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The Coho are here!

712 Views 9 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  CohoClint
The coho are here but the season isn't. The ocean coho season is only about two weeks away (Sat. June 21).

The coho showed up in the Depoe Bay area about a week ago. The commercial fishermen have been incidently catching them for a week now and from top to bottom while fishing for chinook. Sounds as if some of them are running pretty deep.

Appears there are a lot of them but they are very small at this point averaging only 3.5 - 4 pounds presently I have heard from more than one commercial fisherman.

One commercial told me that it is about a 50/50 split of hatchery to wild. Sounds comparable to last years average. He also made the comment that the natives are averaging larger than the hatchery fish. Imagine that!

Maybe someone can take an educated guess how much larger they will average in two weeks when the season opens. They grow like crazy this time of year in there adult stage.

Hope everyone pratices some good catch & release techniques on the all so important wild coho. The commercial fishermen simply slide a gaff hook down the leader and free the barbless hook from there mouths. The fish never leave the water or see a net.

Looks to be a great season with a lot of chinooks mixed in.

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I have been told that depending on Ocean conditions they can gain ½ to 1 pound a week that they remain in the ocean… :shocked:

But that was told to me by a fisherman and you can never trust we fishermen.
This brings up a question that my father always asked: Why do we open the season this early, then have to close it when the quota is reached, with the fish this small? Wouldn't it make more sense to open the season a little later and catch the same number of fish with a lot more size to them?

I remember fishing out of Depoe Bay as a kid, in August I think, and catching Coho that averaged 12-13lbs with many over 15lbs. Why are we delighted to kill them at 3-5lbs when they are growing so fast?
I understand your point Steve.

In recent years ODFW has kept the season earlier rather than later as to try and avoid incidental catch of wild coho as much as possible.

The majority of coho we catch here off the central Oregon coast are Columbia River stocks. A good share of them have already passed through this area in August and are near the mouth of the Columbia and some even entering the Columbia at that time.

With large numbers of hatchery coho absent from this area that makes your percentage of accidental hooking and mortality of wild coho go up.

I was just shocked to find out that we were given the opportunity to fish them all the way through August 24th if the quota last that long. And it might especially if the chinook fishing is anything like last year. Some of the charters are getting serious about targeting chinook also.

I personally would wait till later in the season to fish them when they are larger but you could be taking that chance of a closure you mentioned if the quota is met.

If the wild coho continue rebounding the way they have been this factor will become less important and we will see longer and perhaps later seasons on them.

It is possible in the not to distant future, we will be able to retain one fin clipped and one non fin clipped or the first two. Depends on how these resilient fish do.

Good point though!
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Come on Crabbait. A hatchery fish is a hatchery fish brother. It goes in the box and on the table just real nice like. I think the smaller ones eat better and you are less likely to have left over fish after dinner with the young'ens. But.....like everyone I do prefer to be able to brag of visits from 20 coho! :dance:

DBD is right. Fish now or miss the season. I love the time of year coming up. :grin:
Originally posted by *** Clerk:
I have been told that depending on Ocean conditions they can gain ½ to 1 pound a week that they remain in the ocean… :shocked:

But that was told to me by a fisherman and you can never trust we fishermen.
<font size="2" face="verdana,arial,helvetica">***,
That must have been the same guy who told me that he catches 18lb Idaho B runs at cascade locks, but by the time they get to Idaho, they have swam off 10lbs
Dan, wait until Aug when Buoy 10 opens up and then go down and nail those feisty buggers. 2 years ago we made two trips and limited out both times, nothing under 16 lbs and some going REAL close to 20. :dance: This year I'm going to try and match Crabbaits exploits last year with those hawg nookies he kept showing pics of. I love fishing the ocean but don't see the need to catch smaller fish when I can catch one later which stacks up to 3 or 4 of those early fish. :cheers:
Well, I guess if a guy/gal has plenty time and money, he/she can fish those early small coho's and the late one's both untill the season closes. ODFW still sells those hatchery harvest tags. I don't have a problem with those tags for coho on a year like this. There will be plenty excess and you might as well eat them.

This gives an oportunity to fish prior to the Buoy 10 season opening. Some folks prefer the extra room out in the salt over the buoy fishery and the central coast is much closer for some than the north coast. For some of us it's in our back yard. :wink:


I'm not so sure we are going to have such unusually large coho that we have had the last couple years. Those were some of the best ocean conditions on record and as I said, unusually large coho. Time will tell.

I don't fish coho in the salt much although it is a fun and productive fishery. Wait a couple months later and we will be catching them in some of those holes I showed you in your back yard. Most of the coho I caught there last year still had sea lice on them. I plan on living there by then.

It will be interesting to see what the average size coho is during the opener. By ***'s estimates, they will be around 5-6 pounds average. I have heard the same estimates/rumors previously, about a pound a week. Add another 5-6 weeks/pounds and that is sounding somewhat realistic of the size when they enter the Columbia River fisheries.

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Thats right! Hatchery tags are so cool. Get them nice little eaters as a warm up to the big ones later. Love saltwater fishing and the room out there. Don't care much for the run though.
coho coho coho coho theye are a coming i cant wait, i am all ready getting excited
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