Ocean Outlook: Sept. 30, 2010

CHETCO - The bubble fishery for fall chinook opens Friday and runs through Tuesday, Oct. 12. Good numbers of chinook appear to be holding outside the river mouth. Weather conditions are forecast to be windy with some large, rolling swells. Most of the activity will be slow trolling of cut-plug herring or herring with hoochies from the whistle buoy into the estuary. The limit is one a day and five per season.

Coastwide - Bottomfishing slowed amid troublesome ocean conditions this week. Even so, most bottom-fishers out of Bandon and Gold Beach came home with limits or near-limits of rock fish. The rest of the coast had bottomfish catches of between three and five fish per angler. Lingcod were harder to come by, with the best catches being one fish for every two anglers, though at some ports only one in 10 anglers was catching a lingcod.

Bottomfish anglers must remain within the 20-fathom curve to reduce the bycatch on canary and yelloweye rockfish. That means staying in waters less than 120 feet deep.

The marine aggregate limit remains seven rockfish a day and two lingcod a day with a 22-inch minimum.

Big swells kept most tuna anglers in port this week. Most years the fish continue to hang around until mid to late October, but from now on weather and ocean conditions are the key factors. Oregon anglers landed more than 30,000 albacore so far this year, leaving only 2009 and 2007 with more sport-caught albacore.

Razor-clam digging is closed from Bandon north to Cascade Head due to elevated levels of domoic acid. For more information and updated closures, call the shellfish hotline at 800-448-2474. Mussel harvest is open coast-wide.

Dungeness crabbing in bays off public docks in Winchester Bay and Charleston has improved, and most of the crabs are in their hard shells.

WINCHESTER BAY - Chinook are inside the jetties, and some nice-sized fish were caught last week. Coho also are entering the fresh water. Bank angling for chinook is picking up between Half Moon Bay and Salmon Harbor.

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