Monthly Archives: April 2012

ID,OR,WA Fish Records (S – Z)

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ID,OR,WA Fish Records(A-R)

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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.

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Unlucky Lunker

More than 35 years ago, when Darrel Gabel was the most successful striped bass guide around, he got his clients into an absolutely huge striped bass while fishing the Coos Bay system. The fish, taken at night, weighed 65 pounds on Darrel’s accurate, but uncertified scale and would have been a state record – if it could be quickly weighed on a certified scale such as those used by most large markets. Unfortunately, when Darrel attempted to fire up his boat motor, it would not cooperate and the trip back to the launch was made with an electric trolling motor and took several hours – and the potential state record opportunity was lost. Besides that unlucky incident, Darrel, at nearly six feet four inches in height has always had to catch really big fish for them to look impressive when he holds them up for photo ops.

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SUPER FISHERIES

DIAMOND VALLEY LAKE – A relatively new reservoir located near the southern California community of Hemet, Diamond Valley Lake is easily the largest body of water in southern California with 4,500 surface acres and depths to 260 feet when full. Construction on the lake began in 1995 and was completed in 2003. Water to fill the reservoir came from the Colorado River Aqueduct. The reservoir was formed after the construction of three earth-filled dams and the total construction cost was 1.9 billion dollars.

While many forms of recreation are available to pursue at DVL, the most popular forms of recreation are fishing and boating and the numbers and size of the fish in the reservoir can be mind-boggling. While channel cats to more than 25 pounds have been pulled from DVL, the record catfish was a recently taken blue cat that weighed 56.8 pounds. Striped Bass have been caught weighing more than 33 pounds and a number of stripers have been caught that fell just shy of the DVL mark – leading many anglers to believe that a new striper record could happen at any time.

Many anglers believe that Diamond Valley is the best bet to topple the official California state record largemouth of 21.75 pounds, but while the lake produces numerous bass weighing more than ten pounds, the official record is a 16 pound seven ounce lunker taken in 2007 by noted lunker bass angler Mike Long. Smallmouths are also present in the reservoir and have been caught to weights of more than five pounds. However, the growth rates of DVL’s largemouth bass is believed to be the fastest of any fishery in southern California with two and a half year old bass weighing as much as five pounds.

Panfish are an important part of the total fishing picture at DVL and crappies weighing well over three pounds have been caught as well as bluegills weighing more than two pounds. However, the most impressive DVL panfish catch, to date, is a four pound seven ounce redear sunfish.

Stocked rainbow trout have been a spectacular success at Diamond Valley with yearly growth rates of up to two pounds per year. Many five to ten pound rainbows are taken each year and the lake record is a 15 pound seven ounce fish. Brown trout were also stocked in the lake, but in smaller numbers, and they also reach good size. They are slower-growing than the rainbows, but have been caught at weights approaching ten pounds and their longer life span could mean that the very largest trout in DVL might be a brown trout. Despite the numbers of large predators (including larger trout) in the reservoir, there have been good returns on trout planted as fingerlings.

The fact that Diamond Valley Lake is an incredible fishing spot should not be surprising. The lake was created with fishermen in mind and there is many types of underwater structure. The base of the food chain is the threadfin shad and much of the reservoir can be fished from shore. The lake has a boat speed limitation of 25 mph, but only 5 mph within 200 feet of shore or near the marina.

Even a fishing spot as ideal as Diamond Valley Lake has at least one wart and that is the usual lake hours for fishing or boating only run from sunrise through sunset (or slightly earlier).

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Freshwater Stripers in Oregon

Sometimes fisherman can just be too smart for their own good. A number of years ago, this youthful angler insisted on casting a giant topwater striped bass plug near the mouth of Fiddle Creek Arm on Siltcoos Lake. He almost never caught anything, but one of the few largemouths he caught on his monstrous lure weighed nearly ten pounds and he did catch a striped bass weighing nearly 17 pounds on the same lure. He combined the traits of not listening to other derisive anglers with an impressive stamina when it came to casting the huge plug over and over with little to show for it. Sometimes those willing to try something really, really different get rewarded for it.

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Umpqua River Springer

Kristina Reeves, of Winchester Bay’s Sportsman Cannery fame, shows off her first Umpqua River spring chinook, a 38 pounder taken while fishing with Scott Hatcher who guides on the river.

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Chinook Salmon Trivia

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Home Run Reality

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Surfperch Flyfishing Technique

Tony Garber shows off a nice striped surfperch taken on fly tackle. While fishing off the South Jetty in Winchester Bay, he would drop down to near the water’s edge on a dropping swell, cast parallel to the jetty, make several quick strips and then scramble to safety before the incoming swell drenched him. The technique is hard work, but does allow an angler to actually flyfish in tough conditions.

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