Monthly Archives: October 2012

Pete Heley Outdoors 10/31/2012

Poor weather has greatly reduced fishing pressure on salmon. The Alsea closed to the taking of wild coho last week and by the time you read this, the Siuslaw River will most likely be closed as well. Tough ocean and bar conditions have limited fishing success for anglers wanting to fish the bar area of the Umpqua. However, it seems every day some anglers come in to where I work with big grins on their faces. A few anglers still fishing near where Winchester Creek comes into Winchester Bay’s East Boat Basin have taken recent limits of chinook salmon while fishing with sand shrimp and bobbers. A couple of anglers dropped in after fishing Siltcoos Lake and they each had their limit of one adult coho and they each weighed more than ten pounds. It may be a while before Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes start offering a realistic chance at a coho salmon, although they usually open the dam at Tahkenitch and flush Tahkenitch Creek around the first of November.

A number of chinook salmon have been taken in the first hole above the ocean on the Elk River and continued rain should get those fish moving upriver. Other south coast chinook fisheries such as Floras Creek, Sixes River, Pistol River and Winchuck rivers should be offering fishing with more rain. The biggest chinook taken in that area seems to almost always come from the Chetco River near Brookings.

As I am writing this, the latest information on the catch rates for wild cohos on Oregon’s coastal rivers only covers catches made through Sunday, October 21st and here they are: Coquille River (373 of 1,500) or 24.9 percent; Coos River (717 of 1,200) or 59.8 percent, Umpqua River (1,154 of 3,000) or 38.5 percent and the Siuslaw River (1,463 of 1,700) or 86.1 percent. Although late run fish are still entering all of these rivers, the fishing has slowed down somewhat. However, anglers need to be aware that when a river reaches its quota for wild coho, chinook salmon and finclipped coho remain legal angling fare.

Yellow perch fishing in area lakes has become more inconsistent, but remains fairly productive and the larger perch seem much easier to catch than they are during the summer months. Although it is tough to catch good numbers of largemouth bass, the larger bass should be biting better than they do during the summer and the best times are from early afternoon through dusk. Smallmouth on the Umpqua River can be taken from early afternoon until dusk and it is easier to fish for them effectively in areas of little current. As with the largemouths, catching good numbers of the smallies is far more difficult than it is during the summer and early fall, but the larger bass are definitely more likely to bite. Panfish angling is very tough and anglers should make sure they are fishing much deeper than they do in the spring and summer.

Many waters, especially those farther inland, closed at the end of October and anglers from this area where virtually all the lakes remain open all year need to check their regulations booklet when fishing other areas.

I’ve been hearing a lot of griping about the potential $25 penalty to be assessed hunting license purchasers beginning in 2014 should they fail to turn in whatever they are supposed to turn in after various successful hunts. Actually, the situation somewhat reminds me of the the program with yearly combined angling tags. With the fishing tags, anglers are put into a lottery where they could possibly win a boat outfit worth several thousand dollars or one of many lesser prizes. The system basically rewards anglers that go through the trouble to send in information that helpds the ODFW make future decisions. With the upcoming hunting changes, the ODFW is going to penalize hunters who do not send in the info that will help the ODFW make future hunting decisions. One is a reward system and the other is a penalty system. One can only wonder if the ODFW raised hunting licenses $25 and then gave a rebate to the hunters who sent in the required information regarding their hunting tags. The only thing I am certain of is that the griping is far from over.

Over the several decades that I have been fishing Oregon, I have noticed that many fellow anglers are constantly lamenting about Oregon’s “good old days” when it comes to angling success. I never respond to these lamentations, but if I did, the whining anglers would not be happy with what I had to say. Despite all the griping about how the ODFW manages Oregon fisheries, these fisheries, in many instances, compare very favorably with the way things were 50 years ago.  Of course, there are exceptions, but many fish runs are better than they were in the distant past.

I was one day shy of my eighth birthday when my family moved to Lakeside on Tenmile Lakes. Back then in the mid-1950’s, Tenmile provided good fishing for stunted yellow perch and fair fishing for brown bullhead catfish averaging about a pound.  Some of the shorebound anglers could fish all summer without catching a trout. Today, the Tenmile Lakes provides some of the better trout fishing available along the southern Oregon Coast and is widely regarded as the best tournament largemouth bass lake in the northwest. Tenmile had a healthy bullfrog population back then and as a 12 year old I sold bullfrogs to Lakeside’s fanciest restaurant for 10 cents each and as an 18 year old, my annual fishing license cost $6.00.

Having stuck up for Oregon’s current fishing opportunities, I must say that more sophisticated anglers and much better fishing equipment would almost certainly make any drop offs in fishing quality far less apparent.

According to ODFW statistics that ranged from 1975 through 2004, the number of resident Oregon anglers dropped about 6.5 percent (from 561,641 to 525,310) despite an increase in Oregon’s population of nearly 1.3 million. The percentage of Oregon residents who purchased fishing licenses dropped from 34.6 percent to 20.3 percent. In 2004, the percentage of Oregon residents who purchased a hunting licenses had dropped to only 9.7 percent.

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Wild Coho Catch Statistics For Oregon Coastal Rivers Through October 28th

Catch rates for wild coho have decreased dramatically, mostly due to poor weather and water conditions which have limited fishing pressure. Bank anglers have recently accounted for a substantial portion of the catch. One can reasonably expect the Siuslaw to be closed to the taking of wild cohos within the next several days. Anglers need to remember that chinooks and finclipped cohos are still legal angling fare.

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. CLOSED DUE TO WILD COHO QUOTA BEING REACHED ON OCTOBER 23rd.

SIUSLAW RIVER – Mouth to Lake Cr. (RM 30). Season runs from September 15th through November 30th. CLOSURE EXPECTED ANY DAY DUE TO QUOTA BEING VERY CLOSE TO BEING REACHED>

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. DUE TO VERY LIMITED CATCHES OF WILD COHO, THIS RIVER MAY SHOW SUDDEN MAJOR IMPROVEMENT IN COHO CATCH.

Monthly Archives: October 2012

Pete Heley Outdoors 10/24/2012

Posted on 10/24/2012 by

I used to think that the ODFW was wrong in selling two rod licenses to anglers fishing in Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes and then not letting them use them during the coho salmon seasons on this lake, but one of the more helpful biologists at the Charleston regional ODFW office pointed out to me that on the bottom of page 9 of this year’s Sport Fishing Regulation booklet, it is clearly stated that the two rod licenses are not in effect on these three lakes between October 1st and December 31st. So the ODFW is being upfront about the restrictions on the two rod licenses. However, I do wish that the restriction on the use of the two rod licenses in these three lakes would begin when coho were actually in the lakes as Tahkenitch and Tenmile almost never have any salmon in them before November.

Rough bar and ocean conditions have slowed fishing pressure on offshore bottomfish and salmon fishing in the ocean and lower Umpqua River. However, when conditions allow, some good catches are still being made. However, last week it appears that most of the salmon were caught by bank anglers. Although the usual bank angling spots are still producing fish (Gardiner between the paper mill and the boat ramp, Half Moon Bay and Osprey Point), a lot of salmon have been caught recently near the mouth of Winchester Creek in the East Boat Basin. Almost all of the salmon taken here have been on bobber and bait combinations with the most effective baits being sand shrimp, salmon roe or anchovies. The other bank fishing spots are almost exclusively used by spinner-flingers.

Salmon, both coho and chinook, are now scattered throughout the entire mainstem Umpqua River but fresh salmon will be entering the lower river well past the end of the month. Ex-area resident Gary Sellers, who now lives in Sutherlin, recounted to me that he used to catch some hefty chinooks, as well as some good-sized coho,  while trolling the South Jetty between the end of October and Thanksgiving. Sand shrimp or salmon roe, as well as spinners, are producing some very good chinook catches on the Smith River, but the fishing seems to be very inconsistent and cohos are not legal to keep. Siltcoos Lake and its outlet stream, Siltcoos River, is offering improving fishing for coho salmon, but anglers need to remember that the river is only open downstream to Highway 101. Bankfishing for salmon is possible at the Tyee Campground and also beneath the Highway 101 bridge.

Since almost all of the area’s bankbound anglers are targeting salmon, the surf fishery for redtailed surfperch and the jetty fishing for bottomfishing have been little utilized, but the few anglers fishing for theser fish species are still catching fish. Also very much overlooked by area anglers are the sturgeon fishery on the lower Umpqua River and the striped bass fishery on the Umpqua and Smith rivers.

It is going to take a lot more rain to foul up the crabbing at Winchester Bay. However, as the amount of freshwater coming down the Umpqua increases, the best crabbing will gradually move downriver to the Half Moon Bay area. Right now, decent crab catches are being made as far upriver as about one-third of a mile above the entrance to the East Boat Basin. Last year, Winchester Bay produced decent crabbing through the middle of January before heavy rains finally caused the crabs to head for a saltier environment (the ocean). Right now, boat crabbers are enjoying much more success than dockbound crabbers, but boat crabbers need to remember that ocean crabbing is no longer legal and will not become legal until December 1st.

Although the fishing is slowing down, some of the jumbo rainbows stocked in Lake Marie in September are still being caught. Since there will not be any more trout plants in our area until Brtadley Lake (sough of Bandon) is stoccked with large rainbows in the last half of November, trout enthusiasts should consider fishing the larger lakes, especially those with outlets that reach the ocean. Area lakes that fit this description would be Eel, Siltcoos, Sutton, Tahkenitch, and Tenmile.

Yellow perch fishing continues to be good in area lakes. The eggs in the female perch are now quite evident, but will continue to grow, since the perch will not spawn until the at least the end of February. Crappie and largemouth bass can provide decent late afternoon angling during periods of stable weather and should continue to do so until at least early November. Smallmouth bass fishing on the Umpqua can produce some sizable bass in the late afternoons, but catch numbers are not anywhere close to what they were during the summer months.

I have mixed feelings when I read about all the troubles the California Department of Fish and Game has when it comes to pleasing its millions of outdoor sportsmen. I love fishing in northern California, but am glad that I live in Oregon. The latest “problem” with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is their proposed name change. The new name is going to be “California Department of Fish and Wildlife” and many California sportsmen are not happy about it since it implies that hunters and anglers will less important to the agency. Of course, further thinking brought me around to remembering what the name of our outdoor agency is. At least no directors of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have publicly stated that hunting and fishing were of a secondary importance to the agency.

Alsea River Closes for Wild Coho as of Tuesday Night – Other Rivers Still Open

Posted on 10/23/2012 by

The Alsea reached more than 92 percent of its quota through last Sunday and was closed after legal fishing hours on Tuesday. The Siuslaw River is also very close to reaching its wild coho quota with more than 86 percent through last Sunday. However, with approximately 240 wild cohos left of their quota, it will probably be a few more days before it closes. Here are the wild coho catch statistics through last Sunday (October 21st).

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 – CLOSED due to wild coho quota being met.

SIUSLAW RIVER – Mouth to Lake Cr. (RM 30). Season runs from September 15th through November 30th. Expect a CLOSURE to retention of wild coho any day due to the quota being very close to being met.

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.

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Pete Heley Outdoors 10/24/2012

I used to think that the ODFW was wrong in selling two rod licenses to anglers fishing in Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes and then not letting them use them during the coho salmon seasons on this lake, but one of the more helpful biologists at the Charleston regional ODFW office pointed out to me that on the bottom of page 9 of this year’s Sport Fishing Regulation booklet, it is clearly stated that the two rod licenses are not in effect on these three lakes between October 1st and December 31st. So the ODFW is being upfront about the restrictions on the two rod licenses. However, I do wish that the restriction on the use of the two rod licenses in these three lakes would begin when coho were actually in the lakes as Tahkenitch and Tenmile almost never have any salmon in them before November.

Rough bar and ocean conditions have slowed fishing pressure on offshore bottomfish and salmon fishing in the ocean and lower Umpqua River. However, when conditions allow, some good catches are still being made. However, last week it appears that most of the salmon were caught by bank anglers. Although the usual bank angling spots are still producing fish (Gardiner between the paper mill and the boat ramp, Half Moon Bay and Osprey Point), a lot of salmon have been caught recently near the mouth of Winchester Creek in the East Boat Basin. Almost all of the salmon taken here have been on bobber and bait combinations with the most effective baits being sand shrimp, salmon roe or anchovies. The other bank fishing spots are almost exclusively used by spinner-flingers.

Salmon, both coho and chinook, are now scattered throughout the entire mainstem Umpqua River but fresh salmon will be entering the lower river well past the end of the month. Ex-area resident Gary Sellers, who now lives in Sutherlin, recounted to me that he used to catch some hefty chinooks, as well as some good-sized coho,  while trolling the South Jetty between the end of October and Thanksgiving. Sand shrimp or salmon roe, as well as spinners, are producing some very good chinook catches on the Smith River, but the fishing seems to be very inconsistent and cohos are not legal to keep. Siltcoos Lake and its outlet stream, Siltcoos River, is offering improving fishing for coho salmon, but anglers need to remember that the river is only open downstream to Highway 101. Bankfishing for salmon is possible at the Tyee Campground and also beneath the Highway 101 bridge.

Since almost all of the area’s bankbound anglers are targeting salmon, the surf fishery for redtailed surfperch and the jetty fishing for bottomfishing have been little utilized, but the few anglers fishing for theser fish species are still catching fish. Also very much overlooked by area anglers are the sturgeon fishery on the lower Umpqua River and the striped bass fishery on the Umpqua and Smith rivers.

It is going to take a lot more rain to foul up the crabbing at Winchester Bay. However, as the amount of freshwater coming down the Umpqua increases, the best crabbing will gradually move downriver to the Half Moon Bay area. Right now, decent crab catches are being made as far upriver as about one-third of a mile above the entrance to the East Boat Basin. Last year, Winchester Bay produced decent crabbing through the middle of January before heavy rains finally caused the crabs to head for a saltier environment (the ocean). Right now, boat crabbers are enjoying much more success than dockbound crabbers, but boat crabbers need to remember that ocean crabbing is no longer legal and will not become legal until December 1st.

Although the fishing is slowing down, some of the jumbo rainbows stocked in Lake Marie in September are still being caught. Since there will not be any more trout plants in our area until Brtadley Lake (sough of Bandon) is stoccked with large rainbows in the last half of November, trout enthusiasts should consider fishing the larger lakes, especially those with outlets that reach the ocean. Area lakes that fit this description would be Eel, Siltcoos, Sutton, Tahkenitch, and Tenmile.

Yellow perch fishing continues to be good in area lakes. The eggs in the female perch are now quite evident, but will continue to grow, since the perch will not spawn until the at least the end of February. Crappie and largemouth bass can provide decent late afternoon angling during periods of stable weather and should continue to do so until at least early November. Smallmouth bass fishing on the Umpqua can produce some sizable bass in the late afternoons, but catch numbers are not anywhere close to what they were during the summer months.

I have mixed feelings when I read about all the troubles the California Department of Fish and Game has when it comes to pleasing its millions of outdoor sportsmen. I love fishing in northern California, but am glad that I live in Oregon. The latest “problem” with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is their proposed name change. The new name is going to be “California Department of Fish and Wildlife” and many California sportsmen are not happy about it since it implies that hunters and anglers will less important to the agency. Of course, further thinking brought me around to remembering what the name of our outdoor agency is. At least no directors of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have publicly stated that hunting and fishing were of a secondary importance to the agency.

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Alsea River Closes for Wild Coho as of Tuesday Night – Other Rivers Still Open

The Alsea reached more than 92 percent of its quota through last Sunday and was closed after legal fishing hours on Tuesday. The Siuslaw River is also very close to reaching its wild coho quota with more than 86 percent through last Sunday. However, with approximately 240 wild cohos left of their quota, it will probably be a few more days before it closes. Here are the wild coho catch statistics through last Sunday (October 21st).

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. River closed at end of legal fishing on Tuesday, October 21st.

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.

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What Makes Fishing Fun

Very few articles deal with the different things that make fishing fun. This fishing story, which is one of a number of stories that are included in the book “Oregon Fish Tales” has a hidden message as to one important aspect of what makes fishing fun. Let’s see if you can figure out what it is.

FISH TO ORDER
He had been planning the trip for more than two years and he wasn’t going to let a little something like an urgent message from his family doctor interrupt it. After all, he was barely 40 years old, exercised regularly and felt as fit as the “proverbial fiddle” – and everyone knew that       everything a doctor said was urgent . . . . . . at least as far as they were concerned.

Well, other people were also allowed the privilege of making plans. Carlos Colder would see what this “urgent” message was all about just as soon as he returned from this fishing trip to the central Oregon Cascades. Although Colder was a bass fisherman through and through, this particular trip was going to be after lunker trout in Crane Prairie and Wickiup reservoirs. Heck, if he had enough time, he’d even try for a state record brown trout in nearby East or Paulina Lakes. It seemed like they were pulling one out of those two lakes at least every other year.

The nearly four hour drive from Florence, a rapidly-growing community located on the central Oregon coast, seemed even more boring than usual. But that might have partly been due to the eagerness Carlos had toward tangling with those lunker trout. This trip would be a welcome change from the 40 or so bassfishing trips he took each year, nearly all of them taking place within 35 miles of Florence.

He nearly missed the Crescent Cutoff from Highway 97 and it bothered Colder quite a bit that he had almost driven right by a direction sign that he had been intently watching for. Missing the highway sign, along with the slower traveling on what was now a gravel road, managed to give Carlos Colder a raging headache by the time he pulled off the road near Browns Mountain Crossing on the Deschutes River between Crane Prairie and Wickiup reservoirs.

Although it was mid-May, he decided that it wouldn’t be too cold to sleep outside in his sleeping bag. It would be a month before the mosquito population peaked and it never was too much of a problem in this area anyway. Although Colder wasn’t in a designated camping spot, he was reasonably sure that he wouldn’t be hassled and quickly fell off to a sound sleep.

It seemed like only minutes later that he awoke feeling refreshed and eager to go. Foregoing breakfast, Carlos quickly put on his waders which seemed to fit so good that they felt kind of “funny”. Looking down at a spot about eight inches above his right knee, he couldn’t find the tiny hole a barbed wire fence had caused nearly two years ago.

Picking up his rod and small tackle bag, he headed for the river. Something was bugging him, but he would figure it out when he reached the stream.

It was when he reached the stream, that Carlos Colder really began to believe that he was becoming somewhat  “unhinged”. Although it had been several years since he had last fished this section of the Deschutes River, it had never remotely appeared to resemble what was “sitting” before him. Instead of a fast-flowing shallow river, what lay before him seemed to be a relatively deep stream with very little flow, but seemingly of good water quality.

A good-sized splash brought Carlos out of his troubled reverie and he reached into his tackle bag to bring out his favorite trout lure, a floating Rapala that he had hand-painted himself. With a combination of shock and anger, Colder discovered that the only lures in the tackle bag were four-inch long Berkley finesse power worms in the chameleon color pattern. Each worm was rigged on an unweighed Owner hook. What really bothered him the most, was that he could not remember ever having purchased any power worms in that particular color or ever having rigged them up on Owner hooks.

The heavy fish rose again and Carlos quickly tied on a powerworm (in the chameleon color) and got ready to cast to where the fish had twice rolled. Suddenly he stopped. The fishing rod he was holding, a five and a half foot long Talon, was one he had never seen before. But he knew the light spinning rod designed for lines testing between four and ten pounds had a retail price of around three hundred dollars. Diawa’s top-of-the-line spinning reel, something else he had never seen before, seemed to be loaded with six pound test monofilament.

Normally, he set the hook immediately upon the strike, but the fish always seemed to hang onto the power worms for a much longer period of time and since the time between the take and the hook set, that brief period of time during which he, Carlos Colder, knew the fish had “screwed up”, but the fish didn’t realize it yet, was the most exciting few seconds of his angling life. Colder consistently tried to make them last as long as he possibly could.

The fish fought well, but Carlos engaged in the battle without any nonsense and it was only a few minutes before he had the fish gasping at the water’s edge.

Once again, Carlos Colder felt light-headed. Laying at his feet was an extremely healthy-looking largemouth bass that had to weigh all of eight pounds. His expensive hand-held scale was in the missing tackle bag containing his regular lures and there wasn’t a soul to witness and appreciate his remarkable catch. Well . . . . at least he, Carlos Colder, appreciated the fish as he put it back into the Deschutes River.

Crane Prairie Reservoir, just upstream, is a famous trout lake, but it also contains largemouth bass and a few manage to get into the river from the dam and either take up residence in the river or end up downstream in Wickiup Reservoir. But there aren’t many of them in the actual river above Wickiup and he had never seen one taken in the river that even remotely resembled the monster he had just released. But then, somehow, this just didn’t seem like the Deschutes that he remembered.

Several minutes later, he tried his second cast. A few seconds later came another twitch and Carlos set the hook into what was obviously another heavy fish. A few moments later, Carlos Colder felt that he was stretching the laws of credibility as he gazed down at another largemouth bass that appeared to be a twin of the first one he had recently landed.

Carlos Colder was starting to feel very uncomfortable. The fishing was too good and he seemed to have it all to himself, which seemed almost impossible only three weeks after the season opener. After a brief rest, Colder felt himself getting ready to cast again although he didn’t really feel like it. Perhaps that is why the cast went so far astray. Landing in about a foot of water near the far bank, surely the lure would, on this particular cast, remain untouched    But several seconds later, there was that unmistakable twitch in his line and after a few brief seconds, he set the hook into what was obviously another good-sized fish.  Perhaps this fish would turn out to be a husky brown, or rainbow trout.

But it was another eight pound bass . . . . a virtual clone to the two earlier fish.

As a nagging curiosity began clouding his subconscious, Carlos deliberately made a short cast into nearby water only about six inches deep. He watched the worm slowly sink. Suddenly, Colder found himself playing another hefty bass. He hadn’t seen the take and didn’t even remember setting the hook on what turned out to be another healthy bass of about eight pounds.

Feeling extremely uncomfortable, Colder began walking along the shoreline. After several minutes, he spotted a very nice swirl, but a very long cast away. Intending to keep walking, he found himself making a perfect cast into the exct spot where the swirl took place. A few seconds later, another unmistakable line twitch signaled  another take.

Carlos was determined not to set the hook on this fish, but moments later he found himself playing another large bass, although he didn’t remember setting the hook. Feeling ever more “creepy”, he began walking briskly along the shoreline, noting that his health seemed especially good. But he soon found himself making another cast and catching another eight pound bass. He made two more casts into the same spot and landed two more eight pound lunkers and suddenly decided that now . . . . more than ever . . . . he needed to keep walking.

It was with tremendous relief that Carlos spied the lone angler up ahead of him. He practically ran toward the figure who seemed to be playing a very nice fish. As Colder approached the obviously skillful fly angler, he noted that he was landing a beautiful brown trout that would measure all of 28-inches in length. Obviuously not very talkative, the angler stated, “The third one like this in three casts from this same spot”.

Colder watched the man straighten up and make another perfect presentation of the dry fly and moments later set the hook into another hefty trout. As the fly angler landed another 28-inch brown trout, Carlos cast his power worm into the same spot and a couple of minutes landed an eight pound fish – a largemouth bass.

Carlos Colder practically ran from the spot. After traveling a couple of hundred yards, far enough to be out of sight of the fly flinger, he found himself making another cast, almost against his will. A bass weighing eight pounds, his tenth in ten casts was laying at his feet a few minutes later. Where were these fish during the bass tournaments he so often fished? Where were the potential witnesses that had made it virtually impossible to fish in solitude so often in the past? Where was somebody that would lavish praise upon his catch and possibly be bragged to?

Carlos Colder felt the need to keep moving. But it seemed he couldn’t go more than about fifty yards without making a cast and catching another eight pound bass. A  different-sized bass would have been cause for a celebration as would have the landing of a fish of another species. He was up to 17 eight pound bass in 17 casts when he spied another solitary angler ahead of him.

Carlos hurried toward the other angler, but felt compelled to make two more casts along the way.

When Colder reached the other angler, he discovered him to be a man of at least sixty years of age who was disdainfully throwing a black crappie back into the water that would have weighed more than two pounds.

“That sure was a beautiful crappie.”, Colder stated,  feeling certain that crappie were not supposed to be in this water.

“There’s a lot of them that size in here.”, the old man replied, as he lobbed the bobber and plastic jig out ito the water with a cane pole that was all of twelve feet long.

“How many of them have you caught?”

“I’ve lost track, but it must be thousands. I’m surprised that this water can support so many.”

“What other kinds of fish have you caught?”, asked Colder.

“That’s just it. I’ve only caught crappie and they are all the same size – big. And I catch one on every cast. What I wouldn’t give to catch a bluegill, a perch or even a small crappie.”, the man stated sorrowfully.

“All I’ve caught are big bass . . . . . eight pounders and I’ve caught 19 of them in 19 casts. I would love to catch one of your jumbo crappies.”

“Be my guest, but you may find that they are tougher to catch than you might think.

Carlos lobbed a cast to within a couple of feet of the floating bobber and several seconds later set the hook into what he hoped might be a 16-inch crappie. But it was a bass . . . . another eight pounder . . . . his 20th in the same number of casts.

“I never thought I would see the day when I would get sick of catching eight pound bass.”, Colder lamented.

As he released yet another 16-inch crappie, the other angler turned around to speak to Colder and Carlos was somewhat startled to notice that the angler’s eyes seemed to be lifeless and totally devoid of any hope or spirit.

“For my entire life, I have put crappie fishing before anything else. I would rather have caught a nice-sized crappie than I would have the biggest salmon. Yet in more than 50 years of intense crappie fishing my largest crappie only measured about 14-inches in length. Now it seems that I cannot catch a crappie smaller than, or longer than about 16-inches.”

“That’s the way I have been with largemouth bass. I would have given my right arm for an eight pound bass and now I hope I might hook one that weighs something besides eight  pounds, even a small one, or another species of fish entirely.”

“Did you see the guy flyfishing back there aways?”

“Yeah.”
“Well . . . . He spent his entire life pursuing the wily brown trout and yet he never landed one measuring more than 24-inches long. Yet, now he cannot catch one that small.”
“I just cannot believe that this smallish water can produce lunkers like it has. It seems almost like heaven.”, stated Carlos Colder.

“Well . . . . I can tell you this – it sure as Hell isn’t Heaven.”, drawled the crappie angler.

And then Carlos Colder realized that the urgent       message from his doctor  . . . . had been quite important after all.

 

The hidden moral of this story is that one of the main things that makes fishing interesting is the often unpredictible sizes and species taken. Sameness, no matter how high the level, eventually becomes a drag. Hopefully, you, unlike Carlos Colder, will not find that out too late. Good Fishin’ – Pete Heley

 

 

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LOGICAL FISHING IDEAS – OR NOT

IN MY OPINION -SOME IDEAS I WISH THE ODFW WOULD AT LEAST CONSIDER

1-  Establish a summer stocking program for channel catfish for western Oregon. Washington began planting channel catfish in southwest Washington waters more than ten years ago. The number of stocked channel cats was not all that large, but many of lakes that received them produced fish weighing more than 20 pounds. In fact, Round Lake, a 30 acre lake attached to Lacamas Lake in Camas, produced a catfish recently that weighed well over 30 pounds. Channel catfish can provide some waters their only realistic chance at producing trophy-sized fish.

2- Place more importance and strive for greater usage of the redear sunfish. The redear sunfish, in prime environments, can grow surprisingly large. In fact, last year a redear weighing more than five and a half pounds was pulled from Lake Havasu. Redear sunfish seem to be much less prone to overpopulation than are bluegills and most other sunfish species and a major portion of their diet consists of small crustaceans and snails. So this panfish would provide some control over such alien invaders as quagga and zebra mussels.

3- Re-introduce brook trout to central Oregon’s East Lake. The addition of the Atlantic and kokanee salmon is wonderful, as is the enhancement of the lake’s brown trout population, but without the brookies, which averaged very good size in East Lake, something seems to be missing.

4 – Consider the establishment of searun brown and brook trout populations on a single suitable very small coastal stream.

5- Consider taking crayfish, native to Oregon, and establishing crayfish populations in the coastal lakes that presently do not have crayfish populations. Many of these lakes tend to have rather skinny bass that would be more robust if they had a more fatty forage source – like crayfish.

6- Consider imitating Washington’s very successful hybrid muskie program. I know that they are already considering on a trial basis, but these toothy predators live about ten years and I would like to catch a big one while I am still able to do so. Surprisingly, the trout fishing has improved in virtually all of the Washington waters that now contain hybrid muskies.

7 – Find a replacement water for Thompson Reservoir when it comes to establishing a hybrid striped bass program. Hopefully, it will be a non-gamefish-infested water in western Oregon that won’t require a six hour drive to reach (Ana Reservoir).

8- Strengthen the warmwater fisheries along the Oregon coast by establishing fisheries in small waters that currently do not contain fish and, if necessary, provide a sanctuary of somewhat deeper water to increase the chance of fish surviving several years and reaching good size.

9- Take a good look at such, now closed, fisheries such as Mill Creek, a tributary of the tidewater Umpqua River, and the Deschutes River above Wickiup Reservoir. These could reopen under special regulations such as flyfishing only with no fish retention. Mill Creek could produce catch and release fishing for coho and chinook salmon and summer steelhead  that enter the lower stream to rest before continuing up the Umpqua as well as a fair population of smallmouth bass. As for the Deschutes River above Wickiup Reservoir, it could be flyfishing only in the stream section that now closes on August 1st and harbors large trout, mostly browns, prior to them moving farther upstream to spawn.

10- In general, take advantage of possible niche fisheries that could, when taken as a whole, could reduce fishing pressure on the state’s more heavilty used, better known waters.

Please keep in mind, these are only suggestions, that should be considered, but discarded, if too many problems exist. The complaint that such a regulation of fishery would be difficult to enforce should not trump the public’s right to prove that they can handle such additional angling opportunities. Take the regulation or fishing opportunity away – but please, so not always assume that such a fishery would be abused – cell phones, some with cameras make it easier for law-abiding anglers to report those that are not.

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Comparing Pete Rose and Derek Jeter

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Pete Heley Outdoors 10/17/2012

The hottest thing going in the last couple of weeks has been the fishing for jumbo lingcod. By jumbo, this writer means fish weighing an honest 20 or more pounds. It seems that in the first couple of weeks of the deepwater (30 fathoms or more) opener for bottomfish, there has been more lingcod weighing 20 or more pounds than were reported for the entire six months the season was open last year.

The biggest lingcod reported so far is the one taken recently by Bobby Brown who is a Cottage Grove resident, but spends about half the year in Winchester Bay. His fish was taken at Port Orford in approximately 100 feet of water and weighed a whopping 41 pounds eight ounces. The jumbo ling has swallowed a smaller ling that weighed about five pounds as well as several several rockfish weighing up to about a pound and a half. Ironically, that giant lingcod was the only fish Brown and his fishing buddies hooked in that area – possibly because the toothy behemoth had scared away the smaller fish it had not already eaten. Brown reported that the water they were fishing was shallow enough that they were able to safely release several of the protected rockfish species they caught that weighed as much as 20 pounds.

Among the jumbo lingcod caught recently off what is commonly called Tenmile Reef, was a 27 pounder that was caught by Charlie Lemeire of Winchester Bay. His lingcod had managed to swallow a salmon that appeared to be about two feet long and the salmon had been in the lingcod’s belly just long enough to not have its skin, but that appeared to be all that was missing from might have been a legal to keep chinook salmon or a possible reason for a ticket if it was a coho and it was removed from the lingcod’s stomach prior to returning to a point inside the Umpqua River Bar.

Salmon fishing out of Winchester Bay did not undergo any noticeable improvement after last weekend’s rain. The fish did appear more active, but any benefit to fishing success appears to be somewhat delayed. There does appear to be plenty of salmon hanging off the mouth of Winchester Creek in Winchester Bay’s East Basin and the bank anglers are still consistently catching early morning salmon at Half Moon Bay and Osprey Point. Boat anglers are still targeting the Umpqua River Bar when they can and are marking lots of salmon, but have to fish hard to catch many. Fair numbers of salmon are now scattered throughout the entire mainstem Umpqua River and Smith River, which is only open for chinook salmon, has provided some very good, if inconsistent, fishing.

Many local anglers have recently tried fishing the Coos and Coquille rivers and they have enjoyed mixed success as the fishing has been very inconsistent, but occasionally very good.

Anglers are still repeatedly asking if our region’s rivers are still open for wild or unclipped coho salmon and the answer is a strong YES! The only river even approaching its quota is the Siuslaw which through Sunday, October 7th had given up about 61 percent of its 1,700 wild coho quota. No other river in our region is even close.

Some of the salmon trapped by our local STEP people were found to have a clipped rear left ventral fin, but retained an unclipped adipose fin. These fish were believed to be smaller adult chinook that were released three years ago by a hatchery at Rock Creek, a tributary of the North Umpqua River.

Boat crabbers are still doing well at Winchester Bay, but the dock crabbers are starting to have to work a little harder for their catch. Two different crabbers came into the Stockade Market to announce that they had caught tagged crabs this last week. I was sorry to have to inform them that the contest ended on October 1st and someone had already been awarded the $1,000 grand prize. Boat crabbers need to be aware that the last day of legal crabbing in the ocean was October 14th.

Although our three local lakes with coho salmon seasons on them are technically open for salmon fishing, Siltcoos Lake is the only one that may start producing salmon at any time. The dam on Siltcoos River is about three river miles below the lake and is actually located in tidewater, so salmon could conceivably enter the river on a high tide and ascend the fish ladder and continue upstream into the lake. The river portion of Siltcoos Lake’s coho fishery only extends downstream from the lake to the Highway 101 Bridge. Successful coho salmon fishing on Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes is most likely going to start several weeks in the future.

Local STEP volunteer, Bill Taylor, reported that he and his wife enjoyed good fishing for yellow perch at Tahkenitch Lake recently with several of the perch they caught measuring just short of 12-inches in length. A few other anglers fishing for perch at Tahkenitch reported fair fishing for perch in the eight to ten-inch range.

The jumbo rainbow trout planted last month in Lake Marie are still providing good fishing. An example of just how good was evidenced by a couple of San Diego anglers, Chuck and Cheri Mills, who enjoyed tremendous flyfishign on the lake after switching to plain olive wooly buggers. Between 10 am and 1:30 pm, they had strikes from about 50 trout and landed 35 – all of which measured between 14 and 19-inches. They released their entire catch and even removed a treble hook from the side of one trout and a plastic worm and trailing leader from the mouth of another. They were fishing last Thursday, October 11th. The ODFW seldom announces trout plants involving trout measuring more than 16-inches in length. Another possibility for similar-sized trout would be Butterfield Lake which was stocked the first week of October and Saunders and Empire Lakes which were planted last week.

It is kind of ironic that lampreys were re-introduced into central Oregon’s Miller Lake in 2010. The lake was originally treated because of the lampreys many years ago and now the lampreys are protected and not even legal to use as striped bass or sturgeon bait. Although access can become a problem at any time, Miller Lake is probably furnishing Oregon’s best brown trout fishing right now and the lamprey introduction probably explains why anglers using dark leech patterns during periods of low light or darkness are enjoying good success on some sizable brown trout. Miller Lake is open to trout fishing 24 hours per day and in the late evening and at night large browns, including some that will weigh ten or more pounds, often approach the shoreline looking for food.

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Wild Coho Catch Estimates For Oregon Coast Rivers Through Sunday, October 14th

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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Miguel Cabrera and Baseball 2012

MIGUEL CABRERA’S TRIPLE CROWN AND OTHER INTERESTING THOUGHTS ON MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL 2012.

How can any sportswriters voting for this season’s American League MVP Award not vote for Miguel Cabrera?Certainly, Mike Trout has a stellar rookie season, but at the end of the season his stats were headed south while Cabrera’s got noticably better. Additonally, after a slow start, the Detroit Tigers made the playoffs and with a two games to zero lead over the Yankees, look like a very good bet to be one of this year’s World Series participent.

Miguel Cabrera won this year’s triple crown for the American League – the first triple crown winner in 45 years – and Carl Yastrzemski’s 1967 Triple Crown was somewhat tainted in that he tied for the league lead in homeruns with Harmon Killebrew who hit his 44 homers in 32 less official plate appearances.

While some people in the “Mike Trout for MVP” camp tout Trout’s excellent fielding skills and league leading stolen base skills, the plain truth is that Trout had his sensational season in the wrong year to win the MVP. A new statisitical category, wins above replacement player (WAR) shows Trout to have the highest mark in the major leagues, but this statisical category is simply a last gasp stat to be championed when virtually all other statistics favor other players.

For much of this season, Cabrera was barely in the top ten among home run leaders in the American League and he trailed Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers for most of the season before his late season hitting heroics allowed him to surge to the top of this year’s home run hitters, win the major league RBI title by a comfortable margin of 11 over Hamilton (139 to 128).

Hopefully, the baseball writers will do the right thing and keep Ted Williams as the last Triple Crown winner to not win that year’s MVP Award. In fact, William’s did it twice winning the crown in 1942 and 1947, but finishing second in the MVP races to Yankee players Joe Gordon in 1942 and Joe DiMaggio in 1947.

A number of players (6) hit at least 45 doubles this season with the Alex Gordon of the Kansas City Royals hitting 51 and Aramis Ramirez of the Milwaukee Brewers and Albert Pujols of the LA Angels hitting 50 each. However, despite missing 51 games, Joey Votto of the Reds hit 44 doubles and managed to average a double per every 8.5 official plate appearances. Had Votto maintained his double-hitting prowess through 578 official plate appearances, he would have had 68 doubles, topping the existing record of 67 doubles set by the Red Sox’s Earl Webb way back in 1931.

Further evidence of Votto’s double-hitting prowess is that this year’s doubles leader, Alex Gordon averaged 13.2 official plate appearances per double. In other words, Votto his his doubles this year at a 55 percent higher rate than did Gordon. In fact, if Votto had the same number of official plate appearances as did Gordon (672), he would have had 79 doubles.

In some cases, a player hits more doubles after they lose their home run power. Let’s hope that is not the case with a fully healthy Votto.

Also, somewhat interesting is the fact that this year, despite no one hitting more than Cabrera’s 44 home runs, a total of 27 players hit at least 30 home runs.  Whether this will prove to be a single-season abberation, or a result of stronger, bigger players and a reduced use of steroids and other enhancements will remain to be seen.

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