Pete Heley Outdoors 7 / 22 / 2015

I applaud the ODFW in going proactive to protect Oregon’s fisheries during the current drought conditions and elevated water temperatures. In fact they may not have gone far enough, since many streams are still legal to fish before 2 pm daily. If the ODFW had not acted, virtually all of Oregon’s fisheries would have suffered a negative impact for years to come. Anglers can help make these restrictions more effective by limiting how often they fish Oregon streams and quitting well before 2 pm in waters currently under that restriction. Anglers should also avoid practicing “catch and release” fishing since low river flows and high water temperatures make it very difficult to release even warmwater fish, let alone trout and other salmonids.

In fact, under the current stream conditions. the most problematic anglers are going to be the ones most often thought of as the most sportsmanlike – anglers fishing with flyrods or light spinning gear since they usually take longer to land the fish they hook as these fish will be more stressed and the anglers practicing catch and release fishing as these fish will very likely suffer delayed mortality after being released.

Even anglers fishing lakes should concentrate their efforts in the early morning – even though not legally required to do so. The fishing will almost certainly be better and any fish an angler chooses to release will be more likely to survive. Please check the ODFW website for more information on a stream by stream basis.

Area anglers should consider themselves fortunate since the ocean and the tidewater areas of coastal streams are not restricted fishingwise.

When anglers can cross the Umpqua River Bar and fish the ocean, the salmon fishing has been fair to good with most of the cohos caught recently being the unclipped, unkeepable kind. Chinook salmon fishing in the ocean has been inconsistent, but should be improving. Most of the ocean salmon fishing has been taking place in water less than 200 feet deep and less than 30 feet beneath the surface.

Fishing for Chinooks in the Umpqua River below Reedsport has been fair in the early mornings. Very warm water near Reedsport and above will undoubtedly keep some Chinooks from going farther upriver. During high tides, ocean water will cool the lower Umpqua Riverby several degrees as far upriver as Gardiner.

For anglers wishing to cast spinners from the bank for salmon at Half Moon Bay and Osprey Point, the best time for salmon crossing the Umpqua River Bar is usually the first 90 minutes following high tide.

Strong winds have made surf fishing for pinkfin perch difficult, but a few anglers are still making decent perch catches in the Umpqua River above Winchester Bay.

Striped bass angling remains very slow on the Smith and Umpqua rivers and fair on the Coquille River where most of the stripers are too small to legally keep.

About Pete Heley

Writes and self-publishes Oregon and Washington fishing books.

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