Pete Heley Outdoors 9 / 16 / 2015

The nonselective coho season for many of Oregon’s coastal rivers started Tuesday and while the Umpqua River does not have a quota this year and will be open through October 15th (barring an emergency closure) anglers are still subject to their individual daily and season limits for unclipped coho salmon of one and two salmon respectively. During last year’s season, many anglers reached their individual season quota for unclipped coho in the first two or three days of the season and could only keep Chinook salmon or finclipped coho salmon. Of course some of them discovered the “magic” of handwritten one day fishing licenses – which allows them to continue keeping unclipped coho salmon as long as they can afford to buy the daily licenses.

Because the Umpqua River does not have a quota this year, last year’s mass exodus to the Siuslaw when the Umpqua’s quota was reached is unlikely to reoccur. That said, the Siuslaw, Coquille and Coos rivers are starting to produce good salmon fishing. Being a much larger river, the Umpqua seems to start getting its salmon at least a month earlier than other area rivers. But any of the previously mentioned streams will be cable of producing good salmon fishing between now and late October.

Umpqua River anglers need to keep in mind that the nonselective coho season only extends upriver as far as the Scottsburg Bridge.

Fishing success for ocean coho has been inconsistent. Strong winds, along with rough bar and ocean conditions has limited the opportunities anglers have had to take advantage of the nonselective ocean coho season which started on September 4th.

Fair numbers of Chinook salmon are showing up at Sawyers Rapids. In a few weeks, coho salmon will start holding in the large shallow pool a few hundred yards below the Sawyers chute. Since this area is above the Scottsburg Bridge, the only coho salmon legal to keep are the finclipped ones.

Jack salmon are legal to keep in Oregon’s rivers, but not in the ocean. Jack salmon are sub-adult salmon at least 15-inches in length up to and including 20-inches for coho salmon and up to and including 24-inches for Chinooks. Coho jacks generally have to be finclipped to be legal to keep, but last year anglers were allowed to keep one unclipped jack coho during the coastal rivers’ nonselective coho season. The daily limit on jack salmon is five, but anglers are expected to quit fishing as soon as they retain their daily limit of two adult salmon.

Most of the area lakes are offering improving largemouth bass fishing while smallmouth fishing on the Umpqua remains very good. As for the Coquille River smallmouth fishing, the lower reaches of the South Fork seems to be the most productive for decent-sized smallies. The Coquille continues to offer Oregon’s best fishing for striped bass for anglers fishing at dawn, dusk or at night. Most of the fish caught have been sub-adults measuring less than 24-inches in length.

About Pete Heley

Writes and self-publishes Oregon and Washington fishing books.
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