Pete Heley Outdoors

Virtually nobody has been crabbing at Winchester Bay and probably with good reason. The Umpqua River rose and muddied up and future crabbing success will depend upon how quickly the water drops and clears. As soon as this happens, boat crabbers should have some success in Half Moon Bay. Dock crabbers will continue to have to earn their crabs. Some crabs have been taken recently from inside the Triangle and this is usually a good winter strategy for those able to drag a small boat into it.

Bottomfishing off the South Jetty has been good when fishable. Heavy waves and a muddy river has made things tougher, but the ocean water will usually be clear and can make a difference when fishing the river side of the South Jetty near high tide. The ocean side of the Triangle is usually less muddy since any muddy river water is diluted by the ocean water.Sand shrimp remains the favorite bait and anglers catching pre-spawn striped surfperch will catch their heaviest perch of the year. As for the upriver run of redtailed surfperch, that usually begins in mid-May and won’t start until some adventurous angler actually goes out and proves they are in.

Sturgeon fishing remains slow, but there are people trying for them everyday. Spring chinook fishing should show a major improvement as soon as the river clears up somewhat. Same for the striped bass on the Smith River where they should be hanging out in the upper tidewater areas for the next several weeks. Steelhead anglers can reasonably expecct fresh steelhead to be in their favorite rivers, but have to wait several days for optimum fishing conditions.

Virtually all the Florence-area lakes will be stocked this week. Alder, Buck and Dune lakes are each slated for 850 eight-inch, 100 foot long and 36 16-inch trout. Scheduled to receive only eight-inch trout are Carter Lake (2,500), Georgia Lake (150), North Georgia (150) and Perkins Lake (250). Cleawox Lake is slated for 3,000 eight-inchers and 300 16-inchers. Slated to receive only foot long rainbows are Elbow Lake (600), Lost Lake (400), Mercer Lake (1,500), Siltcoos Lake (1,500) and Woahink Lake (1,000). Erhart Lake is slated for 200 eight-inchers and 36 16-inchers. Munsel Lake plant consists of 2,250 eight-inchers and 150 16-inchers while the Siltcoos Lagoon is slated for 850 eight-inchers, 450 12-inchers and 106 16-inchers.

Five hundred 16-inch trout are slated to be put into Empire Lakes this week, while they are scheduled to receive 6,000 eight-inchers next week. Lake Marie and Loon Lake are each scheduled to receive 2,000 eight-inch rainbows this week.

The good bass angling provided by the very catchable population of bass in Tenmile Lakes continues to ensure that every other bass lake in the area receives, at best, nominal fishing pressure. When warmer weather arrives, the more shallow lakes will usually provide the best fishing. Yellow perch and crappies, where present, are in their immediate pre-spawn mode and should be providing good fishing. If pursuing crappies, sometimes they just are not active until dusk.

Bass anglers wanting to try out the “Alabama Rig”, but were concerned about the legality of the rig in Oregon and also concerned about the castability might want to check out the online fishing retailer: which features several smaller versions of the rig, which almost certainly will at some future point be referred to as “umbrella rigs”, at prices of $10.00 or less. More importantly, in my opinion, are the accessory kits designed to hold hookless baits on the rig so that they are legal in Oregon and many other states which only allow three hooks instead of the usual five on the original Alabama rigs.

Last year, at the end of Dune Fest, Jeff Dahl stopped by the Stockade Market on his way back to the Medford area and dropped off a business card. Jeff developed a super-strong elastic cord with multiple hooking spots and I was intrigued to the point where I walked outside to his pickup to take a look at the product in action. In the center of his pickup bed he had a couple of large coolers that were held in place by his “LoopRope” and when he pushed the coolers from every direction, they did not budge – even though they not touching one or two sides of his pickup bed. I was quite impressed and bought two of each of the three sizes for my own personal use. Jeff’s website is: and the product is now available at, Cabelas and a number of other retail outlets.

About Pete Heley

Writes and self-publishes Oregon and Washington fishing books.

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