Probably the biggest news regarding local (and semi-local) steelhead angling is that as of the first of the year, according to the ODFW website, anglers fishing for steelhead in the Coos, Coquille and Tenmile basins are now allowed to keep an additional finclipped steelhead – making the daily limit three finclipped steelhead on the open portions in these basins.
Over the weekend, several anglers stated that Tenmile Creek looked to be in good fishing conditions, but anglers fishing on Eel Creek and the Millicoma/Coos stated that while the fishing was very slow, the clear water seemed to bring out the worst in angling behavior as several instances of anglers attempting to snag fish were spotted. The angler that saw anglers attempting to snag steelhead on Eel Creek actually hooked and lost a couple of steelhead using roe in the snag infested small stream and did manage to hook and land a late, unkeepable, coho. The coho seasons on Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes closed at the end of December.
It seems that the recent cold temperatures slowed down the yellow perch bite, but Tenmile still seems to be the most productive and perch fishing should pick up over the next several weeks as the perch get closer to when they actually spawn – usually mid-March through early April.
Anglers fishing the South Jetty/Triangle Area at Winchester Bay have been having very good success on greenling. Cabezon, striped surfperch, blue and black rockfish as well as an occasional lingcod are also being caught. First time anglers should plan their jetty-fishing strategy while looking at the Triangle Area from the viewing area at the Umpqua Lighthouse. This area is simply too big to walk up to it on one’s initial visit and have any sense of perspective – and tide and wind conditions can definitely make a difference on which side of this area is the most comfortable to fish.
While the most productive crabbing continues to be on Coos Bay near Charleston, people crabbing at Winchester Bay are starting to enjoy more consistent success as the river has dropped and cleared. Crabbers want to crab as low in the river as they can, which means the old Coast Guard Pier for dockbound crabbers and in Half Moon Bay for boat crabbers. During the winter months, there is a consistent difference between crabbing at high and low slack tides as the high slack tide is much saltier than is the low slack tide.
A friend of mine who does a lot of PP&L work on the upper North Umpqua watershed informed me that it appears that Soda Springs Reservoir may be closed to fishing for years to come as a precaution against anglers harming adult salmon migrating above the dam or smolts migrating downstream from upriver areas of the North Umpqua. This reduction in fishing pressure will also probably mean a stronger brown trout population in Soda Springs and nearby areas of the North Umpqua and could conceivably end up reducing smolt survival in the upper river. An angler fishing Lemolo#2 (above Toketee Reservoir) landed an eight pound brown trout last week.
There continues to be a lot of interest regarding icefishing at Diamond Lake. Ironically, the lake often offers icefishing for period of time back when it opened in late April. While there will be some anglers icefishing the lake by the time you are reading this, a lot of anglers are going to wait for safer ice conditions. Anglers interested in fishing Diamond Lake through the ice should call: 1-800-733-7593, ext 236 or 238 for updates.
While the Columbia Zone portion of the ODFW fishing report fails to mention walleyes, many serious walleye anglers catch their biggest walleyes of the year in January and February. While some walleye anglers do well in the early summer through fall months in the Portland area, they have yet been successful in finding them during the winter and spring months when the biggest walleyes of the year are taken in the Columbia above The Dalles.