Trolling the Marshfield Channel

Overview

A Chinook Salmon Caught Trolling a Plug-Cut Herring During a Solo Trip in the Marshfield Channel.  Fall 2010.

The Marshfield Channel, in the Coos River bay, is a shallow and wide straight stretch where the Coos River and Isthmus Slough merge.  The Chinook Salmon headed up the Coos River system enter the Marshfield Channel from the main shipping channel, which reaches depths of 60 feet in places.  The shallow nature of the channel, 10 to 18 feet deep depending on the tide, concentrates the Salmon.  Trolling plug-cut herring a sure-fire method for success.

Bait

Use the freshest bait possible.  Bait is a key ingredient to increasing your hook-up potential.  Look for bait packages with tight seals, no whites in the eyes of the fish, no scale loss, and no visible blood in the package.  Make sure to cut the package open when thawing the baits to avoid making the baits soft, etc.  Start with frozen bait and keep them as cold as possible all day long.  If you prefer to brine you bait with salt the night before still be sure to keep them as cold as possible and away from contaminants such as cigarette smoke and strong food odors.  At the end of the day if you have any bait remaining put them in a ziploc with rock salt and refrigerate them until the next day.

Techniques

Plug-cut Herring with a flasher trolled on a wire-spreader bar is by far the most productive and popular method for catching Chinook Salmon.  Trolling spinners and other spoons can produce fish as well, especially higher up in the system and when the Coho Salmon arrive.  The new plug-cutter baits filled with sardine or tuna belly can also produce fish when trolled behind a flasher.

Check out the Team aFISHionados How-To Videos for Plug-Cut Herring, The Side-Cut and The Top-Cut.

Where to Fish

Check out the Team aFISHionados Fishing Map for where to fish the Marshfield Channel in the Coos River Bay in Coos Bay, Oregon.  The Main trolling zone, highlighted in red, receives the most fishing pressure.  The bite can be fast and furious at the start of the incoming tide at the point where the Marshfield Channel meets the main shipping channel.  Some Secondary Trolling Zones, highlighted in blue and green, can also be productive.  Troll in the Blue zone at the high slack tide and in the Green Zone on an outgoing tide.  Troll along the Mill Casino in the shipping channel if the Marshfield Channel is too busy.

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