In an Associated Press article that appeared in the Saturday edition of the Register Guard, a major fishing charter operation headquartered in Depoe Bay was charged with racketeering. Owners Tim and Julie Harmon, six boat captains and two other employees were arrested. According to Oregon State Police lieutenant Bill Fugate, the defendents were charging customers for daily fishing licenses and pocketing the money instead of purchasing the licenses from the ODFW. The customers never received an actual fishing license, but instead got a receipt for the money they paid.
The defendents, now released from jail, face a hearing on August 17th and the owners have been ordered to stay in Oregon and not sell any company assets or any fishing licenses. Besides racketeering, other charges facing the Harmons and other defendebts include theft, aggravated theft, failure to remit money from license sales and violations of Oregon wildlife laws.
Depending somewhat on the magnitude of the lost revenue to the state of Oregon, one can reasonably expect some restructuring of the handwritten portion of Oregon’s fishing and shellfish license sales.
Although neither happened in Oregon, sturgeon made the national news twice last week. Tragedy occurred when a sturgeon leaped aboard a boat on Florida’s Suwannee River, killing five year old Jaylon Rippy and sending her mother and nine year old brother to the hospital . Sturgeon-boater incidents have been on the rise, possibly due to lower river flows and increased boating traffic. Of course, the faster the boat speed, the more likely such collisions are serious.
Melodie Dowdy, who along with her husband Craig, owns and operates YJ Guide Service, hooked and landed an extremely rare albino sturgeon while fishing below Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River in southeast Washington. The albino sturgeon measured slightly more than six feet in length and had blue eyes and some light pink hues near the tail. The fish was released after a quick photograph. Earlier that day, the Dowdy’s caught and released a nine foot long white sturgeon with normal coloration.
The ocean finclipped coho salmon season is still underway and will continue through August 9th or until the quota of 55,000 finclipped cohos is reached – whichever is earlier. Recently, it seems that unkeepable unclipped coho salmon have made up a larger portion of the catch. Many salmon anglers are targeting the Chinook salmon that have entered the Umpqua River on their spawning run that are in a holding pattern below Reedsport because of very warm water. Best river results have been in the early morning or when a fairly high tide pushes cooler ocean water upriver at least as far as Gardiner.
There seems to be enough baitfish near the Umpqua River mouth to entice nonspawning feeder salmon into the lower river, but Half Moon Bay appears to lack its usual spinner flingers.
Tuna have been caught as close as 20 miles out at Charlston and Newport, but the anglers that headed out last Saturday had their trips ruined by high winds and the ensuing rough ocean conditions.
There are still good numbers of redtailed surfperch in the Umpqua River above Winchester Bay, but recent fishing success has been iffy and many of the perch have spawned and already headed back to the ocean, or will soon do so. It seems that an increasing number of anglers are returning to area beaches to catch their surfperch.
Crabbing has been fair off the docks at Winchester Bay and very very good at Half Moon Bay and in the ocean with many ocean crabbers reporting their best success at a depth of 40 feet.
Somewhat overlooked because of the improved crabbing and salmon fishing, the few anglers fishing the South Jetty last weekend reported excellent fishing for striped surfperch and bottomfish.A surprising number of flounder were caught last weekend at Winchester Bay by anglers fishing with sand shrimp.
The shad run in the mainstem Umpqua is very close to being over although there are still fair numbers in the South Umpqua River. There has also been recent reports of late running shad in the Coquille River.
The Umpqua River is running very low, very clear and very warm – perfect for sight-fishing for smallmouth bass with soft plastics and the fishing has been exceptional. One angler last week caught smallmouths as far downstream as the Elk Viewing Area.