Monthly Archives: September 2012

Ocean Coho Salmon Catch Info

With 90.5 percent of the 11,800 coho salmon quota taken through September 9th, the season did not last that long. There was a major catch discrepancy between our zone’s northern and southern ports with the catch being primarily coho salmon in the northern ports and primarily chinook in the southern ports. Once again, Brookings stood out with about 62 percent of the retained chinook salmon taken in the entire zone being caught at Brookings. Throughout the rather short ocean coho salmon season, 57 percent of the salmon kept were chinook salmon.

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More Winchester Bay Chinooks

Here are some more pictures of chinook salmon taken by both bank and boat anglers recently at Winchester Bay. If someone wonders why so much of this site features catches or events occurring in the Reedsport-Winchester Bay area – it probably has something to do with my actually living in Reedsport and working in Winchester Bay. I get a lot of information from this area, but would be glad to post catches or information from other areas should such be emailed to me for such usage.

Al Meyi caught this 20# chinook at Winchester Bay’s Half Moon Bay on a one-ounce chartreuse spinner cast from shore.

Mike Burns, of Bend, caught this jumbo chinook while trolling along Winchester Bay’s South Jetty. The fish weighed 34 pounds several hours after it was landed.

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WInchester Bay’s Annual Crab Bounty Hunt

There are not many contests that give you a chance to win $1,000.00 cash without requiring either an entry fee or pre-registration – but that is exactly what the Crab Bounty Hunt, which runs the entire month of September, does.

Each year, 100 male crabs of legal size are tagged with numbered spinner blades which are tied to the crabs’ rear legs. When a person crabbing actually catches one of the tagged crabs, he or she should take it directly to the Sportsman Cannery (in Winchester Bay) and make sure that they get all the pertinent data regarding how to contact you should you be a winner. You should also walk out of the cannery with a complimentary hat (given to every crabber who turns in a tagged crab).

What you do not want to do is clean or eat the crab and go down to the cannery with just a tag.

As of the time this article was written, several tagged crabs have already been turned into the cannery. Each of these lucky crabbers must wait until the end of the contest (October 1st at 2:00 pm) to find out if they won the grand prize of $1000.00. If none of the numbered tags turned in during the contest match the preselected number kept in a safe deposit box, the $1,000.00 will still be given out – only it will be in three cash prizes of $500.00, $300.00 and $200.00 – and one need not be in attendance at the drawing to win.

People crabbing at Winchester Bay, like at other crabbing spots, need to keep an eye on their crabbing gear while actually crabbing. It is even more important to do so during the Crab Bounty Hunt when many crabbers are wondering if there is a tagged crab in other people’s crab rings or traps.

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Winchester Bay Chinooks

Gary and Christine Sellers, of Sutherlin, recently had an exceptional salmon fishing trip at Winchester Bay. While fishing outside the Umpqua River Bar, they hooked eight fish and landed five. All five salmon actually landed were chinook salmon weighing between 25 and 40 pounds.

Christine Sellers holds up her largest salmon – a 42-inch chinook that weighed nearly 40 pounds.

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How to Evaluate a Fishing Report or a Tackleshop

Would-be anglers need to know which fishing reports are actually somewhat accurate when predicting fishing success. Most fishing reports are at leasst a few days old and may be worthless in predicting how the fishing may be when you fish that spot. In fact, a poor fishing report may actually be the portent of better fishing in waters where both the fish populations and water conditions are stable.

After all, despite being able to avoid doing so for surprisingly long periods of time, fish do have to eat. In fact, intentionally going to such waters after poor fishing reports may make you look like a fishing genius when the fish go back on the bite.

Where fishing reports can be helpful is when the fishing success is based on such factors as: water temperatures, stream flows, anadromous fish runs and the initial observations of bass and panfish moving to more shallow water prior to spawning.

Finding a good tackleshop can be far more difficult than reacting to a fishing report. Here’s a list of the things my favorite tackleshops do not do.

(1) – Does not have employees that are incapable or uninterested in giving helpful fishing advice. (2) – Does not try to be competitive price-wise. (3) – Does not attempt to push the lures or tackle that they have the most of – unless those lures are actually the best current producers. (4) – Does not base their operating hours on their own preferences, but on their customers needs. (5) – Does not listen to their customers wants regarding new lures or other fishing equipment – but those customers need to reassure the shop that they will purchase such products as they become available. (6) – Makes no attempt to be both optimistic and realistic in their predictions of fishing success or fails to include necessary cautions or disclaimers. (7) – Fails to mention upcoming fisheries that may be of interest to anglers. (8) – Does not withhold the best fishing information or lures for their favorite customers, (9) – Fails to include logical reasons behind the fishing advice given out. (10) – Does not attempt to walk the fine line between offering to help customers and letting them browse comfortably knowing you are there should they need assistance.

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Details Scant in GRWB STEP’s Salmon Derby

Financially, the salmon derby conducted by the Gardiner-Reedsport-Winchester Bay Step club was a big success with the profits intended to defray the club’s operating costs and make a dent in the cost of the new filtration system at their Gardiner hatchery.

Thanks to an article by Sarah Haase in the Umpqua Post, I am able to report that the overall winner was caught on Sunday by Jamee Daskalos of Roseburg and weighed 38.3 pounds. Sunday’s winner weighed 29.1 pounds and was caught by Terry Fibler of Bend who purchased a ticket Monday morning. The heaviest salmon taken on each day of the derby (Saturday, Sunday and Monday) won $150 with the heaviest salmon taken during the derby also winning an additional $500.

More than 400 participants caught more than 280 salmon. I did not receive information regarding the angler who won the Saturday weigh-in except that it weighed more than 28 pounds. Information was also lacking regarding the $100 prizes awarded from a drawing among the anglers that weighed in salmon during the derby or who won the $100 prize from a drawing from the ticke stubs.


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Ocean Coho Fishery Headed For Early Closure

Relatively good fishing conditions and excellent coho success along the northern portion of the zone most likely means that the next three day opener for ocean coho this coming September 6th through September 8th (Thursday – Saturday) will be the last opener for this season.

I wouild like to commend the ODFW for having the first three days of the nonselective ocean coho fishery run Saturday through Monday. In my memory, this is the first three day opener that is actually fair to people who work a regular Monday through Friday work week. Now if they can only do so more often.

Here is Tuesday’s ODFW press release.

9/4/12 UPDATE: The first open period in the Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. non-selective recreational coho fishery over Labor Day weekend was very successful throughout the open area with catch rates over half a salmon per angler in all ports, and catch rates of more than a salmon per angler observed in Pacific City, Depoe Bay, Newport, and Bandon. The preliminary estimated total landings for the three days are 5,684 coho and 1,094 Chinook for 7,401 angler trips.

The non-selective coho fishery will continue as scheduled for the next period of Thursday, Sept. 6 through Saturday, Sept. 8. On days not open for coho retention, the Chinook season remains open. The fishery will continue on a Thursday through Saturday schedule through the earlier of the 11,800 coho quota or Sept. 22.

Anglers are reminded that single point barbless hooks are required for all ocean salmon angling including during the non-selective coho season. Single point barbless hooks have been required in all ocean salmon seasons off Oregon since 1986, as a means to reduce hook and release mortality of any salmon that is released including sublegal fish, or smaller fish than an angler may wish to retain.


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Pete Heley Outdoors 9/05/2012

Despite a ton of crabbing pressure, crabbing success held up surprisingly well through Labor Day Weekend. The annual Crab Bounty Contest began on September 1st and there was an immediate increase in people checking crab catching devices that were not theirs. The Crab Bounty Contest is one of the very few contests that do not require an entry fee or pre-registration and every tagged crab caught and turned into the Sportsman Cannery is worth a free hat and a chance to win $1,000.

The final results for salmon derby held by our local STEP club will appear in next week’s paper, but early results indicate that the salmon have been caught by derby entrants that were larger than last year’s winner.

The ocean non-selective coho season opened last Saturday and ran through last Monday and despite almost everyu ocean angler still targeting chinooks, fair numbers of cohos were taken. One boat fishing five rods limited on cohos both Saturday and Sunday and of the 20 cohos they caught, two were finclipped. The Umpqua River Bar still seems to be the most popular fishing destination when fishable, but lots of boats are fishing below Reedsport. The ocean coho season will continue every Thursday through Saturday from now on until the quota is met. Chinook salmon are available to catch and keep in the ocean every day including the days that ocean coho are not legal angling fare.

Since every salmon taken in the ocean must be tagged (cohos measuring 16-inches in length or more and chinooks measuring 24-inches or more) and jack salmon in the river (finclipped cohos measuring between 15 and 20-inches and chinooks measuring between 15 and 24-inches) are legal in the river, this writer can see some hefty fines in the near future as anglers fish the river while waiting for the Umpqua River Bar to open and venturing outside with untagged jack salmon aboard. As soon as those boats enter the ocean their jack salmon area are illegal. Anglers also need to remember that only barbless hooks are legal when fishing for salmon in the ocean.

It is difficult to overstate just how successful our local guides have been over the last several weeks. While some sports anglers have been consistently successful, boat limits have been the norm for our local guides. I have never seem a greater margin between the average catch of a guide boat and a boat fished by a sport angler. Some of the guides are even dropping crab pots while salmon fishing ensuring their clients a double dose of delicious seafood.

Which brings up some examples of poor behavior over the weekend. One boat trolling along the South Jetty was ordered to move over by a boat trolling behind it. That confrontation escalated to the point where the person running the rear boat ended up getting met by the authorities at the boat ramp at the end of their trilp. There were numerous incidents of boats being bumped by other boats – both on the water and at the boat ramps/parking lots. However, the most galling one I heard was where one angler decided to get his gear ready while parked on the launching ramp at the Waterfront Ramp in Reedsport. Enough people use that ramp to ensure some congestion, but proper boat launching etiquette could make it much, much better.

Now that both the all-depth and the inshore halibut fisheries are closed, local salmon anglers continue to accidentally catch halibut – usually while making a sharp turn while trolling with herring. The latest to do so is Winchester Bay’s Julie Palmer who caught a halibut weighing approximately 40 pounds last week.

The ODFW Commission will hold a two day meeting this coming this Thusday and Friday (Sept. 6th and 7th) at Hermiston where it will where it will make decisions regarding the adoption of a number of proposed changes to the 2013 regulations. Some of these proposals include:(1) -Re-define artificial lure to include soft molded plastic and rubber worms, eggs and similar bait imitations. (2) -Increa (4) -se daily bag limit for smallmouth bass on the Umpqua River from 10 to 15. (3) -Create a trophy trout fishery on Crane Prairie Reservoir. (4) -Consider winter fishing opportunities on Lemolo Reservoir. (5) -Reduce the annual sturgeon catch limit to two. (6) -Increase daily harvest limit on purple varnish clams to the first 72 taken. (7) -Redefine an angling boundary on Rogue River to reflect removal of the Gold Ray Dam. – and many others.

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