Pete Heley Outdoors 5 / 24 / 2017

Most of the area lakes that receive trout plants will be stocked between now and the first week in June. After the first week in June, area trout plants will cease until the second week in October. The following Florence-area waters received trout plants this week: Cleawox Lake (1,900 12-inch trout); Alder Lake (425 12-inch rainbows and 36 15-inchers); Buck Lake (425 12-inchers); Dune Lake (425 12-inchers and 36 15-inchers) and Perkins Lake (225 12-inchers). Slated to be stocked next week is Cleawox Lake with 1,750 12-inch rainbows.

Most of the Umpqua District waters that receive trout plants are scheduled to be planted next week including Lake Marie and Loon Lake each of which will receive 2,000 12-inch trout. Coos County lakes slated to be stocked next week include Upper and Lower Empire lakes (1,000 14-inchers and 150 15-inchers each); North and South Tenmile lakes (3,000 legal rainbows each) and Millicoma Pond (500 legal rainbows).

The first all-depth halibut opener (May 11th through May 13th) was a bust due to rough bar and ocean conditions. The Betty Kay, in Charlston, did get out and caught a quick boat limit of halibut. Last week’s opener (May 18th through May 20th) was quite different as virtually enery body was able to fish and success was outstanding with numerous limits and more than the usual amount of large halibut taken. The next “fixed”openers will be June 1st through June 3rd, June 8th through 10th and June 15th through 17th. Any future “provisional” openers will be dependent on the halibut quota not being reached.

Somewhat dependent upon river levels, shad fishing on the Umpqua River has occassionally been very, very good. The river is still a little high for peak fishing at Sawyers Rapids, but has dropped enough so that anglers fishing at Yellow Creek can move along the bank. Small jigs with chartreuse or hot pink curlytail skirts seem to be producing best. Fishing may get even better if the river continues to drop.

Spring chinook salmon fishing above Scottsburg continues to be surprisingly productive, but most of the recent catches have been smaller fish of less than 20 pounds. An exception was Terry Newport’s chunky 41-incher. Daro Handy’s 36 pound ten ounce salmon continues to lead the springer contest sponsored by the Wells Creek Inn.

Salmon catches by the spinner flingers at Winchester Bay slowed down last week, but salmon anglers trolling herring in the ocean near Winchester Bay caught several salmon.

Its been nearly a month since Curly Dodge caught this season’s first redtailed surfperch above Winchester Bay and the run still has not taken off. The first good catches in the river should happen any day and in the meantime the fishing in the surf along most area beaches continues to be very good. Fishing along Winchester Bay’s South Jetty has been good for striped surfperch and very good for smaller rockfish. A few flounder have been caught above Winchester Bay by by anglers trying to target the pinkfin run and flounder anglers have enjoyed fair success fishing along the walking trail on the down river side of Winchester Bay’s RV Resort.

High river flows continue to make crabbing tough for dockbound crabbers as most of the crabs in the lower Umpqua River are downstream from any crabbing docks. The few boats attempting to crab in the ocean are doing much better. Boat crabbers have made some decent catches in the lower end of Half Moon Bay without having to venture across the Umpqua River Bar.

A few striped bass are being caught at night by anglers fishing Smith River, but virtually nobody is fishing for stripers on the Umpqua River. Striper fishing on the Coquille River has been slow to fair and the river is clear enough to fish lures. Smallmouth bass fishing has been fair and Fat Elk Slough is still somewhat murky, but has been giving up some crappie and largemouth bass. Johnson Mill Pond has dropped enough so that anglers can drive to the back side of the pond.

The road into Horsfall Beach was still blocked by high water last week, but may be reopened at any time. It remains to be seen whether Bluebill Lake will receive the trout plant that that it didn’t get earlier this month due to high water.

Most of our local lakes are starting to furnish very good bass and panfish angling and our coastal streams opened to angling on Monday, May 22nd – a departure from their usual Saturday opening.

Pete Heley works weekends at the Stockade Market & Tackle, across from ‘A’ Dock, 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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