Pete Heley Outdoors 8/27/2014

The nonselective season for ocean coho salmon starts on Saturday, August 30th. That means that any ocean coho salmon at least 16-inches in length is legal to keep – subject to the two salmon daily limit. The season will run through September 30th or until the 20,000 coho quota is met. Since both finclipped and wild coho count towards the quota, the nonselective ocean coho season may be a short one.

For those of you interested in the catch statistics on the finclipped ocean coho season that ended on August 10th and did not find it on the ODFW web site, The final catch statistics were 48,671 finclipped coho caught and kept – or 60.8 % of the 80,000 fish quote

The catch varied greatly by coastal location. The northern Oregon coast (Florence to Garibaldi) accounted for 87.8 % of the finclipped cohos that were caught and kept. The southern Oregon coast (Winchester Bay to Brookings) accounted for 81.4 % of the retained Chinook salmon.

Crabbing is fair to good off the docks at Winchester Bay, very good for boat crabbers in the lower Umpqua River and excellent in the ocean. Ocean crabbing is legal through October 15th for noncommercial sport crabbers.

On an extremely irritating note, a man spent considerable time last Friday at Winchester Bay’s East Boat Basin telling anyone who would listen that it was illegal to keep coho salmon. According to the report I heard, he even managed to convince one angler to throw his two perfectly legal cohos, taken along the South Jetty, into the dumpster to avoid getting a ticket.

While this bozo may have meant well, his information was completely bogus. Finclipped coho salmon in the Umpqua River are legal to keep the entire year – subject to the two salmon daily limit.

The annual crab contest (at Winchester Bay is currently underway and will run through the month of September.

A unique feature of this particular contest is that there is no entry fee required, yet one lucky crabber can win $1,000.

You don’t even need a boat as most of the tagged crabs taken each season are taken by dockbound crabbers.

The way the contest works. is that a number of tagged crabs are released into the lower Umpqua River at Winchester Bay.

When a lucky crabber catches a tagged crab (it will have a numbered metal spinner blade attached to one of it’s hind legs) they need to take the crab. including the spinner blade tag into the Sportsman Cannery.

Upon turning in the crab. they will immediately win a hat (they’re nice) or other nice prizes and also become eligible for for the preselected number for the grand prize.

It is important to realize –  that the thousand dollars will be awarded even if nobody catches the crab with the tag representing the grand prize – instead of a lump sum, the thousand dollars will be awarded in three separate cash awards of $500. $300 and $200 – with the numbers drawn at the contest’s close from the tag numbers of the crabs that were caught during the contest.

This is the week that Lake Marie gets its annual plant of trophy rainbows. This year, 800 of the 16-inch fish are slated to be stocked and fishing should be good. This annual plant usually attracts fly anglers from a wide area.

Labor Day Weekend also means it’s time for our local STEP program’s Salmon Derby. Derby tickets cover all two and a half days of the contest and cost $10.00 for an individual and $25.00 for a boat (which can have three or more people). Tickets can be purchased at The Stockade Market in Winchester Bay, Ace Hardware and Turman Tackle in Reedsport and from STEP members at the boat ramp in Reedsport and the East Basin Boat Ramp in Winchester Bay.

As usual, the heaviest salmon weighed in on Saturday, Sunday and Monday will be worth $150. The entrant that weighs in the heaviest salmon for the entire derby will win an additional $500. Each legal salmon weighed in during the derby gives an angler an additional chance to win one of the three $100 prizes and there is also a $100 lucky ticket stub prize.

The awarda ceremony will be somewhat different this year as it will be part of a barbeque at the Marina Activity Center (MAC) in Winchester Bay hosted by the  south coast chapter of the Coastal Conaervation Association. The BBQ starts at noon and the Awards Ceremony, which includes a number of raffles and drawings, starts at 1:00 pm. Bedrocks will provide hamburgers, sausage, and salads for $10.00 per plate. Beer and wine can be purchased, separately.

The South Coast Chapter of CCA, Oregon is focused on providing more fishing opportunity to sport fishermen from Florence to Port Orford.

About Pete Heley

Writes and self-publishes Oregon and Washington fishing books.
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