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Monthly Archives: August 2012
Craig Hatcher, of Black Pug Lures, has developed a new takcle item. The new item is called: Special Bait Rig and Craig used it last Sunday in Coos Bay with very good results. The rig consists of two 4/0 hooks on 30# monofilament (a mooching rig) and a barrel swivel one foot up from the hooks with a protective cover to ensure the swivel keeps working properly.
Over the last several days, the Umpqua River has been very productive for chinook salmon weighing more than 25 pounds. Boat anglers have caught jumbo chinooks from around Reedsport down to the Umpqua River Bar and out into the ocean. Bank anglers casting spinners from such spots as Half Moon Bay, Osprey Point and by casting metal jigs from the South Jetty. The area in the East Boat Basin just below Winchester Creek and the area between the Gardiner Boat Ramp and the old paper mill have not yet started to produce – but should soon.
Crabbing continues to be very, very good at Winchester Bay. The good crabbing extends upriver to more than a half-mile above the entrance to the East Boat Basin. There seems to be a lot of confusion about how long sport crabbing is allowed in the ocean and the answer is – until October 15th. Commercial crabbers are only allowed to crab until August14th and that distinction has confused many sport crabbers. Over last weekend, virtually every person who put their crab pots in the ocean caught a limit of crabs.
Beginning on September 1st, the annual Crab Bounty Contest begins and will run through September. No entry fee or pre-registration is required and 100 crabs will be affixed with a numbered spinner blade. People catching a tagged crab need to take it to the Sportsman Cannery in Winchester Bay where they will receive a hat and receive a chance to win the grand prize of $1,000.00. Should the grand prize not be won, the thousand dollars will still be paid out in the amounts of $500, $300 and $200.
Salmon fishing in the Umpqua River below Reedsport and near the Umpqua River Bay has been very good and our local guides have been very successful with many boat limits. However, Darren Row’s four consecutive boat limits still stands out. Fishing has also been relatively good for sport anglers, but not everyone has been catching fish.
The rain on Sunday afternoon may affect the salmon fishing on the Umpqua River in conflicting ways. If the water temperatues in the river above Reedsport drops a few degrees, a large number of the salmon holding the river below Reedsport may move upriver – disappointing Reedsport area anglers, but elating many anglers who fish the Umpqua between Sawyers Rapids and Roseburg. The rain should bring more fish into the lower Umpqua River and in an ideal situation for local anglers, the new arrivals will join the salmon already holding in the Umpqua below Reedsport and enhance an already very good fishery.
This coming week should see increased numbers of cohos entering the Umpqua to join the already strong chinook run and beginning September 1st, (a Saturday and running through Monday) both wild and finclipped cohos will be legal to keep in the ocean. Thereafter, the legal angling days in the ocean for cohos will be Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. This will probably entice a few shore anglers to fish the southside of the Triangle (the ocean side). Bank anglers have been catching fair numbers of chinook salmon when casting spinners at Half Moon Bay and Osprey Point. A few salmon have been spotted near the bridge over Winchester Creek in Winchester Bay’s East Boat Basin.
The annual GRWB S.T.E.P. salmon derby will be held this coming Labor Day Weekend. Tickets still only cost $10 per angler and $25 per boat. The tickets are on sale at the Stockade Market in Winchester Bay and at Ace Hardware and Turman Tackle in Reedsport. Tickets are also available from members of the GRWB S.T.E.P. members. As usual, the contest will run from the entire day on Saturday and Sunday and until noon on Monday (Labor Day). The largest salmon weighed in each day by a ticket purchasor wins $150, while the overall heaviest salmon wins an additional $500 – so one fish can win an angler $650. There will also be three $100 “Blue Ticket” winners and an additional $100 ticket stub winner. Ticket sales for the derby will cease at 9 am Monday morning. There is usually a waiting line to purchase tickets at the last second, so if your time is worth anything, make an attempt to purchase your tickets early and take control of your launching schedule.
Unfortunately, the summer all-depth halibut fishery has been closed. Good fishing conditions on the second two day opener pretty much ensured that there would not be a third opener on August 31st and September 1st. During the second two day opener, a couple of our local Coast Guard men were lucky enough to incidentally hook and land some nice halibut while salmon fishing. Scott Hatcher, a local guide, also caught a halibut while salmon fishing, but Scott’s fish was caught on a day not legal for halibut fishing, since the quotas for the inshore and all-depth halibut fisheries had already been met. However, those catches might indicate that further exploring for shallow-water halibut spots might be worthwhile.
Have heard from many disappointed bass anglers over the last several weeks and here is my theory of why they were disappointed. It seems that a large number of anglers expect the fish to adapt to the anglers’ schedules – and that is so very wrong. During hot weather, fish often go deep and are more difficult for anglers to find or even reach. During the recent hot, or on the coast – very warm weather, some anglers have adapted to the “schedules” of their target fish and in many cases that means fishing for bass at night and especially during the period before daybreak when water and air temperatures are at their coolest. These anglers, the ones willing to make the adjustment to what the fish want and when, have not been complaining about the bass fishing recently.
There has been some recent reports of salmon anglers from Winchester Bay “dipping” their boats into freshwater at the Tahkenitch Boat Ramp to rid their boat of saltwater. This activity, in the age of cell phones and camera phones seems like a good way to get a rather expensive ticket and with many state and federal agencies concerned with the transportation of such invasive species as zebra and quagga mussels the fines for such misbehavior are sure to climb.
For what it’s worth, I have mostly optimistic, but somewhat mixed feelings about the placement of tidal-energy producing platforms in our nearby ocean waters. I am all for alternative, clean energy, but as someone who has watched the movie, “The Buttergly Effect”, I cannot help wondering what the eventual result will be of small changes in tidal currents the platforms will cause. If these energy generators become bottomfish hangouts in water less than 180 feet deep, and anglers are allowed to fish near them, Winchester Bay will once again have year-round bottomfishing in the ocean – and leave Florence as the only substantial Oregon port without summer bottomfishing options in the ocean.
It’s official. The head of California’s Department of Fish and Game was recently unanimously voted out of his position. His crime? Dan Richards made the mistake of going on a guided, quite legal, cougar hunt in Idaho and successfully shot a cougar and when the news got back to California, he faced the wrath of a number of anti-hunting groups. His replacement, Jim Foley is also an avid hunter and angler, but may be afraid to do so in the future since his co-chair and possible replacement as commission head has a reputation as being less than a friend to hunters and anglers. At any rate, over the last few years, if an Oregon sportsman wants to feel better about our Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), simply check out what’s happening in California.
Although the halibut fishing was somewhat disappointing, the last week’s tuna fishing more than made up for it – and a few anglers were able to successfully catch both species on the same trip. Out of Winchester Bay, the tuna were from 20 to 45 miles out and most anglers were fishing for them around 30 miles east of Winchester Bay. All-dept halibut summer openers are on Friday and Saturday every other week and the next opener is scheduled for August 31st and September 1st. The first summer opener yielded 13,008 pounds leaving 34,361 pounds left of the summer quota (47,369 lbs). Regardless of whether the summer quota is reached, or not, the summer halibut season is slated to close October 27th.
Salmon fishing has been relatively productive, but it seems like anglers can’t count on any lengthy patterns to produce consistent action. Last Friday, there was an intense bit for about 45 minutes below Reedsport that produced a lot of fish, but there were few catches the rest of the day. Fishing near the Umpqua River Bar, along the South Jetty and out in the ocean have occasionally good, but usually inconsistent action. Most anglers are fishing in fairly close where most of their catch has been chinooks.
The nonselective ocean coho salmon season will begin September 1st and run three days each week (Thursday through Saturday) until September 22nd or the quota is reached – whichever occurs earliest. Anglers need to remember that chinook salmon are legal to fish for in the ocean seven days a week until the season closes on October 31st.
The annual GRWB S.T.E.P. salmon derby will be held this coming Labor Day Weekend. Tickets still only cost $10 per angler and $25 per boat. The tickets are on sale at the Stockade Market in Winchester Bay and at Ace Hardware and Turman Tackle in Reedsport. Tickets are also available from members of the GRWB S.T.E.P. members. As usual, the contest will run from the entire day on Saturday and Sunday and until noon on Monday (Labor Day). The largest salmon weighed in each day by a ticket purchasor wins $150, while the overall heaviest salmon wins an additional $500 – so one fish can win an angler $650. There will also be three $100 “Blue Ticket” winners and an additional $100 ticket stub winner. Ticket sales for the derby will cease at 9 am Monday morning.
The overall payout for one of the best-run salmon derbies on the Pacific Coast is $1,350 and the monies collected go towards the operation of our local S.T.E.P. program which includes the very popular Winchester Bay shore fishery for hatchery chinooks. The weigh stations for the derby will be the Landing Boat Ramp in Reedsport and the East Basin Boat Ramp near the Coast Guard Station in Winchester Bay.
Anglers fishing inland waters and not intending to keep the fish they catch should release the fish they catch quickly and make every attempt to land them as quickly as possible. Some anglers even postpone their fishing trips during periods of high water temperatures until cooler temperatures arrive. The main reason anglers practice catch and release fishing is so the fish they catch can remain alive in the waters they are released in to – possibly rewarding other anglers that hook them, or even spawning after being caught and released. During periods of high water temperatures, it is much more difficult to safely and successfully release the fish one catches.
Almost everything that happens has both a good and a bad side to it – even when we are talking about such outdoor pursuits as fishing and hunting. For example, high lake levels can make finding largemouth bass more problematic as they are more scattered along a lake’s increased shoreline, but it definitely improves spawning success.
High river flows make for tougher fishing, but usually mean better spawning options and cooler water temperatures – which usually mean better trout or salmon fishing opportunities in future years.
Despite higher and cooler water temperatures lasting into early summer for much of Oregon and Washington, the high temperatues for the last several weeks has, once again, resulted in high river temperatues on many coastal streams. A good example is the Umpqua River where water temperatues above Reedsport have exceeded 70 degrees. The high river temperatues have acted like a thermal barrier to upstream-migrating chinook salmon and they have been holding below Reedsport awaiting cooler water temperatues upriver and taking advantage of somewhat cooler water delivered from the ocean during high tide.
If the upriver water temperatues remain high, the salmon will continue to stack up below Reedsport giving anglers multiple chances to catch them. If the river temperatues stay elevated for some time, there will be a considerable number of salmon stacked up awaiting cooler water and some of them will gradually become dark. However, fresh chinooks are entering the lower river every day and there will be plenty of bright salmon available for anglers.
Proof that there are still bright salmon available to catch below Reedsport is the photo below – which shows Scott Howard of Strike Zone Charters (541-361-0194) with longtime client Karen Stattler-Alvarado and her children holding up a couple of bright chinooks weighing more than 20 pounds.
Some recent guide interaction on the Umpqua River raises the question of what recourse does an angler or hunter have when outing is negatively impacted by the deliberate actions of others.
In the June 17th, 2011 issue of Western Outdor News, Carrie Wilson’s column, “DFG Q & A” deals with the topic. Carrie is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game and her column is usually the highlight of each issue of the outdoor newspaper that I read. In fewer words, here is her take on the subject.
Carrie states that such interference can run the gamut from dog field trials, dog training, falconry, fishing, hunting shooting or trapping and quotes fellow department employee, Lt. Todd Toggnazzini who stated that the relevant law is: Fish and Game Code section 2009 which allows punishment as an infraction for the first offense, but the punishment can escalate to a misdemeanor for a second conviction within a two year period. The law is somemwhat different from most Fish and Game Code sections in that the law enforcement official has to determine that the offender had specific intent to interfere with the legal outdoor activity the plaintiff is engaged in.
Examples of such interference can be: frightening away animals, placing unauthorized signs or blocking or denying access to places when not legally authorized to do so, placing food on lands not owned or authorized to use for the purpose of drawing birds or game animals away from areas where they can legally be hunted, making noise or commotion for the purpose of scaring fish, or limiting fishing success.
California’s view regarding intentional interference regarding outdoor activities pursued by others pretty much calls in line with other states.
That said, the actual prosection of such activity is difficult to prove. Here is what I would do if so harrassed.
(1) – I would determine that any interference was intentional.
(2) – I would use my cell phone to call a number, or pretend to call, so that they would start worrying about being caught in the act.
(3) – I would take pictures, even with a cell phone, and, if possible, I would use a flash so that there is no doubt that the interfering party knows that they are being photographed. Such activity will have them worried for weeks.
(4) – I would get contact information for any witnesses to the confrontation and the less subjective the witness, the more important their testimony.
(5)- I would file a civil suit if I can identify the offenders. The maximum amount of a civil suit is fairly meager, but it can force the other party to respond to the suit to avoid an automatic finding in your favor.
(6) – If possible, write to a local newspaper (usually a letter to the editor) and try to encourage a local reporter to think there might be a worthwhile story in the occurence.
(7) – Pursue other forms of media. There are websites and blogs that have surprising readership. Keep in mind that anonymity benefits the offenders and reducing or taking that away should make things less likely to reoccur.
If these interferers in the outdoor activities of others can be made to associate a price with such behavior, that behavior will become less common. It won’t make these people better persons, but they will become less of a problem.
The final statistics for the ocean coho season are now available and they show that 2,898 finclipped ocean coho of the 8,000 fish quota were actually caught and kept – or 36.1 percent. Brookings was the busiest port and provided the best fishing giving up .56 fish per angler trip. However, Brookings did not contribute much to the retained finclipped coho catch as only 3.7 percent of their retained ocean catch was finclipped cohos. Success dropped off dramatically north of Brookings as the total ocean catch of finclipped cohos in Gold Beach, Port Orford and Bandon was only 48 compared to Brooking’s 176 and the drop off was even more evident when comparing the ocean chinook catch where those three ports totaled only 59 – which compares rather poorly with Brooking’s total of 4,589 ocean chinook.
Winchester Bay led the zone’s coho catch for almost the entire season, but a flurry of finclipped coho landings in Newport over the last nine days of the season allowed Newport to claim the zone’s top spot for coho retention with 925 to Winchester Bay’s 765. Over the season’s last nine days, the finclipped coho catch at Newport was 732 which compared quite favorably with Winchester Bay’s 302.
Salmon fishing success on the Umpqua River dropped off a little over the weekend, but some big fish were caught entering last weekend with lots of chinooks weighing more than 30 pounds taken. Fishing should be improved over the next several weeks as the chinook run continues to build and the coho run should start later this month. Despite the higher and cooler water in the Umpqua up to last month, the inland temperatures have managed to raise the water temperature in the Umpqua River to the point where many of the salmon entering the river will hold below Reedsport where the cooler ocean water at high tide will drop the river temperatures as much as several degrees. This means that anglers fishing below Reedsport should get multiple chances to catch each salmon and by the end of this month there will be some dark salmon caught in the three miles of river below Reedsport.
Anglers with regular Monday through Friday jobs will not be able to take much advantage of the non-selective ocean coho season when it starts on September 1st as the three days each week when it is legal to retain ocean coho will be Thursday through Saturday. It seems that there are still a lot of anglers that do not realize that it is currently illegal to keep any coho in the ocean and that it is legal to keep finclipped cohos in the Umpqua River. Chinooks, of course, are legal catches in both places.
Reedsport resident Chuck Wade recently fished the North Beach area at the end of Sparrow Park Rod for a limit of retailed surfperch. Every fish Chuck caught was a female perch that contained unspawned baby perch.
Tuna remain within reach of sport anglers along much of the Oregon coast and on the central coast, seven out of 10 anglers landed a halibut. The summer all-depth Pacific halibut fishery opened Aug. 3-4 with a quota of approximately 53,000 pounds. The summer season for the central coast all-depth fishery is scheduled to be open every other Friday and Saturday until the all-depth quota is taken or Oct. 27, whichever comes first.
Boy Scouts on a canoe trip on the Willamette River last week picked up a bat that was later found to be rabid. The scouts who touched the bat, but apparently were not bitten, will be tested. The bat was the second rabid bat found this year in Benton County and the seventh rabid bat found in Oregon this year.
In a recent study by Oregon State University, about 25 percent of elementary and high school science teachers had released live organisms into the wild after their use as study material was finished. About eight percent of the released species were determined to be invasive species. The problem is nationwide and, in Oregon, the practice may be a major reason for the rusty crayfish and the red eared Slider (a turtle) becoming established in Oregon.
The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) first showed its arrogance and inconsistency to me way back in 1988 when a young angler named Mike Manley who landed a brown trout weighing 38 pounds nine ounces from the North Fork of the White River in Arkansas. The IGFA decided not to recognize the world record-sized brown because it was caught on baited treble hook. The treble hook was small and the bait was velveeta cheese – a similar tactic to that used by millions of today’s trout anglers when they fish such paste baits as Berkeley’s Powerbait.
More recently, the IGFA once again showed its arrogance (and inconsistency) – and possibly a strong bias against Arkansas – when it disallowed a giant striped bass from record consideration. The fish was pulled from Bull Shoals Reservoir and weighed more than 68 pounds. It is the largest landlocked freshwater striper ever caught and since Ronald Ply, the lucky and skillful angler, was entered in the Mustad Hooks’ “Hook A Million” contest – he stood to receive one million dollars if his fish was certified as a state record.
Ply caught his record-sized striper on an umbrella rig, also known as an Alabama rig, which consists of up to five lures attached to a spreader bar which is then tied to the fishing line. It is an incredibly popular lure and completely legal to fish with in Arkansas – although some states such as Oregon and California only allow three hooks on the rig for it to be legal. The state of Arkansas first rejected the catch as a state record because Ply was using a rig with multiple hooks of Ply’s own design.
The IGFA quickly chimed in when Jack Vitek sent Ply an email that stated: “After significant review by our Rules Committee, we consider your lure to be a spreader bar arrangement. IGFA Equipment Regulations state: “spreader bars are permitted to be used provided that the actual fishing line is attached to the snap or other release device, either directly or with some other material.” Since the angler’s line is not attached to a release device so that the hook could be disengaged from the lure arrangement, this lure violated IGFA equipment rules for spreader bars.”
Of course, Mustad could do the right thing and reward Ply for catching a huge striper that was not only big enough to be an Arkansas State Record, but a world freshwater striper record – and one that was caught on a legal fishing lure. But so far, Mustad seems to have sided with the state of Arkansas and the IGFA. In defense of the IGFA, since it is headquartered in Florida and deals almost exclusively with saltwater records, perhaps it is ill-equipped to handle big fish taken from inland waters. It does seem that virtually all their missteps seem to occur in states far-removed from Florida.
In the meantime, Ronald Ply and this writer will remain very disappointed in Arkansas, the IGFA and Mustad Hooks!