Pete Heley Outdoors 10 / 21 / 2015

Several fin clipped cohos were caught at Half Moon Bay last Thursday, which ironically, was the last day that wild coho were legal in Oregon’s coastal rivers that had a nonselective coho season. One of the finclipped cohos caught that day weighed 17 pounds.

While wild or unclipped cohos are dominating the catch numberswise, some Chinooks and finclipped cohos are still being caught. The STEP finclipped Chinook fishery at the mouth of Winchester Creek is well underway and fairly productive for anglers fishing with bobber and bait when sand shrimp is available. A few anglers are using roe or anchovies beneath their bobbers.

Crabbing in Half Moon Bay seems to have improved slightly now that the ocean is closed to crabbing. A few crabbers seem to be unaware that Oregon’s coastal rivers are open all year including the six weeks when the ocean is closed to both commercial and sport crabbing.

This year is winding down as one of the best ever for good-sized smallmouth bass on the Umpqua River and afternoon fishing should be productive for the next several weeks. The Coquille River should also be providing good smallmouth fishing and is the top choice for a combo smallmouth bass/striped bass trip.

Still no reports of salmon being caught in Siltcoos Lake or in that portion of the Siltcoos River that is open to salmon fishing. However fair numbers of searun cutthroats are in the Siltcoos system and hopefully the coho salmon will not be far behind.

Yellow perch fishing is good in virtually every local water that contains them. Bluegills and crappies at Loon Lake are suspending off shore and should be relatively easy to find for those anglers whose boats are equipped with electronic fish finders.

It’s that time of year when the crappie in southwest Washington’s Silver Lake move into Streeter’s Canal and become incredibly easy to catch. Some anglers will catch more than a thousand crappies in a two day fishing trip. The daily limit for anglers keeping their crappies is ten fish at least nine-inches in length. Some area anglers probably remember the winter crappie fishery that occurred more than ten years ago in the channel connecting North Tenmile Lake and South Tenmile Lake. The fishing was so good that it was not unusual to go more than an hour hooking a crappie on every cast. At the same time it was extremely difficult to hook a crappie in any other parts of the lake. Unfortunately, it was a one winter phenomenon and has yet to be repeated.

A few of the things I would like to see the ODFW address in Douglas County would be to reopen Mill Creek to fishing – if only for smallmouth bass. With the ODFW’s concern about the impact of smallmouth bass on the Umpqua system, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to make a stream that contains a lot of them, off limits to anglers.

The same goes for closing Soda Springs Reservoir to all fishing after establishing salmonid runs above the reservoir. Perhaps the ODFW wanted to ensure that only the fastest-swimming smolts survived their downstream migration.

I would also like the ODFW to clearly define angling boundaries on the pond at the confluence of the North Umpqua and South Umpqua rivers. The pond, which offers good fishing for a variety of panfish species, is primarily on the South Umpqua, As long as the fishing seasons on the North and South Umpquas don’t exactly match there will be confusion. A logical spot to separate the pond and the South Umpqua would be the riffle where the flowing waters of the South Umpqua meets the relatively slack water of the pond.

An aeration system would tremendously increase fish populations at the once private, now open to the public, large ponds at Yoncalla.

About Pete Heley

Writes and self-publishes Oregon and Washington fishing books.
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