Pete Heley Outdoors

The PDF available on the ODFW website that lists the fishing proposals, both approved and rejected, should be of interest to resident Oregon anglers as well as those who travel to our state to fish. Some of the proposals that are currently labeled approved for the 2013 fishing season  include: 6P-which redefines soft plastic and rubber lures as lures and not baits which is the way it should have been for quite some time.; 51P-which changes the 16-inch maximum size limit on brown trout to allow for the retention of one trophy -sized trout of more than 30-inches – a sensible amendment for East Lake which has producced browns weighing more than 22 pounds for anglers and had browns weighing as much as 30 pounds taken by ODFW people during egg-taking operations in the past. Proposal 55P-which allows year round fishing on Diamond Lake makes sense since there is much winter recreation around the lake and they are trying to reduce the number of trout in the lake to ensure fast growth. If too many trout get caught during the winter months, Diamond Lake may lose its eight trout daily limit though. Proposal 103P will allow the taking of hatchery rainbows in Section 6 of the upper Deschutes (below Little Lava Lake) and they don’t want the native fish interbreeding with hatchery fish anyway. Proposal 3P will replace the current no limit on largemouth bass at Wickiup Reservoir with the standard five bass per day with a maximum of three being 15-inches or longer.

Several proposals to allow the taking of one wild steelhead per day and five per season on either the North Umpqua or the mainstem Umpqua were deferred until later . There were several proposals to increase the daily trout limit in lakes from five fish to ten fish that were rejected. Finances are tight at the ODFW and planting more trout may not be an option. One of the reasons given for this proposal to be adopted was that it was hard to justify spending $33 on a fishing license to keep only five trout per day. Obviously, some of our state’s anglers do not realize if they want to get their meat, both fish and game, as cheaply as possible – they need to visit a supermarket. They obviously do not understand that the main reason to go fishing is for recreation and the proposals were properly rejected. There were some other rejected proposals that dealt with increasing the daily limit on the Umpqua River’s smallmouth bass. One had no limit and the other had a 25 bass limit with no more than five exceeding 15-inches. While the idea has some merits, they did not place any value on one of Oregon’s most popular smallmouth  bass fisheries. If one would like to read about these proposals in more depth, or look at the many others that this column does not mention, go to: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/fishing/public_process/docs/Fish_Division-OSP_2012_PP_review_results.pdf.

By the time you read this, spring chinook fishing should have recovered from the high, muddy water on the Umpqua heading into last weekend and its getting to be that time where shad will soon be in the Umpqua, as well. Salmon are being cauight in the ocean out of Winchester Bay when anglers are allowed to fish the ocean and there was fair amounts of forage reported just over the bar last weekend. Additionally, at least one chinook was taken over the weekend at Half Moon Bay.

Although an earlier report had a 30 pound springer being the heaviest turned into the Wells Creek Inn for their spring chinook contest, as of last Friday, the heaviest salmon officially entered in their contest only weighed 24 pounds 11 ounces. While there is a good chance that someone will turn in a heavier fish, there will be a lot of second-guessing should that not happen. It is easy to rationalize and think that your nice chinook won’t be a contest winner, but sometimes virtually everyone thinks that way and some rather small salmon end up winning contests that they really shouldn’t.

Boat crabbers at Half Moon Bay are having to sort through quite a few sublegal crabs to find a few keepers. As the river drops, the activity level between sublegal and legal crabs will move closer together. Sublegal crabs remain active in water of low salinity and tend to dominate the catch.

A few striped bass anglers, subject to water clarity and temperatues, have been having fair success on the Smith River. Although a few stripers are caught during daylight hours, a strong majority of the stripers are during the night. As the Smith River cleared after the last heavy rains, striped bass success showed a major improvement.Sturgeon fishing in all the tidewater areas of the Umpqua remains slow.

This Saturday, many of the lakes in central Oregon will open to fishing with some of the more popular ones being: Crane Prairie Reservoir, Diamond Lake, East Lake, Howard Prairie Lake, Hyatt Lake, Krumbo Reservoir, Lava Lake, Lemolo Reservoir, Odell Lake, Paulina Lake, Lake Simtustus, South Twin Lake and Wickiup Reservoir. While most of the streams in central and eastern Oregon open on the last Saturday of May, one exception is the Wood River (tributary to Agency Lake) along with such tributaries as Crooked and Fort creeks and nearby Sevenmile Creek (below Nicholson Road). Once again, Diamond Lake will have Oregon’s most liberal trout limit (eight trout per day at least eight inches in length with only one being 20-inches in length or longer). If the weather cooperates, there may be even more fishing pressure than normal this coming weekend as many anglers have postponed fishing trips while waiting for better weather conditions.

Some other angling options for the next couple of weeks include: (1) flyfishing for redband trout in the Crooked River below Bowman Dam (Prineville Reservoir); (2) floatfishing the John Day River for early season smallmouth bass; (3) fishing the Columbia River for late-spawning walleyes and when water condtions are right, some jumbo smallmouths; (4) casting or trolling large plugs in the Metolius Arm of Lake Billy Chinook for bull trout that may weigh upwards of 15 pounds; (5) fishing central Washington’s Lake Chelan with a guide for almost cinch five fish limits of mackinaw averaging about five pounds or fishing any shallow water for smallmouths averaging about two and a half pounds and (6) fishing eastern Washington’s Rufus Woods Lake for triploid rainbow trout that average two to four pounds with 20 pounders taken annually.

About Pete Heley

Writes and self-publishes Oregon and Washington fishing books.
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