Rocky Point Trolling

Perfectly gaffed and in the boat, a Coquille River Chinook SalmonOverview


Chinook salmon enter into and stage in the lower Coquille River until the first rains of the season. The rains drive the salmon up into the river beyond tidal influence.  The fish come in and out with the tides and will be ready to spawn when the rain comes.



Salmon start entering the system from mid-August to late August and will continue to enter the river as late as mid-November. Personally, I have caught fresh chrome-bright fish as late as November 6. That doesn’t mean you can’t catch them later than that too.  There are several techniques for trolling in the estuary. Plug-cut herring is by far the most popular technique followed closely by spinners.

Check out the map for where to start trolling on the lower Coquille River estuary in Southern Oregon.

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Trolling Depth

When trolling for large Chinook in the Coquille, stay on the bottom.  Vary your weight until you are trolling directly above the bottom and even bounce the bottom ever now and again.  If you snag up too much, run a little lighter weight.  It is critical though to stay within the bottom few feet of the water column.  We use 18" to 22" drop leaders and don't recommend using less than 12".  We also have had tangle issues when we use longer than 24" drop leaders for the weights.


Whole herring or plug-cut herring can be used effectively.  Sometimes, Team aFISHionados will run a spinner blade on the leader above the bait-fish.  Try running one of your setups with a spinner blade in chartreuse, gold, blue, or a combination of these colors.  Thread 6 chartreuse beads on the leader above the small hook and then a clovis with a spinner blade.  A clovis is a holder that attaches the blade to the leader as well as allowing the blade to spin.

When to Troll

Troll with the tide to prevent your bait from ripping off the hook. Troll on the incoming tide and then about 1 hour past high slack.  After that, the fishing usually goes downhill.  Pay attention to other boats and if some are still catching fish don't give up, the bite is still on!


It can get cold in the morning and evening so layer clothing accordingly.  Remember, this fishery is busy.  There are a lot of people out fishing and enjoying the water.  Please be courteous.  Arrive early at the boat launch as there will be a line, and please do not cut in line.  Pay attention to other boats around you and try not to cut them off.  Go with the flow of the majority of boats.  Troll with the tide and run back against the tide on the opposite side of the river.  Get out of the way if someone hooks a fish nearby you.  These are some simple suggestions to make your trip and other people's trips more enjoyable.

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