Pete Heley Outdoors 3 / 22 /2017

Outside of continued cool, often rainy weather, most of the news this week has been good.

The ODFW Commission reversed their earlier vote regarding Columbia River gillnetting by a unanimous 7 – 0 vote and may now be considered “back on the reservation”. Kudos to the Washington Fish Commission for refusing to agree with the earlier vote of the Oregon Commission. Even better, the portion of salmon allotted to sport anglers was increased. Newspapers and various online fishing forums are giving this subject the in-depth coverage it deserves.

It was decided that the first of Oregon’s “free fishing weekends” this year will be April 22nd and 23rd – a weekend when there should be multiple fishing options. The regular “free fishing weekend”, before Oregon added additional such weekends will be June 3rd and 4th this year – also a good time to fish and that date should offer better crabbing.

Also, it appears that Soda Springs Reservoir, a 25 acre reservoir on the North Umpqua River will reopen to fishing next year. The reservoir has been closed the last few years following work on the dam that opened up several miles of the North Umpqua above the reservoir for salmon and steelhead spawning. The proposed regulation change was made after fisheries personnel actually observed large trout, mostly brown trout, feeding on smolts. Sometimes common sense does prevail.

The ocean Chinook salmon season opened as usual on March 15th. However, the season is “locked in” only through April at which time there will be an evaluation and the season may not last until its usual Oct. 31st closure.

A number of Coos County waters will be stocked with trout this week. Bradley Lake, Butterfield Lake and Saunders Lake as well as Johnson Mill Pond and Powers Pond will each receive 3,000 legal rainbows. Trophy rainbows of 15-inches or slightly longer will also be stocked, with 200 going into Bradley, 150 into Powers Pond and 50 into Johnson Mill Pond.

Also being stocked this week are Eel Lake with 2,500 legal rainbows. Both Upper and Lower Empire Lakes are each slated to receive 1,000 14-inch rainbows and 250 trophy rainbows.

Anglers visiting the northern Oregon coast should be aware that virtually all the area waters that receive trout plants between Tillamook and the Washington border will be stocked this week.

Bottomfishing in Marine waters deeper than 180 feet will close at the end of March.

Warmwater angling has been very disappointing with unusually cool water temperatures and inconsistent, often miserable weather. As of last week, many of the walkways to docks adjacent to coastal boat ramps have been under water. Horsfall Lake, which almost dries up every fall is now full to the point where it is blocking access to Horsfall Beach.

At least the days are getting longer.

Pete Heley works weekends at the Stockade Market & Tackle in Winchester Bay where he is more than happy to swap fishing info with anyone.

About Pete Heley

Writes and self-publishes Oregon and Washington fishing books.
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