Monthly Archives: April 2012

Pete Heley Outdoors

Spring chinook fishing picked up last week with slightly clearer water and fair numbers of fish were caught with the largest weighing more than 40 pounds. Of course, the improved fishing also meant that some of the upriver parking lots were more than full. There have been some very good catches of ocean chinook by commercial anglers, but they have not yet been able to stay on the fish for any length of time.

The ocean coho salmon season quotas are now set and the first season will run from July 1st through July 31st, or until a total of 8,000 finclipped coho have been retained. On a more upbeat note, the non-selective ocean coho fishery (includes both clipped and unclipped cohos) will be 10,000 fish and will be open September 1st through 3rd and then each Thursday through Saturday from September 6th through September 22nd – or until the quota is met. Like the spring halibut fishery mentioned later in this article, these salmon seasons  tend to discriminate against anglers who work.

On May 1st, inshore halibut fishing resumes (inside of 40 fathoms or 240 feet). Bottomfishing is legal in the ocean only inside of 30 fathoms (180 feet deep). A potential problem is that bottomfish may be retained in your boat, but are illegal if you are fishing deeper than 30 fathoms. If you are plannning a combination trip, to be completely legal, you must do your halibut fishing first, if you are fishing deeper than 30 fathoms, and then move to shallower water (less than 30 fathoms) to catch your bottomfish. However, the all-depth halibut fishery starts on May 10th and, as usual, runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Bottomfish may be retained by inshore halibut anglers ONLY on the days that all-depth halibut fishing is closed. The inshore halibut quota for our area is 23,014 pounds, while the all-depth halibut quota is 168,766 pounds. The Stonewall Bank YRCA, located about 15 miles west of Newport, is completely closed to halibut fishing, or even the possession of halibut while fishing for other fish species.

As a strong critic of the Thursday, Friday and Saturday fishing days for all-depth halibut, I feel for the anglers that are lucky enough to have a regular job that runs Monday through Friday – who are very plainly discriminated against. I often do not have a better plan to offer when I criticize something, but in this case I do. The fairest way to have a three day halibut opener is to have it run from Saturday through Monday and the same solution could be applied to the ocean coho salmon fishery. Anybody is welcome to find fault with this “plan”, but I definitely have enough “ammo” to defend it.

An article by Jesse Higgins in the weekend edition of the World Newspaper was eye opening and depressing. It seems that crab thefts are not limited to sport crabbers. While commercial crabbers, at least the few that are morally deficient, do not usually steal another’s crab gear, they steal the crabs in the pots – often rebaiting the pot to disguise the theft. The article stated that a commercial crabber, at least the honest ones, could lose ten thousand dollars per season to such poaching. One can only wonder how much the dishonest ones gain. The article is definitely worth reading.

Anglers intending to target striped bass before they drop downstream from their upper tidewater haunts should do so in the next two to three weeks. While many anglers catch most of their stripers in the middle and tidewater reaches of the Smith and Umpqua rivers, non-spawning stripers in our area are never more concentrated than when hanging out upriver.

Cool water temperatures are still hampering the bass and panfish bite. While some very good-sized largemouth bass have been landed, the panfish and smaller bass bite has definitely been subpar for this time of year.

I had to see the new move, “Salmon Fishing in Yeman” because I wanted to see how much easier an ambitious fishing project would be in what is basically a one-party republic. While I found the movie far more entertaining than I expected, I could not stop thinking about how much more difficult such an ambitious project would be in the United States, since there would undoubtedly be far more lawsuits and many more “hoops” to jump through. The movie is definitely worth seeing.

Major trout plants are scheduled for this week. Alder, Buck and Dune lakes are each slated to receive 850 bare legal and 36 trophy-sized trout and Alder and Dune are also slated to receive 225 foot long rainbows and Buck is scheduled to receive 200. Elbow Lake was to receive 600 foot long rainbows, while Erhart Lake (this lake has several other names) is slated to receive 200 barely legal, 350 foot long and 36 trophy rainbows. Georgia and North Georgia lakes are each slated to receive 150 barely legal rainbows. Five hundred foot long trout are slated for Lost Lake while Mercer was to receive 2,250. Munsel Lake was slated to receive 3,150 foot longs and 150 trophy trout. Perkins Lake was scheduled to receive a plant of 250 barely legal and 200 foot long rainbows. Siltcoos Lake was slated to receive 1,000 foot long rainbows, while Siltcoos Lagoon was scheduled to receive 850 barely legal, 350 foot long and 106 trophy rainbows.

To the south, Tenmile Lakes was slated to receive 6,000 barely legal trout (3,000 each in North Tenmile and South Tenmile). Empire Lakes was to receive a total of 500 trophy-sized (16-inch) trout. Bradley Lake was to receive 200 trophy trout. Most of the Roseburg area lakes that receive trout plants were scheduled to be stocked this week with Loon Lake receiving a plant of 1,000 barely legal rainbows.

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Brown Trout Records Galore

New brown trout state records have been set in a number of states in recent years and a major reason for many of them is that the seeforellen strain of brown trout, a lake-dwelling, late spawning trout capable of reaching very large sizes, are coming of age.

Originally from the deep lakes of western Europe, seeforellen browns weighing at least 50 pounds have been pulled from deep lakes in Austria, Bavaria, Germany and Switzerland. None of these fish were either turned in for official recognition or were caught by methods other than rod and reel. The largest reported seeforellen brown weighed more than 68 pounds and was caught in a German lake on a handline in 1934.

As brown trout go, the seeforellens are relatively free-biting, but still seem far more likely than other brown trout strains to reach extremely large sizes. One reason may be that they do not make their initial spawning run until they are three to four years old (as compared to two to three years of age by other brown trout strains). That means that a seeforellen brown may enjoy up to four years of undistracted eating before going on its initial spawaning run.

Curently the world’s largest brown trout seem to be the seeforellen browns in the Great Lakes (especially Lake Michigan and Lake Ontario). While New York was the first state to stock this alpine strain of brown trout, recently Lake Michigan has grabbed the limelight regarding giant brown trout. In the last few years, both Michigan and Wisconsin have had their state record brown trout replaced by seeforellen browns weighing more than 41 pounds. While the heaviest was the 41 pound eight ounce brown caught near Racine, Wisconsin, the one ounce lighter Michigan record pulled from the Manistee River was more than three inches longer at 43.75-inches in length. Seeforellen browns have accounted for other state records from states bordering the Great Lakes including a fish of more than 36 pounds caught by a shore angler in Illinois.

Despite their originating in some of the deepest lakes in alpine Europe, the state of Maine has found the seeforellen strain of brown trout to be an important part of their anadromous brown trout program. While most of the searun browns taken in the tidewater areas of the streams that are a part of this program average around two pounds, the very largest searun browns will reach at least ten pounds.

While there may be a number of reasons for the seeforellen browns reaching humungous sizes, one of the most important has to be the late start to their spawning duties. In addition to delaying their initial spawning run by one to two years, they usually spawn a couple of months later than other brown trout strains – giving them more time to keep eating and growing.

Triploid rainbow trout, which are sterile and unable to spawn, have proved to be capable of reaching impressive sizes with  fish to 48 pounds being pulled from Lake Diefenbaker in Saskatchewan, Canada in recent years. The same sterilization treatment might have the same effect on brown trout size – or even more, since brown trout normally have a longer lifespan than do rainbow trout.

As for this angler, the recent record catches seem to be a strong omens indicating more brown trout fishing is in order. The Wisconsin state record was caught on my birthday and the one ounce lighter former record from Michigan was caught by an angler with a last name, although spelled differently, is pronounced the same as mine. While the seeforellens are currently out of my fishing range, all signs point to my attempting to at least challenge my personal reccord brown trout of slightly more than 15 pounds from the Deschutes River.

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Yankee Trivia – Single Season Record Holders

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Pete Heley Outdoors

Improved weather has improved fishing conditions on many fronts. The lower Umpqua River has cleared up and fishing for bottomfish off the South Jetty should show increased fishing pressure and better fishing results. Although muddy water doesn’t seem to slow the sturgeon bite, it does seem to affect how many anglers are fishing for them. Striped bass on the Umpqua River between the Scottsburg Boat Ramp and Sawyers Rapids as well as the upper tidewater portions of Smith River should show improvement with the clearer water. The one thing that seems to be lacking is warmer water and should we get that, fishing for almost all species should improve.

A less muddy lower river has meant an increase in crabbing activity, but the river is still high and sublegal crabs have dominated recent catches. Smaller crabs can better handle lower salinity levels and as the river level drops, more legal crabs should enter the lower river.

Although a number of spring chinook managed to get past the anglers fishing below Roseburg, because of the muddy water, most of the fish have not yet entered the Umpqua and there should be plenty of springers yet to be caught. Some spring chinook have recently been  caught near the Umpqua River mouth prior to last weekend and any increase in ocean fishing pressure should ensure additional catches.

Although steelhead season is still open in most waters, almost all of the winter steelhead caught will be post-spawners attempting to reach the ocean and recover for another spawning try. The heavy rains of the past few weeks will mean that very few steelhead get trapped in Eel Lake because of low water levels in Eel Creek. The good news is that a few of the steelhead may make it back to slightly increase the number of steelhead in future runs.

This writer sees considerable confusion with the complications regarding recent bottomfishing regulations. Inshore halibut may be taken at depths up to 240 feet (40 fathoms), but bottomfish may only be taken at depths up to 180 feet (30 fathoms). Additionally, the 30 fathom line consists of straight lines between selected waypoints which does not allow for depth changes. I am only mentioning this to encourage halibut and bottomfish anglers to check the current regulations closely and while I can see some problems ahead, I do not have a better solution.

Virtually all of the fishing waters in our area that receive trout plants have been planted multiple times, but if you want to concentrate your efforts on lakes with freshly planted trout, you might want to consider Carter, Cleawox and Woahink lakes which received, respectively, 500, 2,000 and 1,000 foot long rainbows. Carter and Cleawox were also slated to each receive 2,500 barely legal rainbows this week. Barely legal rainbows were also scheduled to be stocked in Butterfield Lake (2,000), Eel Lake (2,500), Empire Lakes (8,500) and Lake Marie (1,000).

While nicer weather should offer improved bass fishing, temperatures have a ways to go before largemouth bass enter shallow water in good numbers. It is difficult for water temperatures to reach the 60+ degrees when the air temperaturs do not reach that mark for even a short period of time. As soon as there is a noticeable temperature differential between shallow and deeper water, bass and panfish will move into the shallows in big numbers and become easier to catch for most anglers. One advantage to bassfishing after extended cool or harsh late winter and early spring weather is that because of reduced fishing pressure, when good fishing conditions finally arrive, the fishing is usually even better than normal.

As for the smallmouth bass in the Umpqua, the quickest places to warm are the waters out of the main current – especially the dead end coves without water pouring into them and their upper ends facing upstream. These spots don’t receive much current and their waters are capable of warming up more quickly.

Yellow perch should either be spawning now, or very close to it. A very interesting article by Steve Quinn in the March/April issue of In-Fisherman Magazine deals with spawning yellow perch and how they deal with ultraviolet radiation. It seems that yellow perch spawn at different depths depending upon water clarity. In clear lakes, they usually spawn at depths of at least 15 feet, while in muddy water they almost always spawn in water between two and five feet deep. Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) seems to have a lot to do with spawning depth and in the muddy water that the researchers from Lehigh University studied, 99 percent of UVR was filtered out at a depth of only 18-inches, while in the clear lake they tested, it took a depth of 16 feet to filter out the same amount of UVR.  Muddy water is often warmer than clear water and the eggs would tend to hatch more quickly reducing their exposure of UVR prior to hatching even more. Of course there are other factors including different predator species that may influence how deep perch spawn, but anglers fishing for yellow perch in early spring in muddy waters should at least consider fishing shallow for their fish.

While the preceding study dealt with spawning yellow perch, ultraviolet radiation affects all life, including that of other fish species. Ice and snow cover can reduce UVR, while consistent cloudy conditions can reduce it. A nominal increase in elevation (a half-mile or less) and the resulting, almost unnoticeable shrinkage in the thickness of the atmosphere, can have noticeable increase in UVR.

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About the Umpqua River’s Surfperch Run

Lots of people are asking about the Umpqua River’s famed surfperch run. Unfortunately, it almost always starts in mid-May, but is often affected by when an angler actually does some recon and catches the first one. In the meantime, some anglers are doing very well targeting the pinkfins (actually redtailed surfperch) in the surf. Popular spots include North Beach at the end of Sparrow Park Road, Horsfall Beach near North Bend and near where the Siltcoos River enters the ocean south of Florence.

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Alex Rodriguez Is Moving On Up

Alex Rodriguez is set to move up on several all-tim lists when it comes to baseball achievements and he won’t even have to have an exceptional season to do so. His second homerun this season will move him past Ken Griffey Jr. (630) homers) and should he manage to hit 32 homers this season, Rodriguez will pass Willie Mays (660 homers). Jim Thome has 604 home runs entering this season and should he manage to hit an additional 27 homers, he will pass Sammy Sosa (609) and Ken Griffey Jr.

With 1,893 RBI’s to his credit entering this season, should Rodriguez stay healthy enough this season and play well enough to manage to drive in 104 runs (RBI’s), he will pass Willie Mays (1,903), Eddie Murray (1,917), Jimmy Foxx (1,922), Ty Cobb (1,938), Stan Musial (1,951), Lou Gehrig (1,995) and Barry Bonds (1,996) and move from 11th all-time to 4th all-time in career RBI’s.

With only 39 extra base hits added to his total, entering this season, of 1,154, Alex wil move from 11th all-time to 6th all-time – passing Carl Yastrzemski (1,157), Frank Robinson (1,186), Lou Gehrig (1,190) and Ken Griffey Jr. and Rafael Palmeiro (1,192). Should Rodriguez play for a couple of more seasons, and remain productive, Willie Mays (1,323) should be in his sights.

Ranking 14th all-time in total bases entering this season with 5,218, should Rodriguez manage to achieve only 170 more total bases, he wil move up to 9th all-time – passing Dave Winfield (5,221), Ken Griffey Jr. (5,271), Frank Robinson (5,373), Rafael Palmeiro (5,388) and Eddie Murray (5,397).

On a somewhat more negative note, Rodriguez entered the 2012 season with 1,917 strikeouts and ranks 7th all-time. With his 90th strikeout this season, he will have moved up into 4th all-time, passing Willie Stargell (1,936), Jose Canseco (1,942) and Andres Galarraga (2,003). Also of note, is that Jim Thome has 2,488 strikeouts entering this season and ranks 2nd all-time and should he get enough playing time to strike out 110 more times, he will pass Reggie Jackson (2,597) for the top spot on the all-time list.

It seems that pitchers with 300 career victories may be a thing of the past. Entering the 2012 season, no pitcher had more than 200 career victories and the active leader, Tim Wakefield (200), will turn 46 years of age this summer.

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Striped Bass State Records Quiz

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NBA Multi-MVP Winners

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Washington Saltwater Fish Records

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Assorted NBA Trivia

As this season’s NBA season winds down, one might want to think back to exceptional or unusual performances by NBA players in seasons past.

Although many NBA fans think Wilt Chamberlain was not the best center in the league during the early part of his career, he still holds the single game record for rebounds and that record, as well as his previous league record were both set against the same team – the Boston Celtics. Yes, Bill Russell played against Wilt in those games, but Wilt dominated with 55 rebounds to Russell’s 19. In Wilt’s 100 point game, Wilt shot a relatively poor, for him, percentage for his field goals (36 for 63 – 57 %). He was also, for him, lights on on free throws making 28 for 32.

Wilt once made all 18 field goal attempts in a single game (an NBA record) and although he played before official records for blocked shots were kept, Harvey Pollack, the team statistician kept track of Wilt’s blocked shots and stated that he once blocked 36 shots in a single game – which compares rather favorably with the official record for blocked shots in a single game of 17 which has been held by Elmore Smith since 1973 which was the first season that blocked shots became an official NBA statistic. Elmore’s blocked shot record is almost never threatened in the slower-paced game of recent years, but Shaquille O’Neal did block 15 shots in one game and had three seasons where he averaged more than five blocked shots per game.

When it comes to free throw futility, it seems to be pretty much restricted to NBA centers. Chris Dudley once missed 19 free throws in a row including a number of “air balls”, but the most free throws attempted in a game without a single make is held by Shaquille O’Neal who missed all 11 of his shots in one game on his way to missing more than 5,000 free throws in his NBA career.

Although there is no way to make this even an official stat, the most improbable win I have yet to view (on TV) was a game three years ago, when the Miami Heat were down by two and the team (I cannot remember which team) was dribbling out the time, when with four seconds left, Dwayne Wade, who was guarding the player with the ball, swiped it and made four long strides down the court before launching a 35 foot running jump shot. Although the ball was barely out of Wade’s hand when the light signaling the game’s end went off, the ball swished the net for a most improbably Heat win.

While stationed at Camp Pendleton, California, a Marine Corps base, in my early 20’s, a friend of mine (Dan Chelius) and I discovered that nobody was using free tickets to NBA games played by San Diego (later to move and become the Houston Rockets). We watched a lot of games and I saw such great NBA guards as Jerry West, Oscar Robertson, Jim Barnett and Walt Frazier. For those few years, Walt Frazier really stood out and he managed some incredible achievements in his relatively short NBA career. The season after winning an NBA title, the Knicks were down by 20 late in the second half of a game against Kareem Abdul Jabbar and the Milwaukee Bucks. The Knicks had a tremendous rally and over the last two minutes and thirty-something seconds, Walt Frazier scored 13 consecutive points including stealing the ball from Oscar Robertson prior to making the game-winning jumb shot.

Frazier also had one of the best, if not the very best, game played by a guard in the NBA finals. It was a game seven against the Lakers and when he wasn’t driving Jerry West and Gail Goodrich to distraction on defense, he also managed to make 12 of his 17 field goal attempts, all 12 of his free throw attempts, dish out 19 assists, get seven rebounds and several steals. In that series, the Lakers had to come up with a strategy where West and Goodrich kept their distance from each other so that Frazier could not steal the ball from the player he was not guarding.

As for the players today, three active NBA players have achieved a PER (player efficiency rating) of more than 30 for a single season – LeBron James of Cleveland  (31.67 in 2008-9 and 31.10 in 2009-10); Dwayne Wade for Miami (30.36 in 2008-9) and Tracy McGrady for Orlando (30.27 in 2002-3).

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