Pete Heley Outdoors 6 / 22 / 2016

Spring halibut season is over for the central Oregon coast subarea and many anglers that fished the first(and last) provisional spring opener last Friday and Saturday took advantage of warm water and good ocean conditions to troll successfully for tuna on the way back to port after halibut fishing. Lots of tuna were caught with the best results occurring south of Winchester Bay and especially west of Charleston – with many tuna taken only 20 miles offshore. Lots of different lures caught fish, but the “Mexican Flag” color pattern seemed to be especially effective. This year’s tuna season is looking especially promising.

The Umpqua River pinkfin fishery is still going strong and should last through the month of July, but last weekend cooperative fish were tough to find. One angler said he finally found the perch – in the fifteenth spot he fished.

Here’s a few ways to increase your chances when pursuing these spawning pinkfins. (1) – When first anchoring at a spot, cast to the sides of your boat rather than dropping your baits over the side – because the perch won’t be directly beneath your boat – at least not for several minutes. (2) – Avoid fishing near groups of boats that are not catching perch. They are basically telling you where the fish aren’t – although in rare instances the boats may have enough bait in the water to chum the perch in. (3) – The perch are in almost constant movement and usually when you are catching perch and the bite stops, it’s because the perch have moved, rather than quit biting. – and they usually move in the same direction as the tide is flowing. (4) The perch tend to bite best when there is noticeable tidal current, but fishing in the early morning offers two advantages in that boat traffic has not yet spooked the perch and the wind is not yet a factor.

Some striped bass are being caught on Smith River and striper carcasses were left in the dumpster at the fish cleaning station at Winchester Bay’s East Boat Basin last week. Don’t expect much striper talk as these anglers tend to be a secretive lot.

Anglers casting spinners from the bank at Half Moon Bay and Osprey Point are still catching a few salmon each week and and fishing success should improve over the next several weeks.

The ocean finclipped coho salmon season opens Saturday with a quota of 26,000 fish. If the Chinook salmon move closer to the surface and become reachable by sport anglers – the ocean salmon fishing could be good. Some Chinook salmon will begin entering the lower Umpqua River on their spawning run in early July.

Crabbing at Winchester Bay continues to improve with ocean crabbers enjoying the best success, but crabbing at Half Moon Bay is also productive. Crabs are becoming a nuisance to flounder anglers fishing near the RV park in Winchester Bay. Some anglers have discovered that the crab problem can be minimized by slowly, but constantly moving their flounder-intended baits across the bottom.

I recently read an interesting article in the USA Today newspaper that stated that the annual summertime low-oxygen area in Maryland’s Cheasapeak Bay would be normal-sized this year. I thought that sounded pretty good in an era of ever-increasing air and water temperatures – until the last part of the article went on to state that this year’s low-oxygen area would have the same water volume as it would take to fill 2.3 million Olympic-sized swimming pools.

About Pete Heley

Writes and self-publishes Oregon and Washington fishing books.
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