Monthly Archives: May 2019

Recreational Halibut Update Through May 26

Halibut Update through May 26

Columbia River Subarea

All-Depth—Through the May 24 and May 26 opening, 14,453 pounds were landed, leaving 174 pounds remaining, not enough for additional open days. Therefore, this fishery has closed.

Nearshore—there have been no landings in the Columbia River Subarea nearshore fishery yet. Quota = 500 lbs.

Central Oregon Coast Subarea

Spring All-Depth season— through the 3rd opener, May 23-25, the total landings are 33,280 pounds (1,125 pounds landed during the May 23-25 opening). This leaves 137,823 pounds or 81% of the spring all-depth quota remaining. The remaining “fixed” openings are May 30-June 1 and June 6-8.

The weather for the last two openings was not good resulting in little effort or landings. For those few that did venture out, fishing was reported to be okay, with average success rate of approximately 70%. Coastwide the average size was 20-21 pounds round weight per fish so far this year, with last week’s average being somewhat smaller at 17-18 pounds round weight.

Summer All-Depth Season—opens August 2-3, if quota remaining, can be open every other Friday and Saturday. Quota = 67,898 lbs.

Nearshore Season— opens June 1, seven days per week. Quota = 32,591 lbs. Reminder that on days when the all-depth fishery is also open, such as June 1 and June 4-6, the all-depth fishery regulations apply, regardless of what depth is fished. This means that most bottomfish species may not be retained when halibut are onboard the vessel.

South of Humbug Mountain subarea—there has been a total of 265 pounds landed, 0 pounds landed last week. This leaves 11,057 pounds (99 %) of the quota remaining.

Comments Off on Recreational Halibut Update Through May 26

Mardon Resort / Potholes Reservoir Fishing Report

MarDon Fresh News – May 31, 2019
The current water level on the Potholes Reservoir is 1045.70-feet – up 3.6 inches from last week. The water temps are heating up – temps in the sand dunes are in the low-70’s. The water temps on the main Reservoir are in the upper-60’s.
The bass have about finished up their spawning activity. Fish the sand dunes with ½ oz jigs and craw trailers, Swim Jigs, Chatter Baits, Punch Rigs, Senkos and frogs or Zara Spooks. The top-water bite has been good this week and should continue. There are Smallmouth back in the sand dunes and around the rocks around Goose Island. Fish Booyah finesse jigs, Wacky Rigged Senkos, Crankbaits, Tubes and Swimbaits for the Smallmouth. Anglers have been doing well on Smallmouth on the face of the dam using crankbaits as well.
Walleye fishing was a little spotty this week due to the storm we had come through on Memorial Day. It is improving as the weather warms and stabilizes. The fish are still back in the weeds and sand dunes but are moving a little deeper in the channels and to the face of the dunes. Troll the channels and weed lines with Smile Blades/Slow Death Hooks/2 oz bottom walker and ½ a crawler in 8-15 feet. Troll from .8-1.2 miles per hour. The crankbait bite is producing as well. Troll a #5 Flicker Shad or Rapala Shad Rap.
Trout are being caught off Medicare Beach and in front of the State Park both from shore and by boat. Bank fisherman are using Power Bait, worms and marshmallows, a 12-18” leader, and a 1/8-1/4 oz. egg sinker above the swivel. Boat anglers are trolling Wicked Lures Trout Killers, Needlefish spoons, #7 Flicker Shads and Shad Raps. Trout fishing in the Seep Lake has been very good this past week. Top Lakes continue to be been the Hamptons and Cattail Lake. Top Baits have been Worms and marshmallows, Berkley Power Bait, Rooster Tails, and Berkley Mouse Tails.
Soda and Long Lake are producing decent catches of crappie and bluegill.
The crappie and bluegill are showing up at the MarDon Resort dock. Several good catches of 10-12-inch crappies are coming in. Fish trout Magnets, flies, VMC Wingding jigs and Berkley Gulp Alive Minnows on a 1/32 oz. jig head. Only registered guests of MarDon Resort are permitted to fish off the dock. By boat, head back in the dunes towards the Job Corps dike and fish the willows or up Lind Coulee by M Road for bluegill and crappie using the same baits mentioned above.
The fishing is improving daily – call the MarDon Tackle Store for the latest fishing info at 509-346-2651.
Upcoming Events:
June 1-2 – Limit Out Marine Big Bass Tournament
June 1-2 Hero’s Salute Weekend Special – All Police, Fire and Military stay the first night at regular price and get the second night FREE!

Amos Trent of MarDon Resort with a nice batch of Potholes Reservoir Walleye!

Comments Off on Mardon Resort / Potholes Reservoir Fishing Report

Pete Heley Outdoors 5 / 29 / 2019

The run of female redtail surfperch into the lower Umpqua River above Winchester Bay is going strong. Although it is still early in the run, there have been a number of boat limits caught last weekend. and the run should last through July.

A word of caution though, there has been an incredible amount of fishing pressure directed at these spawning perch over the last several years and their behavior has changed. During the last couple of years the perch have moved back and forth between the ocean and lower Umpqua River during the larger tides than they ever did during previous years. The perch that stayed in the umpqua River once they moved in. or did not become less aggressive during considerable boat traffic have pretty much been removed from the river. The fact that the Umpqua River still hosts a healthy run of female redtail surfperch is a tribute to many of these perch making behavorial adjustments that make them less predictible.

I was invited to use my weekly fishing column to add my “2 cents worth” regarding the recent ODFW meeting at the North Bend public Library. The person making the request described the meeting as “packed full with local anglers angry about the ODFW’s regulation changes regarding salmon rivers. Most attendees felt the regulation changes were too severe. As ODFW regulation changes go, this is one of the most measured, sensible well thought out policy changes ever.- and well designed to keep angler impact to a minimum. No one lost the right to keep a wild chinook and anglers who feel that they need to keep two wild chinook per day are simply greedy to a fault.

The audacity, or perhaps arrogance of anglers thinking they should remain unaffected by a shrinking wild chinook population boggles the mind.

This ODFW policy change is so well thought out that it allows flexibility based on stream flows when setting chinook seasons on several smaller streams located between Bandon and Gold Beach.

These same angry library attendees were silent when the minimum size limit and daily bag limit were completely removed from striped bass at the start of 2019, but still felt they had the right to be angry when the ODFW made a minimal change to deal with a shrinking population of wild and finclipped chinook salmon.

Bringing up hatch boxes, Whitlock-Vibert, or otherrwise, was simply something pulled out of left field to allow for more griping.

I am actually a big fan of hatchboxes but I think their use should be closely coordinated with an involved ODFW to maximize their benefit and minimize potential damage.

Congratulations to Craig and Kellie Johnson who landed two Smith River striped bass in the forty pound class last week. While striper success has dropped off somewhat on the Smith recently, it seems to have picked up on the Coquille River in the Riverton area.

Umpqua River shad fishing, especially at Sawyers Rapids, remains almost too easy.

Somewhat overlooked because of the awesome shad fishing, the Umpqua’s smallmouth bass fishing is excellent and and should get even better numbers-wise through September.Smallmouth bass in Woahink Lake have moved to deeper water and few anglers are fishing deep enough to catch them.

Loon Lake is currently offering the best bluegill fishing in our area and has recently given up some crappie exceeding 11-inches near some of the lake’s summer homes docks.

Alder Lake and Buck Lake, two small lakes west of Highway 101 seven miles north of Florence were stocked this week with 497 and 425 legal trout respectively. Siltcoos Lagoon was planted with 36 trophy rainbows and Cleawox Lake received 1,900 trophy rainbows.

This coming Saturday and Sunday, June 1st and 2nd, is a Free Fishing Weekend where a license is not needed to fish. crab or clam and a tag is not needed to needed to fish for salmon, or steelhead or halibut.

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.

Comments Off on Pete Heley Outdoors 5 / 29 / 2019

Columbia River All-Depth Halibut Closed.

The Columbia River Subarea (Leadbetter Point, WA to Cape Falcon, OR) all-depth recreational halibut fishery is now closed. Preliminary estimates of landings through Sunday, May 26 indicate that the quota has been caught. Therefore no additional days will be open.

Comments Off on Columbia River All-Depth Halibut Closed.

CDFW News – CDFW Awarded $8.5 Million to Expand Nutria Eradication Operations; Nutria Confirmed in Stockton, Heart of the Delta

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today was awarded $8.5 million in funding over three years by the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy to expand its nutria eradication operations.

The funding was awarded in a competitive process as part of the Delta Conservancy’s Proposition 1 Ecosystem Restoration and Water Quality Grant Program. The money complements state funding anticipated in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2019-20 budget, which together will establish a dedicated Nutria Eradication Program within CDFW and vastly expand field operations across the entire area of infestation.

The grant funding represents the second, significant award from the Delta Conservancy. In 2018, the Delta Conservancy awarded CDFW $1.2 million over three years that, along with grants from the Wildlife Conservation Board and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s State Wildlife Grant Program, largely enabled CDFW’s eradication efforts to get off the ground.
To date, CDFW has prioritized detection and eradication efforts in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in order to limit the invasive rodents’ spread and impact on California’s most important water resource and the heart of the state’s delivery and infrastructure.

Last week, CDFW confirmed via trail camera video the first nutria detected in Stockton. This is the northernmost nutria detected to date and is approximately 16 river miles north of the nearest known nutria population near Manteca, where CDFW and its partners have been actively trapping. The Stockton detection is within the heart of the Delta. CDFW immediately responded with trapping in the area, redirecting additional resources to the Delta, and checking for upstream source populations.

Since first discovering nutria in Merced County in 2017, CDFW and its partner agencies have taken or confirmed the take of 510 nutria in five counties – 430 from Merced County, 65 from San Joaquin County, 12 from Stanislaus County, two from Mariposa County and one from Fresno County. Nutria have also been confirmed in Tuolumne County.

Nutria, which are native to South America, have established populations in more than a dozen states, including Oregon, Washington, Texas, Louisiana, and the Delmarva Peninsula region of Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.

In California, nutria pose a significant threat as an agricultural pest, a destroyer of critical wetlands needed by native wildlife, and a public safety risk as their destructive burrowing jeopardizes the state’s water delivery and flood control infrastructure. CDFW is working with both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the California Department of Food and Agriculture to eradicate nutria from the state.

Any suspected nutria sightings should be reported immediately to CDFW’s toll-free public reporting hotline at (866) 440-9530. The e-mail address to report sightings is vog.ac.efildliwnull@sevisavni. CDFW’s nutria eradication webpage at wildlife.ca.gov/nutria offers references for identifying nutria and distinguishing nutria from other similar aquatic animals.

Comments Off on CDFW News – CDFW Awarded $8.5 Million to Expand Nutria Eradication Operations; Nutria Confirmed in Stockton, Heart of the Delta

CDFW News – Recreational Canary Rockfish, Black Rockfish and Lingcod Bag Limit Increases Effective June 1, 2019.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has announced increases to the recreational canary rockfish (Sebastes pinniger), black rockfish (S. melanops) and lingcod (Ophiodon elongatus) daily limits.

Within the statewide Rockfish Cabezon Greenlings Complex daily bag limit of 10 fish, the sub-bag limit for canary rockfish will increase from two to three fish, and the sub-bag limit for black rockfish will increase from three to four fish. The daily bag limit for lingcod will increase from one to two fish for areas south of 40°10′ N. lat (near Cape Mendocino), returning the statewide bag limit for lingcod to two fish. The changes are effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday, June 1, 2019.

Limited retention of canary rockfish in California’s recreational fishery began in 2017 as a result of the stock being declared rebuilt. Because retention of canary rockfish had been prohibited in recreational fisheries off California for more than a decade, incremental increases to the daily sub-bag limit are being implemented to balance fishing opportunity while keeping catch within harvest limits.

Less optimistic stock assessment outcomes for black rockfish in 2015 and lingcod in 2017 resulted in a reduction to both the harvest limits and bag limits for these species. A review of the most recent recreational catch information showed that less catch for these species occurred during 2017 and 2018 than anticipated. This prompted the current increase in the statewide black rockfish sub-bag limit and lingcod bag limit south of Cape Mendocino to better achieve allowable harvest.

Catches of several important groundfish species, including canary and black rockfish, are monitored weekly to ensure harvest limits are not exceeded.

Pursuant to California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 27.20(e), CDFW has the authority to make in-season modifications to the recreational fishery, including adjustments to bag and sub-bag limits.

For more information regarding groundfish regulations, management and fish identification tools, please visit the CDFW Marine Region Groundfish webpage.

Comments Off on CDFW News – Recreational Canary Rockfish, Black Rockfish and Lingcod Bag Limit Increases Effective June 1, 2019.

Pinkfin Show at Winchester Bay.

Boat limit of pink fins caught and cleaned by 9:57 am – photo courtesy of Norma Evans of “a bent rod beats workin” guide service.

Comments Off on Pinkfin Show at Winchester Bay.

CDFW News – Commercial Rock Crab Fishery Opens from Cape Mendocino to Humboldt Bay.

Following the recommendation of state health agencies, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced today that it will be opening the commercial rock crab fishery from near Cape Mendocino, Humboldt County (40° 30.00′ N. Lat.) north to the Humboldt Bay entrance at the north jetty (40° 46.15′ N. latitude), including all ocean waters of Humboldt Bay.

On Nov. 8, 2016, CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham submitted an emergency rulemaking
to the Office of Administrative Law to close the commercial rock crab fishery north of Pigeon Point, San Mateo County upon the recommendation of the state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). Since that time, portions of the fishery were sequentially reopened by the director in consultation with OEHHA under new authority granted by Fish and Game Code Section 5523. The commercial fishery was last modified in April 2018, when the fishery was opened between the Sonoma/Mendocino County line and the Mendocino/Humboldt County line.

The commercial rock crab fishery remains closed in all waters from the Mendocino/Humboldt County line (40° 00.00′ N. Lat.) to 40° 30.00′ N. Lat. (near Cape Mendocino, Humboldt County) and from the north jetty of the Humboldt Bay entrance (40° 46.15′ N. Lat.) to the California/Oregon border (42° 00.00′ N. Lat.)
. This closure shall remain in effect until the director of OEHHA, in consultation with the director of California Department of Public Health (CDPH), determines that domoic acid levels no longer pose a significant risk to public health and recommends the fishery be opened. CDFW will continue to coordinate with fishermen, CDPH, and OEHHA to test domoic acid levels in rock crab within the closured area.

State and federal laws prohibit the commercial distribution of seafood products that contain domoic acid levels above the federal action level of 30 parts per million in the viscera. The recreational fishery for rock crab remains open statewide with a warning from CDPH to avoid consuming the viscera of crab caught between the Mendocino/Humboldt County line and Cape Mendocino, Humboldt County and from the north jetty of the Humboldt Bay entrance to the California/Oregon border.

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.

Comments Off on CDFW News – Commercial Rock Crab Fishery Opens from Cape Mendocino to Humboldt Bay.

Recreation Halibut Update

Columbia River Subarea

All-Depth—Through the May 9 and 12 openings, there has been 12,263 lbs. landed. This leaves 2,364 lbs. remaining on the quota. Friday, May 24 and Sunday, May 26 will be open. Depending on catch during those two days, there may not be enough quota remaining for any additional days.

Nearshore—there have been no landings in the Columbia River Subarea nearshore fishery yet. Quota = 500 lbs.

Central Oregon Coast Subarea

Spring All-Depth season— through the 2nd opener, May 16-18, the total landings are 32,156 pounds (2,403 pounds landed during the May 16-18 opening). This leaves 138,947 pounds or 81% of the spring all-depth quota remaining. The remaining “fixed” openings are May 23-25; May 30-June 1; and June 6-8.

The weather for the opening was not good resulting in little effort or landings. For those few that did venture out, fishing was reported to be a bit scratchy, with average success rate of approximately 60%. The average size was 20-21 pounds round weight per fish in the Central OR Coast Subarea last week.

Summer All-Depth Season—opens August 2-3, if quota remaining, can be open every other Friday and Saturday. Quota = 67,898 lbs.

Nearshore Season— opens June 1, seven days per week. Quota = 32,591 lbs.

South of Humbug Mountain subarea—there has been a total of 265 pounds landed, 0 pounds landed last week. This leaves 11,057 pounds (99 %) of the quota remaining.

Next update will be by noon on Friday, May 31

Comments Off on Recreation Halibut Update

Pete Heley Outdoors 5 / 22 / 2019

Pending news that seems to have everybody’s attention is the decision to reduce the daily limit for wild or unclipped chinook salmon to one fish on many south coast streams. The daily limit will remain at two fish on the Rogue and Umpqua rivers.

On the Coos Basin the daily limit for unclipped chinook salmon is one fish from either the Coos or Coquille rivers with a seasonal limit of five fish from August 1st through December 31st with no more than two unclipped chinooks coming from the Coquille River – which is closed to chinook angling above the Highway 42S crossing near Sturdivant Park..

The daily limit on the Chetco River is one unclipped chinook per day with a seasonal limit of two unclipped chinook from August 1st through December 31st – the only open water is from the mouth up to rivermile 2.2

The Elk, Sixes and Floras Creek, taken together, have a daily limit of one unclipped chinook and a season limit of five such fish. Floras Creek will be closed from August first through December and the Sixes will be closed below Highway 101 from August 1st through December and the Elk River will be closed between Swamp Creek and Highway 101 for the same time period.

These upcoming changes regarding the retention of unclipped chinook affect every Oregon coastal river that hosts chinook salmon runs in slightly different ways and I urge anyone planning on fishing for salmon this fall to to read the complete proposal on the ODFW website.

An ocean fishery for chinook salmon in the Brookings area will begin May 25th and run throuth September 2nd.

Perhaps it is a symbol of our current times, or maybe not – but the way Bass Pro Shops wholesale Division (American Rod and Gun) abruptly closed thousands of accounts last year – forcing many businesses to scramble to set up new wholesale accounts was absolutely abhorrent. To make matters worse, the company began quietly setting up new wholesale accounts involving about ten feet of wall space in large grocery stores including McKays, Price and Prides and Ray’s Sentrys in western Oregon – while making no attempt to reinstate the numerous accounts they already had.

None of these “new accounts” that I checked out was capable of giving out useful fishing advice.

This breech of ethics and lack of loyalty was more than enough to justify switching my online fishing tackle ordering from Bass Pro Shops to Tackle Warehouse without one bit of remorse.

These upcoming changes regarding the retention of unclipped chinook affect every Oregon coastal river that hosts chinook salmon runs in slightly different ways and I urge anyone planning on fishing for salmon this fall to to read the complete proposal on the ODFW website.

The hottest, most consistent fishing in our area remains shad fishing on the Umpqua River.

Other shad fishing possibilites include the Smith River between the falls and the upper tidewater areas; The Siuslaw River between Davis Chute and the “Guard Rail Hole; The Coquille River near the Arago Boat Ramp and the Coos and lower Millicoma rivers. The lower several miles of the South Umpqua River also hosts shad runs – but none of these other possibilities can hold a candle to the Umpqua and the best fishing currently is at Sawyers Rapids where 50 shad catches are the norm for a half-day fishing trip.

Surprisingly, the next hottest local fishery has been the striper fishing on the Smith River.

While the lower several miles of the Smith is getting most of the recent fishing pressure, there are also stripers in the Umpqua River between Gardiner and Sawyers Rapids. Scholfield Slough hosts a striper population during the summer and fall months.

Because of muddy water, the Coquille River has received little fishing pressure directed at striped bass so far this year, but recently gave up a dozen stripers weighing more than 15 pounds in the week before the most recent rains muddied the river once again.

The two top floatfishing streams in our area are rounding into prime fishing shape. While Siltcoos River wont open to fishing until may 22nd, the river offers an easy float down to the dam which is located more than two miles below the lake. Siltcoos River has a fair population of largemouth bass and yellow perch and some surprisingly large trout (both rainbows and cutthroats). Very few anglers actually fish the river instead opting for birdwatching and sightseeing.

The other floatfishing option is Tenmile Creek between the lake and the railroad trestle. Although the trestle is about four stream miles below the lake, the hike back to your rig via the railroad tracks is only about a mile.

No log jams have been reported on Tenmile Creek this year and the best fishing areas seem to be the most narrow areas with streamside brush. Largemouth bass and rainbow trout are the most common catches.

Local fly anglers should consider Saunders Lake where the most recent trout plant seems to have generated aconsiderable amount of surface activity. Trollers are having very good success on Eel Lake for planted rainbow trout with a few native rainbows and cutts along with a few carryover rainbows. Much of the recent fishing pressure has been directed at largemouth bass and the lake has a few smallmouth bass as well. Tenmile Lake has been fishing very good for largemouth bass to four pounds with a few larger. An angler fishing a nightcrawler for Tenmile Lakes trout trout recently caught a jumbo bluegill that weighed one pound and ten ounces.

Crappie have been scarce this spring in western Oregon waters, but here are ten semi-local spots where you have a decent chance to catch them.

LOON LAKE – The crappies haven’t shown up at the old Duckett’s dock on the upper lake in their usual numbers, but there has been some decent catches made near some of the summer homes.

EEL LAKE – The crappie haven’t shown up at the fishing dock at Tugman Park – but they never do until after they are done spawning. But crappie seekers should find fish by fishing along shoreline stretches near dusk.

SELMAC LAKE – the crappie spawn is over, but the lake offers the best chance at catching a crappie measuring at least 13-inches. Try fishing the outside edges of near-shore reedbeds.

COOPER CREEK RESERVOIR – Stumps near the middle of the reservoir and the lower end of the reservoir near dusk should produce small numbers of crappies measuring ten to 12-inches.

LOOKOUT POINT RESERVOIR – Has produced more than one crappie weighing more than four pounds – but try finding them in this 13 mile long reservoir.

COTTAGE GROVE RESERVOIR – Capable of giving up fair numbers of good-sized crappies near the dam during October.

BEN IRVING RESERVOIR – Usually offers consistent fishing for 9 to 11-inch crappies when the water isn’t to murky. Vandalism near the boat ramp has resulted in the gate being closed at dusk.

SILTCOOS LAGOON – This small planted trout fishery has a fair population of six to eight inch crappies – use small lures.

Pete Heley works part time at the Stockade Market located across from “A” Dock in Winchester Bay and is willing to swap fishing info with anyone.

Comments Off on Pete Heley Outdoors 5 / 22 / 2019