Pete Heley Outdoors 12 / 23 / 2015

Stormy weather and colder temperatures slowed the yellow perch bite this week at the county park on South Tenmile Lake. Although a few perch were caught by anglers fishing with nightcrawlers, anglers fishing with the same micro-jigs that worked so well the previous two weeks were drawing blanks this week. Colder water temperatures were undoubtedly a factor in the slow perch bite, but the more than six foot rise in the lake level was also a factor. The perch bite will most likely improve with more stable weather conditions as the lake is relatively clear despite a surprising amount of suspended algae in the lake.

Bass Anglers fishing Tenmile and putting in some time have been rewarded with a few largemouth bass. Fishing with jigs in eight to 12 feet of water has been the most effective technique and this may be another winter where Tenmile’s bass bite never completely shuts down.

At the end of this month, the coho fisheries on Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes will close with a whimper as all three lakes had disappointing seasons. Of course it didn’t help that the main boat ramp at Siltcoos was closed for the entire salmon season for repairs.

On a more positive note, anglers with second rod licenses that are fishing these three lakes will actually be able to use two rods beginning January 1st after the coho season closes.

As I am writing this, Oregon’s crab season is still closed south of Heceta Head despite the fact that levels of domoic acid in crabs along the entire Oregon coast have recently tested at safe levels. I actually appreciate the ODFW and the ODA choosing to be very cautious since some crabs along the southern Oregon coast recently showed safe, but increasing levels of domoic acid.

Washington chose to delay opening the crab season along their south coast – even though their crabs tested safe, to avoid being overrun by crabbers from closed areas. In fact, there seems to be some reluctance to be the first area to open the commercial crab season for that very reason. When the season does officially open, there should be very little doubt that the crabs are very safe and very edible.

Anxious, “biting-at-the-bit” crabbers need to call the ODA shellfish safety hotline at 1-800-448-2474 before actually going crabbing. The hotline provides the most current information about shellfish safety closures. Additional information is available from ODA’s Food Safety Program at (503) 986-4720 or the ODA shellfish closures website.

Water levels may be a problem, but water clarity almost certainly won’t when Eel Creek opens for steelhead fishing on January 1st.

When weather and ocean conditions permit, Winchester Bay’s South Jetty has been fishing well for rockfish and greenling while fishing for redtail surfperch at several area beaches has been inconsistent. Anglers fishing the surf or off jetties need to use caution as both areas can be dangerous

Once again, I urge anglers to purchase their 2016 hunting and fishing licenses early and to pick up their free copies of the regulations booklets. Despite numerous changes, I really feel that the 2016 booklets are better written and easier to understand than the booklets of previous years.

Recreational crabbing is now open along the entire coasts of Washington and Oregon, but the commercial crabbing seasons of both states won’t start until January 4th.

About Pete Heley

Writes and self-publishes Oregon and Washington fishing books.
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