South Coast anglers will target 'bubble' chinook

BROOKINGS — The popular fall "bubble" fishery in the ocean off the mouth of the Chetco River opens Tuesday, Oct. 1, and this season's format will extend the typical 12-day fishery an extra day to ensure anglers get two full weekends on the water.

The season will run through Oct. 13, and the traditional limit remains at one chinook a day and no more than five for the season.

The fishery is a popular one for coastal residents as well as Rogue Valley anglers looking to intercept some of the fall chinook now staging off the Chetco mouth waiting for their mid- to late-fall spawning runs.

It's called a "bubble" fishery because anglers are restricted to a tight circular window off the Chetco mouth to ensure they target just Chetco-bound salmon.

The season has no quota, so it will last through Oct. 13, with fishing days limited only by the weather.

It is set up for anglers to catch and keep about 1,000 chinook, which was the old quota, says Todd Confer, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's Gold Beach District fish biologist.

Brookings-area anglers several years ago lobbied to have the season shifted out of the quota format to provide a more predictable season, especially for Rogue Valley anglers eyeing weekend fishing excursions on the Southern Oregon Coast.

Confer says he and other biologists checked catch data that showed those fishing in this abbreviated season generally needed about 12 days to catch and keep 1,000 chinook, provided those 12 days included two full weekends.

To get those two full weekends this year, the season was stretched a day, he says.

The Medford-based Rogue Flyfishers Association will hold its last summer fly-casting class Monday, Oct. 1, in the Rogue River at TouVelle State Park near White City.

Each Monday all summer, the association has offered free instruction and practice along the grass at Hedrick Middle School in Medford in preparation for a day on the water.

Participants will meet at 6 p.m. at the group picnic area at the park's upstream end. Casters should bring waders, prepare to "wade wet" in shorts and boots or simply watch from the bank.

Anyone interested in fly-fishing is encouraged to attend, says John MacDiarmid, one of the association's casting instructors certified through the Federation of Fly Fishers.

For more information on the RFF, see the club's website at

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will host an Aquatic and Angling Education Instructor training seminar from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at Elmer's Restaurant in Grants Pass. Lunch will be provided.

The free training is open to anyone 18 or older who is interested in becoming a volunteer angling instructor. The training will include basic fishing skills, stewardship, aquatic resources and water safety.

A list of future events in need of trained volunteers also will be provided.

Pre-registration is required. Call Darlene Sprecher at 503-947-6025 or email her at

Hunter education classes are usually over by fall so volunteer instructors can enjoy the hunting season with their friends and family.

But this year, ODFW is offering field days during the month of October in Ashland, Gold Beach, Klamath Falls and other cities.

"We see a lot of demand at this time of year because people finally have a chance to think about hunting, but we usually have to turn students away because there are no more classes," said James Reed, ODFW hunter education coordinator, in a press release. "This year, we've arranged it so ODFW staff and some volunteers can offer field days late in the year."

To see the class schedule and sign up, see ODFW's license sales page and click "View all Classes/Workshops" and then the "Hunter Ed Field Day" tab. The cost to register for a field day is $10.

Field days are for students who have completed their workbook or the online course before the actual field day. During the field day, students will practice their shooting skills and show they can safely transport firearms over fences. Field days are the last step before final certification in hunter education.

Hunter education is mandatory for all hunters under the age of 18 and recommended for any new hunter. The course covers topics such as firearms safety, hunter ethics, wildlife identification, hunt preparation and techniques and outdoor survival. The program certifies about 6,000 new hunters each year. Classes are taught by ODFW's network of volunteer hunter education instructors.

For more information, see

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or

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