Monthly Archives: October 2018

Pete Heley Outdoors 10 / 31 / 2018

Ocean fishing for chinook salmon will close on October 31st (Wednesday evening) – at which time there will be no ocean salmon fishing or crabbing. Ocean crabbing is slated to reopen on December 1st – but the reopening of the commercial crab fishery on that date is not a certainty. The commercial fleet sometimes delays starting their season when the meat content of tested crabs is below an accepable level.

The reopening of recreational ocean crabbing in parts of northern California was delayed from it’s scheduled November 3rd start because of elevated toxin levels.

Offshore bottomfishing continues to be very good and jetty anglers are having fair to good success for lingcod, rockfish and greenling. Anglers fishing above the South Jetty are still hooking a few salmon, most of which are wild cohos which they cannot keep.

It appears that very few, if any, coho salmon have yet been caught in Siltcoos, Tahkenitch or Tenmile lakes – even though the season has been open since October 1st – perhaps this is a case where fishing regulations could be unsimplified. If the coho seasons for these lakes were to begin when the salmon actually enter these lakes, anglers with second rod licenses could keep using them for trout and warmwater fish until the salmon actually enter these lakes.

The few salmon reported caught in mid-October by customers of Ada Resort on Siltcoos Lake were quite likely large resident rainbow or cutthroat trout and not coho salmon. Now that our area is getting some rainfall, these lakes could receive salmon at any time.

“The Bites On, in Empire, reported that one of their bassfishing customers caught an adult coho salmon in Tahkenitch Lake several days ago.

A few chinook salmon have been reported from the lower Elk River, but none reported yet taken from the Sixes River or Floras Creek. A good rain will get fish into all these streams.

Most streams in the state close to fishing an hour after sunset on Wednesday, October 31st. To be safe, check the fishing regulations – since there are numerous exceptions.

The Coos County lakes that were recently planted with large rainbow trout have been fishing well – with the possible exception of Butterfield Lake where fly anglers have had to deal with large numbers of pesky juvenile steelhead. It seems that the Bandon Fish Hatchery periodically stocks their juvenile steelhead that don’t grade out sizewise into Butterfield Lake – where after several months, the surviving smolts become legal angling fare. In the meantime, they are much appreciated by the lake’s bass and larger trout, as well as predatory birds and mammals.

Fishing for warmwater species in most of our local lakes has suffered a major downtown – but Cathy Reiss of Ringo’s Lakeside Marina on South Tenmile Lake reports that a number of large yellow perch measuring between 13 and 16-inches and weighing more than a pound were caught recently and one angler caught several large crappie with the largest one measuring more than 14-inches.

The crappies and bluegills in Eel Lake seemed to have quit biting, but most likely have moved to deeper water and have not yet been “rediscovered” by anglers.

Now that the ODFW has started putting the landlocked coho into Cooper Creek Reservoir that they used to plant in Galesville Reservoir, Cooper Creek’s cold weather fishing should be much more interesting as the cohos should definitely be more active in cool water than the reservoir’s other fish species.

The Umpqua and Coquille rivers are still relatively clear and producing smallmouth bass with the best fishing occurring in the afternoons. The smallmouth bass in Woahink Lake have moved to deeper water and are tough to find. There are a few decent-sized smallmouth bass in Smith River, but their numbers are small and this is pretty much an incidental fishery where most of the bass are caught by anglers fishing for salmon.

Other fishing opportunities include the Columbia River which should be improving for walleyes as they near their late winter spawning season; Coeur d’Alene Lake in southwest Idaho for northern pike; Mayfield Lake in southwest Washington (the closest place someone from western Oregon can pursue tiger muskies); Pyramid Lake in western Nevada, which gave up a Lahontan cutthroat trout of nearly 22 pounds last week and is possibly the nation’s best fishery for lunker trout; East and Paulina lakes in central Oregon – which are now Oregon’s best spots for jumbo brown trout with the dewatering of Wickiup Reservoir .

Pete Heley works parttime at the Stockade Market & Tackle, across from A’ Dock, in Winchester Bay where he is more than happy to swap fishing info with anyone.

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Tenmile Lakes Producing Hefty Yellow Perch, Crappies.

Cathy Reiss, of Ringo’s Lakeside Marina, reported fair numbers of lunker yellow perch measuring from 13 to 16-inches taken last week along with a few jumbo crappies measuring more than 14-inches. Cathy said that one angler’s catch of lunker crappies was taken at a location closer to the marina than Coleman Arm.

Crappies this size are lunkers anywhere.

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CDFW News – Nimbus Hatchery Fish Ladder to Open Nov. 2.

The salmon ladder at Nimbus Hatchery in Rancho Cordova will open Friday, Nov. 2, signaling the start of the spawning season on the American River. California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) hatchery workers will open the gates in the ladder at 10:30 a.m. and will take more than a half-million eggs during the first week alone in an effort to ensure the successful spawning of the returning fall-run Chinook Salmon.

The three major state-run hatcheries in the Central Valley – Nimbus Hatchery in Sacramento County, and hatcheries on the Feather River in Butte County and the Mokelumne River in San Joaquin County – will take approximately 24 million eggs over the next two months to produce Chinook Salmon for release next spring.

Each hatchery has a viewing area where visitors can watch the spawning process. The Nimbus Hatchery Visitor Center includes a playground with replicas of giant salmon. Nimbus Hatchery is open to the public free of charge from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends. For more information about spawning schedules and educational opportunities at each hatchery, please visit

There are eight state-run salmon and steelhead hatcheries, all of which will participate in the salmon spawning effort. These spawning efforts were put in place over the past half century to offset fish losses caused by dams that block salmon from historic spawning habitat.
Once the young salmon reach 2 to 4 inches in length, one-quarter of the stock will be marked and implanted with a coded wire tag prior to release. CDFW biologists use the information from the tags to chart their survival, catch and return rates.

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CDFW News – Upper Trinity River Quota Met.

Based upon California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) projections of the recreational fall Chinook Salmon catch on the Trinity River, anglers will meet the Upper Trinity River adult fall Chinook Salmon quota below Old Lewiston Bridge for the 2018 season as of 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 28, 2018.

This triggers the closure of the adult Chinook Salmon fishery on the Trinity River from the Old Lewiston Bridge to the Highway 299 West Bridge at Cedar Flat. This reach will remain open for harvest of jack (two-year-old) Chinook Salmon (22 inches or less). All adult Chinook Salmon caught must be immediately released and reported on the angler’s report card.

Anglers may still fish for adult Chinook Salmon in the Lower Trinity reach of the Klamath basin. All other sectors are currently closed to adult harvest.

Anglers may monitor the quota status of open and closed sections of the Klamath and Trinity rivers by calling the information hotline at (800) 564-6479.

For more information regarding Klamath River fishing regulations, please consult the 2018-2019 California Freshwater and Supplemental sport fishing regulations at

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Mardon Resort / Potholes Reservoir Fishing Report

Cool mornings and mild afternoons are making for some good fishing and comfortable days on the water. The current water level on the Potholes Reservoir is 1029.49 feet – rising close to 10 inches this past week. The Potholes Canal gate has been closed for the season and the water will continues to rise. The water temperature on the main Reservoir is in the mid 50’s. The rising water will provide more access for duck hunters back in the sand dunes.
The walleye fishing has been fair to good depending on the day. Fish the mid-lake humps in front of the sand dunes, around the mouth of Crab Creek and the rocks off Gooses Island. Troll a Slow Death hook with a worm by itself or a Smile Blade/Slow Death rig behind a 2-ounce bottom walker around the deeper mid-lake humps in the 15-30-foot depth range. If you are marking fish but not catching them trolling, try jigging a Blade Baits.
Largemouth fishing is doing well on the face of the dunes and along the face of the dam. Some anglers are finding bigger fish in deeper water. Top baits for Largemouth include – swim baits, crank baits, Skirted Heart Throb XL’s fished on a 1/2 oz. football head and fishing a drop shot rig. Smallmouth are being caught on the rock piles off Goose Island and, Perch Point and along the face of the dam. Use crank baits, 3½” tubes, swimbaits, and drop shot DS Minnows.
The trout fishing on the Potholes Reservoir is picking up with the cooler water temperatures. Trout fishers have been catching trout trolling #5 and # 7 Flicker Shads and Shad Raps and trolling Wedding Ring/crawler rigs off Medicare Beach.
Channel Catfish and Bullheads are being caught throughout the Potholes Reservoir. Fish worms or Catfish Magic on the bottom in Lind Coulee and at the mouth of Frenchman’s Wasteway.
The crappie and bluegill fishing continue to be excellent throughout the Reservoir. Big crappies are being caught trolling #5 Flicker Shads and #5 Rapala Shad Raps along the face of the dunes, and jigging VMC Probe jigs, Wingding jigs, Trout Magnets and Gulp Minnows on the deeper humps. The MarDon Resort dock continues to hold fish. Fish Trout Magnets and Gulp Alive Minnows off the dock on a 1/64th oz. jig head. Fishing from the MarDon Dock is reserved for registered guests only.
Call the MarDon Store for the latest fishing info and to make reservations at 509-346-2651.

Bill Hosko from Yelm shows a 10 pound walleye he caught and released on the Potholes Reservoir!

Phil Anderson from Royal Slope with a nice Potholes Reservoir crappie. The crappie are still going strong!

Randy Rushing of Cashmere caught this 12 pound 10 ounce Channel Catfish bank fishing a night crawler on the Potholes Reservoir!

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AZGFD News – Helicopter Flights to Cause Traffic Delays on Forest Road 25 Near Alpine Thru Oct. 29.

PINETOP, Ariz. — The Arizona Game and Fish Department advises hunters, motorists and recreationists that there may be brief traffic delays on Forest Road 25 southwest of Alpine, near the border with the Ft. Apache Indian Reservation through Monday, Oct. 29.

Intermittent traffic closures on the roadway in the vicinity of Forest Road 25F in Game Management Units 1 and 27 will allow helicopter operations to fly concrete to a fish barrier construction site on Bear Wallow Creek, a tributary of the Black River, for Apache Trout recovery.

For more information, contact Bryan Giordano 928-532-3680 or Tracy Stephens at 623-236-7653.

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CDFW News – Recreational Dungeness Crab Fishery Delayed in State Waters in Northern Humboldt and Del Norte Counties Due to Public Health Hazard.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham has enacted a delay to the opening of the recreational Dungeness crab fishery in part northern California. The recreational fishery for Dungeness crab will open for remaining areas on Saturday, Nov. 3.

State health agencies determined that Dungeness crab in state waters from Patrick’s Point, Humboldt County (41° 8.00′ N. Latitude) north to the California/Oregon state line have unhealthy levels of domoic acid and recommended a closure of the recreational fishery in this area. Other areas of the coast will open as scheduled.

The recreational closure includes state waters from Patrick’s Point, Humboldt County (41° 8.00′ N latitude), north to the California/Oregon state line (42° N latitude). State waters extend three nautical miles beyond outermost islands, reefs and rocks. Recreational take and/or possession of Dungeness crab is prohibited in closed waters.

This closure shall remain in effect until the Director of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), in consultation with the State Public Health Officer at CDPH, determines that domoic acid no longer poses a significant risk to public health and recommends lifting the fishery closure in this region. CDFW will continue to coordinate with CDPH and OEHHA to test domoic acid levels in Dungeness crab to determine when the Dungeness crab recreational fishery in this area can safely be opened.

Pursuant to Fish and Game Code, section 5523, the Director of CDFW will notify the Fish and Game Commission of the closure and request that the Commission schedule a public discussion of the closure at its next scheduled meeting.

Domoic acid is a potent neurotoxin produced by a naturally occurring marine alga, whose levels can be increased under certain ocean conditions, and can accumulate in shellfish, other invertebrates and sometimes fish. It causes illness and sometimes death in a variety of birds and marine mammals that consume affected organisms. At low levels, domoic acid exposure can cause nausea, diarrhea and dizziness in humans. At higher levels, it can cause persistent short-term memory loss, seizures and death.

For more information:

Memo from Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (10/25/2018)
CDFW Director’s Closure Declaration (10/25/2018)

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WDFW News – WDFW Will Use Drone to Collect Habitat Restoration Project Data at South Bachelor Island.

– Scientists with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will fly a drone over a section of the Lower Columbia River and adjacent areas during the week of Oct. 30–Nov. 2 to collect information supporting river restoration work.

WDFW scientist Jane Atha said a drone will collect imagery of a wetland project at South Bachelor Island, where the agency will be reconnecting off-channel wetland habitat starting later this year.

Atha said the drone will be flown between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. for approximately 30 to 60 minute periods within a four day window over approximately 2,000 feet on South Bachelor Island upstream of the confluence of Lake River with the Columbia River (river mile 91).

Nicole Czarnomski, lower Columbia habitat restoration program manager, said participants in the reconnection project will cut a channel through previously placed dredge material and will deposit the material along the bank to be entrained by the river in order to create shallow water habitat downstream for species such as chinook salmon, eulachon, and lamprey, among others.

WDFW scientists also want to monitor changes to the constructed channel over time to determine if it is maintaining connection between the wetland and the river.

Collection of imagery by a drone provides safer and more efficient river restoration monitoring than would otherwise be possible.

Funding for this project originates from Washington Department of Natural Resources and Bonneville Power Administration. Monitoring will be supported by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, among others.

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Pete Heley Outdoors 10 / 24 / 2018

Regarding ocean recreation – crabbing is now closed and will remain so until December 1st when both sport and commercial crabbing in the ocean will resume. Of course there is always the chance of a toxin-related closure or a voluntary closure by the commercial crabbing fleet because of a low meat content in the crabs they test.

River and bay crabbing appears to be slowing down, but is still decent for boat crabbers. Dock crabbers willing to put sufficient time in are making decent catches as well.

The ocean chinook fishery will close an hour after sunset on October 31st).

Steve Godin took some OCA memberson his boat to fish the Chetco River’s “bubble fishery” in early October and one member, Russell Smitherman, was fortunate enough to hook and land a 40 pound chinook. Steve said that since the “fishing area” only extends to three miles offshore, the 250 boats Steve was competing with made for very crowded fishing conditions.

The best ocean angling opportunities are for bottomfish. The long leader method is still legal in waters deeper than 240 feet – but most anglers are using conventional bottomfish methods, because, since October 1st, this method has been legal in waters deeper than 180 feet – which is where most boat anglers are fishing that want to be able to keep lingcod, greenling and black and blue rockfish – fish species that are not legal to keep when using the long leader method.

Coho salmon fisheries on Tahkenitch, Tenmile and Siltcoos lakes has been open since October 1st, but no salmon have yet been reported in Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes, but Jeremy Hicks, who owns Ada Resort on Siltcoos Lake, reported that some coho jacks were caught last week as well as a few adult cohos measuring less than 24-inches.

One thing I find ironic is that anglers fishing the rivers, or in the ocean, for finclipped coho salmon and are constantly advocating for being able to keep the first one or two salmon they land – regardless of whether they are finclipped, or not, gripe like crazy about the one adult salmon daily limit that is in effect on Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes. The coho salmon regulations on these freshwater lakes is almost exactly what the salmon anglers fishing the ocean and coastal rivers say they want. It seems that when it comes to salmon fishing, hypocracy runs rampant.

Bradley Lake is slated to receive 800 trophy rainbows this week in addition to the 800 it received last week and should offer good trout fishing. The 1,390 trophy rainbows planted in Butterfield Lake last week should be easy to find, since the main portion of the lake is not connected to the smaller west portion and the recently planted trout are confined to about 15 acres of water.

Trout fishing should also be good on Upper Empire Lake which currently has less than 30 acres of water and received more than 3,200 trophy rainbows last week. Powers Pond, which currently consists of less than 30 extremely weedy acres was stocked last week with 1,300 trophy rainbows – so the holding water for the trout is rather small and the trout typically go on a strong bite right at dusk. Fifty acre Saunders Lake also received 1,300 trophy rainbows last week.

The state of Washington, which for the last few years has made massive fall trout plants, is scheduled to plant 147,000 rainbow trout statewide in the next few weeks and most of the trout will measure between 13 and 15-inches.

Fishing at Eel Lake has dropped off drastically. All summer long, Eel provided the area’s most consistent fishing for trout, bass, bluegills, crappies and trout. Currently there seems to be few trout present and the bluegills that are present are only willing to bite on worms. The crappies and larger bass seem to have moved to deeper water. On a recent trip to the lake, our catch consisted entirely of smallish largemouth bass.

Tenmile Lakes, which offered decent bass fishing all last winter, also seems to have slowed down – but hopefully will rebound for both largemouth bass and lunker rainbow trout.

I drove to Powers last weekend to get info on smallmouth bassfishing on the South and Middle Forks of the Coquille River. I had been hearing about lunker smallmouths from both streams and when I talked to Jack, the butcher at the Powers Market – I got a serious reality check. Jack told me that there were smallies in the South Fork as far upstream as the “swimming hole”, which is above Powers, but the largest smallies he has encountered, measured between 13 and 16-inches – a far cry from the three to four pounders that others were claiming to catch.

I do believe that there are larger smallmouths present in the lower seven or eight miles of the South Fork Coquille and in the Midde Fork Coquille below the community of Bridge, but there also seems to be a lot of exaggerating when discussing the sizes of smallmouth bass being caught in these Coquille River forks.

May it never happen in Oregon – a recently appointed member of Idaho’s Fish Commission resigned at Governor Butch Otter’s request after the commissioneer. Blake Fischer, posted photos on social media of him and his wife posing with animals he shot on an African hunting trip. The animals he shot included a giraffe, a leopard, a warthog and such antelope species as impalas, sable, kudu, gemsbok (oryx) and an eland.

But the photo that sparked the most backlash was of him posing with four baboons, two of which were subadults that he shot and killed with a bow and arrows. It will be most unlikely that his replacement will be equally “clueless”.

Pete Heley works parttime at the Stockade Market & Tackle, across from A’ Dock, in Winchester Bay where he is more than happy to swap fishing info with anyone.

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CDFW News – CDFW Offering 60 Apprentice Pheasant Hunts Across the State.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is hosting 60 special pheasant hunts this fall and winter to serve new hunters, youth hunters, women hunters, mobility-impaired hunters, families and others with limited experience or opportunity to hunt.

The hunts take place from November through February in almost every part of the state from Siskiyou and Plumas counties in the north to San Diego and Imperial counties in the south. CDFW’s Central Region is hosting 30 of the 60 hunts in Fresno, Kern, Madera, Merced and San Luis Obispo counties.

Six hunts are planned in Los Angeles County, two in Riverside County, two in Napa County, two in Solano County, and two in Yolo County, among other locations. Applications and information are available online at CDFW’s Apprentice Hunts webpage.

Hunters may apply only once for each hunt – either as an applicant or as a guest. Submitting multiple applications will disqualify applicants from the drawing. There is no fee to apply or participate in these hunts. Trained hunting dogs and their handlers are provided on some – but not all – hunts. Participants are allowed to bring their own hunting dogs on some hunts or hunt without a dog.

These special apprentice pheasant hunts are offered in partnership with many volunteer organizations and funded by the sale of the upland game bird stamp/validation required of upland game bird hunters 18 and older.

Additional upland bird hunting opportunities are available at CDFW’s Upland Game Wild Bird Hunts webpage and through CDFW’s SHARE program, which provides public hunting access to private or landlocked properties. Other upland game bird hunting opportunities are available on CDFW wildlife areas without reservations.

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