The start of the ocean chinook sportfishery last Friday was uneventful as the Umpqua River Bar was closed almost the entire weekend. Evidence that there are some spring chinook available to be caught when the ocean is accessible were the chinooks (at least three) recently landed by bottomfish anglers fishing out of Winchester Bay.
Umpqua River spring chinook anglers are still waiting for the first big push of springers to move upriver. It could happen anytime, but usually seems to occur in early April. Encouraging news is that at least two sprng chinooks have been landed by anglers casting spinners at Half Moon Bay -make that one springer since one was lost as the angler attempted to beach it.
The South Jetty/Triangle continues to fish well and the numbers of smaller lingcod taken recently is impressive. Of course, rockfish are also entering the catch and anglers fishing sand shrimp are taking fair numbers of striped surfperch, greenling and flounder. Last Sunday, two anglers fished holes in the South Jetty to catch eight of what they referred to as monkey-faced eels. Offshore bottomfish anglers need to remember that waters more than 30 fathoms deep (180 feet) close at the end of this month and as of April 1st, one cabezon per day will become legal angling fare.
Good catches of redtailed surfperch have been coming off the beaches near the third parking lot at Winchester Bay, at the end of Sparrow Park Road at Gardiner and near the mouth of the Siltcoos River off the Siltcoos Beach Access Road. Sand shrimp remains the most popular bait, although most anglers fishing the surf use a hardier bait on their second hook to avoid fishing baitless.
Trout plants are in full force this week with all three of our local regions receiving trout (North Coast, Umpqua and Coos/Coquille). Lake Marie is slated to receive its first trout plant of this year (2,000 legal rainbows), while Loon Lake’s is to receive its second plant (2,000 legal rainbows). To the south, Empire Lakes is slated to receive 500 trophy rainbows and was planted with 6,000 legals last week and is slated to receive 6,000 more legal rainbows next week..Butterfield Lake (2,000 legals) and Mingus Park Pond (1,000) legals was planted last week.Trophy rainbows are slated to be stocked in Bradley Lake (200), Johnson Mill Pond (50) and Powers Pond (150). North of Reedsport, lakes slated to receive foot long rainbows are Elbow (200); Lost Lake (400); Mercer (1,500); Siltcoos (1,500) and Woahink (1,000). Slated to receive only legal rainbows are: Carter (2,500); Georgia (150); North Georgia (150) and Perkins (250).
Cleawox Lake is slated to receive 3,000 legal and 150 trophy rainbows, while Erhart is to receive 200 legals and 36 trophies and Munsel is slated for 2,250 legals and 150 trophies. Lakes scheduled to receive all three trout sizes are: Alder, Buck and Dune (each receiving 850 legals, 100 foot long and 36 trophies) and Siltcoos Lagoon (850 legals, 450 foot long and 106 trophies).
Farther north (between Yachats and Newport), Eckman Lake (Waldport) is slated to receive 2,000 legal rainbows this week, while Olalla Reservoir (between Newport and Toledo) is slated for 2,000 legals, 1,250 foot longs and 200 trophies. In Newport, Big Creek Reservoir #1 is slated for 1,000 legals and 1,000 foot long rainbows and Big Creek Reservoir #2 will receive 1,800 legal, 1,800 foot long and 250 trophies.
Angling for freshwater spiny rays was good during the recent slightly warmer weather and a number of jumbo largemouth bass were caught – including at least one of more than nine and a half pounds from the Medford area. Cottage Grove Reservoir reported some good catches of largemouth bass and black crappies. Closer to home, the yellow perch are starting to enter the spawn and while most anglers have not reported great fishing number-wise, the number of larger perch made up a larger than normal share of the catch.