Pete Heley Outdoors 8 / 19 / 2015

There will be more summer season all-depth halibut openers halibut openers every two weeks on Friday and Saturday with the next one slated for August 21st and 22nd. Currently, 24,592 pounds of the 45,592 pound quota, or 54 % has been caught. 20,802 pounds of the quota remains uncaught and Newport has accounted for about 80 % of the summer all-depth catch for our region so far this season. The nearshore catch for the summer season has been more spread out. 9,086 pounds of the 21,076 pound quota has been caught so far with Newport accounting for 23 % of the catch so far.

There are some exciting salmon seasons slated for the near future. The nonselective ocean coho season will start on September 4th and will run through September 30th with a quota of 12,500 quota. This quota will almost certainly be increased because about 30,000 of the 55,000 quota for ocean finclipped cohos were not caught. The quota increase will not be on a fish for fish basis, but will be based on s “secret formula” that the decision-makers deem to be impact neutral.

On September 15th, the nonselective coho season for rivers will begin. Although the season will be relatively short, the Umpqua River is not expected to have a quota this year. Last year’s quota only lasted two weeks.

Salmon fishing at Winchester Bay is on the upswing. Currently, salmon anglers fishing the ocean are only allowed to keep Chinook salmon measuring at least 24-inches in length. In the Umpqua and other rivers sub-adult salmon referred to as jacks are also legal. Jack salmon, to be legal, must measure at least 15-inches and must be less than 20-inches long – if a coho and must be less than 24-inches long if a Chinook. Jack salmon do not have to be recorded on an angler’s salmon card, but coho jacks must be finclipped. Many anglers do not realize that finclipped cohos are legal to keep the entire year on the Umpqua and some other Oregon rivers. However, unless there is an exceptional amount of forage in the lower river, they are only available when they start ascending their rivers on their spawning runs in late August. There has been a few cohos caught already on the Umpqua below Reedsport.

Bankbound anglers casting spinners at Half Moon Bay, Osprey Point and Gardiner as well as boat anglers trolling herring and sardines along the South Jetty and near the Umpqua River Bar are starting to enjoy more consistent success. There was a lot of talk about a spinner flinger that managed to hook and land an exceptional Chinook at Half Moon Bay that weighed more than 40 pounds – after being gutted.

There are still a lot of Chinook salmon stacked up below Reedsport. As the water temperature gradually drops, the bit will improve, but if it drops very much, those fish will continue upriver.

The “post-2 pm” restriction on salmonids remains in effect on the Umpqua River above tidewater, but was lifted last week on the Rogue River and nearly three weeks ago on the Deschutes River.

Crabbing at Winchester Bay remains very, very good. Some ocean crabbers did very well in the ocean last week in water as shallow as 25 feet. Most ocean crabbers are crabbing in about 40 feet of water. The lower Umpqua River, especially at Half Moon Bay, has also been crabbing very well. Crabbing on the Umpqua above the entrance to the East Boat Basin has been disappointing – which most likely means that crabs entering the lower river from the ocean are getting caught before they get above Half Moon Bay.

About Pete Heley

Writes and self-publishes Oregon and Washington fishing books.
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