Monthly Archives: November 2012

Pete Heley Outdoors 11/14/2012

Crabbing at Winchester Bay remains good. It seems that female and undersized crabs are becoming an ever-bigger nuisance, but crabbers willing to put in their time are getting limits of legal crabs. Of course, boat crabbers have it easier than the dockbound crabbers and last week, it seems that the crabs even moved upriver somewhat, as some good catches were made more than a half-mile upriver from the entrance to Winchester Bay’s East Boat Basin. It seems that the very best dock crabbing is occuring before daybreak and after dark, but those willing to put in their time are catching some crabs all day long – but those catching limits are definitely earning them.

Salmon fishing pressure on the lower Umpqua River has almost stopped. However, the very few anglers still trying for salmon are catching some. Local angler, Tom Crittenton, weighed in a nearly 16 pound chinook taken on a spinner near the mouth of Winchester Creek last Saturday and a few salmon are still being hooked at Half Moon Bay and Osprey Point when anglers are fishing it. The salmon fishing pressure is so low, that one is forced to wonder if the catch per angler has dropped all that much.

On the ODFW website, the publishing of the catch rate of wild coho on Oregon coastal rivers was delayed, but statistics for most of the wild coho rivers for the week ending November 4th are now on the site – and the catch (not the catch rates) statistics are rather humble. The statistics for the Coos and Coquille rivers are still pending and the Alsea River is closed to the taking of wild cohos, but there were ZERO wild coho retained on the Nehalem River and Tillamook Bay, one retained coho reported on the Nestucca and Siletz rivers. The Yaquina had six wild coho reported taken, the Umpqua has 16 and the Siuslaw, which amazingly is still open for wild cohos, had 31 retained wild coho.

Last week, coho salmon were reported caught from all three lakes that allow coho salmon fishing. The hottest bite was on Tahkenitch Lake where it was easy to find the coho at the upper ends of Five Mile and Mallard arms. Siltcoos Lake and the upper portion of the outlet that is open to fishing for coho is still producing salmon, but the biggest surprise has been Tenmile Lakes which surprisingly has some bright coho in it. As usual, most of the coho are being caught by bass anglers fishing spinnerbaits and crankbaits and although this happens every season, the salmon are too dark to keep when they finally get into the lake. Bank anglers on Tenmile can fish that tiny stretch of Tenmile Creek above the Hilltop Drive Bridge in Lakeside and have a chance to hook a salmon.

Fishing pressure on the South Jetty and Triangle areas at Winchester Bay is increasing and bottomfish angling has been good.

Almost all the warmwater fishing pressure in our area has been directed towards yellow perch.

Trout anglers should consider stillfishing with bait as the water cools down and the trout become less active. The best fishing is in the area’s larger lakes that hold native, searun and carryover trout.

I hear a lot of griping about the ODFW and while I seldom directly contradict the whiners, I often wonder how much griping they would do if they lived in California. In the last few years, for what appears to be a very small financial donation to the California Department of Fish and Game, the United States Humane Society has managed to have a lot to say about hunting and fishing in California. Additionally, SB1221, recently signed into law in California makes it illegal to use dogs to hunt or even chase bear or bobcats. The bill also gives the California Department of Fish and Game broad powers when it comes to establishing hound hunting requiements that could ultimately make it necessary for onerous documentation for hounds to the point where a microchip may be required. This is not to say that these things will come to pass, just that they are possible under the new bill.

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Wild Coho Catch Data

The belated catch statistics for the week ending Sunday, November 4th show very little wild coho catches. This is almost certainly a combination of fewer available wild cohos and a large reduction in fishing pressure. If an angler wants info on where wild coho are legal to keep, they can check the previous weeks’ charts for wild coho catches which include the areas for each river where it is legal to keep wild cohos.

Anglers should also be aware that all three coastal lakes that allow coho fishing (Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile) now have coho salmon in them.

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Oregon Football


Well, the Oregon Ducks finally managed to convince me that they are currently the nation’s best college football team. The last two weeks did it with convincing, yet very different, wins . First, they ran for more than 400 yards against the University of Southern California and then rode an incredible passing day from redshirt freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota to trounce the California Bears. They accomplished these wins despite numerous injuries to their defense, but did have wide receiver Josh Huff back at full strength and Huff makes a big difference in Oregon’s passing game.

Here are some of the things Oregon has accomplished this football season.

(1) They have the longest active streak of games with at least 42 points at 13 and the longest streak of games with at least 30 points at 23.

(2) Oregon has scored at least 50 points in seven games this season and since Chip Kelley came to Oregon as an Offensive Coordinator in 2007 has reached the 50 point plateau in an incredible 28 games. No other team in that time period has reached 50 points more than 24 times (Oklahoma).

(3) During the course of this season, Oregon has had three different players under Heisman Trophy consideration. Early in the season there was De’Anthony Thomas – Oregon’s super sophomore “do everything” back. Then, during the last few weeks there was Kenjon Barner who set an Oregon single game rushing record of 321 yards againt USC as well as the all-time single game rushing mark for a USC opponent. Possibly because Barner got hurt in his very next game after setting the rushing record, Oregon’s redshirt freshman quarterback had an incredible game against California where he threw six touchdown passes with no interceptions and had a single game quarterback rating of more than 230, which vaulted him to the top of the national quarterback ratings and into the Heisman Trophy race.

(4) More about Mariota’s monster game, which allowed him to vault a number of top quarterbacks to reach the #1 rating among NCAA Division One quarterbacks. Mariota’s seasonal ranking after the California game was 177.0 which was a full five points higher than the #2 rated quarterback (Tahj Boyd of Clemson at 172.0). The next six highest rated quarterbacks are all within five points of Boyd, including the eighth highest rated quarterback, Collin Klein of Kansas State who has a rating of 167.4 and is considered the favorite for the Heisman Trophy. The latest media darling, Johnny Manziel of Texas A & M, who led the Aggies to a victory over top-ranked Alabama is rated 27th nationally.

(5) Oregon also continued its stream of Heisman hopefuls coming down with major injuries dating back to Reuben Droughns who was averaging a yard and a half more than Ricky Williams of the Texas Longhorns did when he won the trophy after the 1998 season. Then there was Dennis Dixon, who was leading by sizable margins in four of the five voting areas for the Heisman Trophy when he went down with a knee injury. Kenjon Barner is merely the latest such casualty when he was injured in the game following his record-setting game against the USC Trojans.

Let’s hope Oregon’s individual jinxes do not extend to the team as a whole. The Ducks are poised to finish the regular season ranked first nationally if they can get by Stanford and Oregon State – which may be their two toughest opponents. Let’s hope they finish the regular season undefeated and play well in the BCS Championship game in Miami on January 7th.

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Pete Heley Outdoors 11/07/2012

Salmon fishing pressure at Winchester Bay underwent a major dropoff. A few bank anglers are targeting the East Boat Basin for hatchery chinooks and a few spinner flingers are hitting Half Moon Bay and Osprey Point, but catches have been few. Siltcoos Lake and the upper two miles of Siltcoos River (between the lake and the Highway 101 bridge) have been producing fair coho fishing, but anglers need to remember that the daily limit is one adult coho and one jack coho and anglers needs to quit salmon fishing once they keep their adult coho.

Judging by the number of boats fishing Tahkenitch Lake, some coho have managed to enter the lake – or at least some anglers think they have. Once in the lake, Tahkenitch is relatively easy to fish since the fish congregate at the head of Five Mile and Mallard arms. Recent heavy rains might mean that this year salmon anglers at Tenmile Lakes might be catching some fairly bright cohos. The regulations regarding salmon fishing on the Tenmile Lakes is a little bit tricky. The outlet is closed below the Hilltop Drive in Lakeside and the channel between South and North Tenmile is closed to fishing during the salmon season.

The hottest salmon bite along the Oregon coast is on the smaller southcoast streams. As you read this, the Chetco, Elk and Sixes rivers should be fishing well for chinooks salmon, but anglers might have to wait a little while before the fishing is good on such smaller streams as Floras and Hunter Creeks.

As for anglers targeting wild coho on the lower reaches of the larger rivers on the Oregon coast, the Alsea River’s quota has been met and it has been closed to the retention of wild coho. Poor fishing on the Siuslaw has allowed the river to remain on the verge of closure for keeping wild coho for more than two weeks and could close at any time. None of the other rivers are even close to reaching their wild coho quotas, but fishing has been slow.

Frequent Umpqua River bar closures and rough ocean conditions have limited offshore bottomfishing opportunities. When available, the fishing remains very, very good. Shorebound anglers are starting to forget about the salmon fishing and, once again, start fishing the South Jetty and Triangle areas for bottomfish. Reports over the weekend indicated a very good bite for greenling and smaller rockfish with some striped surfperch and cabezon also caught. Lingcod remain a jetty angling possibility, but the fishing is usually best in the early spring. Rough surf conditions have limited angling pressure on local beaches for redtailed surfperch (pinkfins), but the fishing is usually fairly productive during the winter months and the daily limit is still 15 perch.

It seems that the excellent fishing for jumbo rainbows at Lake Marie is finally slowing down. The good fishing due to a September plant of large trout lasted much longer than normal due to much of the fishing being done by fly anglers who released their fish. However, the fish are gradually being caught down and cooler water temperatures have slowed the activity of the trout that are still left. Other local trout possibilities are: Eel, Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile Lakes.

Fishing for yellow perch remains fairly good, but the only place that seems to be getting much fishing pressure is Tenmile Lakes where anglers fishing off the fishing dock at the county park have recently caught fair numbers of perch to 13-inches.

Over last weekend, a nominal number of boat crabbers enjoyed good success and many limits while crabbing the Umpqua River between the entrance to the East Boat Basin and Half Moon Bay. The crabs seem to actively feed in short time periods and the most successful crabbers put in some time to get their limits. Several dockbound crabbers also go their limits over last weekend, but poor weather conditions limited how many people were actually crabbing. A couple of weeks ago, crabbing success in the half mile of Umpqua River above the entrance to the East Boat Basin was very, very good. But recent rains have moved those crabs downriver . However, it appears that it is going to take a lot more rain to foul up the crabbing in the Half Moon Bay area.

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Bass, Pike and Walleye Quiz

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November Fishing Opportunities For Oregonians

Salmon fishing should peak along the smaller south coast rivers. The Elk, Sixes, Chetco, Pistol and Winchuck rivers should offer good fishing for chinook salmon as well as Floras and Hunter Creeks. Some of these streams have special regulations such as the restriction on angling from a boat or float tube on the Winchuck River. Mateer Bridge is the upstream deadline for chinook angling on Hunter Creek, while Deep Creek is the upstream limit for chinook fishing on the Pistol River. At the end of November, the steelhead runs may be just starting on some of these streams.

Offshore bottomfishing at depths beyond 30 fathoms (180 feet) is open during November and fishing for lingcod and rockfish can be very, very good since it is closed for six months each year – allowing the area to replenish itself to a greater degree than waters open all year long.

Yellow perch fishing in many Oregon waters can be productive. The coastal lakes having perch populations tend to be fairly shallow and daytime temperatues can quickly effect perch activity, while a few of the deeper lakes, such as Munsel and Woahink, should offer more consistent fishing. If I were after big yellow perch, my first choice would be Siltcoos Lake which has produced a number of perch weighing at least a pound and a half in the last several years. Other spots for good-sized yellow perch would include Cooper Creek Reservoir, Mercer Lake, Tahkenitch Lake, Tenmile Lakes and Woahink Lake,. Many other lakes are capable of having a dominant year class of sizable perch in any given year. Anglers should strive to have their baits within two feet of the bottom and shouldn’t hesitate to move around until they find sizable perch.

Good places to fish for trout in November would include Crescent Lake, located on the west side of Highway 58 on the east side of Willamette Pass. Crescent is open all year and in addition to giving up mackinaw weighing more than 25 pounds, seems to give up more than its share of cold weather brown trout weighing more than ten pounds. Other fish species entering the catch in November would include rainbow trout and kokanee. Bull trout are rare and must be immediately be released. The Crooked River, despite its murkiness, offers consistent winter trout fishing to fly anglers and lure flingers. Most of the fish are redband trout measuring less than 13-inches, but they are capable of reaching weights of at least two pounds. Years ago, a fly angler pulled a rainbow weighing more than 13 pounds from the stream   Lahontan cutthroats used to be rare, but fairly regular catches from the stream. The colder the weather, the bigger the advantage to fishing closer to Bowman Dam which forms Prineville Reservoir and feeds consistent cool water temperatures into Crooked River.

Another good fly fishing spot to try in November is central Oregon’s Fall River. Only the portion of the small stream above the falls is open to year round angling. Only fly fishing is allowed and springs keep the water temperature consistent and the bug hatches easy to time. Bigger trout are available to anglers fishing eastern Oregon’s Owyee River below Owyhee Reservoir. Brown trout averaging 16-inches, but possibly weighing more than eight pounds offer interesting and productive fishing.  Brown trout dominate the catch, but are catch and release only. The few rainbows in the river are capable of reaching good size and may be retained

The upper end of Suttle Lake can offer tremendous fishing for brown trout and is seems like all of them hang out in the open water below the Link Creek footbridge. The key to the best fishing is rainy, stormy weather and in the right conditions, the number of two to five pound brown trout that can be taken can be startling. Rapala-type lures seem to be the most effective, but if you can paint a kokanee or whitefish pattern on your lure, your fishing success will almost surely go up.

The Deschutes River between the upper end of Lake Billy Chinook upstream all the way to Benham Falls is open to year-round fishing for mostly brown trout some of which can weigh more than ten pounds. Water levels and current flows are very important and can be effected by water releases from Wickiup Reservoir and irrigation inflow below Bend. When fishing high current flows, concentrate on the pools and start at the upper end of the larger pools because if you hook a really big trout near the pool’s tailout, it will most likely head downstream and your chances to land it very much a longshot. That said, the best fishing in early November is usually the tailouts of pools and runs where many of the brown trout spawn and bait is prohibited. Mirror Pond, located in Bend from the North Canal Dam upstream to the Colorado Street Bridge is also open to fishing the entire year and seems to give up several sizable browns each winter and bait is legal to use on this shallow pond.

A productive multi-species lake offering fine November fishing along the Oregon coast is Saunders Lake. It usually receives a fall plant of good-sized rainbow trout and is also capable of offering good largemouth bass fishing during the warmer late afternoons through dusk and fair to good yellow perch fishing throughout November. Saunders is located about eight miles north of North Bend and is adjacent to the west side of Highway 101..

Some interesting trout fisheries in Washington that are very productive in November would include Rufus Woods Lake and Lake Chelan. The fishery at Rufus Woods is for pen-reared tirpoid rainbows and they can grow fat and heavy. Several Rufus Woods rainbows weighing at least 25 pounds have been pulled from this Columbia River reservoir. The average trout taken weighs at least three pounds and trout weighing at least 15 pounds are pulled from the reservoir monthly. A variety of fishing techniques work, but a popular strategy is to troll maribou jigs with black being the most popular color. As for Lake Chelan, it offers incredibly consistent fishing for mackinaws weighing between three and five pounds with a number of macs weighing more than 15 pounds taken monthly. Chelan holds the state record for mackinaw with a fish that weighed more than 33 pounds and the lake also gives up the occasional landlocked chinook that can weigh more than 20 pounds. Chelan can also offer surprisingly productive fishing for sizable smallmouth bass in shallow water areas of the lake during early November.

Many other potentially good November fisheries have been left out of this post – primarily because they are very dependent of either warm stable weather or the formation of ice thick enough for safe fishing

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Logan DeGree – Central Oregon’s Pre-teen Fishing Prodigy

Logan used a crankbait to fool this John Day RIver steelhead.


Logan used a nightcrawler to fool this lunker Deschutes River brown trout.

Scott and Logan DeGree with Logan’s ten pound nine ounce bull trout from Lake Billy Chinook.

Over the last couple of years, I have had the pleasure of knowing Logan DeGree,. Logan, now 12, is a most impressive young lad. He first got my complete attention when he quoted verbatim some of the local fishing guides I have written. But as the pictures at the end of this article indicate, Logan can do far more than talk about fishing. He knows how to fish and for a wide range of fish species.  I would like to claim Logan as my personal fishing protege, but that would not be fair to his parents, Brenda and Scott DeGree, who have proved themselves to be excellent fishing mentors and have introduced Logan to a wide range of fishing adventures.

The DeGrees live on a 20 acre ranch in central Oregon near Redmond.  Scott is a commercial and industrial contractor and Brenda is a retired stylist.  They both made sure Logan had a good, if almost premature start, in schooling and fishing and hunting. Logan attends a small country school in the community of Tumalo and fishes and hunts with his dad and fishes bass tournaments with his mother who does quite well as a member of the Central Oregon Bass Club and had a lot to do with Logan being the club’s Junior Angler of the Year this year. The family often fishes together and next year, Brenda will take over as club president and have the honor of giving the Junior Angler of the Year Award to Logan and the club’s Big Bass Award to her husband Scott  Club tournament commitments have put a hold on Logan participating in his two favorite sports – baseball and football..

Logan is very much into conservation and even manages the family pond. His dream is to be a hunting and fishing guide someday and if he becomes a good cook, he will be a great guide, because he already has all the other requirements (fishing, hunting and schmoozing ability) down pat. The DeGrees spend a fair portion of each year on the Oregon coast near Reedsport and Logan has fished most of the coastal rivers as well as various waters in Washington, Alaska, Hawaii and Michigan.

Logan has great fishing instincts and while fishing the Umpqua River with his dad, he made a special lure out of a Rogue Bait Rig and a Brad’s Super Bait that was effective to the point were a few guides that took a look at it decided to adopt it as one of their strategies.

Logan really stands out when it comes to talking fishing and he can sound like a seasoned pro and at the ripe old age of 12, due to his early start, that pretty much is what he is. Let’s take a look at a few of the different fish species Logan has fooled in the last couple of years.

Logan and his dad, Scott show off one of Logan’s nicer chinooks. Logan has caught similar-sized salmon from a number of Oregon rivers.

Logan holds up a nice-sized pumpkinseed sunfish taken from Oregon’s Smith River.

These lunker largemouth bass were taken from Wickiup Reservoir.

Logan fooled this nice-sized smallmouth bass while fishing in a bass tournament on Prineville Reservoir.

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Salmon and Trout Quiz

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