Pete Heley Outdoors 9 / 27 / 2017

The big news is that bottomfish angling is slated to reopen. A much-repeated rumor is that the reopening date will be October 1st, but as this column is being written, that is not a certainty. The actual reopening date will depend on the final tally of August landings and may be at a later date, but quite likely before the end of October.

The bottomfish reopening, when it happens, will not be a complete reopening. Nearshore waters will remain closed until at least January 1st, when a new year’s quota goes into effect and the offshore waters that do reopen will allow retention of lingcod and some rockfish species, but other rockfish species will remain off limits. Ocean salmon anglers need to know that as of October 1st anglers fishing for salmon or having salmon on board are restricted to waters less than 40 fathoms (240 feet) deep.

Salmon fishing remains fair, but inconsistent for boat anglers fishing the Umpqua River. Fishing success is improving for anglers casting spinners from shore at Half Moon Bay, Osprey Point and near the Gardiner Boat Ramp. The salmon ganged up below the bridge at the mouth of Winchester Creek are starting to bite bobber and bait rigs. Fishing for salmon above that bridge is still illegal. Ocean salmon fishing will remain open for chinook salmon 24-inches in length or longer through October.

Aaron Abraham, while fishing with sand shrimp for salmon in Winchester Bay’s East Boat Basin, landed pile perch weighing 2.70 and 2.69 pounds.

The retention of coho salmon in Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes becomes legal on October 1st. The only stream fishing that will be legal to fish for salmon on the three lakes is the portion of the Siltcoos River from the lake down to the Highway 101 Bridge. Siltcoos is the only lake that has any chance of having salmon in it when the season begins on Oct. 1st.

Anglers fishing these three lakes need to realize that their 2-rod fishing licenses become invalid when their salmon seasons start, even if there are not yet salmon in the lakes and the 2-rod licenses will remain invalid on these lakes through December 31st when their salmon seasons end.

Salmon fishing success is gradually improving on the Coos, Coquille and Siuslaw rivers and the Rogue has been very good with a number of chinooks weighing between 37 and 45 pounds taken in the last ten days.

Crabbing remains very good pretty much anywhere along the Oregon coast and it seems like all but the very largest crabs are full of meat.

Central Coast summer all-depth halibut season is closed and public input is invited on the 2018 seasons. One idea of merit that is being considered is having separate quotas for the Newport area and the south coast – which should benefit our area’s halibut anglers. The status of other Oregon coast halibut fisheries is:

Summer All-Depth: A combination of good weather for the last opening, and halibut on the bite especially on Friday allowed anglers to land 16,047 pounds. This leaves only 2,734 pounds on the summer all-depth quota, which is not enough for any additional all-depth days. The remaining pounds will be moved into the nearshore fishery.

Over the course of the summer season, the average weight of landed fish was approximately 30 pounds round weight, up from last year’s average of approximately 28 pounds.

Nearshore: There were 780 pounds landed last week. With the rollover from the summer all-depth season, there are 4,363 pounds remaining on the adjusted nearshore allocation. The average size for this year’s nearshore season is just a little bit bigger than the summer all-depth season (approximately 30.5 pounds round weight). The nearshore season is open seven days per week until October 31, or the adjusted quota is caught.

Southern Oregon Subarea: This area remains open seven days per week until October 31 or the quota is caught. 3,436 pounds remain.

Reminder: with the recent recreational bottomfish closure, no species of bottomfish (rockfish, lingcod, cabezon, etc) except for other flatfish species, may now be retained.

During an exploratory trip to the south last Saturday, I discovered that the County Park on South Tenmile Lake is once again producing good numbers of yellow perch and that Bradley Lake, south of Bandon, now has blugills as well as crappies to go with the lake’s largemouth bass and planted trout. Fat Elk Slough produced largemouth bass, crappies and bluegills within the first 15 minutes of fishing while a nearby angler landed a couple of nice-sized brown bullheads. Smallmouth bass and yellow perch were landed off the fishing dock on Eel Lake. Darlings Resort on Siltcoos Lake reports that bluegills and crappies are once again being caught in the lake and while the fish are smallish, the lake has produced lunkers of both species in years past.

Crappies and bluegills, while still rare catches at Tenmile Lakes, they are being caught with increasing frequency.

Crustacean-loving redear sunfish are now being stocked in the Colorado River as a limiting factor against quagga and zebra mussels.

Oregon State Police with assistance from officers of the WDFW nabbed a man and woman from Celilo Village that were gillnetting salmon at night from a darkened boat inside the mouth of the Deschutes River. On board were 85 steelhead and chinook salmon with a market value of more than $3,500.

On a more positive note, the digging of razor clams on Oregon beaches north of Tillamook is expected to reopen this week as recent tests have found toxin levels to be on the safe side of the levels requiring closure.

Pete Heley works parttime 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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