on the Rogue River happening right now. If you want to get out on the Rogue let us know and we'll set you up or we may be doing a southern swing, since we are back and forth this summer, and be able to take you ourselves.
July 31 - The king season for the Kenai will end tonight but guided fishing on the Kenai ended Saturday as only private boats (all kinds) and private drift boats were allowed Sunday and Monday. It was a great last week for the king fishing (except the weather - sorry about the blurry pictures). There were a variety of fish caught, kept, released. AND the sockeye showed up in great numbers finally. With the extra sockeye though came the re-establishment of commercial fishing times. The commercial fleet is now back to their normal Monday/Thursday schedule with additional fishing time added in. Hopefully we'll see some silvers start to enter the river despite the extra fishing times. The Kasilof also enjoyed great fishing for the last week of July with a bump in sockeye fishing as well. We'll move onto reds, silvers and trout now that the big guys are done. Meanwhile, in Oregon the Rogue bay has continued to produce fish - while not red hot, per se, it is still good fishing. The bay has warmed up (water temps) considerably so that may be pushing those fish back into the cooler ocean waters for now. After the heat wave this week things are supposed to start cooling down a bit. Great fishing everywhere with the last official month of summer upon us - get out and wet a line!
July 24 - The Kenai king fishing this past week had some great activity - at times! Not a lot of consistency but there were some great fighting fish between 15 and 45 pounds. A few bigger ones were also boated with a few being released to go spawn. Sockeye fishing did pick up a bit but, again, not much consistency with good for a few hours then not a fish in sight for the next few hours. Lots of angler time being put on the water though and the commercial fleet has been sitting due to the lack of sockeye in the river to make escapement goals. We aren't sure if/when that will change at this point. The Kasilof has also been producing some nice kings with less pressure than the Kenai. We're into the last week of king fishing now with silvers up on the agenda next. Halibut fishing as well as silver fishing (out of Seward) has been very good with many people filling a box for the freezer.
July 17 - Hard to believe the month is half over - summer goes so quickly! The Kenai has been okay for kings this year and while it's not super red hot there are opportunities. A slight setback at the week's end from thunder, lightening and rain produced some tough conditions Saturday morning but the river was clearing (and dropping) by Sunday so the coming week should see some action. The Kasilof also has been producing some big kings but the sockeye fishing has been slow in both rivers. The red counts are below the "normal" from the past few years but this is the week that should change as well. Seward has some awesome silver fishing happening and silvers are also showing on some of the fly-out trips. Halibut fishing has been very consistent this year with plenty of fish in the 100 pound range. Down south there are also good fish showing on the Rogue with a bit of action still in the mouth of the Chetco with all the anchovies around. Some of those anchovies have been dying off so the smell is a bit much but the fish don't care. Lots of opportunity so take advantage of the summer and wet a line!
July 10 - We hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th of July celebration. Seems the holiday is a great time to celebrate with friends and family and some of these pictures are just that. The one on the far right is our friend, fellow guide, Mark Glassmaker, with his father, showing off a fish they released. Also shown is a great tide fish caught by another guide friend. We're starting to see more fish for the July run on the Kenai with some good reports from Sunday (no guides) and today for drift boat Monday. There are also more sockeye showing in the Kenai with a few reports of limits. The Kasilof has also had some good days (first picture is sockeye fishing on the Kasilof) but with the commercial nets hitting that district hard it really helps to watch the tides and counts. We should see the king counts in both rivers keep rising. Meanwhile, on the Rogue, in Oregon, Tyson has been trolling the bay of the Rogue and catching fish. Additionally, the anchovies are still roaming in and out of the Chetco so there are also salmon being caught there. Bottom fishing in both Oregon and Alaska has been good for halibut, rock fish and more. Tuna have also been intercepted close off the Oregon coast (not Alaska though!).
June 26 - We're still putting out some dual reports with help from Tyson in Oregon. A bit of action in the bay this past week due to the warmer water conditions holding fish down low. There are still fish being caught upriver - both in the Gold Beach/Agness area and up to Medford. Brookings is seeing a huge influx of anchovies in the harbor and the Chetco mouth. Tuna are following these small fish in closer to shore and are being caught about 30 miles offshore right now. The pictures here show the Cook Inlet and a great day of halibut fishing. Just goes to show how beautiful it can be on the inlet when the weather and water cooperate. Salmon fishing on the rivers, Kenai and Kasilof, has been consistent with numbers good enough on the Kenai, according to the management plan, to open bait this past week. The bait opener, as in years past, was not as red hot as many expected but as the month closes out we should see more of the second run kings hit the river. The Russian River also opens in the santuary this week - and the limit was increased to 6! Good fishing in areas and others are combat fishing.
June 18 - Happy Father's Day to all those fathers, or soon to be fathers. I am grateful for my father who taught me to row and opened up a huge world of possibilities! At 85 he's still rowing a boat. I'm also grateful for my best friend and partner, Gary, who has been a fabulous father - setting by example always. These pictures are from friends who were able to take a little time to enjoy their families on Father's Day - doing what they love to do. The top two are on the Rogue (from Tyson) and show the beautiful spring salmon still heading up river. The bottom ones are from Alaska where Coop is with 2 of his kids, releasing a great king. During the fight they were also lucky enough to capture the spectacular jump. Awesome way to celebrate fatherhood. Both areas are fishing with Oregon, Rogue springers being a bit up and down. Just when it seems there is consistency something changes. There were a few fish caught trolling in the bay though so that part of the summer fishery should heat up soon. In Alaska, the Kasilof has a good number of wild and hatchery fin-clipped fish this year. The pressure can be high but stay away from the crowd and there is fun to be had. The sockeye have also been rolling through the Kenai (already at the Russian) and in the upper Kasilof. Both these runs should improve over the next 10 days. Get out there and enjoy!
June 5 - A few pictures borrowed from friends to wet the appetite for fishing. The first is from the Rogue - fishing with Tyson - a beautiful springer that was a keeper as the 1st of June allowed the harvest of all fish; clipped or not clipped. The next photo is a great picture of a halibut in Cook Inlet coming to the Charter boat of Mike Wheat. It's very hard to get a perspective on how big that fish is because there aren't any "markers" showing something else. It was a very large halibut though! Finally, Nolan Davis, who Gary fished with one day in Oregon and who bought a power boat and drift boat from us in Alaska, took a day off on the Kenai to fish "Drift Boat Monday" and landed this beautiful hen (released). The rivers in both states are producing fish but the effort is a bit on the high side at times. It's just getting started in Alaska but the run strength is improving compared to the past few years. Should be an okay season, we'll be there to see how it all shakes out too.
Memorial Day 2017 - Thank you to all those who've served, and are serving, to protect our way of life. We always remember and we are grateful. Virtually everyone has a relative who was part of this effort to defend us and that defense includes the families. Never forget! Always be proud!
Salmon fishing on the Rogue has picked up a bit. These fish are courtesy of Tyson Crumley as he's been hitting the river regularly and the success rate has increased; including hatchery clipped fish. Starting Thursday all fish can be kept. In Alaska the Kenai is enjoying a better start to the fish counts than in many recent years. The Kasilof is also seeing a stronger run and while there are still some issues in a few of the fisheries the salt and these 2 rivers are doing better this year. We'll try to do a better job of getting the weekly reports on here now that we're doing the dual reports!
May 15 - Hard to believe that spring is moving so quickly. In Alaska this past week the kids were out cleaning up the Kenai with the Annual Spring Cleanup. Great job and lots of beautiful sunshine for the days work. There are a few fish starting to move but most of the good Alaska action is in the salt water where feeder king seem to be biting, biting, biting! We know one boat that limited out in just over an hour with 6 beauties. In Oregon on the Rogue the action is good but the keeper percentage has dropped a bit. That changes at the end of the month when June 1st arrives and keepers are any fish! Still some of the best eating fish so there will be opportunities to get some for the barbecue. We'll try to keep up a little better with weekly reports over the next few weeks as the action in both places starts to really move.
May 3 - Happy Spring! Isn't that a beautiful springer? Our friend Jan, fishing on her own with Larry, caught this beautiful keeper on the Rogue. AND she got to keep it and eat it. Springers are some of the very best eating salmon due to the high fat content. Gary was on a different "bite" when he landed a double in gophers at Salmon Run Golf Course. In between fishing we run the golf course, which many know now, and the critters have been very active this spring. Next time you fish with Gary ask him about the gopher and mole bit - he gets really excited and will tell you their season! The Smith River is now closed, like the Chetco, but will reopen Memorial Day. In the meantime there are salmon on the Rogue and a few steelies still being caught on the Rogue around the Grants Pass/Medford area.
April 24 - Hard to believe that April is almost over and we are really hoping the old adage "April Showers, Bring May Flowers" is correct. We have had a few nice days where the river was still on the high side and while there has been some springer action on the Rogue the catching of fin-clipped fish is only running about 25% of those caught. That's not to say there haven't been a few really good days - we know of a couple boats that found 5-6 fish in a day and one was able to keep 3 fish! The Smith action for late winter steelhead has been slow at best and not to many are still trying their luck. The flowers and trees are all starting to bloom though so a trip down the river is more than scenic. This is a great picture showing some of the recent weather and the size of boat able to take it on. This is the F/V Alex coming into the Chetco River channel. News that the summer salmon season from Humbug Mountain, just south of Port Orford, to Horse Mountain in Northern California, some 200 miles of coastline, will be closed to the summer salmon season - both recreational and commercial. The Fall Chinook Chetco "Trophy" season will be open for ocean fishing to recreational fishermen October 7-8 and October 14-15. The rivers will also be open for salmon fishing. Should be some great action once the fish make it to the river! Hopefully the springer percentage of hatchery fish will pick up as the weather calms this next month. June 1st both wild and hatchery fish may be kept.
April 10 - Yes, I missed a week but the weather just didn't give us much of a break for the last week of steelhead fishing on the Chetco - we had one half day that was decent water conditions. There were a few downrunners around but plenty of water too - seems like a common refrain from the entire season. The Smith is still open for steelhead fishing but the focus is now on springer fishing. These pictures are courtesy of Tyson Crumley Guide Service - he's been on the Rogue quite a bit of late (with the exception of some nasty, rising water days) and the action hasn't been too bad. There are also a fair number of hatchery fish being caught including this one pictured here. Some of the springers are "wild" with their adipose fin so need released (middle picture). They are fun fish to catch though and, if you're lucky to keep one, some of the most delicious eating! A true delicacy. Springer fishing will continue through the spring with the run peaking late May or early June. Springer fishing requires a lot of patience (and sometimes a good book) as it's a waiting game. Usually we're parked in one spot along the side of the river, anchored, waiting in the running lane for a school to come by. Lucky days are when those schools are close together and there is a lot of action. This year should provide excellent water conditions, unlike past years when low, clear water hampered the action. Plenty of time to get a trip in - give a call or send us an email.
March 27 - We've had another full week of rain although we're looking like a break is coming. Because it's spring break for the golf team, Gary grabbed Chad from OSU and took him fishing with our friend, Nolan Davis. They had 2 great days on the Siletz River (the river was rising all day the first day) and some great adventures. This fish was the largest Nolan has had in his boat on the Siletz and the biggest Chad had ever caught. Gary hooked it, handed it to Chad, who landed it, Nolan is holding it for the release. Beautiful 38" x 20" buck. Truly a team effort and great to see a different stretch of river. There is an outside chance we'll be able to fish the Chetco the last 2 days of the season as the river will be dropping. The Chetco closes after fishing on Friday but the Smith will remain open into April so a bit of time still left. The Rogue around Grants Pass and Medford is producing some steelhead too although the water conditions are up and down. The lower Rogue is still in a holding pattern for springers - not many are being seen as the water level is quite high. We're into spring fishing though so things can change quickly. Looking for better weather for the end of this month and beginning of next!
March 20 - Happy Spring! It's here - 6 weeks of winter are behind us and spring is here. We are just waiting for the rain to stop. We had on and off rain all last week that caused the rivers to roller coaster again. Tom and Steve managed one good day on the river (albeit very wet) and we snapped a picture of this beauty before releasing her. Tyson landed the 2nd fish which as released shortly after the picture as well. We are nearing the end of the season for the Chetco but if the rain and weather will cooperate we'll get some more days on the water with good results. The majority of the fish are downrunners right now but, like Tom's fish, they fight so hard that until they are in the net you cannot tell they've already spawned. The Chetco and Smith truly have some of the freshest downrunners anywhere - many people comment about it since the fish don't look like they've already spawned except they are a bit thin. There hasn't been much action on the Rogue for springers but the river has been running at a bigger than normal level for this time of the year. As soon as the levels calm we should see the first, early season, shot of springers.
March 13 - These pictures are from earlier last week but shows how much water had continued to plague our region. Things have calmed down a bit now and it's looking like there will be some fishing this week although today the river was a bit high. With all the rain we've had the Chetco has also been suffering from land slides which turn the river a weird yellow color - sort of like Mountain Dew! Not great for fishing, that's for sure. The Smith has held up a bit better with color and lower flow but it was still a light week of fishing. The Rogue is on the higher side but a few people are trying their luck at springers since there have been a couple caught. Technically it's a bit early for any numbers but it doesn't stop the effort. There are still a couple weeks left for the Chetco to be open for steelhead season but the Smith will continue into April. We're looking for a better break in the weather this week and the hope that spring is finally arriving. If the groundhog is to be believed, we're just about done with the extra 6 weeks of winter!
March 6 - It's hard to believe it's March and spring is arriving this month (at least officially). We've had more rain, hail and, yes, SNOW! The winds have been fierce as well so maybe winter will leave like a lion, spring arriving like a lamb?! We had a couple good days on the water with a mix of fresh as well as nice downrunners. These spawned out steelhead are sometimes hard to spot while they are fighting because they've streaked up the river, spawned and are headed out in a matter of a few days. Roger "Otter" (top left) didn't find a spawner but a beautiful fresh hen which he released. We're still hoping the weather and river will calm down so we can get the last part of the steelhead season on the Chetco. There have already been reports of a couple springers being caught on the Rogue so that is right around the corner - especially with all this water! The Smith will stay open into April so plenty of time for a great day on the water. The weather gave us a break (bottom left) as Bruce, honoring his father, Bud, scattered his ashes (and flowers) on the Chetco. It was an honor to be there and Bud was smiling on Bruce who had a great day of fishing.
February 27 - The pictures on the top are deliberately put in here, even though they aren't in focus, because it showed the weather! Friday and Sunday produced some incredible weather that included snow, heavy hail, heavy rain, wind and a little glimpse of the sun. It was a challenging day (Friday) for the Rowdy Creek Fish Hatchery Derby. Throughout the 35 year history of this event there have been challenging years and this one will rank right up there with weather conditions. Saturday dawned beautiful - full of sun and warmth. Sunday came back with a vengance of hail, rain, wind ... and many had had enough. There were some beautiful fish caught during the event with the winning team (Lucky 7 Casino) boating 12 fish. Also new this year was a measuring board with a photo to show the length of the fish. It will take some getting used to but it proved helpful in determining the big fish. One fish on each river over 36" - WOW! The weather is supposed to calm down for this week and we're hoping to get several days on the water.
February 20 - It's been hard to catch a break from the weather this winter. We are currently under heavy wind and rain - the ground is so saturated that there are trees falling over (BIG trees). In between all these rain storms we've been getting a few days of fishing in and there are some beautiful fish out there. These are a few from last week - Chetco and Smith - as well as a picture of the big water we were fishing. This week should be the last of the big storms for a little while so the first part of March is looking good for fishing conditions. The Annual Rowdy Creek Fish Hatchery Derby is this weekend with action on the Smith and Chetco Friday and Saturday. It will probably be mostly the Smith according to the river predictions. We'll raise some money for the hatchery as well as some scholarship for the children or grandchildren of the guides. In addition, we'll do a special fundraiser for Ken Cunningham, fellow guide, who was recently diagnosed with cancer.
February 13 - It's been an interesting week watching the river run. The rain was relentless but the wind was even worse which contributed to some slides that have kept the Chetco colored up. The wind also has another interesting affect - it melts the little bit of snow that is left and keeps the river levels up. The Smith stayed up longer than expected as did the Chetco. We are just getting back to fishable levels - driftable really. Earlier in the week, and throughout the past week, we've had plunking water. The plunkers have had a few good days but the drifting is just getting started. Hopefully the storm predicted to come in the next few days is going to miss us! If not, we'll wait for the river to come down. We should see quite a few downrunners once the river calms down - during the higher water there have been many fish hitting the tributaries. There is still plenty of time for the steelhead season (end of March) so if you are still looking to get a couple dates in just let us know. These fish are from the past couple days - beautiful to see the clear skies. Jim (upper left) caught this nice hen on the Elk River; the others were on the Chetco in marginal conditions!
February 6 - The great weather finally came to an end again and the rain hit with a vengance - almost as hard as the wind hit. Prior to that, last week, we found some beautiful fish. We contributed some of those wild fish to the brood stock collection program, released a few and kept a few hatchery fish. This is just a little representation of the quality of fish we were seeing. River levels stayed pretty good through Thursday but started jumping fast on Friday and was out by Friday evening. Many of the fish anticipated the storm coming and poured into the tributaries. One pool on Jack Creek had a small school of about 10 fish making their way up to spawn. These fish were all there in the very low water level but continued to move up the small riffles. It's pretty amazing to see how little water these fish need to make it to their natal grounds. We also saw a few downrunners showing which will be more prevalent after this raise in river levels again. Plunking will carry us through a few days at the beginning of the week although the yoyoing of the river can sometimes stymie the bite. There are some signs of spring with the warmer weather, turkey vultures and some budding of the willows so we aren't too far away from some good steelhead weather. Looks like a break in the storm action after this week.
January 30 - The first month of the new year is about over and we've had our share of interesting conditions. The river came in last week but certainly dropped out much quicker than anyone expected. The river saw traffic at record levels over the weekend with expectations of perfect conditions - even the store couldn't keep up with the shuttles! (Thanks for trying Josh & crew) A great number of fish were donated to the angler caught brood stock collection program including the one by bank fisherman "Johnny" who gave Gary a beautiful hen to put in the pen (top left picture). Alan also had a great day and contributed 3 fish to the program as well. It was a great effort all around but we're ready for rain again as the river is low and (mostly) clear again. Never fear, the rain is forecasted for this week so we'll be seeing another freshet to bring in the fish. There were a few downrunners caught this weekend as well as bluebacks!
January 23 - This picture shows how the river has been a lot of the past week. It's been up and down like a yoyo but it's also been very high. It was high for so long that it started to clear! Seems the rain has finally started to relent and we're in for about a week of dryer weather. The river will drop into shape throughout the week but we'd like to remind everyone to be careful on the first trip out there. Sometimes the gravel bars shift just enough or a tree comes down (we've been looking at several that were precariously perched!) It will be interesting to see what happens with the fish as many have been observed in the tributaries so we'll probably see some downrunners already. With the HUGE ocean, big tides and rough mouth there should still be fish ready to trek up the river. We have a few openings in February so if you still need some dates, and better weather, let us know.
January 16 - What a weird season this has been. We've had a huge rise in the river early in the week and by the end of the week it looked like all rives would fish. The Smith produced very well on Thursday and Friday - both plunking and drifting. The Chetco had some great numbers plunking off the gravel bars mid-week and started fishing from the boat on Saturday. Saturday was a bit pushy but Sunday handled the big holiday weekend crowds very well. Those crowds must have done something because the action, in perfect water conditions today, was on the slow side. Go figure ... that's fishing. We also had quite a bit of law enforcement on the river Sunday with reminders for AIS (Aquatic Invasive Species) permits which are required for all out of state boats as well as all the proper safety equipment. With the big winds predicted for this week, rising snow level and, wait ... rain again, we are expecting the river to blow out by Tuesday afternoon through evening time. It should be fishing by the weekend though so stay tuned for more pictures if the conditions permit!
January 9 - We are off to an interesting year with the past week of weather we endured. Many of you know we don't often use our heaters but we certainly burned some propane this past week with temperatures down to 21 on the gravel bar. And then the wind that helped round out the week made it impossible to fish, get down river, take a picture - white caps were from Loeb park down the the bottom and it felt like a survival contest! Thank goodness there were a few fish early in the day. While the fishing isn't stellar, especially for the time of the season, it is okay and we've had some incredible fish that haven't always cooperated all the way to the boat. That's steelhead fishing - sometimes you win and sometimes you don't! Many of these fish pictured were released which presents a challenge to get a good picture as we believe in getting those fish out and swimming as quickly as possible. We also contributed some brood stock to the hatchery program for the Chetco. Looks like we'll lose most, if not all, of this week due to the roller coaster water levels. Hopefully a couple cameras (phones!) will dry out from Saturday and we'll have a few more pictures next week from the survival day. Stay safe and make plans to hit the river.
January 2, 2017 - Happy New Year to everyone! If you haven't had a chance to check our our newsletter it provides a year in review. Just click on the link above! We are starting off 2017 in style - snow, hail, thunder, lightening, sun, rain, we haven't missed a weather condition! 2016 ended fairly well though with some fish in the rivers and people willing to brave the elements to find them. While there don't seem to be the big numbers for the week between Christmas and New Years like there have been in the past few years, we did see some big fish. Jeff Taylor landed one about 18-19 pounds! He and Dan had a couple really good days on the water and contributed some fish to the hatchery brood stock program as well. Margo ended her year with a beautiful fish too and a fabulous, albeit rainy, day on the water. We sincerely appreciate everyone who took the time to fish with us this past year and look forward to hearing from everyone for the new year. While 2017 may present challenges, new opportunities and new gear, we are wishing everyone a healthy, fishy new year.
December 26 - We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday with family and friends. We certainly did and we're thankful for all the "gifts" in our lives. We are also looking foward to the new year and seeing what 2017 has to bring. In the meantime, we're sending 2016 out with some last minute steelhead fishing. The fish have been coming into the system but not in any big numbers. The Rogue has been what most people term as slow - that might have something to do with the extreme cold water and weather we're dealing with though. The fish this time of the year are chrome bright and full of everything steelhead are known for. They are frustrating and feisty! Some get away but not without a huge fight. There were a few salmon caught in the smaller streams up north but the salmon on the Chetco are "carcass counters" now. There might be a swimming dead or two out there but for the most part they have done their deed and are now feeding the system. ODFW has been counting carcasses in the tributaries as well as the main stem. There were some brutes that got away which bodes well for future trophy fisheries. Since we are just getting started with steelhead season we'll wait to see how the run builds. We aren't hearing any predictions at this time. Brood stock collection starts next week so we'll carry the live tanks and help to contribute some nice fish for future anglers. We hope everyone has a memorable time ringing in the new year - safely. And our wish is for each of you to have a healthy, happy, prosperous 2017!
December 19 - We are headed into the last few weeks of 2016 and fishing opportunities abound. We've had a variety of weather but the frigid temperatures helped to bring the river down after another deluge. The river was dropping into shape perfectly toward the weekend though and these fish were caught plunking by some friends. Chris landed this beauty of a salmon and about an hour later Ken caught a beautiful wild steelhead that he released. The river is coming into shape perfectly for the few days before Christmas and should be set up for decent numbers of fish, throughout the system, just after Christmas. We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and hope you get a chance to read our newsletter (link is above) that showcases our year. We have a few odds and ends of dates open for steelhead fishing in January and have a few gaps in February and March too so it you need to get your year off to a great start let us know. Or if you need that last minute gift for someone we can get a gift certificate to you.
December 5 - We are into the last of month of 2016 and this fall has certainly provided a roller coaster of weather conditions. This week was no exception. The salmon seem to be mostly hitting the spawning areas but there are a few - like this buck caught by Ken Olsen with his son, Erik. Like this fish, many are darker and best to release to do their duty. Many fish are in the tributaries and the Oregon South Coast Fishermen have already conducted a carcass count that yielded 43 carcasses. Many swimming dead were observed so the next count should be one of the best. Only a few steelhead being reported although there are quite a few smolt and small steelhead making the trek to the ocean. Cold conditions should keep the rivers fishable throughout the week but bring the long johns and pocket warmers! For the last of salmon action the Elk and Sixes are the place to be. Just a few fish being caught but with the latest of salmon runs this is the last chance for chinook for 2016!
November 28 - Boy this month has really been a wet one - AGAIN! October was record rainfall and November has been more of the same. The river has been up and down so much that the gauging station probably needs a new battery. It looks like things are beginning to calm down and December will be a good month for getting some time on the water. The salmon on the Chetco and Smith are probably all spawning but the Elk and Sixes usually have a little of a late run, providing some last minute 2016 salmon action like this one caught by Scott Richardson (on his uncle's boat) over the Thanksgiving holiday. With the plunkers already pulling in some steelhead we should see good numbers around by mid-month. We're ready so let us know you need a fishing fix and let's get something on the calendar that is quickly filling up.
November 21 - This past week was filled with water! Lots of rain and a yoyoing river. That has made a lot of the salmon head for the tributaries to spawn, leaving fishermen, seals and sealions searching for them! While a few of the northern streams, Elk and Sixes primarily, have had a few decent days we are seeing what is usually the tail end of the run already. That doesn't necessarily mean it is over but with the early, heavy rains this year we are more than likely going to see an early start to the steelhead season and an early end to salmon fishing. A majority of the fish in the system are dark now, thus no pictures as we released those fish to continue their spawning efforts. It is beautiful on the water with fall colors and water conditions. We also have plenty of wildlife around - and in honor of Thanksgiving, this nice flock of turkeys posed for us before running away. Think they were afraid? Have a great family day and talk about getting your steelhead fishing dates together.
November 14 - It's amazing how fast the bite has changed on the Chetco. While there are some fresh fish still coming into the river they aren't in big numbers at this time. The past few days there were, not one, but 2 sea lions (yes, sea lions) as well as a few seals, up the river. The Sealions were as far as Ice Box and the Seals were spotted at Nook. They were searching for fish just like us. The fish we caught this past week were really nice fish, as evidenced by the pictures. We should get one more shot of fish for the Chetco and Smith plus the Smith will have a little bit of a late run for Rowdy Creek. In addition, the Elk and Sixes will also have salmon still coming - especially after another shot of rain. The brightest spot (except for the Super Super Moon) is that there have been some steelhead showing already. A few spotted on the breaks and some caught including one 20 pounder off the bar at Social Security by the plunkers. Remember to get your steelhead fishing dates on the calendar - they are going fast!
November 7 - The first week of November is over and we've had a little bit of everything for weather and water conditions. The Smith came in first after the big rains over the Halloween weekend and it lit the salmon world on fire. Reports of some 45+ pounds and, of course, the big one that got away blanketed social media. The Chetco started out a bit pushy but came in to great shape throughout the week and by the time the November 4th opener arrived it was in prime condition so everyone hit the river. Must have been 60-70 boats! There were quite a few fish caught - some chrome and others a bit dark. Gary landed a couple 40+ pounders for Ronn McCortney (who Gary rescued off the bank with a fish 20 years ago)and his son. Then the pirates got into the action too - Tom Stone and Kirt Fredericks thought they needed a new image so showed up on day 2 with their pirate on. After a stellar day 2 they decided Val should also be a pirate. There were some odd looks from other fishermen trying to figure that one out! But the disguise worked well for the duo and they landed as well as released a few fish. Val and Fred came from Florida to battle the big salmon and had a great week as well (and went away with a story of the BIG one that got away!). All-in-all a good week with great water conditions. This week is starting out a little slower although the water is in good shape. We're supposed to be low and clear by the weekend but we will have to wait and see how the weather shapes up. The Elk and Sixes are in good shape (as of Sunday) and should fish most of the week as will the Smith which gives a great opportunity for the crowd to spread out a bit.
October 24 - The river really did some flushing this past week but came in toward the latter part of the week with beautiful green water. The level got down as well and then the next storm hit today and it's on the rise again. Dee Shurtleff (on left) has been fishing the river longer than anyone we currently know - he found a beauty over the weekend while he was bank fishing. Dee always shares "what's happening" with us when we come down in the boat and we truly appreciate his knowledge. On the right is Gary's good friend Darrell Nelson -they took a day off hunting for deer to hunt for salmon. There were a few other pictures too but the weather wasn't too cooperative and they were foggy. While this may seem early in the season to be seeing so many fresh fish the water flow has brought the fish up the system and a few have even been spotty in the tributaries. The Elk and Sixes as well as the Smith all had some hot action earlier in the week which always helps to spread the crowd out. With the ocean season being so difficult this year we're seeing quite a few people trying their luck at putting some fish in the freezer this fall. We aren't too sure how long it will last and the steelhead will probably start showing a bit early as well. If you want to get on the calendar for winter steelhead, now is the time to get your dates so let us know. In the meantime, we'll be right back out there as soon as the river drops just a little more!
October 17 - Happy Birthday Dad! The man who taught me to row and fish is celebrating another year today - maybe he will check out the fishing report! The storm this weekend was slow to get rolling even though there was much preparation for the event. All the warnings were heeded and then it seemed like it just wasn't here. Like many things this year, it was a just a little late! The top pictures were taken at the Port of Brookings (thanks Mom!) with the other pictures at Salmon Run Golf Course showing Jack Creek, a major salmon spawning tributary, in all its flooding glory. Sunday is when the big event really took place with wind, waves, thunder, lightening ... flooding, slides, debris. Everything predicted arrived. The rivers crested late last night and are already on the drop with much anticipation for the fish being spread throughout the system. Good news is that all that gulleywashing probably flushed out the majority of the leaves and moss. We should have clean conditions once the river is cleared enough to find the fish. The Chetco is still under the bobber only rule but the Smith, Elk and Sixes are all open to all means/methods. With the freshet of water this storm provided the fish should be in all the systems and spread out a bit. There are still some passing showers for today and tomorrow but later this week everything should be in good shape. If you are looking for a salmon trip give us a call or send an email. We have space as everyone has been waiting to see what the weather would do.
October 11 - I am a bit late getting this report out but hope everyone gets a chance to see it! This picture is from the last day of the ocean salmon season. Our friend, Rich Heap, was out in his boat and landed this beauty (thanks for the picture Rich!). The ocean season was very tough this year with water conditions very challenging at times. The last of the season, referred to as the Bubble Fishery or Trophy Season, was no exception. Overall it is estimated that around 200 fish were caught off the mouth of the Chetco during the October fishery. In the meantime, silvers have moved into the Rogue like crazy - an quite a few hatchery silvers lead the pack. After the first few days of multiple hatchery fish the non-fin clipped fish streamed in and filled up the bay. The action was fabulous but the keeping was not so much. Those fish will move through the lower Rogue quickly and be in Grants Pass soon. The estuary fishing on the Chetco has been fair - not many being caught with all the ocean traffic in and out. With the change in weather coming this week we are anticipating a driftable river when the water recedes. The Chetco will still be under a bobber only rule until November 4th but there will be fish spread out through the system. Let us know if you want to get in on the action as soon as the river drops and we'll get it rolling! In the meantime, batten down the hatches and tie things up - this should be a good gullywasher!
October 3 - The weather really changed this past week after some intense heat at the beginning of the week. Fishing was still decent on the Rogue as you can see from the pictures here on the right side (courtesy of Tyson Crumley Guide Service). The ocean season opened outside the mouth of the Chetco after a couple action packed days in the estuary where upwards of 30+ boats packed the small trolling area of the Chetco Channel. Of course, one day of great action produced even more crowded conditions but there were some beautiful fish caught before the weather hit and the ocean opened. Gary's long time friend, Ron Shellabarger, shows off his 30 pounder caught trolling in the estuary. (far left) He was so enthused that he dusted off his Willie Boat and launched himself the next day! Fish can do that. The river action on the Chetco was very slow on the bobber action. Even though the fish were moving through they weren't biting too much; instead headed upstream with the little flushet of water the 1.5" rain provided. The rain has continued but it is more of a light mist - the kind where all of a sudden you feel soaked! The ocean is closed now till next weekend but the Rogue will continue as will the river action.
September 26 - What a great week with some of Val's longest clients. KC and Linda are more family than clients and it was great to have such a great week with them. The Rogue bay treated them well and they landed some, lost some and even released some (silvers) for an action packed week. One day was spent upriver in the wind which turned into a great sightseeing trip but that was balanced out with more action in the bay the following day. The Chetco estuary fishing has been slow so far with some jacks showing after a few adults but that could change this weekend when the trophy fishery off the mouth of the Chetco opens. The ocean is open October 1, 2, 3 and then the following weekend October 8-9. Plenty of people will be trying to find that Chetco Trophy so, hopefully, the weather will cooperate! Rain is also in the forecast which could push some fish up the rivers on both the Chetco and Smith as well as the Rogue. There is still plenty of salmon action to come and steelhead fishing is just around the corner so don't forget to get some dates on the calendar!
September 19 - We've made the shift with a couple days to spare. If you missed the report last week it's just below this one - we had connection challenges I guess as it never showed up till reloaded today. The Rogue bay has been putting out some fish but with the release of water (by the dam upstream) and, subsequently stopping the release, many of the fish bolted and the others just stopped. We should continue to see fish move into the bay and trickle their way up the river. Around Agness was okay but similar to the bay as it was spotty. Steelhead and salmon are around but the action is either all at once or slow. The pictures on bottom right was a double after hours of practice. Nothing like lighting things up - GT caught her first fish and did a great job. We will start fishing the Chetco bay soon as well as the ocean opener on the 1st of October so let us know if you need some dates.
September 12 - This is the final Alaska report for the year. We'll be transitioning to the Oregon fishing this week so will be ready for some salmon action on the Rogue. The final few days of fishing the Kenai and Kasilof proved to be a bit tougher than normally for this time of the year. The weather was great (a bit cool in the mornings) but the fish were just spotty and very tough to get to stay on the hook! How inconsiderate of them, really. The Women's Classic went off without a hitch though and Gary's boat managed to find the largest silver for the event - 13.5 pounds of pure silver. A first time fisherman to boot. David managed to get out on the boat with Arch and he's actually cleaning up from their "limit". Too bad they didn't take a picture of fish. An interesting year, overall, and we'll plan to do a bit of the same next year. Be sure to let us know if you need a fish fix on the Oregon rivers - we'll be there!
September 5 - Summer is officially over today. Or, maybe, that is unofficially. The weather has been rather nice lately with some temperature variation: cold and clear with northern lights in the mornings; warm and breezy by afternoon. Perfect for rolling into fall silvers and rainbow fishing. The silver fishing hasn't been terribly consistent but there are some nice fish out there so the ones we're landing are great fish. The crowds are thinning a bit too so that makes for a bit more room on the spot competition along with the dropping water levels we've had a few "old standby" spots open up and produce some fish. We should see the steady increase of September fish through this week and next with the size variation up to 20 pounds. The pinks are really about done although several are now the swimming dead in the middle river so they don't bite or fight very good. The lower river still has a few of the stragglers coming through but they aren't in any numbers like they were a few weeks ago. Rainbow fishing is also picking up now that the reds are in full spawning mode. Fall is a beautiful time on the Kenai Peninsula with many birds making the migration. Just like many of the ducks, we'll make the migration south and start concentrating on the fall salmon on the Rogue soon. We're also booking for Chetco salmon as well so let us know if you're looking for dates for either of these times.