Monthly Archives: July 2012

Pete Heley Outdoors 7/11/12

The Umpqua’s pinkfin run has generally been disappointing the last ten days. There are still perch in the river from the entrance to the East Boat Basin up to Gardiner, but it appears that the perch have been hauled out at a faster pace than they have been replaced. Additionally, it is almost a certainty that a large majority of the most aggressive perch have already been caught and those that are left are wary and easily spooked. In the meantime, the male redtailed surfperch along area beaches continue to bite aggressively.

On a happier note, the salmon fishing, fair numbers of salmon are being caught when conditions on the Umpqua River Bar and in the ocean allow the boats to actually reach the salmon. However, the fishing, so far, has been very erratic with some boats catching limits or near limits, while other boats having very tough luck. Hopefully, within a couple of weeks there will be enough fall chinooks in the river to justify fishing for them and when that happens, “would-be” ocean anglers will have a viable Plan B when rough ocean or bar conditions rule out ocean salmon fishing. At least the limited ocean access will help make the finclipped salmon quota last longer.

Even the dock crabbers caught some crabs last week, but, as usual, they had to put some time in for them. Ocean crabbing continues to be the most productive, but boat crabbers have made a few decent catches near Half Moon Bay. The South Jetty/Triangle Area continues to be productive for bottomfish.

Gluttons for punishment might want to try for striped bass on the Smith and Umpqua rivers, sturgeon on the Umpqua or shad on the Umpqua above tidewater. All of these fisheries are producing poorly, but a very few fish have been caught. It seems that some of the Umpqua’s sealions have discovered the small pocket of larger sturgeon above Wells Creek. Hopefully, they can be persuaded to leave before permanently damaging the only area to provide anything close to decent sturgeon fishing.

Tenmile Lakes, both North Tenmile and South Tenmile, continue to provide the area’s best trout fishing. However, there are lots of uncaught planted trout in the north arm of Cleawox, the entrance of which is almost invisible from the main lake. Most of our area lakes are fishign fairly well for largemouth bass, but the only decent panfishing recently has been for bluegill at Loon Lake. It seems that fishing for warmwater fish drops off greatly when it is very windy.

The Umpqua River above Scottsburg continues to drop and become more friendly to bank and wading anglers and the smallmouth are biting well. Most anglers use nightcrawlers for bait, but anglers floating the river do quite well with such soft plastics as jigs and plastic worms. Sightfishing for the bass in water less than eight feet deep is a real kick and the Umpqua’s smallmouth limit is a very liberal at ten fish with no size restrictions.

Since Oregon does not keep state records on saltwater fish, you might want to check Washington’s very complete list of saltwater record fish in order to gauge the maximum sizes of some of the saltwater fish you might catch while fishing in Oregon. Here goes: Albacore Tuna (52 lbs); Black Rockfish (10 lbs 4 oz); Blue Rockfish (4 lbs 13.4 oz); Cabezon (23 lbs); Kelp Greenling (4lbs 6.7 oz); Lingcod (61 lbs); Pacific Halibut (288 lbs); Pacific sanddab (12.9 oz); Petrale Sole (7 lbs 8.1 oz); Pile Surfperch (3 lbs 9.2 oz); Redtailed Surfperch (4 lbs .9 oz); Starry Flounder (9 lbs 8 oz); Striped Surfperch (2 lbs 1.1 oz).

A Portland-area fishing club, the Oregon Bass & Panfish Club keeps track of the state records of Oregon’s warmwater fish species and between the club and the ODFW, keeps track of the state records for Oregon’s coldwater fish species, a number of fish species are left out. Here are some state records from Washington and California for fish species that are overlooked in Oregon.: Common carp (49 lbs 8 oz for Washington and 52 pounds for California) and Northern Pikeminnow (7 lbs 14.5 oz for Washington).

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Estimating Fish Weights From Photos

Recently, there has been somewhat of a furor over the weight of a largemouth bass caught in Central Oregon’s Haystack Reservoir. A couple of days after the post, a number of bass anglers posted that they thought the bass was a couple of pounds lighter than the claimed weight of ten pounds nine ounces. The fish was reported as measuring just under 24-inches in length.

I am one of many serious anglers that resent fish catches that do not seem to “measure up” to their claimed weight – and I consider myself to be very good at estimating the weight of various fish species – if I can actually see the fish.

The guy that caught the Haystack lunker claims that it was weighed at Centwise Sporting Goods in Redmond, Oregon – which is one of the “outdoorsiest” stores in central Oregon. It seems that is would make sense to call the store about the fish and get an assessment about how accurate their scale is rather than being unnecessarily mean.

Secondly, while many largemouth bass measuring 23 to 24-inches fall well short of weighing ten pounds, two previous Oregon state records measured well under 24-inches, but weighed more than 11 pounds. I am talking about previous record largemouths from McKay Reservoir and Lost Creek Reservoir. While any recent largemouth catches are almost certainly post spawn, the bass in colder climates tend to be chunkier than those in warmer climates. In fact, the ODFW once reported that they netted a largemouth bass from Crane Prairie Reservoir that weighed 5.25 pounds yet measured only 17.25 inches. While being stationed in the Marine Corps in southern California, I once landed a post spawn FLorida strain largemouth from Miramar Lake that measured 24-inches and weighed 11 pounds (I also caught longer bass that fell short of the ten pound mark).

When a fish is being held up by the angler and no photos are present of the fish next to a tape measure or ruler, a very valid question if how big is the guy, or gal, that is holding it. Also, photos where the photographer is closer to the fish tend to make the fish look larger than a more distant photo taken with a telephoto lens. It is simply a matter of the small distance between the fish and the angler holding being a larger percentage of the overall distance between camera and fish. Move close and make sure that the fish’s tale is at the bottom of the frame and the angler’s head is at the top of the frame and you will be very pleased with how large your future fish look.

While I find little wrong with questioning the size of fish that are not weighed on an accurate scale or even not weighing the fish at all, doing so will almost certainly tend to encourage anglers to actually keep their lunkers to prove that they actually caught it. I know of one case where an angler kept a giant largemouth from Triangle Lake in his freezer for months to show his friends and doubters. While such behavior will work when it comes to the physical size of the fish, the fish will quickly loose weight when placed in a dry freezing environment.
I do think some of the negative comments regarding this particular bass may be due to “envy” of many serious bass anglers that have yet to break the ten pound barrier and when it comes to Oregon bass, I am one of these as my best bass from Oregon remains a nine and a half pounder from Loon Lake.

While I also wish that he had released the bass, it would almost certainly have died before the spring of 2013, I do have to give him credit for actually getting the fish weighed at a tackle retailer – which is more than is done with most of the genuine lunker bass mentioned in online posts.


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Finding Oregon’s Largest Trout

10# Trout in Oregon10# TROUT IN OREGON – This 80 page book attempts to cover every Oregon fishing spot that gives an angler a chance at tangling with a non-searun trout that might weigh all of ten pounds. Of course, trout that size are always a lottery-type longshot, except for a very few waters that are well-covered in the book. Saddle-stitched book is 8.5-inches tall by 5.5-inches wide. Book is available on this website on the BOOK section at the top of the home page.

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Oregon Brown Trout Guide

Oregon Brown Trout Guide

OREGON BROWN TROUT GUIDE – The latest information on Oregon’s fishing waters that contain brown trout – even those waters where they are very rarely encountered. Saddle-stitched 72 page book is 5.5-inches wide and 8.5-inches tall. The book retails for $ 8.95 and is available on this website on the BOOK section on the home page.

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Washington Saltwater State Record Fish

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Rating the Homer Hitters

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Deschutes River Fishing Guide

The Deschutes River Angler is the most complete fishing book available on the Deschutes River. Like most of the books by Pete Heley, it avoids telling anglers what to use, but concentrates on covering every water that is part of the Deschutes River system.

That means that virtually every pond, slough, reservoir, lake or stream in which the water eventually ends up in the Deschutes River is covered and a special effort is made to mention every fish species present in each water that may be of interest to the angler.

The book is saddle-stitched and 96 pages and is guaranteed to expand your knowledge regarding the entire Deschutes River system. It is available to order on the home page of this web site under the “BOOK” section.

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Pete Heley Outdoors 7/4/12

I hoped very much to report good fishing for the finclipped ocean coho opener this last Sunday, but the Umpqua River Bar closed fairly early to most boats. The bar was actually more fishable than the ocean and while anglers like Mike Shannon, whose boat accounted for a 25 pound chinook near the bar, were disappointed at the restrictioni, anglers coming in from farther out in the ocean actually seemed relieved.

Of course, many of those “would-be” salmon anglers immediately went to Plan B, which was to fish for the surfperch. For most of the past week, the upriver pinkfin fishing has been spotty, although there were a number of good catches made last Saturday. Fishing the surf for the male surfperch has been fairly good when surf and wind condtions allow it.

Striped bass are still being caught, mostly from the Smith River, at night and some sturgeon have been caught recently near Marker 25 below Reedsport. Shad fishing remains disappointing, but occasionally productive in the Yellow Creek area on the Umpqua River.

The best trout fishing in the area is taking place on Tenmile Lakes and those anglers that can navigate from the main body of Cleawox Lake into the North Arm are also catching plenty of overlooked planted trout.

The Rhode Island legislature recently did away with a law that made it illegal to lie on the internet. Even harmless untruths could result in up to a year in jail and a hefty fine, but the law, which has been on the books since 1989 was largely ignored. . However, rescinding this ridiculous law should have Rhode Island’s fishermen breathing vast sighs of relief.

Washington’s netting program to seriously curb the rapidly expanding northern pike population in the Pend Oreille River was a big success. The pike fishery was reduced to nearly incidental catch levels – causing many anglers to stop fishing for them. It almost seems like a “catch 22” situation since catch and keep fishing is one way to help keep the pike population under control.

Oregon State University researchers have discovered that chlorophyll from green vegetables protects against cancer, but instead of testing
on lab mice, the school has pioneered the use of rainbow trout. The scientists insist that certain tests produce far more relevant and accurate information when conducted on trout versus the traditional rodent. Furthermore, the fish allow for wider testing at lower doses, which means lower costs and more thorough conclusions. In this specific study, a total of 12,360 trout were sampled. In a typical rodent test, only a few dozen mice are used.

OSU found that the chlorophyll reduced liver tumors in the sick fish by as much as 64%, and stomach tumors as much as 45%. Interestingly though, when the fish were subjected to an abnormally high amount of the cancer-causing carcinogen, the chlorophyll actually increased the number of tumors.

I was looking into the May 4th incident on the lower Willamette River where an angler standing up in a boat with a chinook in the net was pulled overboard when a sealion grabbed the fish in the net. The man managed to hang on to the boat with one hand and the net with his other hand until his boots filled with water and he let go of the net. After being hauled aboatd the boat, the anglers realized that they had lost the net, salmon, rod and reel – a total loss of well over $600. It took a while for the sealion to deal with the net, but it managed to remove the salmon from the net before other boats could reach it and that sealion was blamed for other hooked salmon incidents later that same day – which led me to try to find out just how much a sealion eats each day.

One figure that jumped out at me was a yearly total of more than 8,800 pounds for a 800 pound male speciment. That figure seemed scary and unbelievable. I realize that mammals and birds, which have to maintain a defined body temperature need far more caloric intake to do so than do cold-blooded animals. But sealions are some of nature’s best insulated mammals and that should allow for a reduced caloric intake. However, information from Sea World indicated that they feed their sealions food amounting to from five to eight percent of their body weight each day. Now, I am almost certain that Sea World’s sealions receive more food each year than a wild sealion of similar size, but even taking the lowest food intake estimate of five percent of body weight per day for a 600 pound sealion would mean a yearly intake of about about 11,000 pounds of food. I also know that that amount is not entirely salmonids, but much of it is stuff that salmon and other fish (and people) would like to eat – and the effects can be far-reaching. Stellar sealions in the Columbia River are a major reason that few small sturgeon have to leave the river to find food and for years those small sturgeon have supplied almost all of the sturgeon entering Oregon’s coastal estuaries and rivers.

So if they cannot control these nuisance mammals, it would be nice if they could at least get them to go on a diet.

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