Monthly Archives: September 2012

Oregon Trout Plants Scheduled For October

NORTHWEST SECTION – There are no scheduled trout plants for October.

SOUTHWEST SECTIOIN – (Rogue River Watershed) – No scheduled trout plants. (Coos Bay Area) – 1, 000 trophy trout for Butterfield Lake and 200 trophy trout for Garrison Lake scheduled to be planted the week beginnng October 1st.  For the week beginning October 8th, 4,000 trophy trout are slated for Empire Lakes, 1,500 trophy trout are slated for Powers Pond and 1,500 trophy trout are slated for Saunders Lake. (Umpqua Watershed) – There are no scheduled trout plants for October.

WILLAMETTE SECTION – (North Willamette) – Henry Hagg Lake is slated to receive 8,000 barely legal rainbows during the week beginning October 1st. Mount Hood Pond is slated to receive 400 barely legal rainbows and 50 foot-long rainbows  each in the week beginning October 1st and the week beginning October 15th. (South Willamette) – During the week beginning October 8th, Detroit Reservoir is slated to receive 7,000 barely legal rainbows, while Walling Pond is scheduled to receive 400 barely legal and 50 foot-long rainbows and Walter Wirth Pond is slated for a plant of 1,700 barely legal and 150 foot-long rainbows. During the week beginning on October 15th, Waverly Lake is slated for 1,000 barely legal and 100 foot-long rainbows. During the week beginning October, Walling Pond is scheduled to receive 400 barely legal and 50 foot-long rainbows and Walter Wirth Lake is slated for 1,300 barely legal and 100 foot-long rainbows.

CENTRAL REGION – (Bend Area) – During the week beginning October 1st, Bend Pind Nursery Pond is slated to receive 500 foot-long and 100 trophy rainbows; North Twin is slated to receive 1,000 trophy rainbows; Paulina Lake is scheduled to receive 10,000 barely legal rainbows and Shevlin Pond is slated for 200 foot-long and 200 trophy rainbows. During the week beginning October 8th, the Prineville Youth Pond is slated to receive 333 barely legal rainbows. For the week beginning October 15th, East Lake is slated for 15,000 barely legal rainbows and Paulina Lake is slated for 5,000 barely legal rainbows. For the week beginning on October 29th, Haystack Reservoir is slated to receive 50 trophy rainbows and the Powers Youth Pond is scheduled to receive 333 barely legal rainbows. (Hines Area) – There are no scheduled trout plants for October. (Klamath Area) – There are no trout plants scheduled for October. (Lakeview Area) – There are no trout plants sceduled for October. (The Dalles Area) – During the week beginning on October 29th, Bikini Pond is slated to receive 1,000 barely legal rainbows, while Pine Hollow Reservoir and Taylor Lake are each slated to receive 2,000 barely legal and 375 trophy rainbow trout.

NORTHEAST REGION – There are no trout plants slated for October.

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Wild Coho Catch Estimates for Oregon Coast Through September 23rd.

Open Fishing Areas for Wild Coho Harvests and Open Seasons Subject to Quota Fulfillment

NEHALEM RIVER – Jetty tips to Miami-Foley Bridge on South Fork and to North
Fork Rd. Bridge on North Fork. Season runs from September 15th through November 30th.

TILLAMOOK – Jetty tips to Hwy 101 Bridge on Miami, Kilchis, Wilson and
Trask rivers and to Burton Bridge on Tillamook River. Season runs from September 15th through November 30th.

NESTUCCA RIVER – Mouth to Cloverdale Bridge (excludes Little Nestucca
tidewater). Season runs from September 15th through November 30th.

SILETZ RIVER – Mouth upstream to an ODFW marker approximately 1,200
feet upstream from Ojalla Bridge (RM 31). Season runs from September 15th through November 30th.

YAQUINA RIVER – Mouth to confluence of Yaquina R. and Big Elk Creek. Season runs from September 15th through November 30th.

ALSEA RIVER – Mouth to Five Rivers (RM21). Season runs from October 1st through December 15th.

SIUSLAW RIVER – Mouth to Lake Cr. (RM 30). Season runs from September 15th through November 30th.

UMPQUA RIVER – Mouth to Scottsburg Bridge. Smith River closed. Season runs from September 15th through November 30th.

TENMILE LAKES – Open in North and South lakes.C losed downstream of Hilltop
Bridge, canal between lakes, and all tributaries above lakes. Season runs from October 1st through December 31st.

COOS RIVER – Mouth to Dellwood and E/W Millicoma confluence. Season runs from September 15th through November 30th.

COQUILLE RIVER – Mouth to Hwy 42S Bridge (Sturdivant Park). Season runs from September 15th through November 30th.

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Pete Heley Outdoors 9/26/2012

Crabbing at Winchester Bay continues to be very good for boat anglers and fair to good for dockbound crabbers. There appears to be some confusion as to when the ocean closes to sport crabbing and the correct answer is that it closes on October 15th and will reopen on December 1st. Crabbing in our coastal river systems is open all year.

Winchester Bay’s annual Crab Bounty Hunt is currently underway and will not be over until October 1st when all of the lucky crabbers who caught and turned in tagged crabs find out if anyone won the grand prize of $1,000. If no tagged crabs matches the preselected number for the grand prize the total $1,000 will be awarded in three cash prizes of $500, $300 and $200. Everyone who turns in a tagged crab to the Sportsman Cannery during the contest also wins a special baseball-type hat and this is one contest that does not require an entry fee or pre-registration.

The inshore halibut fishery reopend on Monday, September 24th with a quota of 4,700 pounds. Most of that quota will consist of incidentally taken halibut by salmon anglers that are fishing herring close to the bottom for salmon or making sharp turns while trolling that allows their bait to hit the bottom for a few moments at a time.

Most of the salmon fishing in the Lower Umpqua River is taking place on the Umpqua River Bar and while the fish has been very good, it seems to turn completely off for hours at a time. The ocean is completely closed to the taking of cohos, but chinooks remain legal targets and will remain so until October 31st. Umpqua River salmon anglers are currently allowed the taking of one wild or unclipped coho salmon per day, but only a seasonal limit of two such salmon. Of course, finclipped cohos or any chinook are legal to keep subject to the two adult salmon daily limit.

Salmon fishing from the bank seems to be picking up. Fair numbers of cohos are starting to enter the catch and all of the local bankfishing locations are now producing salmon. A few anglers are hoping to catch incidental salmon while fishing off the South Jetty with flashy metal jigs and the usual salmon fishing spots (Half Moon Bay and Osprey Point) are producing well. A few fish have even been taken by anglers fishing the shorelines leading out to Osprey Point and off Ork Rock Point. Anglers fishing at Gardiner between the boat ramp and the paper mill and those fishing in Winchester Bay’s East Basin near Winchester Creek, usually the last two bankfishing areas to start producing fish, are now providing anglers with a fair chance to catch salmon.

Anglers fishing our local rivers that are currently allowing the taking of one wild or unclipped coho salmon per day are also allowed to take one wild or unclipped coho jack salmon per day as well. This will continue until the angler has reached his seasonal limit of wild cohos on the river he is fishing or he has caught his yearly quota of wild cohos of five. The scheduled closure for the taking of wild cohos is November 30th – if an angler has not previously reached his river or yearly quota on wild cohos. On most area rivers, an angler is allowed to take five jack salmon per day subject to the one wild coho jack salmon per day which in turn is subject to the angler not yet having used up his river or season quota for wild or unclipped adult coho salmon. Jack salmon, for regulation purposes, are considered to be salmon to short to be considered adults (20-inches for cohos and 24-inches for chinooks) yet are at least 15-inches in length. Angler are not allowed to fish for jack salmon after having caught their daily limit of adult salmon.

A recent study regarding the interaction between smallmouth bass and juvenile Atlantic salmon that was quoted in a recent issue of In Fisherman seems to be quite relevant as a predictor of the interactions between Umpqua River smallmouth bass and juvenile steelhead and chinook and coho salmon.

Because the smallmouths preferred slower-moving water and the smolts preferred the faster water typically found in riffles and because the bass were more active during daylight hours and the smolts were most active at night, there was limited interaction between the species. That is until the warter warmed and the river flows decreased in late summer and early fall – when the bass and salmon often shared the same immediate habitat and the smolts were less successful at avoiding the larger smallmouths and competed poorly with the smaller bass.

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Umpqua River Fishing Guidebook

Although the salmon fishing has been very good on the lower Umpqua River so far this season, there are many other angling opportunities available on the river. Smallmouth bass fishing, while dropping off somewhat for fish numbers, is producing many more good-sized bass – especially in the late afternoons. Striped bass angling in the tidewater sections of the Umpqua and the Smith rivers typically picks up somewhat in the fall.

The Umpqua River Angler, available on this website, covers the Umpqua River in great detail from its source to the Pacific Ocean including its tributaries and lakes and ponds that feed into the Umpqua River system. Great pains were also taken to mention as many fish species inhabiting the Umpqua system as possible.

Available for $ 8.95 plus $2.00 shipping and handling from the book section at peteheley.com or save the shipping and purchase it directly from the Stockade Market in Winchester Bay and save the shipping charges.

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Odell Lake Fishing Map

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Smallmouth Bass and Salmon

Many years ago, I read the results of surveys on the impact of new smallmouth bass populations on salmon populations in Washington State. The results were that five of the ten rivers surveyed showed no difference in salmon returns and five showed an improvement, although some improvements were quite slight. I rationalized that the five streams showing an improvement in the salmon runs were rife with squawfish (now called pikeminnows). But I never called or followed up with a request for more exact information.

More recently (by far), another survey has dealt with smallmouth bass and salmon, in this case Atlantic Salmon, interaction. The study showed that there is very little interaction between smallmouth bass and juvenile Atlantic Salmon in Maine. The smallmouths tended to reside in slower-moving sections of the rivers surveyed and did most of their feeding during the daylight hours. The smolts, on the other hand, tended to hold in swifter sections of the rivers – usually in shallow riffles and did much of their feeding at night. So the interaction between the two fish species was rather minimal.

However, during late summer and early fall when stream flows were much reduced and water temperatures much warmer, the the lines between the most active times and holding water of the two species blurred and the salmon smolts became more susceptible to predation by smallmouths and the two species competed more directly for food and holding areas.

The recommendation that came out of this study was that fisheries personnel for the state of Maine should focus their best efforts on salmon recovery programs on waters that do have smallmouth bass.

When I read the results of this study, I immediatley felt that the results fit the Umpqua River “to a T”. The Umpqua gets very warm in the late summer and early fall months and both adult salmon and salmon smolt often appear impaired. While fishing out of a float tube type device that only reaches several inches beneath the river’s surface, I have been rammed several times by salmon blindly, but instinctively swimming upstream. It would seem to make sense that the salmon smolt would also be affected by the warm water temperatures to the point where they  be far easier prey to smallmouths large enough to eat them or less competitve with smallmouths that they would normally be competing for food with.

In the spring when the Umpqua River flows high and cool, I have seen a ten inch rainbow trout repeatedly and easily elude a 16-inch smallmouth in a narrow backwater in the Tyee area. The ease with which the trout avoided the smallmouth’s best efforts at eating it convinced me that in cool water situations, salmonid predation by smallmouth bass would be greatly reduced from when the water temperatures are high enough to impair the trout and salmon smolts.

The implication of the Maine survey is that it is extremely important to try to avoid activities that result in reduced stream flows and increased water temperatures – especially in waters that hold salmon smolts or trout and smallmouth bass.

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Oregon Marine Fishing Openers and Closures

The last day of the nonselective ocean coho season is Friday, September 21st. Obviously, this one day opener in the middle of what normally would be a three day opener (Thursday through Saturday) confused many anglers – many of which hopefully escaped getting ticketed for keeping coho salmon on Thursday. Since the announcement bulletins were received late Wednesday, many  anglers undoubtedly fished on Thursday without up-to-date information.

Anglers received some good news recently with the reopening of the inshore halibut fishery this coming September 24th (Monday). The quota is a meager 4,700 pounds, so anglers should plan on the quota being filled well before the projected October 31st closure. Many of these inshore halibut will be taken incidentally by salmon anglers trolling herring very close to the bottom or making sharp turns which allow their baits to hit the bottom.

Bottomfishing will once again become legal on October 1st in waters deeper than 30 fathoms (180 feet).

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Pete Heley Outdoors 9/19/2012

As this article is being written, they still have not closed the three day openers for coho salmon (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) in the ocean, but by the time you read this, they possibly will have. While most anglers were still targeting chinook salmon, a few anglers did quite well on the ocean coho. In the meantime, the river nonselective coho season started last Saturday and while most of the fish taken in the river were still chinooks, a number of cohos were caught including some by anglers casting spinners at Half Moon Bay and Osprey Point. More than a week ago, a bank angler accounted for a chinook salmon weighing more than 35 pounds while fishing off Ork Rock Point which is relatively overlooked by the area’s bank anglers. Shore fisheries at the mouth of Winchester Creek in Winchester Bay and between the boat dock and paper mill at Gardiner have not yet gained much traction.

Hot weather in the valley is still keeping some salmon from moving up the Umpqua much past Reedsport, but slightly cooler water temperatures have allowed some salmon to move upriver to such places as Sawyer’s Rapids and even as far as Roseburg where the much cooler water of the North Umpqua joins the South Umpqua.

The anglers fishing the ocean and around the Umpqua River Bar have had to deal with some rather cold water, which seems to have slowed the bite despite anglers marking lots of salmon. Many anglers do not realize that salmon, and many other fish, bite much better when the water temperature is several degrees warmer than they prefer than when it is several degrees colder. At least with the warm Umpqua River water, there is almost always a stretch where the water temperature is close to optimal due to the mixing of ocean and river water.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve been privileged to weigh and photograph a number of good-sized salmon caught in other rivers such as the Coos and Siuslaw. The reason I had a chance to weigh or photograph these fish is that a surprising number of anglers bring their fish to Winchester Bay to clean them. They claim that the facilities for cleaning fish, or boats, are far superior to their options at other locations.

Eighty two year old Olin Fisher of Springfield handled some discouraging news about the expected lifespan of some of his health-related electronics in a way that would be unexpected by most of us. He decided to do a number of things that he had been putting off for years. One of those was going salmon fishing at Winchester Bay. Olin chose to fish with skipper Scott Howard of Strike Zone Charters and he was not disappointed. He ended up landing a jack chinook salmon and adult chinooks weighing 22 and 34 pounds. In other words, he was lucky enough to land 60 pounds of salmon on his first salmon trip in more than ten years. The largest salmon managed to spool Olin and Scott’s 13 year old son Alex stepped in to get the line back on the reel as Scott pursued the fish and then Alex returned the rod to Olin who managed to land the lunker. Olin definitely plans to undertake another salmon fishing trip, but admitted that it will have to be done around the deer and elk hunting trips he has planned.

The crabbing seemed to have recovered from the Labor Day onslaught, but for some reason the legal male crabs took Sunday afternoon off when most crab catches were dominated by female crabs which were not legal to keep. The crabbing should rebound quickly and the Crab Bounty Contest is about halfway done and a number of tagged crabs have been caught and turned in to the Sportsman Cannery. The crabs that have been tagged were tagged by tying a numbered spinner blade to one of their rear legs. Lucky crabbers need to realize that after turning in a tagged crab to the cannery, they get to keep the crab, they win a hat and a chance to win the grand prize of $1,000. If no one wins the grand prize the $1,000 will still be awarded, but in three cash prizes of $500, $300 and $200 – so make sure that you leave your address and phone number so you can be notified if you are a lucky winner.

On a less cheerful note, this is the time of year when some crabbers seem more interested in what’s in other people’s crab rings and traps than they are in their own.

Congrats to Pat Roelle, owner of Crabby Cafe, who while fishing for tuna about 50 miles offshore, managed to catch several rather rare fish species for our area including yellowtails and a dolphin, which is often called mahi-mahi in Mexico and Hawaii.

Some of the bottomfish anglers fishing the Triangle Area are hedging their bets by using Gibb’s Jigs and other metal jigs which increase their chances of hooking incidental salmon. With the salmon run in full swing, bottomfishing pressure on the South Jetty is very low. Surf fishing for redtailed surfperch (“pinkfins”) has been consistently productive, but sturgeon and striped bass angling has been slow.

Both largemouth and smallmouth fishing should be improving in our local waters. Some of the shallow sand dunes lakes should be providing their best fishing of the year as lower water levels limit the areas where the fish hang out. On the Umpqua, smallmouths measuring 14-inches in length, or longer, are starting to bite from late afternoon till dusk. Cooler morning temperatures have slowed the largemouth bite except for those fishing the deeper spots and the most consistent fishing is being enjoyed by those willing to put up with the afternoon winds.

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A Better Understanding of the Tides

THis is a reprint from my blog post of nine months ago and I will repost this blog at least once each year.

While millions of Americans purchase tidebooks each year, very few of them actually understand how the tidal sequences fit together. The easiest way to better understand tidal influence is to make sure you are looking at the four tides that occur each day (or roughly 24 hours) in chronological order. In that way, one can look at the difference in tidal height between adjacent tides. The tide times in a tide booklet are slack tide times. That means that the listed high tide is a slack tide – a period of little or no water movement due to tidal flows – where the water has stopped coming in and is about to start going out. Conversely, a low tide is also a slack tide where the water has stopped going out and is about to start coming in.

By putting the tides in chronological order, one can make an accurate prediction of how strong the incoming and outgoing tides will be. For instance, if the high tide is a big one with a height of 8.5 feet and the adjacent low tide is a very low one of 1.0 feet, someone reading a tide book will know that with a difference of 7.5 feet that there will be a lot of water movement and a strong outgoing tide. If the adjacent tides include a low high tide and a relatively high low tide, there will be greatly reduced water movement and a much weaker tidal current.

Most crabbers try to crab at times close to high tide and to a lesser degree, low tides, but few have given much thought to why they do. It is because crabs can move around much more freely during the periods of little or no water movement associated with slack tides. When there is a big height differential in adjacent tides, the time period surrounding the slack tide when crabs can move around freely is much reduced. Conversely, if there is little height difference – the crabs can move around seeking food for a much longer time – but they may not feed as intensely. Some skilled crabbers intentionally crab during periods of strong tidal flows because they have the skill and electronics to be able to drop their pots or traps into a depression in which crabs seek relief from the strong flows.

Fisherman can also benefit from a better knowledge of tidal effects. For instance, anglers fishing the lower tidewater areas of a muddy river can find somewhat clear water by fishing close to the ocean during high tides when the clearer ocean water will tend to dilute the muddy river water – a fact some crabbers also take advantage of. Both crabbers and anglers can also benefit from tidal knowlege in other ways. Salinity decreases as one moves upriver but varies between low and high tides. Tidal effect is also delayed as one moves upriver. The delay can vary depending upon river flows, but a rough estimate is that for each mile upriver from the ocean there will be a time delay of about ten minutes.

Since a river and the ocean it runs into are usually substantially different as to their water temperatures, skilled anglers can concentrate their fishing efforts in areas with water temperatures preferred by the fish species they are pursuing. Except for the winter months, the ocean is almost always much colder than the rivers entering it – so the water temperatures drop as high tide approaches. The temperature change is reduced the farther upriver one goes, but the temperatue change is usually noticeable for several miles. Of course, as the tide runs out, the river gradually becomes slightly warmer – at least during the period between late spring and early fall.

Bait anglers, such as sturgeon anglers, often concentrate their efforts during periods of high tide differential hoping that the strong currents limit the mobility of such bait stealers as sculpins and crabs. They also realize that the closer to the ocean they are fishing the greater the temperature differential is between surface water and the water near the river bed – because the cooler saltier water is slightly heavier than freshwater. Of course the difference will be more noticeable during an incoming tide than it will be during the outgoing tide where the salt and freshwater will have had several hours to mix.

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Putting the Pedal to the Metal

Eighty two year old Olin Fisher of Springfield handled some discouraging news about the expected lifespan of some of his health-related electronics in a way that would be unexpected by most of us. He decided to do a number of things that he had been putting off for years. One of those was going salmon fishing at Winchester Bay. Olin chose to fish with skipper Scott Howard of Strike Zone Charters and he was not disappointed. He ended up landing a jack chinook salmon and adult chinooks weighing 22 and 34 pounds. In other words, he was lucky enough to land 60 pounds of salmon on his first salmon trip in more than ten years. The largest salmon managed to spool Olin and Scott’s 13 year old son Alex stepped in to get the line back on the reel as Scott pursued the fish and then Alex returned the rod to Olin who managed to land the lunker. Olin definitely plans to undertake another salmon fishing trip, but admitted that it will have to be done around the deer and elk hunting trips he has planned.

Olin Fisher and Alex Howard show off the 34 pound chinook they combined their efforts to catch. Photo by Casey Howard.

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