Pete Heley Outdoors 3 / 28 2018

Adding on to last week’s report about several Silverton-area cougar sightings, one cougar was captured and euthanized – about the same time as a cougar entered a downtown motel complex that was under construction in The Dalles. This cougar was trapped in a room, sedated and then euthanized off site. Euthanization is pretty much the only recourse in dealing with wild cougars that have lost their fear of humans.

While The Dalles is not a major metropolitan area, it does have nearly 20,000 residents and this cougar incident may indicate that Oregon’s cities may not be immune from the results of the urban-dominated statewide vote to ban baiting or using hounds to hunt cougars and bears.

The folks at the ODFW office in Charleston were quite helpful in explaining the stocked trout classification sizes. The classification sizes are simply a rough guideline and since indivual trout grow at different rates and hatchery growth rates for a group vary from year to year – especially in trophy or broodstock trout where varying growth rates over a longer time period may result in major size differences within the same group of stocked trout.

This year’s planted legal trout have been running close to ten inches in length – somewhat larger than the early spring plants of the last few years and it appears that the ODFW is starting to place more emphasis on stocking more trophy trout as they tend to be relatively “comorant-proof”.

Although the ODFW usually tries to make the trout plants early in the week, last week they were running late. For example, Mingus Park Pond had not received its scheduled plant by late Thursday afternoon and when I checked back late Saturday afternoon there was no evidence of what was scheduled to be a plant of 2,000 legal rainbows. I thought a main reason for revamping the trout stocking portion of the ODFW website was to provide later, but more accurate information. In the ODFW’s defense, the plant may have been rescheduled because the pond was very full and and the pond’s outflow was overwhelmed with water flowing around the culvert and out into Tenth Street.

The ODFW’s trout-stocking schedule does not list steelhead plants – those plants are usually mentioned in the recreation report for a particular zone – and Butterfield, Saunders and Upper Empire Lake have all received adult steelhead plants within the last two months.

This week’s trout plants include Eel Lake with 2,500 legal trout. The lake is completely accessible, although construction on a collapsed culvert beneath Highway 101 on Clear Creek that connects Hall Lake and Eel Lake might lead some people to think otherwise. The culvert repair is important as many coho salmon and steelhead actually spawn in the culvert. Saunders Lake is also slated to receive 3,000 legal rainbows this week.

Other waters receiving trout plants this week include Lemolo Reservoir which is slated for 2,000 rainbow trout – a nice addition to the numerous brown trout that inhabit the reservoir. A plant of 3,000 rainbows in southeastern Oregon’s Ana Reservoir might wake up the reservoir’s hybrid stripers which have been caught to weights of nearly 20 pounds

Some of the most popular bottomfishing spots will close at the end of this month when the 30 fathom closure takes effect. As of April 1st, conventional bottomfishing in Oregon marine waters deeper than 30 fathoms will be closed for six months – or until October 1st. Bottomfishing in waters less than 180 feet deep will still be legal, as will the jetties and April is one of the very best months for decent-sized lingcod off of Oregon’s jetties.

Bottomfish anglers can still use 30-foot long leader setups after April 1st to fish for mid-depth bottomfish offshore. Check the ODFW website for additional info on legal rigging and fish species that may be retained. Lingcod and greenling are not legal catches, but canary rockfish are. Once again, check the ODFW website for more complete information.

Fishing for chinook salmon in the ocean, open since March 15th, has been very slow with very little fishing pressure. Several spring chinook were caught last week above Scottsburg. Most of the early season springer fishing takes place between Scottsburg and Elkton, but there are almost certainly a few fish as far upriver as Riverforks Park in Roseburg.

According to Jim Carey, of the Rogue Outdoor Store in Gold Beach, the Rogue produced three springers three weeks ago, but since then, the catches have been sporadic with nothing much over 20 pounds yet landed. Hopefully, the best springer fishing is yet to come – onboth the Umpqua and the Rogue.

Surfperch fishing has been fair, but inconsistent, during the recent stormy weather. It’s striped surfperch off the jetties and redtailed and walleyed surfperch off the sandy beaches. Sand shrimp, when available, is a popular bait, but this year many anglers have switched to using pieces of Berkley Gulp sandworms with camo being the most popular color choice.

Although the spring striped bass run on the Sacramento River has just started, It should be at least a month before the same thing happens on Oregon’s Smith and Coquille rivers – hopefully there will be enough fish involved for anglers to actually notice.

Crabbing has been very slow, but there were a few good catches made last week at Half Moon Bay at Winchester Bay and near Charleston in Coos Bay. Stormy, wet weather this week definitely will not allow for any improvement in crabbing success. On a more positive note, the old Coast Guard Pier has been repaired and is open for crabbing, although additional work on the far end of the pier is planned once the materials arrive.

Steelhead fishing on Tenmile Creek in the Spin Reel Park area was much improved last week for finclipped fish.

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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