Pete Heley Outdoors 12 / 24 / 2014

It’s getting to the very end of the Chinook salmon fishing along the southern Oregon coast. That said, guide Andy Martin of moc.oohaynull@gnihsifsrevirdliw took a family salmon fishing last week where they fished four different rivers in four days – and they hooked salmon on all of them. The rivers fished were the Elk, Sixes and Chetco in southern Oregon and the Smith River in northern California.

As those Chinook fisheries wind down, the winter steelhead fishing will improve over the next several weeks. Closer to home, Tenmile Creek has been producing winter steelhead for the last few weeks – and it seldom muddies up. Ringo’s Lakeside Marina (541-759-3312) would be a good place for fishing info as they are currently sponsoring a season-long steelhead contest on Tenmile Creek.

A point to keep in mind when fishing for steelhead on Tenmile Creek is that due to a very active STEP program, almost every finclipped and keepable steelhead will leave Tenmile Creek and ascend Eel Creek. Eel Creek will not open for finclipped steelhead until Jan. 1st, but the recent heavy rains should ensure that there are fair numbers of steelhead in the creek when it does open. The heavy rainfall should also reduce the number of coho salmon in the creek. Coho salmon are not legal to keep in Eel Creek, but usually account for a substantial portion of the fish caught in early January – and there are a few anglers that cannot seem to tell the difference between a dark, unkeepable coho salmon and  legal finclipped winter steelhead.

The coho salmon fisheries on Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes will remain open through December, but almost all the salmon currently in the lakes and available to be caught are dark.

There are some nice-sized trout available to be caught in the larger area lakes that have oulets that reach the ocean. There won’t be many anglers trying for them and the anglers stillfishing with bait will usually outfish those trolling at this time of year.

The overlooked fishery worth some time and effort is for jumbo yellow perch, which will be in pre-spawn mode for the next couple of months. The fishing may be rather slow, but some of the fattest and heaviest perch of the year will be caught.

As for bottomfish, lingcod should gradually be moving into more shallow water and becoming more available to jetty anglers. Anglers need to be aware that cabezon will be legal (one fish daily at least 16-inches in length) only through December.

About Pete Heley

Writes and self-publishes Oregon and Washington fishing books.
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