ALSEA BAY — Small motor boats dot the bay and take positions on the river as a better than expected run of Chinook salmon move up river. Last week, many boats lined the horizon just past the breaking waves, one next to another, stretched from just south of the Alsea Bay to way past Governor Patterson State Park.
Since the weekend, they’ve been bobbing in the choppy water of the jaws — where the Alsea River meets Pacific Ocean at the opening of the Alsea Bay — as well as across the river and all the way up to Drift Creek.
More than a dozen boats were out in the jaws Wednesday morning. The tide was moving the boats in, so they would motor back out, moving back and forth.
“We caught three and lost one,” Charles Meredith, of Albany, said, and released a native Chinook salmon, taking home two hatchery-raised fish. He spent the day fishing in the jaws.
Meredith was cleaning Chinook salmon alongside his friend Ron Johnson, of Beaverton, at the fish shack at the Port of Alsea on Wednesday evening. The two worked together years ago, Meredith explained, and they liked to meet up when they can.
Meredith and his son, Barrett, were up at 5 a.m., Barrett told the News-Times late Wednesday afternoon, and out on the water by 8 a.m.. Barrett related how he caught his first fish that day.
“We were just tolling with some herring. Ron caught one first and then my dad had one on (his line). And he let me catch it,” Barrett recounted. “It was pretty fun,” He said they’d probably have it for dinner tomorrow.
Meredith and Johnson worked quickly and efficiently cleaning the two large fish before heading home. The parking lot, filled with trailers earlier, was nearly empty.
Tory Caputo, visiting his parents in Albany from Phoenix, Ariz., drove to Waldport with his dad from the valley that morning, too, launching from the port at around 9 a.m. Heading up river after a few hours at the jaws, the Caputos headed home without catching any fish.
Tom Snellgrove, of Mosier, said his boat got its limit in crabs, 36 of them. Snellgrove was organizing his gear after a day on the bay with his grandchildren, who were cooking up the crab.
Crab is reported to be plentiful, as is Chinook salmon and cutthroat trout.
The Port of Alsea boat launch will be closing Oct. 21 to prepare for the construction of the new marina.