I wrote the following information years ago intending to publish it but never did. It has been years since I have fished for anything other than cutthroat trout; so I really would appreciate help in bringing the information up to date. Send your comments to williamlackner001@msn.com. Thanks, Bill

Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tschawytscha) and Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) are the glamour species of the Pacific Northwest.  The Chinook salmon are the Kings of the salmon growing to 58 inches in length and weighing up to 129 pounds.  Caught in the Umpqua River in 1910 the largest Chinook salmon landed in Oregon weighed 89.0 pounds.  Chinook salmon that exceed 60 pounds are considered trophy size, but generally they weigh less than 30 pounds.

Chinook salmon relate to the structure of the offshore reefs feeding on the lee side of underwater drop-offs, pinnacles and canyon ridges of the Continental Shelf.  There are a number of offshore reefs located on the continental shelf.  From the south they are the Rogue Reef, Orford Reef, Coquille Bank, Whiskey Run Reef, Siltcoos Bank, Heceta Bank, Daisy Bank and Nehalem Bank.  Some of these locations are beyond the range of private boats to make a day trip; however, the Stonewall Bank located southwest of Yaquina Bay on Oregon's central coast is well within the range of private boats to make a day trip.  Known locally as the “Rock Pile”, Stonewall Bank is one the most productive locations to fish for Chinook salmon returning to California Rivers (the Klamath River basin, etc…) early during the ocean salmon season until the Chinook returning to Oregon's rivers move nearshore in August.  

  If you love the peace and quiet of daybreak then you will love fishing for Chinook salmon.  Chinook salmon are most active at dawn and at dusk feeding heavily on schools of forage fish attracted by marine organisms rising toward the surface in response to the dynamics of the Diel Vertical Migration.   

  Chinook and coho salmon can see the colors from all light spectrums.  The colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet) of the standard light spectrum fade as they penetrate water.  Red is the first color to fade to black and violet the last.  Typically forage fish have darker colors on top fading to lighter colors on the bottom.  The color variation helps to protect the forage fish from predators as the forage fish rise to the surface in response to the Diel Vertical Migration of marine organisms.  Use chartreuse, green, blue, red, orange or pink in combination with white or other colors when fishing lures in depths to 60 feet.  Use blue, indigo and violet colored lures in combination with white to fish for salmon and other species of fish at depths greater than 60 feet. 

Salmon and other fish species are attracted to the ultraviolet light emitted from glow in the dark flashers and lures.  Using fluorocarbon leaders to a depth of 60 feet improves the strike ratio because unlike monofilament line fluorocarbon line refracts light making the leader line nearly invisible to salmon and other fish species. 

  Chinook and coho salmon use vibration, scent and sight to locate their prey and to avoid predators.  They use all their sensory abilities to locate the marine organisms they feed upon.  The visibility in the open ocean and in Oregon's bays is often limited and even though Chinook salmon have excellent eyesight they do not depend on eyesight to hunt their prey; instead, they use their highly developed senses to feel the vibration and smell of their prey. 

  The diet of adult Chinook salmon consists of a high percentage of forage fish.  Chinook salmon can sense movement and location of forage fish swimming above them by receptors located in their lateral line and cupula projections. 

  The lateral line is the primary sensory organ Chinook use to located prey followed by tiny hair-like projections called cupula that run along the top of its head and along its back and sides.  The cupula has a nerve cell at the end of the projection that senses vibrations in the water.  The Chinook sense the vibrations from the movement of the forage fish as they swim above them.  They can also detect stronger vibrations made by larger fish as they feed on a school of forage fish.  Schools of Chinook salmon swim through the schools of forage fish striking them with their mouths crippling as many as possible.  They use their sensory receptors to locate forage fish that are injured and swimming erratically.  A Chinook salmon does not always kill forage fish on their first attempt.  They may have to attack several times before killing it and swallowing it head first.  Crippled forage fish require the Chinook to expend less energy while they feed.  They attack bait presented to them in the same slashing manner before taking it. 

  Even though Chinook salmon will feed near the surface at dawn and at dusk, they spend most of their time in deeper water.  The ideal water temperature of 52 to 56 degrees or the presence of forage fish determines at what depth Chinook salmon school.  Typically, they school at depths from 40 feet to 150 feet but often will school at greater depths. 

  The dynamics of fishing for Chinook salmon in all depths of the ocean underscores the importance of using LCD marine electronics to locate them or the schools of forage fish they feed on.  Search for Chinook salmon or schools of forage fish in areas with irregular bottom features, i.e. drop-offs, canyon ridges, pinnacles or humps associated with nearshore reefs or offshore banks.  Fishing at these depths requires the use of a downrigger or a diver to present the bait to the Chinook salmon except when they are feeding near the surface.

  Trolling using a diver to present the bait to Chinook salmon feeding within 80 feet of the surface is an effective but limited method to fish for Chinook salmon feeding near the surface at dawn or dusk.  Divers are used to fish whole or plug cut herring, J–plugs, trolling spoons or the Big Fin Salmon Killer and herring combination trolled 42 to 72 inches behind the diver.  The Big Fin Salmon Killer baitfish holder is a fast, efficient and effective method that maximizes the time the herring is in the water fishing.  It was designed to fish a large whole 6 to 7 inch herring rotating 4 feet behind a diver or the Original Hotspot 11 inch herring flasher.  Just open the jaws of the Big Fin Salmon killer and insert the head of the herring letting the hook swing free.  The diagonal fin on the back of the Big Fin Salmon Killer produces the ideal roll that mimics a crippled herring.  The vibration, flash and scent trail produced by the rolling movement of the herring is a combination for success that Chinook salmon find irresistible. 

  Deep Six Divers are sold in two models and five sizes.  The standard Deep Six Divers come in size 0, 1 and 2.  The Double Deep Six Diver comes in size 001 and 002.  According to the manufacture Size 0 dives to a depth of approximately 40 feet, size 1 dives to a depth of 60 feet and size 2 dives up to a depth of 90 feet.  The length of the line between the fishing rod and the diver plus the trolling speed in combination with line diameter and lure drag determines the fishing depth of the bait.  For example, trolling a size 1 Deep Six Diver at a speed of 5 mph produces depths of 15 to 17 feet, 40 to 42 feet and 53 to 55 feet when trolled 20, 60 and 100 feet behind the boat.  Trolling a size 1 Deep Six Diver at a speed of 3 mph produces depths of 12 to 14 feet, 33 to 35 feet and 46 to 48 feet when trolled 20, 60 and 100 feet behind the boat.  The size 1 and size 2 Deep Six Divers and the size 001 and size 002 Double Deep Six Divers are the most effective sizes for Chinook salmon. 

  Deep Six Divers can be fished with or without Salmon Bungee.  Using a medium sized 001 Salmon Bungee improves the hook set to strike ratio and helps to minimize loosing a salmon hooked on barbless hooks when using braided fusion line.  A Salmon Bungee is not needed when using monofilament line for the main line because it stretches when a salmon is hooked.  To use a Deep Six diver utilizing conventional monofilament line attach the main line to the No. 1 swivel.  Attach a 72 inch length of 35 pound test fluorocarbon leader with a beaded chain swivel inserted at two feet between the No. 2 swivel on top of the diver and whole or plug cut herring.  Set the trip level in the set position.  Lower the diver and the bait into the water to ensure that everything is in working order.  To use a Deep Six Diver utilizing a Salmon Bungee, rig the Salmon Bungee between the diver and the leader line.  Tie the diver to the eye on the end of the Salmon Bungee with a 12 inch length of leader line. Attach a 48 inch length of 35 pound test fluorocarbon leader with a beaded chain swivel inserted at two feet between the No. 2 swivel on top of the diver and whole or plug cut herring.  Set the trip level in the set position.  Lower the diver and the bait into the water to ensure that everything is in working order before lowering the diver and bait to the desired fishing depth.  Divers are a productive method used to present bait to Chinook salmon until they return to deeper water.     

  Deep trolling using a downrigger to present whole or plug cut herring, hoochies, J-plugs or trolling spoons behind the Original Hotspot 11 inch flasher or the ProChip 11 flasher is the most effective method used to catch Chinook salmon at all depths in the open ocean.  Fishing with a downrigger provides the angler with the ability to fish a wide area at any depth in a relative short period of time.

  There are three types of downriggers available for the angler’s consideration.  Each type has advantages and limitations.  Manually operated downriggers are not as expensive and are easier to install than the other types, but they are not as efficient because of shorter cable lengths and longer turnaround time to re–bait once a salmon has taken the bait.  Electric downriggers are easily installed and meet the requirements for most of the situations encountered while fishing for Chinook salmon, but the cable length of 250 feet is a limiting factor.  Make sure the electric downrigger is rated to retrieve a 20 pound cannon ball from a depth of 200 feet.  The avid angler who spends a lot of time on the ocean should consider a hydraulic downrigger.  The length of the cable from a hydraulic downrigger (the type used by commercial fishermen) allows the angler to present the bait to the Chinook to depths of 400 feet using cannonballs that weigh up to 60 pounds.  Chinook and coho salmon are sensitive to electric current generated by galvanic action and are often repulsed by the electrical current in the downrigger cable.  There are several products sold at marine supply stores that eliminate the problem.  Scotty’s Black Box is the most readily available.   Their use is strongly recommended.       

  The trolling speed of the boat and the weight of the cannonball are factors that determine the depth at which the bait is fished.  Recreational downriggers normally use a 10 pound cannonball for trolling baits up to 3 knots, but are more efficient to a greater depth when trolling baits at 1.5 knots.  Using a 20 pound cannonball is more efficient at trolling baits to a greater depth.  Trolling bait using a 20 pound cannonball with a cable length of 200 feet at 3 knots will fish the bait at 175 feet, but efficiency decreases dramatically as the trolling speed increases because the cannonball is pushed toward the surface.  Under ideal conditions the downrigger cable should enter the water vertically at a 90 degree angle to the surface of the water to present the bait at the desired depth, but under fishing conditions the angle of descent of the downrigger cable will vary between 90 and 45 degrees.  To calculate the length of downrigger cable needed to present the bait to the target area multiply the depth to the target area by 1.41 when the angle of descent is 45 degrees.  When the angle of descent is 60 degrees multiply the depth by a factor of 1.15 to calculate the length of the cable needed for the bait to reach the target depth.  There are several products that have been developed to improve the efficiency of downriggers to achieve greater fishing depths.

  Scotty USA manufactures cast iron downrigger weights up to 15 pounds.  The Hyperflow Cast Iron Weights are hydro dynamically designed to troll bait at a greater depth more efficiently than lead cannonballs.  Scotty USA (1–800–645–9119 or www.protroll.com) is a major manufacture of downriggers, downrigger accessories and salmon fishing gear.

  According to the manufacture the Z–Wing planer was developed to troll baits at a depth up to 100 feet more efficiently than can be achieved using cannonballs.  The Z–Wing comes in two models.  Model 250 is used to troll bait at speeds up to 6 knots.  The Z–Wing is manufactured by, Nekton Inc. and can be ordered by calling 1–800–421–5402 or www.zwingdownrigger.com.

  Studies reveal the vibration generated by the erratic movement of flashers attracts salmon from all directions at distances of up to 40 plus yards.  The vibration mimics salmon feeding on forage fish.  The salmon usually feels the vibration with its lateral line long before they see the flasher.  Flashers are sold in many colors and sizes.  The color of the flasher stimulates the desire of the salmon to strike the bait.  Match the color of the flasher to the color of the water.  Use a green flasher in green water.  Use blue or green flashers in blue water and red, white or purple flashers in brown stained water.  Use a light colored flasher such as a white or glow in the dark when trolling deeper than 60 feet.  The motion, flash and scent from a rotating plug cut herring or with a whole herring in combination with the flash and vibration from a herring flasher is a powerful attractant that results with a consistently higher catch ratio. 

  Bechhold, and Son Flasher, and Lure Co. tackle manufactures at www.fishcatcher.com have created a glow in the dark rechargeable flasher.  The innovative flashers glows in purple, green, chartreuse, and blue, for extended periods of time.  Super Glow Flashers absorb the high intensity energy released from the flash from one of their Super Flash Chargers.  The energized flashers glow up to 8 hours.  Enhance the catch ratio by inserting the whole herring into one of Bechhold’s glow in the dark Rotary Bullet Bait Holders colored in Green Glow, Blue Glow or Natural Glow for deepwater presentation of whole herring while fishing for Chinook or coho salmon.

  Bechhold’s glow in the dark flashers has three eyelets in the butt end.  Each eyelet imparts a different action on your bait or lure if a tail leader of 40 inches or less is used.  Vary the leader length from the eyelet to the bait when fishing for Chinook or coho salmon.  A 30 to 36 inch leader length is recommended for Chinook salmon and 18 to 24 inches when fishing for coho salmon.  The far outside eyelet has a faster whipping action than the inside eyelet, which is considerably slower. The middle eyelet is a compromise between both end eyelets.  As always lower the flasher and bait in to the water slowly to ensure the bait is interacting properly with the flasher.

  Scotty’s Original Hotspot 11 or 8 inch flashers are most effective when trolled between 2.0 and 2.5 knots or fast enough to cause the flasher to rotate erratically with a strong side to side tail kick creating the vibration that attracts Chinook salmon.  The recommended length of the fishing line from a downrigger release clip to the narrow end of an 11 Hotspot flasher or the narrow end of the 8 inch mini flasher varies upward from 15 feet (the normal distance) to thirty feet.  Some fishermen set the front leader length as short as six plus feet for large metal flashers and 8 plus feet for small medal flashers or 8 plus feet for large plastic flashers and 10 plus feet for small plastic flashers to utilize the energy released in the rod as the downrigger release is tripped when a salmon strikes the bait to facilitate the hook set.  The tension on the rod is set by reeling in the slack line after the ball has been lowered to the desired depth and is released hooking the salmon when the salmon strikes the bait.  The length of fluorocarbon leader line from an 11 inch flasher to a whole herring, plug cut herring, Big Fin Salmon Killer and herring combination, trolling spoons and lures such as Apex and StingKing lures or J–Plugs varies from 42 to 60 inches and 36 to 50 inches for hoochies and flies.  The leader lengths vary depending on the type and size of the bait.  Be sure to follow the manufacture’s instruction when using their products.  Be careful, do not fish a lure that is too heavy for the size of the flasher you are fishing or you will reduce the tail kick to a small wiggle and the flasher will not attract salmon.  The 11" flasher handles heavier bait setups and spoons while the 8" flasher is more effective trolling small light hoochies or flies while maintaining a strong tail kick.  Leader lengths for the 8” flasher vary from 20 to 27 inches for hoochies and flies and 26 to 48 inches for lures and bait.  Test the action of the bait and flasher by lowering them into the water varying the speed of the boat from 2.0 to 5.0 knots to ensure that they are working properly.  Adjusting the length of the leader between the flasher and the bait is often all that is necessary to catch fish.  At whatever speed you troll, look at your flasher’s action as it descends downward through the water column. It should spin with a strong side to side tail kick. The optimum salmon attraction occurs when the flasher is most erratic in its motion.  Scotty’s Original Hotspot flasher is the flasher preferred by commercial fishermen.

  The new ProChip 8 and ProChip 11 flashers with the Agitator Fin represent one of the most significant flasher developments in decades. The manufacture claims the spin and kick design combined with the Echip attract more salmon to the bait than any other flasher currently in use.  ProChip flashers can be fished effectively with a variety of setups including downriggers, wire spreaders utilizing 2 or 3 lb. drop sinkers or behind divers rigged to fish the Echip Roto Chip Bait Holder for fishing baits up to 7 inches long or the E Rotary Bait Holder fishing baits up to 5 inches long, or with the new Echip Pro-Troll StingKing lures or E-Lures Trolling Lures.

  The leader length from the downrigger release to the flasher vary from 4 to 10 feet in length while maintaining an effective tail kick and providing action to the bait trolled 20 to 30 inches behind the ProChip flashers.  ProChip flashers can be trolled as slow as 1 MPH and still provide a strong tail kick. This is a big advantage when fishing late into the season for large mature Chinook salmon that are reluctant to hit faster moving baits or lures.

  The vibration, flash and scent from a rotating whole or plug cut herring in combination with the flash and vibration from the herring flasher are a powerful attractant for salmon.  Trolling a whole or plug cut herring at a slow roll or mooching with a herring mimics a crippled herring.  The frozen herring you buy should look as fresh as the day it was caught.  If it doesn’t, buy it somewhere else.  Herring are sold according to size in color coded packages.  Purple and black labeled packages contain the larger herring used for Chinook salmon.  Coho salmon and to some extent spring Chinook salmon prefer smaller herring, which are sold in orange red, green and blue labeled packages.  The herring are packed color coded packages according to size from orange to black.  Herring packaged with orange labels are 3 to 4 inches long, red label 4 to 5 inches long, green label 5 to 7 inches long, blue label 7 to 8 inches long, purple label 8 to 9 inches long and black label 9 to 14 inches long.

  Soaking the herring overnight in a brine solution of 1 cup of rock salt for 2 quarts of cold water, 1/2 cup of powdered milk and green food coloring is an innovation that has improved the catch rate of Chinook salmon.  Salmon anglers also use Mrs. Stewart’s liquid bluing rather than food coloring in the brine solution to bleach the scales making the herring brighter.  Keep brined herring fresh adding ½ cup of borax to the brine solution.  Keep the brined herring firm and fresh prior to being used by storing them on ice in zipped locked plastic bags.  Buy the largest herring available.  Larger herring are wider and wider is better.  The wider side of the larger herring reflects more flash and leaves a stronger scent trail than smaller herring.  Enhance the scent trail left by the plug cut herring by injecting herring oil into the herring along the backbone with a bait injector after the herring has been baited on the mooching hooks.  The vibration along with the flash from the motion and scent from a rotating whole or plug cut herring in combination with the vibration and flash from a herring dodger or flasher are a powerful attractant for salmon.

  A plug cut herring is attached to mooching hooks in a manner similar as whole herring but without bending the herring.  The plug cut is made at a compound angle that causes the herring to rotate.  Cut the herring at a 30 degree angle on a line from the top of the herring behind the gills to the bottom of the herring.  At the same time, turn the knife at a 20.5 degree angle from the near side to the far side of the herring to achieve the compound cut.  Buy and use a plug–cut–cutter to consistently achieve the compound plug cut necessary to ensure the proper roll of the plug cut herring.  The FOLBE Dual Cut Plug Guide (425–881–3568) has two guide slots, one for coho salmon and one for Chinook salmon.  Place the herring on its side in the cutter with the head toward the outer edge of the angle you are cutting.  Align the bait so that the cut occurs just behind the gills.  Make the cut using a very sharp knife.  Clean the body cavity scrapping away the blood line.  Cut a small slit in the body cavity from the belly fins toward the anal vent.  Make sure the body cavity is clean allowing water to flow through the body cavity creating the bubbles that attract salmon.  Bait the plug cut herring to the appropriate size hooks.  Pro–Cure (503–363–1037) distributes one of the most popular plug-cut cutters, Gilly’s Killer Kutter.  Always use Gilly’s Killer Kutter with the cutting guide slots slanting from the left upward to the right.  Place the herring in the cutter on its side with the back toward the top and the head on the right side.  Line up the herring so the cut will occur just behind the gills.  Use a very sharp knife to ensure a clean smooth cut.  Plug cut the herring at 45 degree angles if you do not have a plug–cut–cutter.  Cleaning out the body cavity and scraping the bloodline away from the backbone allows more scent to escape from the body cavity.  Cut a small V notch canal at the vent in the lower body cavity to allow water to flow through the body cavity creating bubbles that attract salmon.  The plug cut herring has a long side and a short side. 

  To bait a plug cut herring on mooching hooks: 1. Insert the point of the trailing hook inside the body cavity as far as possible (approximately ½ of an inch).  2. Position the point of the trailing hook next to the backbone on the long side of the herring pushing it through the herring exiting the top of the herring. 3.  Insert the point of the tow hook (the front hook) into the body cavity on the short side.  4.  Position the point of the tow hook next to the backbone pushing it up exiting the top of the herring in front of the dorsa fin.  The hook placement of the tow hook controls the speed and diameter at which the herring rolls.  The closer the tow hook is placed to the dorsal fin the smaller the diameter of the roll and the faster the herring spins.  Inserting and placing the tow hook toward the lateral line increases the diameter of the roll and slows the spin of the herring.  5. Insert the trailing hook in the tail on the long side of the herring between the dorsal fin and the tail.  The shank of the trailing hook should be buried in the flesh of the herring above the lateral line in a horizontal position with the point of the hook facing forward.  6. Carefully push the eye of the trailing hook back under the skin of the exit hole.  A plug cut herring baited in this manner is very effective in the ocean and is often utilized in the bay.     

  Most plug–cut–cutters come complete with directions on how to bait a plug cut herring on mooching hooks.  Gilly’s Killer Kutter precision plug cutter recommends the following method to obtain the slow roll preferred by Chinook salmon. 

  To bait a plug cut herring on mooching hooks: 1. Insert the point of the trailing hook inside the short side of the body cavity.  Push the point of the hook through the inside of the body cavity so that the hook exits the short side just above the lateral line as far down the herring as possible.  2. Put the tow hook through the same hole and insert it into the side of the herring ½ inch below the exit hole just above the lateral line.  The tow hook should be positioned in a manner that results with the shank of the hook buried in the flesh of the herring in a horizontal position just above the lateral line with the point of the hook facing forward.  3. Allow the trailing hook to dangle free.

  As Chinook salmon move close inshore and into Oregon's bays, they prefer herring trolled with a slower roll up to two feet in diameter near the bottom.  Troll a plug cut herring 72 inches behind a wire spreader or a crescent sinker.  Hook placement in combination with current flow and the speed of the boat determine the rate that the herring spins.  Lower the rig into the water to make sure the plug cut herring is rotating in the proper manner.  Chinook salmon prefer herring fished with a slow roll of two feet. Coho salmon prefer herring that rolls with a tighter spin.  When fishing multiple rods, vary the diameter of the herring’s roll until a salmon takes the bait.  Typically a Chinook salmon will strike the herring several times before swallowing it.  When a Chinook salmon is detected striking the bait, release several feet of line allowing the Chinook time to swallow the bait taking the rod all the way down before setting the hook.  Set the hook if using barbed hooks – Do not set the hook if using barbless hooks.  Set the hook by tightening the line as the Chinook swims away or by reeling in any slack line if the Chinook swims toward you; otherwise set hook by raising the rod with a firm sweeping motion.

  Using a herring dodger to depths of 60 feet enhances the effectiveness of the plug cut herring trolled with a slow roll.  The vibration and flash of the herring dodger in combination with the flash, vibration and scent of the plug cut herring increases the catch ratio.  Troll a plug cut herring behind a herring dodger at a speed up to 3 knots or slow enough to keep it working properly with a strong side to side tail kick.  The flash and vibration caused by the steady side to side swaying motion of the herring dodger in combination with the vibration, flash and scent of the rotating plug cut herring are a powerful attractant for Chinook salmon.  

  To work properly the leader lengths for the various sizes of herring dodgers have to be more precise than the lengths of the leaders used on flashers.  The length of the leaders from a crescent sinker, wire spreader or downrigger release to the end of the herring dodger and from the herring dodger to the bait depends on the size of the herring dodger.  The correct leader lengths are important to ensure the proper side to side swaying motion of the herring dodger.  Leader lengths that are too short or too long will have a negative effect on the dodger or the bait.  Lower the dodger into the water to ensure the dodger is swaying with a strong sided to side tail kick to fish the bait effectively.  Shorten or lengthen the length of the leader line to the crescent sinker, wire spreader or downrigger release to the end of the herring dodger and from the herring dodger to the bait to achieve the optimum presentation of the bait.  

  The size 000 herring dodger is used primarily for trout or kokanee but can be used for coho salmon. The 00 and 0 size herring dodgers are used primarily for coho salmon.  The size 00 herring dodger is ideal for presenting a hoochies or streamer flies to coho salmon.  The size 0 herring dodger is ideal for presenting hoochies, streamer flies or small baitfish to the coho salmon.  See coho salmon for the correct leader lengths for size 000, 00 and 0 dodgers.  

  Size 1, 2/0 and 3/0 herring dodgers are primarily used for trolling larger sized baits such as a plug cut herring, whole herring, a Big Fin Salmon Killer and herring combination, trolling spoons or J–Plugs for Chinook salmon.  The recommended length of the leaders for a size 1 herring dodger is 48 inches from a downrigger release clip, crescent sinker or wire spreader to the barrel swivel on the narrow end of the herring dodger and 20 inches from the herring dodger to the bait.  The recommended length of the leaders for a size 2/0 herring dodger is 48 inches from the downrigger release clip, crescent sinker or wire spreader to the barrel swivel on the narrow end of the herring dodger and 24 inches from the herring dodger to the bait.  The recommended length of the leaders for a size 3/0 herring dodger is 48 inches from the downrigger release clip, crescent sinker or wire spreader to the barrel swivel on the narrow end of the herring dodger and 30 inches from the herring dodger to the bait.  Use 35 pound test fluorocarbon line for the leader line.  Use a heavier weight leader line (50 lb plus test) when trolling hoochies or streamer flies.   Remember to check the action of the herring dodger and the bait to make sure they are working properly by lowering the rig into the water to test it.  Trolling a plug cut herring behind a herring dodger at depths to 60 feet is one of the most productive methods used to fish for Chinook salmon close inshore and into Oregon's bays.

  Fishing with live herring is one of the most productive methods used to catch Chinook salmon feeding at specific locations near the surface as they move close along the nearshore reefs and into Oregon's bays.  The use of live herring is limited by its availability and most anglers have to jig their own herring.  Umpqua Bait in Winchester Bay (541–271–4511) is the only port on the Oregon Coast that offers live baitfish for sale.  Fish for Chinook salmon feeding near the surface during the twilight of dawn or dusk drifting a live herring fished 25 feet under the surface.  Fish for Chinook salmon feeding near the bottom on schools of herring using a live herring fished 25 feet off of the bottom. 

  Bait a live herring with two hooks.  Tie a size 4 hook as the front hook and a size 1 treble hook as the trailing hook.  Tie the treble hook, (the trailing hook), onto the end of a 6 foot length of the 35 pound test fluorocarbon line.  Snell tie the size 4 hook, (the front hook); at the desired distance approximately 3½ to 5½ inches from the treble hook.  Tie the other end of the hook leader line to the beaded chain swivel on the end of a 1 ounce crescent sinker tied the barrel swivel on the end of the main line.  Bait a live herring by inserting the size 4 hook under the herring’s lower jaw pushing it up into the herring’s nose.  The hook imbedded in the nose should rest with the point of the hook facing forward.  Then imbed one of the barbs from the size 1 treble hook into the flesh just underneath the skin behind the dorsal fin with the point of the treble hook facing forward.  Lower the baited herring to the depth of the feeding salmon. 

  Baiting a live herring under the dorsal fin with a single size 1/0 hook is another effective method to present a live herring to feeding Chinook salmon.  To bait a live herring with a single hook, thread the hook through the thin membrane behind the lips pulling enough line to push the hook through the flesh just under the skin behind the dorsal fin.  A live herring hooked in this manner is constantly swimming trying to escape the hook in its back.  Vibrations emitted by the fleeing herring attract the Chinook salmon.  If live herring are unavailable, fish for Chinook salmon at specific locations by mooching a fresh dead or previously frozen herring.

  Mooching for Chinook salmon demands balanced fishing tackle.  A mooching rig consists of a medium weight 8½ foot bait casting rod and high quality dual or single speed level wind reel equipped with a star drag and a high speed gear ratio for rapid line retrieval filled with 30 pound test monofilament line or 50 pound test braided fusion line for the main line.  Using braided fusion line on some level wind reels requires the use of backing to keep the braided fusion line from slipping on the spool when fighting a large fish. 

  Tackle manufacturers have responded to the request of anglers and introduced a series of level wind reels that contain a LCD line counter.  The line counting reel eliminates the need for keeping track of depth marks on the fishing line or counting the number of pulls.  Multiplying the number of times the line guide travels across the face of the level wind reel times the length of line released for each pass is a simple way of keeping track of the length of line released.  Simplifying fishing techniques improves efficiency and results in a higher catch ratio by allowing the angler to keep the bait in the strike zone longer.

  Mooching with a whole or plug cut herring is a very effective method used to fish for site–specific Chinook salmon feeding on schools of forage fish in the open ocean or migrating through Oregon’s bays.  Mooch a whole herring baited with barbless hooks on sliding mooching rig in clear water or a plug herring baited with barbless hooks on a fixed length mooching rig in stained water when fishing in the open ocean and with a plug cut herring baited to barbed hooks when fishing in the bays. 

  To mooch the herring at the desired depth, the angler has to consider the effect of the action the waves, wind and velocity of the current has on the drifting boat and the angle of descent of the falling bait.  The line should enter the water from vertical (vertical is a 90 degree angle to the surface of the water which represents 0 degrees) to an angle not less than 45 degrees from the boat.  To calculate the length of the line needed to reach the target area multiply the depth by 1.41 when the angle of descent is 45 degrees.  With a little experience, you would soon be able to present the bait at below the depth where the Chinook are schooling.  Mooching is most effective when the angle of descent of the line is between 45 and 60 degrees.  Fishing the bait too shallow is the most common mistake make by anglers mooching for Chinook salmon.

  Mooching with barbless hooks using a crescent sinker provides the salmon with the leverage to slip the hook when it shakes it head or becomes air born.  Use round ball sinkers when mooching with barbless hooks.  The size of the sinker depends on the depth to the target area and the speed of the current.  Minimize leverage by using the lightest weight sinker to mooch the herring to the salmon.  The angler should have an assortment of crescent and round ball sinkers that range in weight from 1½ to 16 ounces.  Avoid using shinny swivels when fishing for salmon.  Salmon will strike at them and cut the leader line.  Use black swivels.   

  To mooch a herring using round ball sinkers slid a sinker slider (Slido) onto the main line and tie the end of the main line to the eye of a size 3/0 ball bearing barrel swivel.  Make sure the swivel is working properly or the main line will twist.  Attach the round ball sinker to the Slido.  Tie a 6 foot length of 35 pound test fluorocarbon rigged with the appropriate sized hooks and a beaded chain swivel.  Attach the beaded chain swivel to the size 3/0 ball bearing swivel on the end of the main line.  Bait with a whole herring or a plug cut herring and you are ready to fish. 

  To mooch for Chinook salmon in Oregon's bays using barbed hooks with crescent sinkers, tie the main line to the barrel swivel on the end of the crescent sinker and the mooching leader to the beaded chain swivel on the other end of the crescent sinker.  Match the size of the hooks to the size of the herring when mooching with whole or plug cut herring.  The size of the tow hook (front hook) should be equal to the girth of the herring.  The trailing hook should be one size smaller than the tow hook.  Use the largest size hooks that do not interfere with the proper presentation of the bait.  Using circle hooks offer anglers several advantages over conventional J hooks.  Circle hooks have a higher hook set ratio and once hooked Chinook salmon rarely slip the hook.  When a Chinook salmon takes the bait the circle hook pivots in the salmon’s mouth hooking in the corner of the mouth.  Anglers using circle hooks do not have to set the hook in the conventional manner.  Just tighten the line as the Chinook salmon swims off and it will hook itself.  Use size !/0 –2/0 hooks with a bait that is 3–4 inches long, size 2/0–3/0 hooks with a bait that is 4–5 inches long, size 3/0–4/0 hooks with a bait that is 5–6 inches long and size 4/0–5/0 hooks with a bait that is 6–7 inches long and size 5/0–6/0 hooks for herring larger the 8 inches in length.  Sharpen the hooks needle sharp and tie a number of mooching leaders with various sized mooching hooks so they are available when needed.  Store the mooching hook leaders individually in marked plastic bags.

  Using fixed length or adjustable length mooching hooks is an option to consider when tying snelled mooching hooks.  Both styles are sold in bait and tackle stores but are easily tied.  To tie fixed length mooching hooks the trailing hook is first tied onto the leader line followed by the tow hook (front hook).  Cut a length of leader line six inches longer than the desired leader length. 

1.       Hold the hook in your left hand with the shank and the eye of the hook pointed toward your right hand. 

2.       Insert the leader line into the eye of the hook pushing the end just past the hook. 

3.       Grasp the shank of the hook and the leader line between index finger and thumb of the left hand. 

4.       Grasp the leader line near the hook eye with the index finger and thumb of the right hand. 

5.       Pull the leader line down and around the shank of the hook below the eye of the hook wrapping it around the shank of the hook five times. 

6.       On the fifth wrap hold the leader line against the shank of the hook with your thumb and index finger of the left hand.

7.       Pick up the end of the leader line and lay it along side the shank of the hook pushing the tag end of the leader line just threw the eye of the hook. 

8.       Using your right hand wrap the leader line around the shank of the hook and the tag end of the leader line for five additional wraps. 

9.       While holding the hook and the wrapped line in between the index finger and thumb of the left hand, pull the leader line all the way threw the eye of the hook using your right hand.

  Slide the tow (front hook) onto the leader line and position it two to four inches from the eye of the tailing hook and repeat steps 3 through 9 to complete tying the fixed length mooching hooks.

  To tie an adjustable sliding mooching hook snell the trailing hook to the end of the leader line.  Slide the front hook onto the leader line and position it at the desired distance for the trailing hook.  Using a separate piece of lightweight monofilament leader material or Dacron line, tie a nail knot around the shank of the sliding front hook and the leader line.  Tying a nail knot around the shank of the sliding front hook and the leader line provides just enough resistance on the leader line and the sliding hook to keep the hook in place.  The sliding hook provides the angler with the ability to adjust the mooching hooks to the size of the herring.

  To bait a whole herring on fixed length mooching hooks: 1. Insert the point of the trailing hook into the silt under the lower jaw pushing the hook all the way through the snout exiting at the front of the eyes.  Insert the tow hook (front hook) through the same hole created by the trailing hook.  2. Insert the trailing hook through the upper edge of the eye sockets without damaging them followed by the tow hook.  3. Pull enough line through the herring to insert the trailing hook into the flesh of the herring between the dorsal fin and the tail on the opposite side of the herring in a horizontal position above the lateral line with the point of the hook facing forward.  4. Insert the tow hook into the flesh of the herring between mouth and the dorsal fin in the side of the herring opposite of trailing hook in a horizontal position above the lateral line with the point of the hook facing forward.     

  To bait a whole herring on adjustable sliding mooching hooks: 1. Insert the point of the trailing hook into the silt under the lower jaw pushing the hook all the way through the snout exiting at the front of the eyes followed by the tow hook.  2. Pull the tow hook around to one side of the herring and insert in the flesh between the mouth and the dorsal fin above the lateral line in a horizontal position with the point of the hook facing forward.  3. Insert the point of the trailing hook into the herring on the same side as the tow hook.  Position the trailing hook the in the same manner as the tow hook inserting it above the lateral line between the tail and the dorsal fin.  4. Gently pull the slack out of the leader line.  Pull the leader line tight enough to cause the herring to bend slightly.  The bend in the herring causes the whole herring to roll slowly.     

  The angler can use two techniques to mooch herring.  When mooching herring manually, the angler positions the boat so it will drift over the target area.  Put the reel in free spool and allow the bait to fall through the depth where the Chinook are feeding.  When the bait falls to the desired depth set the brake and quickly reel in 30 feet of line.  If the Chinook ignore the bait repeat the process until a Chinook strikes the herring.  Release several feet of line when a strike occurs to give the Chinook salmon the time to take the herring before setting the hook.  Only set the hook if using barbed hooks – Do not set the hook if using barbless hooks.  If the strike occurs as the herring is falling give the Chinook time to swallow the herring before setting the hook.  Set the hook by tightening the line as the Chinook swims away or by reeling in any slack line if the Chinook swims toward you; otherwise set hook by raising the rod with a firm sweeping motion.

  The hooked Chinook salmon will make several long runs.  The runs become shorter as the Chinook tires.  Keep the rod tip up at all times using the power of the rod to tire the Chinook.  Maintain line tension at all times.  Easing line tension even for just a split second provides the Chinook the opportunity to slip the hook.  Only pump the Chinook to the boat when using barbed hooks.  Most Chinook are lost because they are brought to the boat too soon.  Completely exhaust the Chinook’s energy before bringing it to the boat.  The angler has to stand behind the net man.  When bringing the Chinook to the net put the reel in free spool and hold the fish by applying pressure to the spool with your thumb just in case the fish makes one last surging run for freedom.  Do not raise the Chinook’s head out of the water because the Chinook will panic.  The net man holds the net with two hands keeping the bag end of the net out of the water by holding it against the handle of the net.  Dip the net into the water and slide the exhausted Chinook scooping it into the net head first.     

  Using the power of the boat to mooch the herring consumes the energy of the boat and not that of the angler.  To mooch the herring with the boat, put the reel in free spool and allow the bait to fall through the depth where the Chinook are feeding.  When the bait reaches the target depth move the boat forward using the trolling motor at a speed between 2 and 4 knots for a distance of 30 feet, pulling the bait upward through the Chinook.  Stop the boat by placing the shift lever in neutral and allow the bait to fall through the target depth.  Repeat the process until hooking a Chinook.  The movement of the boat mooches the herring upward triggering the strike by the Chinook.  Fishing with a live herring or mooching with whole or plug cut herring is limited to a site specific area.  Like all other angling methods mooching takes practice to be used effectively. 

  Chinook salmon return to Oregon's bays and rivers throughout the year with the greatest number returning to all rivers during the fall and to some rivers in the spring.  Fishing in the bays, while rewarding, is not nearly as productive as fishing in the ocean.  Anglers have to use all of their knowledge and skill to put fish in the boat.  The table quality of returning Chinook salmon is at optimum quality as they enter the bays, but once they enter brackish water they become reluctant to bite and the quality of their flesh deteriorates.

  The arrival of Chinook salmon to Oregon's bays is fairly predictable considering the historical record, but various factors govern the number of returning salmon and the actual date the salmon enter the bays.  All salmon returning to Oregon's rivers to spawn are mature adult fish comprised of age class 2 through 6 males and 3 through 6 females.  On rare occasions, Chinook will wait until they are age class 7 before returning to spawn.  Returning Chinook salmon that are age class 2 and less than 24 inches in length are called "Jacks".  The Chinook salmon that return in the 6th or 7th year are the large trophy sized fish that we all dream of catching.  The age classifications are referenced to provide the angler with an indication of the relative size of returning Chinook salmon.  The age class the spring Chinook returning to the Umpqua River is usually comprised of high percentage of mature 5 and 6 year old fish while the fall run is usually comprised of 3 and 4 year old fish.  The fall and spring runs of Chinook salmon returning to the Rogue River are comprised of 4 year old fish.  The age class of Chinook salmon is one component of complex a biological and ecological process that determines the size of mature fish when they enter coastal rivers to spawn.

  Occasionally, during the summer months, Chinook salmon move into Oregon's bays to feed on Pacific herring, candlefish, northern anchovies or Pacific sardines.  The high population of forage fish is the result of favorable ocean conditions caused by upwelling.  Local anglers take advantage of the occurrence by fishing hard for feeder Chinook salmon.  The most productive fishing occurs as the Chinook salmon roam the lower bay searching for schools of forage fish.  Fishing with live herring is most productive method followed by trolling with a plug cut herring or a spinner.  Fish a live herring at mid–depth of the water column drifting with the tide or by trolling a plug cut herring in all depth of the water column.  Trolling with a spinner just underneath the surface is a productive alternative.  Fishing with Big Al’s Fish Flash flasher is a productive method used in Oregon's bays. Rig the Fish Flash with a 12” 50lb test mono leader between the flasher and a high quality snap swivel tied to the end of the main line.  Rig a cannonball style sinker on a slider with a 12 to 18” dropper line with a snap swivel.  Be sure to insert a bead between the slider and the snap swivel on the end of the main line.  Troll with a plug cut herring behind the Fish Flash rigged 24” 50lb test mono leader for stained water and 48” 50lb test mono leader for clear water attached to the Fish Flash with a beaded chain swivel.  Historically, Chinook salmon enter, Yaquina Bay, Winchester Bay and Coos Bay during the summer months.  The table quality of the feeder Chinook is at its best when they occasionally enter Oregon's bays.  So if it is at all possible, take the time to fish for feeder Chinook salmon.

  Chinook salmon returning to Oregon's bays in the spring normally spends very little time in tidewater because of high river flows.  The high river flows of coastal rivers during spring offer ideal conditions for upstream migration.  When spring Chinook return to Oregon's bays they usually move through the bays and the tidal reach of the river channels migrating upriver to the spawning grounds.  Some spring Chinook pause briefly in the upper tidal reach of the river channels, while others continue upriver spending upward to four months in the deep holes before spawning.  Returning Jack spring Chinook enter coastal bays and streams two to three weeks after the run of returning older fish peaks. 

  The spring Chinook salmon’s exception to the fall Chinook’s behavioral pattern of tidewater acclamation provide anglers with the opportunity to fish for upriver bright salmon whose flesh is still at optimum quality.  Fishing for spring Chinook salmon varies from river to river with the most significant change occurring in the Columbia, Umpqua and Rogue Rivers because the water flow in these rivers is affected by snowmelt originating in the Cascade Mountains. 

  Spring Chinook salmon returning to the Umpqua and Rogue Rivers swim on the bottom in the zone of slower moving water between mid channel and the riverbank.  The depth of the zone varies with water clarity.  Under normal conditions the color of the water is emerald green and the spring Chinook salmon swim upriver in the zone of slower moving water that is 4 to 6 feet deep.  During low water conditions the water becomes extremely clear and the Chinook seek refuge by swimming in the zone of darker water that is 8 but no more than 10 feed deep.  When the water is flowing high and is stained or off color the Chinook resume their normal swimming pattern at a depth of 4 to 6 feet or shallower. 

  Anchor the boat in the shallow water on the inside of a curve and fish for Chinook salmon from the inside out using the Rogue Bait Rig baited with an anchovy or Spin–N–Glos sweetened with a small gob of fresh salmon eggs or salmon eggs cured in borax(hereafter referred to as salmon eggs).  The Rogue Bait Rig baited with an anchovy in combination with gold G–Spot spinner blade painted in green or chartreuse is the most productive bait used to catch spring Chinook salmon in the lower Rogue River.  Present the Rogue Bait Rig on a wire spreader using a 36 to 48 inch 35 pound test fluorocarbon leader and 2 a to 8 ounce sinker on a 12 inch dropper line is usually sufficient.  Use a heavy enough sinker to keep the bait on the bottom but light enough to walk the bait to the desired location up to 60 plus feet behind the boat.  Using fluorocarbon leaders improves the strike ratio because unlike monofilament line fluorocarbon line refracts light making the leader line nearly invisible to salmon and other fish species. 

  To bait an anchovy to the Rogue Bait Rig use a bait needle to thread the anchovy to the Rogue Bait Rig.  There are two types of bait needles.  A conventional bait needle is just that, a large 8 to 10 inch needle with a notch in one end used to thread the leader line through the bait.  An anchovy bait needle has a handle on one end and a notch on the business end used to draw the leader line back through the bait once the needle has been inserted through the bait. 

  To bait an anchovy to the Rogue Bait Rig: 1. Insert an anchovy bait needle into the anal vent pushing the point through the body cavity exiting at the mouth. 2. Place the leader loop in the notch on the end of the bait needle and pull it back through the anchovy.  3. Insert the leader loop threw the eye of the size 2 treble hook for anchovies under 6 inches long or threw the eye of a size 1 treble for anchovies larger than 6 inches long. 4. Pass the leader loop over the treble hook pulling the loop down and around the shank of the hook.  5. Insert one barb of the treble hook into the under side of the anchovy in front of the ventral fin hooking it over the backbone.  Gently push the shank of the treble hook into the anal vent.  6. Position the point of the size 1 adjustable sliding single hook under mouth of the anchovy.  Push the hook up through the head of the anchovy in a manner that results with the point of the hook barley protruding out of the top of the anchovy with the shank of the hook pressing against the anchovy’s mouth.  It is important for the eye of the single hook to remain in line with the tip of the anchovy’s nose.  7. Carefully tighten the leader line causing the shank of the treble hook to seat in the anal cavity while slightly bending the anchovy.  The more the anchovy bends the slower it rolls.  The anchovy should spin with a tight roll.  Use a heavy enough sinker to keep the bait on the bottom but light enough to walk the bait to the desired location up to 60 plus feet behind the boat.  The combination of the rolling anchovy and vibration caused by the spinning G–Spot spinner blade is irresistible to spring Chinook salmon.

  Fish for Chinook salmon using Spin–N–Glos sweetened with a small gob of salmon eggs or with a Super Spin–N–Glos II baited with a herring or prawns.  Rig Spin–N–Glos on a wire spreader using a 36 to 48 inch 35 pound test fluorocarbon leader and a 2 to 8 ounce sinker on a 12 inch dropper line and fish it in the zone of slower moving water between mid channel and the riverbank.  Spin–N–Glos are one of the most popular and productive baits used to catch spring Chinook salmon on the Rogue River.  Anglers fishing for Chinook salmon use the larger size 000, 00, 0, 1 and 2.  The body components of Spin–N–Glos even spin in the lightest current adding flotation and motion to any fishing rig.  The flash from the reflective Mylar wings enhances their effectiveness.  The most popular colors are gray ghost, fire tiger, silver bullet or colored with green/chartreuse, pearl pink or watermelon.  The Super Spin–N–Glos II is similar to a spinner bait combination except it is rigged with a Spin–N–Glo rather than with a spinner blade.  Bait a plug cut herring to the size 6/0 hooks on the Super Spin–N–Glos II, and fish it in the same manner as conventional Spin–N–Glos.  Use a heavy enough sinker to keep the bait on the bottom but light enough to walk the bait to the desired location up to 60 plus feet behind the boat.

  Fishing a whole anchovy baited with a single treble hook to produce a tight spin is a productive option that catches a lot of spring Chinook salmon.  To bait a whole anchovy on a treble hook:  1. Insert the point of the conventional bait needle through the upper front edge of both eye sockets without damaging the eyes.  2. Attach the loop on the end the leader line to the notch on the end of the conventional bait needle and draw the needle and the leader line through the eye sockets.  3. Pull enough of the leader line, approximately 7 inches, through the eye sockets to complete rigging the bait.  Loop a half hitch around the mouth of the anchovy to keep it closed while the bait is being fished.  4. Insert the conventional bait needle into the body of the anchovy at the back of the gills.  Push the conventional bait needle through and parallel alongside of the backbone exiting the side of the anchovy 1 inch from the tail.  5. Attach the leader loop to the notch on the end of the bait needle and pull the leader line through the anchovy exiting above the tail.  6. Insert the leader loop threw the eye of the size 2 treble hook for anchovies under 6 inches long or threw the eye of a size 1 treble for anchovies larger than 6 inches long.  Pass the leader loop over the treble hook pulling the loop down and around the shank of the hook.  7. Push one barb of the treble hook through the anchovy just above the backbone.  The shank of the hook should lie flat against the anchovy in a manner that allows the eye of the hook to be pulled back into the exit hole of the bait needle.  Pull the leader line throughout the anchovy carefully tightening the leader line causing a slight bend in the anchovy.  The more the anchovy bends the slower it rolls.  The anchovy should spin with a tight roll.  Use a heavy enough sinker to keep the bait on the bottom but light enough to walk the bait to the desired location up to 60 plus feet behind the boat.  Be patient when a spring Chinook salmon strikes the bait.  Allow the Chinook salmon to pull the rod all the way down before setting the hook.  If the line goes slack, a salmon has probably picked the bait and is swimming toward you, quickly reel in the slack line and set the hook immediately.  

  Most boaters double anchor.  The primary anchor should be a 40 pound Kedge style anchor.  Attach a buoy to each anchor line and release the boat from the aft anchor line first before releasing the primary anchor ling when a Chinook is hooked.  The angler is free to fight the fish returning to the buoyed anchor line once the Chinook has been landed.  Anglers fishing from the bank use the same tackle and angling methods employed by anglers fishing from boats.  Of course, the ability to move in a boat is a big advantage.

  Fall run Chinook salmon enter some of Oregon's bays about the middle of August.  The summer months along the Oregon coast are usually dry warm with little rain fall.  The mean water temperature of Oregon's bays varies between 56 and 65 degrees depending on phase of the tide.  The mean water temperature in the upper tidal reach of Oregon's bays ranges between 65 and 72 plus degrees and is higher than the temperature preferred by Chinook salmon. 

  Typically, returning fall Chinook salmon school in the ocean outside of Oregon's bays moving into and out of the bays with the tide.  During the period of neap tides, they enter the bays with the incoming tide mill around and return to the ocean with the outgoing tide, but some remain and migrate into the upper bay.  The cycle continues until a new or full moon exerts its influence on the daily tidal cycle and the incoming spring tide floods the bays with cool ocean water lowering the mean temperature and initiating the migration of the Chinook salmon into the upper bay.  As the run builds more salmon move into the upper bay as others migrate into the tidal reach of the river channels.  Normally migrating Chinook salmon spend most of their time swimming in the layer of cooler water near the bottom of the bays and river channels. 

  During the period of low stream flows and higher water temperatures the mean temperature in the upper tidal reach of Oregon's bays ranges from 65 to 72 plus degrees.  Chinook salmon hold in the deeper holes of the river channels until biological necessity compel them to migrate upriver or seasonal rains increases stream flows lowering the water temperature and initiates the upriver migration to the spawning grounds.  In the years with heavy seasonal rains returning fall Chinook salmon forgo their typical fall migration behavioral pattern and migrate immediately upriver to the spawning grounds.  Jack fall Chinook usually enter coastal bays and streams four weeks prior to the peak return of the older fish.  The movement of fall Chinook salmon into and out of the bays provides anglers fishing from shore the opportunity to catch ocean fresh salmon. 

  The most productive fishing from shore occurs in the lower bay fishing with spinners, Buzz Bombs or herring.  Allow the spinners or Buzz Bombs to sink to the bottom before retrieving them with a subtle jigging motion.  Patience is the key to success when fishing with lures.  When a Chinook strikes lower the rod allowing the Chinook the time to pull the rod all the way down before setting the hook.  Concentration is the key to success especially when a Chinook picks up the lure and swims toward you – reel in the slack line and set the hook.  If the hook set is unsuccessful stop reeling pausing long enough for the spinner or Buzz Bomb to fall a short distance before continuing.  The salmon may pickup the spinner or Buzz Bomb as it falls.        

  Fishing from shore with a plug cut herring cut short baited with a single hook is a very productive method to catch Chinook salmon.  To bait a single hooked plug cut herring insert the herring into a plug–cut–cutter and cut the herring just forward of the anal cavity.  Scrape away any of the remaining viscera.  Insert a size 2/0 plus barbed hook into the face of the plug cut next to the backbone on the long side of the herring pushing the hook as deep as possible exiting between the lateral line and the top of the herring.  Pull the hook and leader over to the short side of the herring.  Insert the hook into the short side of the herring in a manner that results with the eye of the hook imbedded opposite of the exit hole on the long side of the herring with the shank of the hook buried into the flesh of the herring above the lateral line in a horizontal position with the point laying flat against the herring facing forward. 

  Rig the single hooked plug cut herring with a 30 inch length of 35 pound test fluorocarbon leader tied to the beaded chain swivel on a 2 ounce plus crescent sinker.  Cast the plug cut herring to desired location allowing it to fall to the bottom.  Fish the plug herring along the bottom occasionally stopping the herring as it is being retrieved allowing it to fall a short distance.  When a strike occurs while fishing with a single hooked plug cut herring it is important to resist the temptation to set the hook – pause briefly – and allow the salmon the time to take the herring pulling the rod all way down before setting the hook with a firm sweeping motion. 

  Fish from shore with a whole herring suspended from a free sliding bobber rigged to fish the herring suspended near the bottom of the jetty channel or within 15 feet of the surface an option that works well with Chinook salmon or coho salmon respectively. 

  The angler has to consider the velocity of the current when developing fishing strategy.  The velocity of the tidal current varies from 3.5 to 8 knots within Oregon's bays.  For example the velocity of the outgoing current in Yaquina Bay averages 3.5 knots while the velocity of the outgoing tide in Alsea Bay can attain 7 knots.  The velocity of the outgoing tidal current lower Columbia River Estuary varies from 3.5 to 5 knots and can attain a velocity of over 5 knots at the entrance with velocities attaining 8 knots on the north side of the bar.  The incoming tide in the Columbia River seldom attains velocities of over 4 knots, but as the tide changes from outgoing to incoming the heavier saltwater flows under the outgoing lighter brackish water.  For a brief time the water in the lower estuary flows in both directions at the same time.  The incoming tidal surge creates a visible riptide that is accompanied by schools of migrating salmon.  The incoming tidal surge is barely noticeable in Oregon's smaller bays.  The incoming tidal surge in Yaquina Bay creates a small wave less than a foot in height as the tidal surge moves up the bay.

  Trolling a plug cut herring with the incoming tide in the lower bay is the most productive method to catch early returning fall Chinook salmon.  Trolling with a plug cut herring in the bay is more advantageous than trolling with whole herring.  The water in the bay is often stained reducing visibility.  The angler has to depend on scent and vibration to attract and induce the Chinook salmon to strike the bait.  A plug cut herring disperses more scent into the water than whole herring.  Change the plug cut herring frequently to keep the scent trail fresh.   

  The trolling speed of a plug cut herring varies from 1 to 3 knots or slow enough for the plug cut herring to rotate properly at slow roll up to 2 feet in diameter.  To maintain the bait in the Chinook salmon’s strike zone while trolling with the incoming tide the speed of the boat must be greater than the velocity of the incoming tidal current.  Always check the plug cut herring for the proper rotation before lowering it to the bottom.  When you feel the sinker hit the bottom turn the handle of the reel several times raising the sinker off of the bottom.  For the correct presentation of the plug cut herring the main line should enter the water at a 45 degree angle.  Occasionally lower the tip of the rod to feel the sinker hit the bottom of the bay.  It is easier to maintain the plug cut herring in the strike zone on the bottom trolling the bait against the tide at a speed of 1 to 3 knots but fishing is not as productive as trolling with the tide because salmon usually swim with the tide. 

  Salmon fishermen refer to the depth of Chinook salmon by the number of pulls on the line it takes to lower the bait to that depth.  One pull equals 24 inches, which is the distance between the reel and the first guide on an 8 foot 6 inch salmon rod.  Chinook salmon returning to Oregon's bays usually swim in the layer of cool water along the bottom of the bays but in the deeper bays the cool layer of water may extend higher in the water.  When fishing with multiple rods in bays deeper than 25 feet, stagger the trolling depth of the plug cut herring by four pulls from a depth of 25 feet to the bottom.

  Trolling a plug cut herring using a wire spreader is the most productive method used to catch Chinook salmon returning to Oregon's Bay followed by mooching a plug cut herring.  The function of a wire spreader is to separate the bait from the sinker.  To use a wire spreader, slide a Golf Tee and a bead onto the main line, tie the main line to the barrel swivel in the middle of the wire spreader.  The plug cut herring is baited to the appropriate sized barbed hooks and attached to the barrel swivel on the top leg of the wire spreader using a 72 inch length of 35 pound test fluorocarbon line.  The sinker is attached to the barrel swivel on the bottom leg of the wire spreader with a 24 to 36 inch breakaway dropper leader.  The length of the sinker dropper line is dependent on diameter of the roll of the plug cut herring.  Remember to use a sinker dropper line long enough to prevent the rotating plug cut herring from hitting or fouling on the bottom of the bay.  Use a heavy enough sinker to fish the herring in the Chinook’s strike zone near the bottom while maintaining a 45 degree entry angle of the main line to the surface of the water.  The amount of weight used depends on the velocity of the current.  It may take a round ball sinker weighing up to 12 or more ounces to keep the bait in the Chinook’s strike zone on the bottom but usually 2 to 6 ounces do the job.  Lower the plug cut herring into the water to ensure it is rotating properly.  Slowly lower the plug cut herring to the bottom, when the sinker hits the bottom, turn the handle of the reel several times to raise the sinker off of the bottom and you are in business. 

  Typically a Chinook salmon will strike the herring several times before swallowing it.  When a Chinook salmon is detected striking the herring, release several feet of line allowing the Chinook time to swallow the herring.  Set the hook by tightening the line as the Chinook swims away or by reeling in any slack line if the Chinook swims toward you before raising the rod with a firm sweeping motion.  Once hooked, keep the rod tip up at all times using the power of the rod to tire the Chinook.  Maintain line tension at all times.  Easing the tension on the line even for just a split second provides the Chinook the opportunity to slip the hook.  Pull the rod up and reel down when the fish is not taking line.  Pump the Chinook to the boat.  The hooked Chinook salmon will make several long runs.  The runs become shorter as the Chinook tires.  Keep the rod tip up at all times using the power of the rod to tire the Chinook.  Maintain line tension at all times.  Easing line tension even for just a split second provides the Chinook the opportunity to slip the hook.  Only pump the Chinook to the boat when using barbed hooks.  Most Chinook are lost because they are brought to the boat too soon.  Completely exhaust the Chinook’s energy before bringing it head first down current to the side of the boat.  The angler has to stand behind the net man.  When bringing the Chinook to the net put the reel in free spool and hold the fish by applying pressure to the spool with your thumb just in case the fish makes one last surging run for freedom.

  Chinook salmon often bite during high slack tide.  During high slack tide troll a plug cut herring with a zig–zag pattern.  The depth of the plug cut herring varies when trolling with a zig–zag pattern.  As the boat turns the trolling speed of the plug cut herring on the inside of the turning boat slows increasing the depth of the plug herring.  As the plug cut herring comes out of the turn the trolling speed of the plug cut herring increases decreasing the depth of the plug cut herring.  The trolling speed of the plug cut herring on the outside of the turning boat increases raising the depth of the plug cut herring as the boat turns.  Chinook salmon often react to the change in direction, depth and speed of the plug cut herring by striking the herring.

  As the tide begins to ebb troll a plug cut herring with the outgoing tide.  To maintain the proper presentation of the plug cut herring while trolling with the outgoing tide the speed of the boat must be greater than the velocity of the outgoing tidal current.  For example, trolling a plug cut herring with the ebbing tide in the lower Columbia River Estuary requires a trolling speed up of to 8 knots.  Remember to check the plug cut herring for the proper rotation before lowering it to the bottom.  The line should enter the water at a 45 degree angle.  Occasionally lower the tip of the rod to feel the sinker hit the bottom.

  Back trolling with a plug cut herring while drifting with the high velocity of the outgoing current is a productive option to fish the plug cut herring at the speed and rotation preferred by Chinook salmon.  Keep the bow of the boat into the outgoing current while running the engine or trolling motor just fast enough to keep the boat under control.  The velocity of the outgoing tidal current should be running faster than the speed of the boat to maintain the proper presentation of the bait in the strike zone.  The line should enter the water at a 45 degree angle, and the sinker should be heavy enough to keep the plug cut herring in the strike zone.  To ensure the plug cut herring is in the strike zone lower the rod to feel the sinker hit the bottom.  Change the plug cut herring frequently to maintain a fresh scent trail.  When a strike is detected while back bouncing or back trolling release several feet of line allowing the Chinook salmon to bend the fishing rod all the way down before raising the rod to set the hook.  

  Back bouncing or mooching a plug cut herring while drifting with the outgoing current are productive options to consider.  Back bounce by lowering the plug cut herring into the water ensuring it is rotating properly before lowering it to the bottom.  When the sinker hits the bottom turn the handle of the reel several times to raise the herring off of the bottom.  Occasionally lower the tip of the rod to feel the sinker hitting the bottom ensuring the bait is in the Chinook’s strike zone.  The plug cut herring should rotate with the slow roll Chinook salmon prefer drifting at a speed of 1 to 3 knots.  When mooching use crescent shaped sinkers up to 12 ounces on a standard mooching rig.  Mooch the herring (using whole or plug cut herring) up through the depth in the water column used as a travel lane by migrating Chinook salmon.  If the migrating Chinook salmon are swimming near the bottom it may only be necessary to raise the tip of the rod to effectively mooch the herring. 

  Chinook salmon begin moving into the tidal reach of the upper bay within days of their initial arrival.  The tide in the upper tidal reach of Oregon's larger bays occurs later than it does in the lower bay.  Fish in the upper bay by trolling preferably with the incoming tide through the high slack tide using a plug cut herring, spinners, bait wrapped Flatfish lures or spinner bait combinations.  The depth of the channels in the upper bay varies with the contour of the bottom and underscores the importance of using LCD marine electronics to the angler.  Increase the trolling speed in the shallow water reach of the channel lifting the bait in the water column to avoid hanging it up on the bottom.  Lower the trolling speed as the channel deepens.  Chinook salmon often react to a change in the speed by striking the bait.  Hold the rod in your hands. When a strike occurs it is important to resist the temptation to set the hook, pause briefly and allow the salmon the time to take the bait pulling the rod all way down before setting the hook with a firm sweeping motion.  Concentration is the key to success especially when a Chinook picks the up the bait and swims toward you – reel in the slack line and set the hook.

  Trolling spinners in the channels of the upper bay is one of the most effective methods to catch Chinook salmon, but to be effective the spinners must be fished in the Chinook’s strike zone on the bottom and the angler must deal effectively with eelgrass and other floating debris.  Tying a plastic Golf Tee into the leader line is the most effective method to deflect the eelgrass and other debris away from a spinner.  Slip a Golf Tee and a bead onto the main line and tie one leg of a high quality 3–way swivel on the end of the main line.  Cut a 6 foot length of 35 pound test fluorocarbon leader line into 1½ foot and 4½ sections.  Tie one end of the 1½ foot section of the leader line to the top leg of the 3–way swivel.  Slid a Golf Tee and a bead onto the other end of 1½ section of leader line.  Tie a beaded chain swivel between the 1½ and 4½ foot sections of the leader line.  Tie the spinner to the end of the 4½ section of leader line.  Tie a 12 to 18 inch breakaway leader tied the bottom leg of the 3–way swivel.  Add an appropriate size sinker (1½ to 6 ounces) with just the amount of weight necessary to keep the spinner bait combination in the strike zone just off the bottom and you are in business.  Wear latex gloves and wash your lures with Lemon scented dish soap before handling spinners or other lures and apply herring or shrimp oil to the spinners and lures to mask or eliminate any remaining human scent.  Lower the spinner into the water to ensure everything is in working properly before lowering it to the bottom.  When the sinker hits the bottom turn the handle of the reel several times raising the sinker just off of the bottom.  When trolling a spinner, the rod tip normally twitches at a consistent rate of 140 rpm indicating the spinner is working properly.  If the tip of the rod stops twitching something has fouled the spinner; more often than not, eelgrass or clam shells are the culprit.  Occasionally lower the tip of the rod to feel the sinker hitting the bottom ensuring the spinner is in the Chinook’s strike zone.  

  Spinners equipped with blades size 6 and larger are used trolling for salmon while spinners equipped with smaller blades are used casting for salmon.  The flash and the vibration produced by the spinner blade are powerful attractants.  Light conditions and water clarity determine the color of the spinner blade that should be used.  The axiom, “On dark days use dark lures. On a bright days use bright lures.” applies to most species of fish.  Use spinners with copper, gold or brass blades on cloudy days in low light conditions or in stained water.  Use spinners with nickel or chrome on clear sunny days.  They reflect like a mirror and work best on bright days and in shallow clear water.  Genuine silver or matte silver spinner blades are more effective in clearer deeper water or low light conditions.  Rainbow colored or a combination chartreuse and brass or silver blades are also productive alternatives in low light or stained water. 

  The spinners that produce the best results are sold at local bait and tackle shops.   As always, ask the owners of the bait and tackle shops for their advice as they often manufacture the most productive spinners for use in the bays in their area.  Randy Druba of Harry's Bait and Tackle in Newport manufactures the Yaquina Slammer Spinner.  The Yaquina Slammer spinner with a green body and a rainbow pattern spinner blade with a green tip fished in the low light conditions at daybreak and dingy stained water common to Yaquina Bay.  It is the most productive spinner used to catch Chinook salmon in Yaquina Bay and in many of Oregon's other bays.  Randy is one of the more knowledgeable anglers on the Oregon Coast. To reach Randy or to order the Yaquina Slammer, write to Harry’s Bait and Tackle, 404 SW Bay Blvd, Newport, OR 97365 or call 541–265–2407.  The Rogue Bait Rig is a spinner bait combination that was designed for use in the Rogue River. The G Spot spinner blades used on the Rogue Bait Rig is manufacturedRogue River guide, Mike Hoefer and is sold at the Rogue Outdoor Store or Jot's Resort in Gold Beach.  The G–spot blades are in part responsible for the success of the Rogue Bait Rig.  The wise angler maintains an assortment of spinners in the most productive colors.

  Spinner bait combinations are one of the most versatile and productive baits for catching Chinook salmon in the upper bay and tidal reach of the river channel.  Rig a spinner bait combination by cutting a 6 foot length of 35 pound test fluorocarbon leader line into 1½ and 4½ foot sections.  Tie one end of the 1½ foot section of the leader line to the barrel swivel on the top leg of the wire spreader and slid a plastic Golf Tee onto the other end of 1½ foot section of the leader line.  Tie a beaded chain swivel between the 1½ and 4 ½ foot sections of the leader line.  Slid an interchangeable plastic clevice onto the 4½ foot section of the leader line followed by two small colored beads and two larger sized 5mm colored beads.  Use chartreuse and orange large beads and red small beads or run all chartreuse or green beads.  Slide on a 2 inch piece of green colored spinner tubing.  Snell two mooching hooks to the end of the leader line when the bait is a plug cut herring or one size 2/0 hook when the bait is salmon eggs.  Bait a plug cut herring to the mooching hooks.  The interchangeable plastic clevice provides the angler with the option of changing spinner blades.  Attach either a size 5 or larger spinner blade to the plastic clevice.  Use a 36 inch breakaway leader tied the bottom leg of the wire spreader when using a plug cut herring for bait or an 18 inch breakaway leader when using salmon eggs for bait.  Add an appropriate size sinker with the amount of weight necessary to keep the spinner bait combination in the strike zone just off the bottom. 

  The popularity of the T–55 Flatfish or K–16 Kwikfish lures is a testament to the lure’s effectiveness in the upper bay and tidal reach of the river channel during periods of low–light conditions or when the water is stained or off colored.  The velocity of the current is a major factor when considering using Flatfish lures.  The lures should move rhythmically from side to side when fished slow–trolled, back trolled, back bouncing or fished at anchor in slow to moderate current.  The K–14 works best in faster flowing current, the K–15 in medium flowing current and the K–16 in the slower flowing current.

  Luhr Jensen now offers Kwikfish lures in Hot Tail finishes.  Instead of painting the lure head with the accent color (e.g. Silver/Chartreuse Head) they have reversed the pattern and are now painting the tail end of the lure with the accent color. Fish will normally strike at the colored end of the Kwikfish resulting in more hook sets on the tail hook.   

  The scent and vibration produced by Flatfish or Kwikfish lures wrapped with sardines, herring, cured eggs or sand shrimp are powerful attractants but the size of the bait wrap limits its ability to dispense scent.  The most efficient way to maximize fishing time is to bait wrap a half dozen lures the night before fishing.  Store the bait wrapped Flatfish lures in the refrigerator in plastic bags and on ice in a cooler when fishing.  That way they are ready when needed. 

  To wrap Flatfish or Kwikfish lures remove the hooks from the lure with split–ring pliers.  Take the opportunity to check the hooks to see that they are needle sharp.  Using a sharp knife cut a fillet from the side of a sardine or herring.  Use a sharp pair of scissors to cut the fillet into a rectangular shape of approximately 3/4 x 2–1/4 inches for the K–14 size, 1 x 2–3/4 inches for the K–15 and 1–1/8 x 3 inches for the K–16.  Cut a slice up the center of the fillet ¾’s of it’s the length.  Seat the fillet around the hook eye of the front hook on the underneath side of the lure with the skin side against the lure.  Secure the fillet to the lure with half hitches and an overhead knots with elastic thread wrapping the thread around the fillet numerous times.  Reattach the hooks and you’re ready to fish. Check to ensure the lure is working properly by pulling it through the water to see if it wobbles from side to side and runs true.  If the lure dives to the left, turn the screw eye to the right. If the lure dives to the right, turn screw eye to the left.

  Fish bait wrapped Flatfish lures using a diver or a wire spreader to present the lure to the Chinook salmon.  Attach the bait wrapped Flatfish lure the top leg of a wire spreader with a 36 to 72 inch length of 35 pound test fluorocarbon leader.  Attach a 1 to 6 ounce sinker to the bottom leg of the wire spreader with a 12 to 24 inch length of 20 pound test monofilament breakaway leader.  Lower the bait wrapped Flatfish lure into the water to ensure that it is working properly.  Keep the scent trail fresh by replacing the bait wrap or changing the lure to one with a fresh bait wrap every thirty minutes.  The most productive Kwikfish lures are colored with a silver body with chartreuse, green, orange or fire tail accents.  The most productive Flatfish model T–50 and T–55 lures are the MSCH–Metallic Silver Chartreuse, FS–Fluorescent Stripe, GWTM–Glitter Watermelon and MSCL–Metallic Silver Clown.  Order Flatfish lures and Spin–N–Glos from Worden’s Lures, P.O. BOX 310, Granger, Washington 98932 or call (509) 854–1311.

  Wobblers are an effective alternative used to fish the deeper holes where Chinook salmon hold.  The velocity of the current is a major factor when considering using wobblers.  Wobblers should move rhythmically from side to side whether fished slow–trolled, back trolled, back bouncing or fished at anchor in slow to moderate current.  Tie wobblers to the top leg of a wire spreader with a length of 35 pound test fluorocarbon line up to 48 inches long and to the bottom leg of the wire spreader using a breakaway sinker dropper 12 to 48 inches long depending on the fishing depth.  Wobblers colored with a 50/50 chartreuse and green, 50/50 chartreuse and silver, 50/50 brass and chrome, rainbow, silver plate and 24K gold plate are the top producing colored blades.

  Chinook salmon avoid wobblers or other lures contaminated by human scent.  Eliminating human scent improves the catch ratio.  Wash your hands with lemon scented liquid dish soap before rigging lures then apply herring or shrimp oil to mask or eliminate any remaining human scent.  Lower the lures into the water to ensure everything is in working properly before lowering them to target area.  Patience is the key to success when fishing with lures.  Do not set the hook on the first strike.  Allow the Chinook the time to pull the rod all the way down before setting the hook.  Concentration is the key to success especially when a Chinook picks up the lure and swims toward you – reel in the slack line and set the hook with a firm sweeping motion.

  All of Oregon's major coastal rivers with the exception of the Chetco and 'Rogue Rivers have extensive tidal reaches with some that extend inland for miles.  The tide occurs later in the upper bay than it does in the lower bay and much later in the tidal reach of the river channel than it does in the lower or upper bay.   For example, the tidal reach of the Yaquina River extends inland for approximately 22 miles.  The tide in the upper bay at the Toledo Airport Boat Launch occurs 58 minutes later than it does at the Marine Science Center Dock in lower Yaquina Bay. The tide at the head of tidewater above Elk City occurs more than 2 hours later than it does at the Marine Science Center dock in lower Yaquina Bay.

  Chinook salmon move into the tidal reach associated with the upper bay and river channels within days after their initial arrival in the bay.  More Chinook salmon arrive with every high tide moving into the deeper holes as the tide recedes.  Most remain in the deeper holes during periods of low stream flows usually from September into October, but with the arrival of the seasonal rains the Chinook move upstream to the spawning grounds.  Fishing in the tidal reach of the river channels underscores the importance of marine electronics to the angler by locating migrating Chinook salmon, underwater obstructions and determining water depth and temperature.  Successful fishing for Chinook salmon in tidal reach of the river channels requires understanding when to use the option that produces the best results.  The various stages of the tidal cycle in combination with the velocity of the tidal current, underwater obstructions and boat traffic are the factors that determine the method used to fish for Chinook salmon.  

  The most productive fishing in the lower tidal reach of the river channels occurs during the incoming tide especially when the incoming tide coincides with daybreak trolling with bait wrapped Flatfish or Kwikfish lures colored with a silver body and chartreuse head or Hot Tail finish.  Troll with the incoming tide to locate migrating fish or intercept migrating fish by anchoring and fishing the lure next to the bottom and wait for the fish to come to you.  The scent from the sardine or herring fillet and vibration from the side to side movement of the lure are a powerful attractant for salmon in the low light conditions of dawn.  Use a sinker that is heavy enough to keep the bait in the strike zone within 18 inches of the bottom and light enough to walk the bait to the desired location behind the boat.  Attach Flatfish or Kwikfish to one leg of a wire spreader with a 48 inch length of 35 pound test fluorocarbon leader and a 2 to 6 ounce sinker to the other leg with a 12 inch length of 10 to 20 pound test monofilament line.

  After sunrise add rainbow colored spinners and/or spinner bait combinations to the trolling mix.  The water in the tidal reach of the river channels is often stained and off colored.  The most productive spinner in stained water has green accents and a rainbow colored spinner blade or a 50–50 green or chartreuse hammered brass blade.  Be sure to wash your hands before applying herring oil to mask human scent.  Troll spinners and/or spinner bait combinations along the bottom with a wire spreader utilizing bait saving breakaway sinkers.  Lower the bait into the water to ensure everything is in working properly before lowering it to the bottom.  When the sinker hits the bottom turn the handle of the reel several times raising the sinker just off of the bottom.  The most productive results are achieved when the main line enters the water at a 45 degree angle.  Occasionally lower the tip of the rod to feel the sinker hitting the bottom ensuring the bait is in the Chinook’s strike zone.

  Chinook salmon will often bite before, during or right after the change of tide.  Trolling a rainbow colored Yaquina Slammer spinner with a green tip, a spinner with a 50–50 green or chartreuse hammered brass blade with green accents in the upper half of the water column in stained water or deeper in clearer water with chartreuse spinners equipped with genuine silver, matte silver or with silver and copper blades through high or low slack tide is often productive.  

  As the tide begins to ebb back bounce spinners, bait wrapped Flatfish lures, spinner bait combinations, a variety of wobblers or a combination of salmon eggs and sand shrimp.  Beside the methods already described to fish these baits there are several others that should be considered.  For example, salmon eggs and sand shrimp may be rigged with a 3–way swivel.  Snell tie a size 4/0 hook to a 48 inch length of 35 pound test fluorocarbon line tied to the top leg of the 3–way swivel.  Tie a 2 to 6 ounce round ball sinker to a 12 inch breakaway sinker dropper line tied to the bottom leg of the 3–way swivel.  Remove the claws from the sand shrimp. Push the point of the hook down through the back of the tail of the sand shrimp and slide it on the shank.  Thread a walnut sized gob of salmon eggs onto the hook by pulling the leader line through the eye of the hook and looping a half hitch over the salmon eggs and secure sand shrimp over the salmon eggs with several half hitches of elastic thread. 

  It does not require a wire spreader or 3–way swivel to back bounce a combination of salmon eggs and sand shrimp or bait along the bottom of the upper tidal reach of the river channel.  Use barrel swivels to present the bait with a sliding sinker.  Slide several beads onto the main line.  Thread the end of the main line through the eye of a barrel swivel followed with several other beads.  Tie the end of the main line to one end of another barrel swivel.  Tie one end of a 48 inch length of 35 pound test fluorocarbon line to the barrel swivel on the end of the main line and snell a size 4/0 hook to the other end.  Tie a 12 inch breakaway sinker dropper line to the eye of the sliding barrel swivel on the main line and a 2 to 6 ounce round ball sinker other end of the breakaway leader.  Bait with a walnut sized gob of salmon eggs and a sand shrimp.

  Back bouncing a combination of salmon eggs and sand shrimp using surgical tubing and solid core pencil lead to keep the bait in the strike zone on the bottom is a simple and productive method to fish for Chinook salmon.  Slid a 2 inch length of surgical tubing followed by a 6 millimeter bead onto the main line. Tie a barrel swivel onto the end of the main line.  Tie a 24 to 48 inch length of the 35 pound test fluorocarbon to the end barrel swivel on the end of the main line and snell a size 2/0 or a size 4/0 hook to the end of the leader line.  Insert a 2 inch length of the solid core pencil lead into the bottom end of the surgical tubing.  Bait a size 2/0 hook with a walnut sized gob of salmon eggs or a size 4/0 hook with a combination of sand shrimp and salmon eggs.  Adding a Spin–N–Glo and a bead in front of the hook as an attractant is an option to consider.  Slowly lower the bait to the bottom ensuring everything is working properly.  The bait should be fished within a foot of the bottom.  To keep the bait in the strike zone the line should enter the water at a 45 degree angle and occasional lower the tip of the rod to feel the sinker hit the bottom.  As the velocity of the outgoing tidal current increases it may be necessary to back troll to maintain the bait in the strike zone near the bottom at the proper speed.     

  To back troll spinners, bait wrapped Flatfish lures or spinner bait combinations into the high velocity of the outgoing current keep the bow of the boat into the outgoing current while running the engine or trolling motor just fast enough to keep the boat under control.  Use heavy enough sinkers to keep the bait in the strike zone.  Remember, the line should enter the water at a 45 degree angle.  Present the bait with a wire spreader utilizing bait saving breakaway sinkers to minimize the loss of tackle to underwater obstructions.

  During the outgoing tide Chinook salmon move into upper half of the deeper holes throughout the tidal reach of the river channel.  Some Chinook salmon hold near the bottom while others suspend higher in the water column near mid–depth.  Anchor above the holes.  Fish for Chinook salmon using bait wrapped model M–2, T–50 or T–55 Flatfish or a model K–14, K–15 or K–16 Kwikfish lures, spinner bait combinations, spinners, size 0, 00 and 000 Spin–N–Glos sweetened with salmon eggs, an assortment of wobblers or with salmon eggs and sand shrimp.  Attach the bait to one leg of a wire spreader with a 36 to 48 inch length of 35 pound test fluorocarbon leader, and a breakaway sinker to the other leg with a 12 to 48 inch length of 10 to 20 pound test monofilament depending on the target depth of the bait.  Use a heavy enough sinker to fish the bait at the desired depth near or on the bottom but light enough to walk the bait to desired location in the upper half of the hole and hopefully in the jaws of the waiting salmon.

  Fishing with salmon eggs suspended just off of the bottom from a bobber is one of the most productive methods to catch Chinook salmon throughout the tidal reach of the river channel.  Use large bobbers in slower moving tidal current and thinner longer bobbers in faster moving tidal current.  Bobbers are most effective when the bait moves along the bottom in a natural motion at the speed of the tidal current.  The SUPER SLIP FLOATS bobbers manufactured by Beau Mac Enterprises of Auburn, WA 98001 are a favorite of salmon anglers.  To rig a bobber thread the bobber stop onto the main line at the depth shown on the graph of the LCD Chartplotter or that allows the bait to drift at the desired depth initially at 8 feet.  Bobber stops because of their small size are easily lost or damaged.  Use a small length of lightweight monofilament line to replace lost or damaged bobber stops by tying a nail knot around the main line at the desired location.  Thread a bead and the sliding bobber onto the main line followed by another bead.  Tie the end of the main line to the barrel swivel on one side of a crescent sinker just heavy enough to maintain the natural motion of the salmon as the eggs move along the bottom.  Snell a size 4/0 hook or larger to one end of a 3 foot length of 35 pound test fluorocarbon leader and the other end to the beaded chain swivel on the other end of the crescent sinker.  Thread a walnut sized gob of salmon eggs onto the hook.  Secure the salmon eggs to the hook by pulling the leader line through the eye of the hook and looping it over salmon eggs.  Adjust the bobber stop to the desired depth and you are ready to fish.  To fish with the bobber and salmon eggs, anchor above the deeper holes or drift with the incoming or outgoing tidal current.  Cast the bobber and salmon eggs to the desired location or lower the bobber and the salmon eggs into the water allowing them to drift to the desired location.  Most of the time the strike zone is next to the bottom but if positioning the bait next to the bottom is ineffective try positioning the bait 3 or 4 feet under the surface.  Chinook salmon will often take shallow drifting bait as they rise to the surface to roll.  Chinook salmon holding in the deeper holes will often suspend off of the bottom.  Adjust the bobber stop to fish the bait at the depth of the suspended fish.  Take the time to fish a hole thoroughly.  Chinook salmon will lie in the deeper water underneath overhang willows along the riverbank or they will school in the cooler water entering the river from small streams. 

  The angler has to overcome the reluctance to go to another option when the Chinook salmon are not biting. The Chinook may be hitting spinners one day and eggs and sand shrimp fished with a bobber the next. Being versatile and having the patience to exercise the available options will put more fish in the boat.   

  Chinook salmon are distinguished from coho salmon by a black mouth in the lower jaw at the base of the teeth while the color at the base of the teeth of coho salmon is white.  The tails on Chinook salmon have spots on both tail lobes while the coho salmon have spots only on the upper tail lobe.  The color of coho salmon varies from mostly dusky sliver or silver or green dorsally fading to light silver ventrally.   

Coho salmon caught by author out of Depoe Bay trolling a white hoochie behind a size 0 dodger and a Delta Diver utilizing the precise leader lengths from the diver to the dodger and from the dodger to the hoochie.   

, Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) are a recovering species. At on time, they were so plentiful that anglers could always fill the fish box with them.

Today two or three year old coho salmon return to Oregon's rivers in the late summer, fall or early winter.  Coho salmon that return to their river or origin during their second year measuring less than 20 inches in length are called "Jacks".  The number of Jacks is a factor used by ODFW to estimate the number of fish that will return the following year.  Coho salmon returning in their third year weigh an average of 8 pounds.  Coho salmon returning after their third year can weigh in excess of 20 pounds with a once in a lifetime fish weighing over the state record of 25lb 5.25oz.

  Coho salmon school inshore in areas of the ocean where the preferred water temperature ranges from 53 to 58 degrees with 54 degrees being the optimum temperature.  They are sensitive to changes in the water temperature and move offshore during the periods of upwelling that lower the inshore water temperature below the level of their comfort zone.  Coho salmon are found higher in the water column than Chinook salmon, typically from a depth of 30 feet to the surface but during midday they may descend to a depth of 80 feet. 

  Coho salmon relate to surface action in response to the dynamics of the Diel Vertical Migration and are most active from daybreak until midmorning.  Throughout the day working birds or boiling forage fish often betray the presence of salmon feeding at the surface.  Seabirds often rest on the water after feeding heavily on forage fish driven toward the surface by schools of salmon.  Feeding seagulls indicate that coho are feeding just under the surface of the water while diving birds indicate that coho and Chinook salmon are feeding in deeper water.  Coho salmon are also found feeding along rip lines.

  Fish from daybreak into early morning for surface feeding coho salmon by trolling a plug cut herring just under the surface from 3 to 5 knots near the fringe or ahead of the school but never through it or the school will sound.  Trolling a plug cut herring behind a diver or with a mooching rig is the most productive method used by anglers to catch surface feeding coho salmon.  Fish a whole or plug cut herring baited to the appropriate sized barbless mooching hooks tied with a 4½ foot 25 pound test fluorocarbon leader tied to a beaded chain swivel attached to a light size 000 Salmon Bungee tied 12 inches behind a diver or a 2 - 6 ounce crescent sinker.  Remember that coho salmon a prefer whole or plug cut herring trolled with a spin up to 12 inches in diameter at a speed of 3 to 5 knots.  

  Trolling for coho salmon using a Fish Flash flasher, Konezone flasher or a Dee's Diamond Flasher is another effective method to take coho salmon at the surface.  These flashers rotate on their axis and do not impart action to bait, lures, hoochies or flies.  The Fish Flash comes in four sizes: the mini, small, med and large.  Rig a medium 8 inch or large 11 inch flasher 12 inches behind the Salmon Bungee and diver.  Troll a plug cut herring baited to barbless mooching hooks 24 inches using 25 pound test fluorocarbon leader.  The Fish Flash may be fished near the surface trolling a plug cut herring when the coho are feeding at the surface.  For stability tie a keel rudder between the Salmon Bungee and the Fish Flash flasher.  Be sure to lower the plug cut herring into the water to ensure the herring is rotating with the tight spin.  Trolling a plug cut herring with the tight spin preferred by coho salmon mimics the flash and vibration of a crippled herring while leaving a scent trail.

  The frozen herring you buy should look as fresh as the day it was caught, if it doesn’t, buy it somewhere else.  Avoid buying herring with frost covered packages or herring with blood shot eyes.  Herring are sold according to size in color coded packages.  Purple and black labeled packages contain the larger herring used for Chinook salmon.  Coho salmon prefer smaller herring which are sold in orange, red, green and blue labeled packages.  To achieve the best results use herring from purple and blue labeled packaged to bait a plug cut herring to a single hook. 

  Baiting a plug cut herring on a single hook produces the tight spin that coho salmon prefer and is an effective alternative to a conventionally rigged plug cut herring.  To bait a single hooked plug cut herring insert the herring into a plug–cut–cutter and cut the herring just forward of the anal cavity.  Scrape away any of the remaining viscera.  Insert a size 2/0 or larger barbless hook into the face of the plug cut next to the backbone on the long side of the herring pushing the hook as deep as possible exiting between the lateral line and the top of the herring.  Pull the hook and leader over to the short side of the herring.  Insert the hook into the short side of the herring in a manner that results with the eye of the hook imbedded opposite of the exit hole on the long side of the herring with the shank of the hook buried into the flesh of the herring above the lateral line in a horizontal position with the point laying flat against the herring facing forward.  Rig the single hooked plug cut herring with a 24 inch length of 25 pound test fluorocarbon leader tied to a beaded chain swivel attached to a light size 000 Salmon Bungee attached behind a 2 ounce plus crescent sinker and you are ready to fish once a school of coho is located.  Fish for surface feeding coho salmon by drifting with the school and casting into it with a single hooked plug cut herring.  Fish for coho salmon following a hooked coho to the boat with a plug cut herring baited to a single hook before landing the hooked coho salmon and hook another. 

  After midmorning the best fishing for coho salmon occurs at depths greater than 30 feet using a downrigger, diver or wire spreader to troll a plug cut herring, Rotary Salmon Killer and baitfish combination, trolling spoons, streamer flies or hoochies behind a conventional flasher.  Studies reveal the vibration generated by the erratic movement of a flasher attracts salmon from all directions at distances of up to 40 yards.  The vibration from a flasher mimics salmon feeding on forage fish.  The salmon usually feels the vibration with its lateral line long before they see the flasher.  Flashers are sold in many colors and sizes.  The color of the flasher stimulates the desire of the salmon to strike the bait.  Match the color of the flasher to the color of the water.  Use a green flasher in green water.  Use blue or green flashers in blue water and red, white or purple flashers in brown stained water.  The vibration, flash and scent from a rotating plug cut herring or lure in combination with the flash and vibration from the herring flasher are a powerful attractant for salmon and are ideally suited for Pro-Troll’s new ProChip 8 and ProChip 11 flashers with the Agitator Fin. 

  Pro-Trolls conventional 8 inch and 11 inch flashers are most effective when trolled fast enough to cause the flasher to rotate erratically with a strong side to side tail kick.  Test the action of the bait and flashers by lowering them into the water varying the speed of the boat from 2.0 to 5.0 knots to ensure that they are working properly.  Adjusting the length of the leader between the flasher and the bait is often all that is necessary to catch fish.  The recommended length of the fishing line from a downrigger release clip to the narrow end of a flasher varies from 15 feet upward to 30 feet.  Troll a plug cut herring or lures 24 to 42 inches behind an 11 inch flasher or 22 to 48 inches behind an 8 inch flasher.  Troll hoochies or streamer flies 26 to 40 inches behind an 11 inch flasher or 20 to 27 inches behind an 8 inch flasher.  Conventional 11 inch flashers are too large to be effectively fished with divers. 

  Coho salmon cannot resist Scotty’s Rotary Salmon Killer baited with a 4½ inch anchovy or herring trolled 48 inches behind an 11 inch flasher, a Fish Flash flasher, a Deep Six diver or a wire spreader.  The Rotary Salmon Killer is a fast, efficient and effective method that maximizes the time the bait is in the water fishing.  The diagonal fin the on the back produces the ideal roll that mimics a wounded forage fish.  The hook swinging free by the tail of the baitfish improves the hook set ratio. 

  Hoochies rigged with a plastic head insert and a chunk of herring baited to a size 4/0 or 6/0 hook are such effective bait it is difficult not to hook a salmon when the bite is on but do not set the hook when using barbless hooks.  Troll hoochies behind conventional flashers or dodgers.  The rotating motion of conventional flashers and the side to side motion of dodgers impart the action necessary to fish hoochies effectively.  Hoochies come in a variety of colors.  The most popular are green and white followed by chartreuse, rainbow pattern, red, white and blue but their effectiveness is determined by color of the water.  Use a white, bright green or blue hoochie in clear water, a white, blue or green hoochie in black or blue water and a chartreuse, rainbow pattern, red, pink, purple or orange one in green or brown water.

  Trolling flies such as the Super Glow Trolling Fly on a Super Glow Head, AKA Hootchie Mama fly from Beachhold and Sons Flasher and Lure Co. is an effective means of catching coho salmon when trolled near the surface behind dodgers or in all depths of the water column from the surface to depth of 80 feet when trolled behind conventional flashers.      

  Native Americans handcrafted trolling spoons out of seashells and used them effectively to catch salmon.  Today’s trolling spoons come in many different shapes, sizes and colors.  Their reliability has sustained their popularity through time.  Trolling spoons come in a wide variety of colors featuring chartreuse and chartreuse in combination with other colors or red, blue and green in combination with other colors or with a metal finish featuring brass, copper, bronze and chrome or matte in hammered or polished finishes.  Chrome, Mother of pearl, green/pearl, black/pearl, blue/pearl, purple/pearl, white and pink painted on a slant, chartreuse and purple colored spoons are some of the top producing colored spoons.  Trolling hoochies or trolling spoons behind a flasher or a dodger is the most effective method to present them to the salmon.

  Herring dodgers are most effective when they are trolled at a speed of 1 to 3 knots.  The flash and vibration caused by the steady side to side movement of the herring dodger in combination with the movement of the bait are a powerful attractant for coho salmon.  The size 000 herring dodger is used primarily for trout but can be used for coho salmon. The 00 and 0 size herring dodgers are used primarily for coho salmon.  The size 00 herring dodger is used for presenting hoochies or streamer flies to coho salmon.  The size 0 herring dodger is ideal for presenting spoons, hoochies, streamer flies or small baitfish to the coho salmon.  Remember to check for the proper interaction of the herring dodger and the bait before lowering it to the desired depth.  The length of the leaders from a crescent sinker, wire spreader, diver or downrigger release clip to the end of the herring dodger and from the herring dodger to the bait depends on the size of the herring dodger.  The correct leader lengths are important to ensure the proper side to side swaying motion of the herring dodger.  Leader lengths that are too short or too long will have a negative effect on the dodger or the bait.  The recommended length of the leaders for a size 000 herring dodger is 20 inches from the downrigger release clip, diver, crescent sinker or wire spreader to the herring dodger and 12 inches from the herring dodger to streamer flies.  The recommended length of the leaders for a size 00 herring dodger is 24 inches from the diver, downrigger release clip, crescent sinker or wire spreader to the herring dodger and 14 to 16 inches from the herring dodger to streamer flies or hoochies.  The recommended length of the leaders for a size 0 herring dodger is 26 inches from the downrigger release clip, diver, crescent sinker or wire spreader to the herring dodger and 18 to 20 inches from the herring dodger to the bait, streamer flies, hoochies or smaller sized trolling spoons. 

  Coho salmon feeding in the surf at the entrance to Oregon's bays in Oregon's bays or at the surface just offshore provide fly fishermen with the ideal opportunity to fulfill their expectations with fast and furious top water action complete with aerial acrobatics.  Use a 9 to 11 weight fly rod with a  large compatible reel designed for use in saltwater filled with 100 yards of 20 pound test braided Dacron backing and a weight forward 10–weight intermediate sinking line or floating line with a sink tip.  Coho salmon cannot resist imitations of smelt, anchovies, herring or needlefish patterned flies tied with large eyes to size 1 to 3 hooks fished beneath the surface.  Size 6 to 12 pink and chartreuse shrimp flies are effective options when fishing in the surf.

  Coho salmon exhibit many of the characteristics attributed to Chinook salmon as they migrate into Oregon's bays. They move into and out of the bays with the tide and into the upper tidal reach of the river channels awaiting the freshets of seasonal rains that initiate the migration into the upper reach of the rivers and creeks to spawn.  Like their cousins the Chinook salmon the table quality of returning coho salmon is at optimum quality as they enter the bays, but once they enter brackish water they become reluctant to bite and the quality of their flesh deteriorates. 

  Fishing is allowed for hatchery coho salmon returning to the Columbia River Estuary, Nehalem Bay, Tillamook Bay, Umpqua Bay and Isthmus Slough in Coos Bay, Coquille Bay and the Rogue River Estuary.  Coho salmon migrate into Oregon's bays swimming in the upper half of the water column.  Salmon fishermen refer to the depth of migrating coho salmon by the number of pulls on the line it takes to lower the bait to that depth.  One pull equals 24 inches, which is the distance between the reel and the first guide on an 8 foot 6 inch salmon rod.  It requires 5 to 20 pulls to fish the bait at staggered depths in the jetty channel or the channels in the lower bay using a Deep Six Diver or a wire spreader. 

  Fishing for coho salmon in the jetty channel and lower bay using a plug cut herring baited with barbed hooks trolled behind a diver or a wire spreader rigged with a 4 ½ foot 30 pound test fluorocarbon leader tied to a beaded chain swivel is the most productive method to catch coho salmon.  Remember that coho salmon a prefer plug cut trolled with a spin up to 12 inches in diameter at a speed of 3 to 5 knots, and that the speed of the boat determines the depth of the diver and the trolling depth of the bait.  Trolling a plug cut or whole herring, Rotary Salmon Killer, streamer flies, or hoochies sweetened with a chunk of herring behind flashers or dodgers enhances the effectiveness of the bait increasing the catch ratio in the jetty channel and lower bay.     

  Spinners are one of the most productive baits for catching coho salmon throughout the tidal reach of Oregon's bays and river channels.  Spinners equipped with blades size 6 and larger are used trolling for salmon while spinners equipped with smaller blades are used casting for salmon.  The flash and the vibration produced by the spinner blade are powerful attractants.  Light conditions and water clarity determine the color of the spinner blade that should be used.  The axiom, “On dark days use dark lures. On a bright days use bright lures.” applies to most species of fish.  Use spinners with copper, gold or brass blades on cloudy days in low light conditions or in stained water.  Use spinners with nickel or chrome on clear sunny days.  They reflect like a mirror and work best on bright days and in shallow clear water.  Genuine silver or matte silver spinner blades are more effective in clearer deeper water or low light conditions.  Rainbow colored or a combination chartreuse and brass or silver blades are also productive alternatives in low light or stained water.  Be sure to wash your hands before applying herring oil to mask human scent.

  Fishing in the jetty channel and lower bay trolling a rainbow colored spinner as the Yaquina Slammer in the upper half of the water column during the twilight of dawn is an effective method to catch coho salmon.  Coho salmon show a preference for the color pink or chartreuse.  Anglers fishing from shore or from boats fish successfully for coho salmon with pink or red and white 1 ounce Roostertail spinners, chartreuse colored No. 5 Blue Fox spinners or with various colored No. 5 Bolo or Bangtail spinners.  Trolling with or casting a rainbow, chartreuse or pink colored spinners in the channels and tidal flats associated with the upper bay is an offering coho salmon cannot refuse.  Change spinners often until finding the color/blade combination the coho prefer. Currently, the angler can keep only hatchery coho salmon.  Hatchery coho salmon are distinguished from the natural occurring coho salmon by the absence of the adipose fin.  The adipose fin is located between the top lobe of the tail fin and the dorsal fin.  Use barbless hooks in the ocean and try to release all natural occurring coho salmon without removing them from the water.  Remember, conservation is the key that will assure good fishing in the future.

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