Pete Heley Outdoors 1 / 27 / 2015

Through last weekend the trout stocking schedule for the Umpqua basin had not been posted on the ODFW website. Since the basin’s first trout plant last year occured in Cooper Creek Reservoir during the week beginning January 30th, it should be easy to see why some of us are getting nervous. Last year, Loon Lake and Lake Marie received their first trout plants during the weeks beginning on March 2nd and March 16th respectively. Let’s hope that the schedule is posted before our area’s first trout plants actually occur.

Most of the Florence-area waters that that receive trout plants will be stocked the second week of February.

Recent steelhead fishing has been mediocre as it has been difficult to target streams while they have peak fishing conditions, especially since those conditions may exist for mere hours at a time.

Eel Lake has been fishing well for native and carryover trout. Dwayne Schultz, of Reedsport, fished the lake with worms on Monday (Jan. 18th) and landed a 14.75-inch rainbow trout, a 12-inch cutthroat trout and an 11-inch coho that seemed in no hurry to migrate down the lake’s Eel Creek outlet. However, Dwayne’s most surprising catch occurred while he was trolling a hotshot plug at about two miles an hour back towards the launch ramp in an attempt to avoid an impending rainstorm. He hooked and landed a largemouth bass that had engulfed the plug deep in its throat. The bass did not fight much in the cold water, but it had likely used up most of its available energy catching up with the fast-moving lure.

Fishing for yellow perch remains slow at the County Park on South Tenmile Lake in Lakeside. The perch have either stopped biting due to cold water or have moved. Since virtually all of the recent fishing pressure directed at Tenmile’s yellow perch have been off the fishing dock at the county park – the perch wouldn’t have had to move very far to seemingly disappear.

Reedsport temperatures hit seventy degrees for one day last week, but unfortunately it was a one day event with little warning and not indicative of any trend. Had I had sufficient warning, I would definitely visited an extremely shallow Hauser-area pond in which the largemouth bass react quickly to an unseasonably warm winter day.

The lower end of Coos Bay, near Charlston, continues to dominate successful crab catches as the lower tidewater areas of the Umpqua, Siuslaw and Coquille rivers are too muddy and and currently have salinities too low to be prime habitat for legal-sized crabs.

Ocean bottomfishing continues to be productive, but ocean conditions often don’t allow access to productive off-shore reefs. Anglers fishing area jetties usually do well on striped surfperch and kelp greenling when using bait and blue or black rockfish when using small soft plastics on lead jigheads. At Winchester Bay, anglers can better deal with muddy water by fishing at high tide or fishing the ocean off the south side of the “Triangle”.

About Pete Heley

Writes and self-publishes Oregon and Washington fishing books.

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