Pete Heley Outdoors 3/27/2013

After setting a one sturgeon seasonal bag limit earlier this year, the ODFW decided to increase the seasonal limit to two sturgeon. Since Jan. 1, the annual statewide bag limit has been one legal white sturgeon total for all zones statewide. According to Steve Williams, ODFW fish division deputy director, the increased bag limit is in response to a recent decision by the State of Washington to set its statewide annual sturgeon limit at two for 2013.

It seems that anglers are trying much harder to fish the offshore lingcod spots out of Winchester Bay and the fishing has been great. On Sunday, Dan Loomis, of Eugene, along with two friends caught their three limits of lingcod (6 fish), their three limits of bottomfish (21 rockfish) and a 28-inch chinook salmon, to boot, which hit a shrimp fly attached above their lingcod lures. As of last weekend, even though the ocean has been open to chinook salmon retention since March 15th, most of the salmon have been caught by anglers targeting bottomfish due to very light ocean chinook salmon fishing pressure.

Offshore waters deeper than 180 feet (30 fathoms) close to bottomfishing as of April 1st and there has been some confusion about the current closure on the keeping of cabezon. Instead of reopening on April 1st, cabezon will remain illegal to keep until July 1st.

Area beaches have been fishing well for redtailed surfperch and very good catches were made last weekend from both the North Beach Area (via Sparrow Park Road) and the beach just north of the third parking lot (fee required) about two miles south of Winchester Bay. Although there were no reports last weekend regarding Siltcoos Beach – it undoubtedly provided, or would have provided, good fishing as well. Striped surfperch are still biting well for those fishing sand shrimp off the South Jetty/Triangle area and lots of greenling and rockfish as well as fair numbers of lingcod are being caught as well, but it seems that most of the recent lingcod catches have measured short of the 22-inch minimum size limit. Off course, most of the larger lingcod are not landed when hooked by anglers fishing off the jetty rocks.

According to Gary and Barbara, the folks who own Snowy River Mercantile (the tackleshop located between Bob’s Market and Wells Creek Inn), the main reason that people driving along Highway 38 are not noticing vehicles with boat trailers parked in the boat launch parking lots or along the highway shoulder is that almost all the current fishing pressure for spring chinook is currently being done by local anglers that have their boats permanently moored in the Scottsburg/Wells Creek area of the Umpqua River. They said that at least a few springers are caught each week, but successful catches are not being publicized by the local springer-seekers. As of last week, they reported that the heaviest salmon catch that has been reported to them was a 28 pounder. Rick Hoile, who works for Salmon Harbor, reported that at least one larger springers was lost last week at boatside.

Virtually all of the Florence-area trout lakes have been stocked and these lakes will not be stocked again until the second week in April. Loon Lake is slated to receive 1,500 legal trout the first week in April and Lake Marie is scheduled to receive 1,000 legal trout the second week in April. The Empire Lakes were to receive 6,000 legal trout this week, while Bradley and Saunders lakes and Johnson Mill and Powers ponds are slated to receive 3,000 legal trout each the first week in April. Lake Marie, and most of the lakes that were stocked in late March, have been fishing very well for stocked rainbow trout.

While the Umpqua spring chinook anglers are praying for rain, almost all of the area’s bass and panfish anglers are hoping for stable warmer weather (Tenmile Lakes is always an exception). It appears that it is going to be at least a couple of weeks before coastal bassers get their wish, but bass fishing spots along Oregon’s entire Interstate 5 corridor will have much warmer afternoon temperatures this coming weekend. If those Umpqua springer anglers don’t get their coveted rainfall, an increase in water temperature would almost certainly perk up springer activity – and striped bass success as well.

About Pete Heley

Writes and self-publishes Oregon and Washington fishing books.
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