Pete Heley Outdoors 11/28/2012

High muddy water slowed crabbing at Winchester Bay last weekend and the few crabbers still trying worked hard for their catch. The key was to crab as far downriver as possible which was Half Moon Bay for boat crabbers and either the Coast Guard Pier or Dock 9 for dockbound crabbers. Crabbing is hold up very well at Charleston as the water is still quite salty.

Although rough conditions in the ocean and the Umpqua River Bar have limited bottomfishing options, anglers recently fishing off the South Jetty have enjoyed some fair fishing. However, the most common fish species are greenling and striped surfperch and they are almost always taken by bait and sand shrimp has recently been in short supply.

Although a few diehard salmon anglers are still.catching a few bright fish, most of the salmon fishing pressure has moved south.where the salmon fishing can be very good or very bad depending upon river conditions and the amount of fresh fish entering a particular streams. Anglers that know how long it takes a particular stream to clear make the correct choices as to which river to fish. Some large salmon have been caught, but the largest reported so far is a 61 pound chinook from the Chetco River.

The Umpqua almost certainly has the first arrivals of its winter steelhead run already in the river. However, since the fishery is pretty much a catch and release fishery, fishing pressure will remain nominal. A few anglers plunk for steelhead from Family Camp up to just below Sawyers Rapids, but anglers using other techniques seem to start using them at Sawyers Rapids. Tenmile Creek should have a few early arrivals now entering the stream, but the fishery doesn’t pick up, in normal years, until early December. Eel Creek doesn’t open until January 1st, but will have steelhead in it when it opens.

Although trout trollers are having a tough time catching fish, anglers stillfishing with bait are having better luck. Rainbows exceeding 20-inches in length have been caught recently at Tenmile Lakes, but other large coastal lakes are capable of producing fair angling for bait anglers. The key is whether or not they receive searun trout as well as native trout and carryover planters.

Except for Tenmile Lakes, there has been very little fishing pressure for yellow perch and fishing has recently been tough for most perch anglers. Major exceptions are Jim Spickelmire and his wife Betty. Jim is an ex-fishing guide from Grangeville, Idaho who has managed to find time to garner more than 30 patents. Jim has developed an extremely effective fishing strategy for fishing off the fishing dock at the county park on Tenmile Lakes in Lakeside. Jim and his wife have recently been averaging more than 50 perch per outing while using this technique and he had no qualms about explaining the technique in detail while talking to me.

Jim starts out with taking a few perch and pickling them. Then he cuts the picked perch into tiny cubes no more than one-quarter inch thick. He takes one of these cubes and places on the middle of the shank of a Gamakatsu #4 thin wire hook and then uses just enough weight to get the tiny offering down close to the bottom. Since Jim and his wife are not into crowding people, he usually fishes anywhere on the fishing dock where there is a fair amount of room and that can be anywhere from the the end of the dock to various spots along the narrow part of the dock and he has fished off both sides of the dock – and while other perch anglers are catching a few perch per hour, Jim and Betty are catching a perch every few minutes. Another benefit of his technique is that the hook is never swallowed and the perch are easily removed from the hook.

The reason the Spickelmire’s do a fair amount of their perch fishing at Tenmile Lakes, despite the fact that Idaho is loaded with great yellow perch waters is that they love eating dungeness crabs and Idaho definitely has a lack of good crabbing spots.

About Pete Heley

Writes and self-publishes Oregon and Washington fishing books.
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