Monthly Archives: June 2019

Mardon Resort / Potholes Reservoir Fishing Report

The current water level on the Potholes Reservoir is 1041.54 feet – down 1.04 feet from last week and down close to 4.50 feet from the high water mark this year. The water temps in the sand dunes are in the mid- 70’s. The water temps on the main Reservoir are in mid-70’s as well.
The sand dunes continue to be good for Largemouth bass. Fish the sand dunes with ½ oz jigs and craw trailers, Swim Jigs, Senkos and frogs. The Strike King Rage Swimm’R has been producing well. The Smallmouth seemed to have moved out of the dunes and anglers are finding them on the face of the dam and on the rock piles around Goose Island. Fish Booyah finesse jigs, Wacky Rigged Senkos, Crankbaits, Tubes and Swimbaits for the Smallmouth.
The walleye fishing has been a little spotty this week. The walleye have spread out and are still in and around the weed beds. Keep at least one rod as close to the weeds as you can – even if it means cleaning weeds off here and there. Fish the West Arm, Crab Creek and the Lind Coulee in 6-20 feet of water. 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 in the channels and next to the weed beds.
Not many reports on the trout this past week. The reports that came in were decent – 16-24” fish with 3-5 per boat. Fish in front of Medicare Beach to the Mouth of Crab Creek and in front of the State Park. Troll Wicked Lures Trout Killers, Needlefish spoons, #7 Flicker Shads and Shad Raps.
Crappie and Bluegill are being caught back in and on the face of the sand dunes, up Crab Creek and in the Lind Coulee. Fish Gulp alive minnows, Trout Magnets, #5 Flicker Shads and Bobby Garland Baby Shads around the willows for panfish.
Call the MarDon Tackle Store for the latest fishing info at 509-346-2651.

A happy group of anglers show off a nice catch of Walleye and a big Bluegill caught while fishing with Shelby Ross of Ross Outddor Adventures!

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Winchester Bay Salmon Fishing

Winchester Bay salmon have been easy to find and cooperative.

Not all of the recent salmon catches have been cohos.

Another Winchester Bay chinook. – all photos courtesy of Bryan Gill and “The Umpqua Angler.”

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Pete Heley Outdoors 6 / 26 / 2019

The European green crab, an invasive species of concern to biologists has recently been found at several locations along the Oregon coast, including Bandon., Coos Bay and Winchester Bay. It is currently present in Puget Sound where fisheries biologists worry about its impact on oysters, mussels, clams and small crabs. In Maine it has been found to compete with juvenile lobsters for food

Hopefully, its impact locally will be nominal.

A new law has passed both state house and senate requiring a “waterway access permit” for small non-motorized craft over 10 feet. Canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, rowboats, etc will require a $17 annual permit ($30 for 2 years). The permit is transferrable though so it goes with the operator not the vessel. and goes into effect in 2020.

The Dalles is your only choice for oversize sturgeon as Bonneville to Skamania Island is closed to all sturgeon fishing to protect sturgeon during the spawn.

The ocean finclipped coho season opened with a whimper this Saturday as rough bar conditions severly limited participation. several nice-sized chinooks were caught last week by anglers casting spinners from the bank at Half Moon Bay. The very few boats that managed to reach the ocean out of Winchester Bay did find some coho salmon – almost all of which were unkeepable unclippoed fish.

Some pinkfin anglers have commented on the small size of the unborn perch – which might indicate the spawn is far from over. In the last few weeks, a few fall chinook have found the “pinkfin-intended sand shrimp irresistible.

Possibly Oregon’s most overlooked marine fishery, sand dabs, are a delicious small flatfish that sometimes suspend well above the bottom.. In northern and central California sand dab tournaments are becoming increasingly popular with the winners usually catching 200+ fish.

This year’s awesome shad fishing on the Umpqua River is winding down and may be pretty much over in two to three weeks.

An increasingly hot crappie bite is occurring off the fishing dock at Tugman Park on Eel Lake. as the crappie finally finish spawning. Bluegills are also becoming more active. and willing to bite. I hope the ODFW notices that the only time the fishing dock has more than a half-dozen anglers on is when the lake’s warmwater panfish bite is going well.

The improved striped bass fishing this year is a good example of how important even small improvements in habitat can be. This year’s removal of minimum lengths and bag limits on stripers was more than counterbalanced by small temperature increases in the ocean and Smith,Umpqua and Coquille rivers.

If similar beneficial changes would happen regarding the habitat of salmon and steelhead, the amount of improvement might be surprising. Changes I’d like to see would include an improvement in spawning areas; higher snd cooler river flows and better ocean conditions.

In fact, an improvement in ocean forage conditions would be my most hoped for improvement as newly-arriving salmonid smolts would quickly outgrow potential predators allowing them to survive to maturity in much greater numbers.

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Mardon Resort / Potholes Reservoir Fishing Report

The current water level on the Potholes Reservoir is 1044.13-feet – down 1.27 feet from last week. The water temps in the sand dunes are in the mid to upper 70’s. The water temps on the main Reservoir are in the low to mid 70’s.

The sand dunes continue to produce good catches of both Largemouth and Smallmouth bass. 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.

The walleye remain in the sand dunes and channels throughout the dunes. Fisher the West Arm, Crab Creek and the Lind Coulee in 6-20 feet of water 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.

Trolling for trout has been productive this week – trolling #7 Flicker Shads between 2-3 miles per hour. Fish in front of Medicare Beach and in front of the State Park both from shore and by boat. Bank fisherman are using Power Bait, Mice Tails, 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.
Nice crappie and Bluegill are being caught back in and on the face of the sand dunes and up Crab Creek. Fish Gulp alive minnows, Trout Magnets and #5 Flicker shads around the willows for panfish.

A proud Cam Cox – age 4 – from North Plains, OR caught the biggest Walleye on the boat using his 4 foot kids rod – awesome job Cam!


Pic2: Isabelle Barajas caught her very first fish ever – a 15.13 oz Yellow Perch on the Potholes Reservoir while fishing with her Grandmother – Katie Lang of MarDon Resort!


Call the MarDon Tackle Store for the latest fishing info at 509-346-2651.

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Pete Heley Outdoors 06 / 12 / 2019

As for hot local fisheries, the redtail surfperch spawning in the Umpqua River above Winchester Bay went on a torrid bite. last week. Last weekend was Washington’s Free Fishing Weekend. Oregon’s next Free Fishing Weekend is on August 17th and 18th. An additional Free Fishing Weekend will occur on November 29th and 30th.

The last two times I drove into Tugman Park , there were at least six anglers fishing off the fishing dock. The only time I’ve seen that many people fishing off that dock is when the lake’s warmwater fish were active. So I naturally assumed that the panfishing was heating up. a fishing buddy fished the lake two consecutive days and found the black crappies to be very cooperative, the small largemouths less so and the bluegills not quite active enough to actually bite. Unfortunately the crappies averaged small and appeared quite thin as did the smaller largemouths The crappies were just finishing the spawn and were quite dark Despite their small average size, a few 10-11-inch fish were present. the larger bass in Eel Lake seemed to have totally disappeared. – at least as far as anglers are concerned.

Western Oregon trout plants are pretty much over until fall. Lakes still holding fair numbers of planted trout include Cleawox., Saunders and Eel.

Striped bass were observed chasing baitfish near the Gardiner boat ramp last week. If you really want to catch a striper during daylight hours. try the Coquille River near Riverton about ten miles east of Bandon.

The run of female redtail surfperch into the lower Umpqua River above Winchester Bay is still going on. and the bite has become much more consistent. and there has been temporary shortages of sand shrimp – usually followed rather quickly by shortages of Berkley Gulp sandworms.

Although it is still early in the run, there have been a number of boat limits were caught last weekend. and the run should last through July. Fishing success has been spotty. Most surfperch anglers limit their fishing success by avoiding all logic when it comes to their fishing strategies. I’m convinced the most consistent strategy is to start early. Many surfperch anglers plan their start around certain mid-tides and that is wonderful if that certain midtide is the one with the best bite. The “hot bite” may vary “tide-wise. The perch may be in different locations in the three miles above Winchester Bay and may internsect with anglers at varying spots and tidal stages. Early morning arrivals also do not have to worry about boat traffic making the perch less aggressive. They also are less affected the strong winds that usually start by mid-morning. This year’s, early arrivals are less affected by the weekend traffic congestion in Reedsport.

This avoidance of logic is not restricted to boaters targeting the pinkfin spawning run into the lower Umpqua River.

Anglers fishing the beach for surfperch would be well-advised to trade in their monofilament line for s super braid. The advantages are numerous. . The no-stretch feature of the braid helps detect light bites and in hook-setting. At less than one-third the diameter a superbraid allows longer more effortless casting – and the thinner diameter is less effected by tidal currents to the point of allowing the use of lighter weights.

The hottest local fishery continues to be Umpqua River shad fishing. The Yellow Creek area is still producing well as of last weekend., but most of the fishing pressure has shifted to Sawyers Rapids. Most of the shad are just below the chute on the opposite side of the river from Sawyers Rapids RV Park.

Bank anglers can catch some shad on the Highway 38 side of the river by fishing the chute entering the large shallow pool about 500 feet below the rapids.

Because of rough ocean conditionsit it appears that the spring all-depth halibut season wil lnot meet its quota of 171,103 pounds . June 6-8 is the last fixed opener for the spring season and back-up dates will every other Thursday through Saturday until the spring quota is met or approached.

The summer all-depth halibut season is set to start on Friday August 2nd with back-up dates every other Friday and Saturday until the summer quota is met or approached..

Ocean salmon fishing at least for cohos should be much better this season. The selective or finclipped ocean coho season will run from June 22nd through August 25th or until the 90,000 finclipped coho quota is met. fishing days will be

Chinook salmon fishing in the ocean is ongoing and slated to run through October. Recently, there have been a few decent chinook catches in the ocean out of Winchester Bay.

Cleawox Lake received nearly 4,000 trophy rainbows in the last few weeks.

It seems that there is growing amount of fishing pressure directed at walleyes in Lookout Point Reservoir including some guides. Almost all the fishing pressure occurs after dark and it seems that most of the walleyes are being caught on the north side of the reservoir.

One can reasonably expect ODFW trout plants into coastal waters to be slowing down as many waters become less suitable for receiving trout plants.

Loon Lake is western Oregon’s best bluegill fishery – and it’s not even close.

Loon Lake is also our area’s best spot to catch a footlong crappie.

If I were targeting big crappies, I would fish the docks on the summer home side of the lake and I wouldn’t use normal-sized crappie lures..

Last year, I discovered that Loon’s largest crappie were not interested in anything smaller than a 3-inch swimbait.

Some informational tidbita from the latest issue of the Columbia Basin Bulletin include After 6-Year Ban, Barbed Hooks Return For Columbia River Salmon, Steelhead Fishing, Harvest Managers Say Catch/Release Mortality Rates Unchanged With Barbless; Dismal Returns Make Summer Chinook Season Unlikely

* The Pike Danger: Will Economic Impact Report Light A Fire On Suppression Efforts?

Some Eugene-area TV stations recently ran some videos regarding the severe drawdown of Fall Creek Reservoir.

While the initial headline extolling the extermination of invasive species in the reservoir had me thinking they were talking about zebra and quagga mussels I was shocked when they were talking about black crappies and largemouth bass.

It seems that salmon and steelhead smolts had a difficult time passing through the dam on their downstream migration. Fall Creek Reservoir . The reservoir has undergone severe annual drawdowns for more than a decade and the crappie and largemouth bass fisheries suffered major declines. But more than a decade ago, Fall Creek Reservoir had a highly regarded largemouth fishery and it also had an overlooked black crappie fishery for fish up to and even exceeding three pounds.

So it was difficult to listen these TV news announcers both of whom appeared to be in their 30’s gleefully announcing the extinction of the crappies and largemouth bass in Fall Creek Reservoir

The newscasters were obviously unaware that both black crappies and largemouth bass had been swimming around Lane County waters for more than 40 years before they were born.

a biologist from the ODFW office in Springfield assured me that the extermination of the crappies and bass was a byproduct of trying to help the reservoir’s outmigrating smolt find passage through the dam and the shape and bottom contours of the reservoir did not offer any havens for the reservoir’s warmwater fish. at much lower water levels.

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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Fall Creek Reservoir – TV News – The Other Side of the Story

Some Eugene-area TV stations recently ran some videos regarding the severe drawdown of Fall Creek Reservoir.

While the initial headline extolling the extermination of invasive species in the reservoir had me thinking they were talking about zebra and quagga mussels I was shocked when they were talking about black crappies and largemouth bass.

It seems that salmon and steelhead smolts had a difficult time passing through the dam on their downstream migration. Fall Creek Reservoir . The reservoir has undergone severe annual drawdowns for more than a decade and the crappie and largemouth bass fisheries suffered major declines. But more than a decade ago, Fall Creek Reservoir had a highly regarded largemouth fishery and it also had an overlooked black crappie fishery for fish up to and even exceeding three pounds.

So it was difficult to listen these TV news announcers both of whom appeared to be in their 30’s gleefully announcing the extinction of the crappies and largemouth bass in Fall Creek Reservoir

The newscasters were obviously unaware that both black crappies and largemouth bass had been swimming around Lane County waters for more than 40 years before they were born.

a biologist from the ODFW office in Springfield assured me that the extermination of the crappies and bass was a byproduct of trying to help the reservoir’s outmigrating smolt find passage through the dam and the shape and bottom contours of the reservoir did not offer any havens for the reservoir’s warmwater fish. at much lower water levels.

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Umpqua River Pinkfin Shows Big Improvement – With Larger Perch Showing Up.

Jumbo Pinkfin Photo Courtesy of Norma Evans and “A BENT ROD BEATS WORKIN’ Guide Service”.

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Mardon Resort / Fishing Report

MarDon Fresh News – June 7, 2019
The current water level on the Potholes Reservoir is 1045.40-feet – down about 4.0 inches from last week. The water 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 sand dunes are producing impressive catches of both Largemouth and Smallmouth bass. 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.
The walleye 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 fishing has been outstanding this past week! Fish in front of 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. Top Lakes continue to be been the Hamptons and the lakes in the Widgeon – Pillar chain. Top Baits have been Worms and marshmallows, Berkley Power Bait, Rooster Tails, and Berkley Mouse Tails.
The Channel Catfish fishing is picking up on the Potholes Reservoir – a 21 pounder was brought in this past week. Fish around the mouth of Frenchman’s Wasteway and up the Lind Coulee. Anglers are using Magic Bait and worms for the Channel Cats.

Dave Schultz with a 7.80 pound Rainbow Trout caught trolling on the Potholes Reservoir!

ason Couch from Selah, WA with a 21 pound Channel Cat – the biggest one weighed so far this year!

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Pete Heley Outdoors 6 / 05 / 2019

The run of female redtail surfperch into the lower Umpqua River above Winchester Bay is still going on.
. Although it is still early in the run, there have been a number of boat limitswere caught last weekend. and the run should last through July. Fishing success has been spotty. Most surfperch anglers limit their fishing success by avoiding all logic when it comes to their fishing strategies. I’m convinced the most consistent strategy is to start early. Many surfperch anglers plan their start around certain mid-tides and that is wonderful if that certain midtide is the one with the best bite. The “hot bite” may vary “tide-wise. The perch may be in different locations in the three miles above Winchester Bay and may iternsect with anglers at varying spots and tidal stages. Early morning arrivals also do not have to worry about other boaters making the perch less aggressive. They also are less affected the strong winds that usually start by mid-morning. This year’s, early arrivals are less affected by the weekend traffic congestion in Reedsport.

This avoidance of logic is not restricted to boaters targeting the pinkfin spawning run into the lower Umpqua River.

Anglers fishing the beach for surfperch would be well-advised to trade in their monofilament line for s super braid. The advantages are numerous. . The no-stretch feature of the braid helps detect light bites and in hook-setting. At less than one-third the diameter a superbraid allows longer more effortless casting – and the thinner diameter is less effected by tidal currents to the point of allowing the use of lighter weights.

If you enjoyed the “Free Fishing Weekend” on June 1st and 2nd – The state of Washington has their version of “Free Fishing Weekend this coming weekend of June 7th and 8th.

The hottest local fishery continues to be Umpqua River shad fishing. The Yellow Creek area is still producing well, but most of the fishing pressure has shifted to Sawyers Rapids. Most of the shad are just below the chute on the opposite side of the river from Sawyers Rapids RV Park.

Bank anglers can catch some shad on the Highway 38 side of the river by fishing the chute entering the large shallow pool about 500 feet below the rapids.

Because of rough ocean conditionsit appears that the spring all-depth halibut season willnot meet its quota of 171,103 pounds . June 6-8 is the last fixed opener for the spring season and back-up dates will every other Thursday through Saturday until the spring quota is met or approached.

The summer all-depth halibut season is set to start on Friday August 2nd with back-up dates every other Friday and Saturday until the summer quota is met or approached..

Ocean salmon fishing at least for cohos should be much better this season. The selective or finclipped ocean coho season will run from June 22nd through August 25th or until the 90,000 finclipped coho quota is met.

Chinook salmon fishing in the ocean is ongoing and slated to run through October. Recently, there have been a few decent chinook catches in the ocean out of Winchester Bay.

Cleawox Lake received nearly 4,000 trophy rainbows in the last few weeks.

It seems that there is growing amount of fishing pressure directed at walleyes in Lookout Point Reservoir including some guides. Almost all the fishing pressure occurs after dark and it seems that most of the walleyes are being caught on the north side of the reservoir.

One can reasonably expect ODFW trout plants into coastal waters to be slowing down as many waters become less suitable for receiving trout plants.

Loon Lake is western Oregon’s best bluegill fishery – and it’s not even close.

Loon Lake is also our area’s best spot to catch a footlong crappie.

If I were targeting big crappies, I would fish the docks on the summer home side of the lake and I wouldn’t use normal-sized crappie lures..

Last year, I discovered that Loon’s largest crappie were not interested in anything smaller than a 3-inch swimbait.

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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