Pete Heley Outdoors 5 / 29 / 2017

The best news is that the Umpqua River’s surfperch run is finally fully underway and it appears that this year’s run, like last year’s, will see lots of perch caught by bank anglers right in Winchester Bay – at such spots as Half Moon Bay and Osprey Point. There were some limits caught heading into last weekend and a number of perch were caught by anglers casting salmon spinners, although the most popular surfperch baits are sand shrimp and Berkley Gulp sandworms.

A few anglers have retained more perch than the legal limit. Since the daily legal limit is a more than generous 15 per person, I would hope that these fish hogs would get turned in. The Oregon State Police have a TIP (turn in poachers) number where even anonymous calls are accepted The number is (1-800-452-7888).

Oregon now has four “Free Fishing Weekends” and the longstanding original one will be this coming Saturday and Sunday (June 3rd and 4th) – and on this one there will be all sorts of good fishing available.

Cleawox Lake will be stocked with 1,750 12-inch trout before the weekend while Loon Lake and Lake Marie will each receive 2,000 12-inch trout. North and South Tenmile Lakes will each receive 3,000 legal rainbows while Upper and Lower Empire Lakes will each receive 1,000 14-inch trout and 150 15-inch trophy rainbows. Millicoma Rearing Pond in the Allegheny Area of Coos Bay will receive 500 legal rainbows, but in that small pond that works out to 2,500 trout per acre. The trout plant in Tenmile Lakes only works out to about 2.2 trout per acre, while the Lake Marie trout plant is more than 130 trout per surface acre.

Dock crabbing at Winchester Bay remains slow, but boat crabbers have made some good catches when they are able to crab in the ocean. Boat crabbers have also made some decent catches at the lower end of Half Moon Bay just above the South Jetty. The South Jetty has been fishing very good for black rockfish and good for striped surfperch.

The updated ODFW halibut report contains data through May 21st.
Columbia River Subarea – ( All-Depth) this fishery closed at 11:59 pm on Thursday, May 25, 2017, the quota was anticipated to be attained at that time. Therefore, this fishery is closed for the remainder of 2017.

Nearshore—there have been no landings in the Columbia River Subarea nearshore fishery yet. This fishery is open on days not open to all-depth (currently Monday-Wednesday) and has a quota of 500 pounds.

Central Oregon Coast Subarea – Spring All-Depth season— through the second set of fixed open dates, May 18-20, the total landings are 42,417 pounds. This leaves 109,295 pounds or 72 % of the spring all-depth quota remaining. The remaining “fixed” openings are June 1-3, June 8-10, and June 15-17. The weekend of May 26-28 was scheduled pre-season to be closed due to the large negative tides in the mornings.

While the first opening had very poor weather with little effort and landings (~800 lbs.), the weather for the second opening improved (Thursday and Friday being better than Saturday) and allowed many anglers to get out to chase halibut. Anglers fishing out of Newport accounted for 72.4 percent of landings (30,133 lbs.) and 76 percent of the effort. Garibaldi and Coos Bay each had 6-8 percent of the effort. Angler success varied by port; ranging from 30% out of Garibaldi to 80-90% out of Bandon and Coos Bay. The remaining ports all had approximately a 50% success rate (5 fish landed for every 10 anglers). Average size of landed fish also varied by port from 21 lbs. round weight in Garibaldi to 34 lbs. round weight in Bandon. Coastwide the average size was 27 pounds round weight. The subarea-wide daily catch rate of approximately 14,000 lbs./day is lower than the high daily catch rates (~17,000 lbs./day) seen during May openings in the last two years.

I got a couple of warmwater fishing trips in last week. I launched my float tube on Johnson Mill Pond for the first time ever and was delighted with the panfishing in this nearly 100 acre pond with an average depth of about five feet. Dwayne Schwartz and I didn’t catch any brown bullhead catfish on our artificial lures, but we caught lots of bluegills, yellow perch and crappies. The largemouth bass spawn appeared to be over but we hooked a fair number bass to three pounds and Dwayne had a lunker of at least five pounds follow his buzzbait back nearly to his rod tip. While most of the bass seemed to be fairly close to heavy shoreline cover, the best panfishing seemed to be in the middle of this shallow pond. The water seemed to be quite warm and we didn’t catch any planted trout, but we had numerous bites from either salmon or steelhead smolt that must have entered the pond when the Coquille River flooded earlier this spring. The smolt may be eight inches long by fall and there appears to be lots of them.

Extremely aggressive bluegills dominated the action at Loon Lake. While there were still crappies hanging around the old “Duckett’s Dock” at the upper end of the lake, I was very pleased to find crappies scattered around the lake – making it much more difficult to completely ruin this fishery. The largemouth bass were not nearly as active as the bluegills and the fishing was tough as the bluegills were grabbing even the largest bass lures. In fact, on my next trip to Loon Lake my favorite bass lure will be the one the bluegills leave alone.

California recently reinforced its reputation as the country’s best location for giant spotted bass when an angler pulled a nine pound ten ounce lake record spot out of Shasta Reservoir.

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.

2 Responses to Pete Heley Outdoors 5 / 29 / 2017

  1. Todd says:

    Hi Pete,

    Thanks for the great report. I have never fished Winchester Bay for perch and was wondering what areas would be good to target. I will most likely be in a boat.

    Thank you!!

    • Pete Heley says:

      The last few years the perch have been caught anywhere from Half Moon Bay to the corner just below Gardiner. The perch are constantly on the move and can be difficult to find. The run should last until August. A boat is pretty much necessary.

      Pete Heley