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Contact Pete Heley
PO Box 264
Reedsport, OR 97467
Monthly Archives: March 2013
Although the walleyes are entering their spawning phase, it is the rainbow trout that are headling the fishing at Potholes Reservoir. Some nice rainbows have fallen for Berkley Powerbait eggs fished off or near the dock at Mardon Resort. Some of the trout taken recently have been true lunkers.
Most of eastern Washington’s lakes open this April 1st and fishing should be good. In the Potholes Reservoir area, 20 of the seep lakes are slated to open to fishing on that date.
As for fishing events at Potholes, according to the folks at Mardon Resort there will be: Washington Bow-Fishing Tournament on April 6th and 7th; the Potholes Open Bass Tournament on April 20th and 21st; and the Spring Walleye Classic on May 4th and 5th.
After setting a one sturgeon seasonal bag limit earlier this year, the ODFW decided to increase the seasonal limit to two sturgeon. Since Jan. 1, the annual statewide bag limit has been one legal white sturgeon total for all zones statewide. According to Steve Williams, ODFW fish division deputy director, the increased bag limit is in response to a recent decision by the State of Washington to set its statewide annual sturgeon limit at two for 2013.
It seems that anglers are trying much harder to fish the offshore lingcod spots out of Winchester Bay and the fishing has been great. On Sunday, Dan Loomis, of Eugene, along with two friends caught their three limits of lingcod (6 fish), their three limits of bottomfish (21 rockfish) and a 28-inch chinook salmon, to boot, which hit a shrimp fly attached above their lingcod lures. As of last weekend, even though the ocean has been open to chinook salmon retention since March 15th, most of the salmon have been caught by anglers targeting bottomfish due to very light ocean chinook salmon fishing pressure.
Offshore waters deeper than 180 feet (30 fathoms) close to bottomfishing as of April 1st and there has been some confusion about the current closure on the keeping of cabezon. Instead of reopening on April 1st, cabezon will remain illegal to keep until July 1st.
Area beaches have been fishing well for redtailed surfperch and very good catches were made last weekend from both the North Beach Area (via Sparrow Park Road) and the beach just north of the third parking lot (fee required) about two miles south of Winchester Bay. Although there were no reports last weekend regarding Siltcoos Beach – it undoubtedly provided, or would have provided, good fishing as well. Striped surfperch are still biting well for those fishing sand shrimp off the South Jetty/Triangle area and lots of greenling and rockfish as well as fair numbers of lingcod are being caught as well, but it seems that most of the recent lingcod catches have measured short of the 22-inch minimum size limit. Off course, most of the larger lingcod are not landed when hooked by anglers fishing off the jetty rocks.
According to Gary and Barbara, the folks who own Snowy River Mercantile (the tackleshop located between Bob’s Market and Wells Creek Inn), the main reason that people driving along Highway 38 are not noticing vehicles with boat trailers parked in the boat launch parking lots or along the highway shoulder is that almost all the current fishing pressure for spring chinook is currently being done by local anglers that have their boats permanently moored in the Scottsburg/Wells Creek area of the Umpqua River. They said that at least a few springers are caught each week, but successful catches are not being publicized by the local springer-seekers. As of last week, they reported that the heaviest salmon catch that has been reported to them was a 28 pounder. Rick Hoile, who works for Salmon Harbor, reported that at least one larger springers was lost last week at boatside.
Virtually all of the Florence-area trout lakes have been stocked and these lakes will not be stocked again until the second week in April. Loon Lake is slated to receive 1,500 legal trout the first week in April and Lake Marie is scheduled to receive 1,000 legal trout the second week in April. The Empire Lakes were to receive 6,000 legal trout this week, while Bradley and Saunders lakes and Johnson Mill and Powers ponds are slated to receive 3,000 legal trout each the first week in April. Lake Marie, and most of the lakes that were stocked in late March, have been fishing very well for stocked rainbow trout.
While the Umpqua spring chinook anglers are praying for rain, almost all of the area’s bass and panfish anglers are hoping for stable warmer weather (Tenmile Lakes is always an exception). It appears that it is going to be at least a couple of weeks before coastal bassers get their wish, but bass fishing spots along Oregon’s entire Interstate 5 corridor will have much warmer afternoon temperatures this coming weekend. If those Umpqua springer anglers don’t get their coveted rainfall, an increase in water temperature would almost certainly perk up springer activity – and striped bass success as well.
At first thought, this seemed like another reason to bring guns to school – but it is far more likely that these elk were more into checking out their medical coverage at the clinic in North Bend, Oregon.
The start of the ocean chinook sportfishery last Friday was uneventful as the Umpqua River Bar was closed almost the entire weekend. Evidence that there are some spring chinook available to be caught when the ocean is accessible were the chinooks (at least three) recently landed by bottomfish anglers fishing out of Winchester Bay.
Umpqua River spring chinook anglers are still waiting for the first big push of springers to move upriver. It could happen anytime, but usually seems to occur in early April. Encouraging news is that at least two sprng chinooks have been landed by anglers casting spinners at Half Moon Bay -make that one springer since one was lost as the angler attempted to beach it.
The South Jetty/Triangle continues to fish well and the numbers of smaller lingcod taken recently is impressive. Of course, rockfish are also entering the catch and anglers fishing sand shrimp are taking fair numbers of striped surfperch, greenling and flounder. Last Sunday, two anglers fished holes in the South Jetty to catch eight of what they referred to as monkey-faced eels. Offshore bottomfish anglers need to remember that waters more than 30 fathoms deep (180 feet) close at the end of this month and as of April 1st, one cabezon per day will become legal angling fare.
Good catches of redtailed surfperch have been coming off the beaches near the third parking lot at Winchester Bay, at the end of Sparrow Park Road at Gardiner and near the mouth of the Siltcoos River off the Siltcoos Beach Access Road. Sand shrimp remains the most popular bait, although most anglers fishing the surf use a hardier bait on their second hook to avoid fishing baitless.
Trout plants are in full force this week with all three of our local regions receiving trout (North Coast, Umpqua and Coos/Coquille). Lake Marie is slated to receive its first trout plant of this year (2,000 legal rainbows), while Loon Lake’s is to receive its second plant (2,000 legal rainbows). To the south, Empire Lakes is slated to receive 500 trophy rainbows and was planted with 6,000 legals last week and is slated to receive 6,000 more legal rainbows next week..Butterfield Lake (2,000 legals) and Mingus Park Pond (1,000) legals was planted last week.Trophy rainbows are slated to be stocked in Bradley Lake (200), Johnson Mill Pond (50) and Powers Pond (150). North of Reedsport, lakes slated to receive foot long rainbows are Elbow (200); Lost Lake (400); Mercer (1,500); Siltcoos (1,500) and Woahink (1,000). Slated to receive only legal rainbows are: Carter (2,500); Georgia (150); North Georgia (150) and Perkins (250).
Cleawox Lake is slated to receive 3,000 legal and 150 trophy rainbows, while Erhart is to receive 200 legals and 36 trophies and Munsel is slated for 2,250 legals and 150 trophies. Lakes scheduled to receive all three trout sizes are: Alder, Buck and Dune (each receiving 850 legals, 100 foot long and 36 trophies) and Siltcoos Lagoon (850 legals, 450 foot long and 106 trophies).
Farther north (between Yachats and Newport), Eckman Lake (Waldport) is slated to receive 2,000 legal rainbows this week, while Olalla Reservoir (between Newport and Toledo) is slated for 2,000 legals, 1,250 foot longs and 200 trophies. In Newport, Big Creek Reservoir #1 is slated for 1,000 legals and 1,000 foot long rainbows and Big Creek Reservoir #2 will receive 1,800 legal, 1,800 foot long and 250 trophies.
Angling for freshwater spiny rays was good during the recent slightly warmer weather and a number of jumbo largemouth bass were caught – including at least one of more than nine and a half pounds from the Medford area. Cottage Grove Reservoir reported some good catches of largemouth bass and black crappies. Closer to home, the yellow perch are starting to enter the spawn and while most anglers have not reported great fishing number-wise, the number of larger perch made up a larger than normal share of the catch.
Thank you to all who came out and participated in the first ABA north tournament of the year. The next ABA North tournament is 4-20-13 in hood river.
The Tenmile tournament had 14 boats with a total of $2550.00 in payouts first place receiving $1590.00, 31 fish with a total weight of 110.18 lbs caught and released.
The results for the ABA Bass Tournament held on North Tenmile Lake on Saturday, March 9th were as follows: First Place – Carpenter and Glass 25.25 lbs; Second Place – Gibney and Bennidick 17.43 lbs; Third Place – Lawrence and Lawrence 14.84 lbs; Fourth Place – Heldstab and Gaither 11.09 lbs; Fifth Place – Simmons and Newman 10.37 lbs.
The tournament had 14 boats with the winning team of Glass and Butler winning $1,590.00 and the total tournament payout of $2.550.00. A total of 31 eligible fish were caught and weighed in with a total weight of 110.18 lbs for an average weight of three pounds 9 ounces per bass.
The results of the Frostbite Open held on Tenmile Lakes on 23rd of February (Saturday) and sponsored by the Emerald Bass Club were:
First Place – Glass / Butler (5 fish) – 22.39 lbs with a big fish of 6.45 lbs; Second Place – Wicks / Frost (5 fish) – 18.56 lbs with a big bass of 4.46 lbs; Third Plae – Rainey / Hess (5 fish) – 18.50 lbs with a big fish of 4.58 lbs; Fourth Place – Sowers / Funk (5 fish) – 16.32 lbs with a big bass of 4.79 lbs; Fifth Place – Ford / Hansen (4 bass) – 11.98 lbs with a big fish of 4.17 lbs; Sixth Place – Hastings / Palmer (3 bass) 10.81 lbs with a big fish of 4.32 lbs; Seventh Place – Betz / Neal (3 bass) 8.89 lbs with a big bass of 4.16 lbs; Eighth Place – Lourance / Casciato (2 fish) 7.97 with a big bass of 3.79 lbs; Nineth Place – Strickler / Strickler (2 bass) 7.55 lbs with a big bass of 4.13 lbs; Tenth Place – Allis / Johnson (2 bass) 7.51 lbs with a big bass of 4.13 lbs 11th Place – Bingham / Kennedy – 2 bass for 6.82 lbs; 12th Place – Cross / Bittner – 1 bass for 4.03 lbs; 12th Place (TIE) – Osburn / Osburn – 1 bass for 4.03 lbs; 14th Place – Truett / Lyttle – 1 bass for 3.48 lbs; 15th Place – Underwood / Day – 1 bass for 3.40 lbs; 16th Place – Parks / Stavros – 1 bass for 3.26 lbs; 17th Place – Helstab / Gaither – 1 bass for 2.92 lbs; 18th Place – Gibney / Radke – 1 bass for 2.78 lbs; 19th Place – Gerreira / Cooper 2 bass for 2.61 lbs.
Places 20th through 32nd were tied with no landed bass.
As usual, it took more than 20 pounds to win the Frostbite Open on Tenmile Lake, but the number of good catches weighed in was down from most of the previous years.
2013 OCEAN SPORTFISHING CHINOOK SALMON SEASON
3/9/13 ACTION NOTICE: The National Marine Fisheries Service in consultation with the Pacific Fishery Management Council, the State of Oregon, and fishery interests has reviewed the recreational Chinook salmon seasons adopted under the 2012 regulation setting process, and the season scheduled to be open for Chinook salmon from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. will occur as scheduled for the period of March 15 through April 30. All retained Chinook salmon must be 24 inches or larger.
Anglers fishing in ocean waters adjacent to Tillamook Bay between Twin Rocks and Pyramid Rock and within the 15 fathom depth contour are reminded that only adipose fin clipped Chinook salmon may be retained or on board while fishing.
Seasons from May 1, 2013 through April 30, 2014 are currently being developed. Season alternatives will be reviewed and a final season recommendation made at the Pacific Fishery Management Council public meeting in Portland, Oregon by April 11.
2013 OCEAN COMMERCIAL CHINOOK SALMON SEASON
3/9/13 ACTION NOTICE: The National Marine Fisheries Service in consultation with the Pacific Fishery Management Council, the State of Oregon, and fishery representatives has taken the following in-season management actions to modify the previously scheduled March 15 openings in the ocean commercial troll Chinook salmon seasons off Oregon:
The area between Cape Falcon and the Oregon/California Border will open for commercial troll Chinook fishing for the period of April 1 – 30. Fishery managers agreed that this was needed to reduce impacts on Klamath River fall Chinook in order to provide more flexibility in the other season options that are under development. Vessels are limited to no more than four spreads per wire, and Chinook must be 28 inches or larger to be retained.
Within the area adjacent to Tillamook Bay, between Twin Rocks and Pyramid Rock, and inside the 15 fathom depth contour, only adipose fin clipped Chinook may be retained or on board a vessel while fishing.
Seasons from May 1, 2013 through April 30, 2014 are currently being developed. Season alternatives will be reviewed and a final season recommendation made at the Pacific Fishery Management Council public meeting in Portland, Oregon by April 11.
The latest fishing report for Potholes Reservoir (courtesy of Anne Meseberg) is that Central-Eastern Washington is enjoying the signs of an earlier spring than the last two years. Ice off was three weeks earlier this year compared to 2012. This past week bank fishing anglers were reporting quality rainbow trout from the southern shores of Potholes Reservoir. Six limits of rainbow’s were also reported from the public access known as Blythe Point Boat Launch. One lunker trout 28 inches long was reported from these limits. Frenchman’s Waste-way, where it enters Potholes Reservoir has been producing good trout as well. Bank fishers at MarDon Resort are having good action on rainbow up to 4lbs fishing from the shore and off the dock. Canal, Heart, and Windmill Lakes are also producing Trout. The bank fishing trout ammunition has been Berkley power-bait with a night crawler. Larger Rainbows are being caught using cocktail shrimp with a power-bait marshmallow or a brand name “Coon-Shrimp” (Larger Bait Shrimp) with Smelly Jelly.
Walleye reports have been limited. One pair of very good walleye fishers reported using blade baits in 38 feet of water and landing two 10lb walleye, a bur-bot (fresh water ling-cod) and a 1lb 9oz yellow-perch. For more information please call the MarDon Resort Tackle Shop (509) 346-2651.
Upcoming MarDon Events: April 6-7 – Washington Bow-fishing Jackpot Tournament; April 20-21 – Potholes Open Bass Tournament; May 4-5 – Spring Walleye Classic.
Recent fishing photos (courtesy of Mardon Resort) #1-Desert Air Resident, Russel Brixey, caught a limit of rainbow trout with the largest weighing around 4lbs fishing off the shore at MarDon Resort. #2-Kevin shows a quality walleye caught winter fishing on the MarDon Resort Dock.
Mike Meseberg adds: Now these walleye are preparing for the spring spawn. Surface water temperatures have been reported to 44 degrees. Walleye spawn at 45 degrees. Walleye action will only improve with natural spring conditions. The two areas to focus on at this time are the Lind Coulee and the area between the outlet of Moses Lake and Crab Creek boat launch.
There has been a lot of questions about trout plants this year, mostly because with the exception of the North Coast Region, the schedules for most other areas had not yet been posted on the ODFW website. However, as of the end of last week, that information is now available on the ODFW website. If you do not already have it bookmarked, the stocking information can be reached by doing a internet search using “oregon fishing reports” and then going to the bottom left to click on “trout stocking”.
For our area, a number of lakes in the Coos Bay area were stocked the week beginning March 4th. Empire Lakes received 6,000 trout, Saunders Lake, Bradley Lake, Johnson Mill Pond and Powers Pond all received 3,000 trout. Loon Lake received 2,000 legal trout and other Douglas County lakes receiving trout were Ben Irving Reservoir (2,500), Cooper Creek Reservoir (2,000), Galesville Reservoir (2,000) and Plat I (1,500). Lake Marie is scheduled to receive 2,000 trout during the week beginning March 18th as is Loon Lake..
Anglers wanting to fish for larger planted trout could consider Junction City Pond, a diminutive body of water located on the west side of Highway 99, which is slated to receive 1,700 barely legal rainbows, 400 foot long rainbows and 25 trophy trout (16-inchers) this week. Next week, the north coast lakes are scheduled to be stocked again – the week beginning March 18th. Alder, Buck and Dune lakes are slated to each receive 850 barely legal, 100 foot long and 36 trophy trout. Georgia and North Georgia are slated to receive 150 barely legals while Carter Lake is slated to receive 2,500 barely legals and Perkins Lake 250. Other Florence-area lakes scheduled to be planted are: Cleawox (3,000 barely legal and 150 trophy); Elbow Lake (200 foot long); Erhart Lake (200 barely legal and 36 trophy); Lost Lake (400 foot long); Mercer (1,500 foot long); Munsel (2,250 barely legal and 150 trophy); Siltcoos Lagoon (850 barely legal, 450 foot long and 106 trophy); Siltcoos Lake (1,500 foot long) and Woahink Lake (1,000 foot long).
Many anglers that fish for planted trout pay little heed to how the number of trout planted compares to the size of the body of water they are planted in. Those 150 trout planted in tiny North Georgia Lake probably works out to about 200 trout per acre, while tyhe 1,500 trout planted in Siltcoos Lake works out to less than one trout for every two acres. In fact, the futility of following the stocking truck to Siltcoos may be one reason so many of those trout carryover to become genuine lunkers.
The nice weather had Winchester Bay’s South Jetty/Triangle area heavily fished and anglers did quite well. One angler landed seven lingcod, but only one stretched the tape to 22-inches and was therefore legal. A couple of others missed by a fraction of an inch and several other hookups managed to reach the safety (for them) of the submerged rocks. Another angler caught several striped surfperch near the upper end of the South Jetty and while he was walking around the south end of Half Moon Bay, he put on a spinner and made several casts for spring chinooks and surprisingly hooked one, losing the fish, about a ten pounder, as he tried to drag it onto shore. A couple of springers were caught in the Scottsburg area this last week, but the fishing is very slow and there does not seem to be many salmon yet in the Umpqua River. By this time next week, there should be a decision on when the ocean fishery starts for chinook salmon.
Decent bar and ocean conditions last Friday morning and most of Saturday allowed some anglers to target the offshore bottomfishing spots southwest of Winchester Bay and, as usual, they pretty much limited out on lingcod, but the incidental catch of “brown bomber” rockfish was lower than normal. This fishery is only legal to fish through the end of this month and waters deeper than 180 feet (30 fathoms) will close April 1st through September. Joe Cook, of “The Bite’s On” in Empire showed me an interesting photo of a jumbo lingcod caught by one of his customers last week off of Charleston’s North Jetty. The lingcod, which weighed more than 20 pounds, had seven broken lines coming out of its mouth and in the photo (taken inside the fish’s mouth) each hook was clearly visible.
Anglers targeting redtailed surfperch on area beaches had pretty good luck over last weekend, but the surf could have been somewhat calmer. One Eugene-area angler managed to land a steelhead of more than 36-inches while targeting the perch at North Beach (Sparrow Park Road). He was using sand shrimp on one hook and half of a six-inch Berkley Gulp sandworm on the other hook and the steelhead took the Gulp sandworm. The fish had already spawned and one can only guess which river it had recently exited, but it did have a clipped adipose fin.
With the exception of Tenmile Lakes, there has been very little fishing pressure directed at largemouth bass and yellow perch, but the perch seem to be very close to actually spawning and some good-sized largemouth bass have been caught recently. Medford-area teenage bass fishing phenom, Colby Pearson, reported catching a bass of more than eight pounds last week from an “unnamed” lake close to his home.
It’s not often that a state record is broken by 15 pounds (27.3 %), but that is exactly what giant striped bass caught last February 28th by James Bramlett did. His extremely chunky 70 pound striper grabbed a 10-inch gizzard shad Bramlett threw towards the jumbo striper while fishing from a kayak in the Black Warrior River. The Black Warrior River is the major tributary of the Tombigbee River and since it is a long way from the Gulf of Mexico, Bramlett’s fish was almost certainly a freshwater fish. In addition to demolishing the previous Alabama record striper of 55 pounds taken way back in 1959, Bramlett’s striper is under consideration for world record status for freshwater stripers by the IGFA.
An extremely chunky fish, Bramlett’s 70 pound striper was only 46.5-inches in length and probably about the same length as the previous record – but the new record appeared to be in immediate-prespawn shape and at its heaviest. Congratulations to Mr. Bramlett for the fish of a lifetime – and for having a wife that actually encouraged him to go fishing.
The Alabama record striper accomplishes one other thing. It takes a little bit of the sting out of Rodney Ply’s 68+ pound striped bass that was larger than the previous freshwater record striper (67 pounds eight ounces from California). As soon as Ply pulled the huge striper from Bull Shoals Reservoir, bad luck began hounding the otherwise “lucky” angler. For Ply, landing the monster striper in Bull Shoals was the easy part. After landing the lunker, Ply tried to find a certified scale to weigh the fish on as the one at a nearby marina was not certified.
Ply was then directed to drive 30 miles to meet up with a game warden at a grocery store, but the store’s certified scale was too small to weigh the fish – as were several other scales at stores they visited. The original scale at the local marina later had their scale certified and it was found to be accurate. But in the meantime, both the IGFA and the Arkansas Game and Fish Department ruled that the fish was ineligible for state record or world record recognition.
Despite doing everything he could to properly authenticate the striper, the Department of Fish and Game determined that he had not followed proper procedures and the IGFA initially ruled that he lure, an Alabame Rig clone that only had two hooks instead of the usual five was not legal – even though every state had ruled it to be a legal fishing lure subject to the number of hooks allowed by individual states. While a number of states limit the number of hooks on an Alabama Rig to three (often called California Rig when it only has three hooks) no state has yet ruled that two hooks are too many.
One reason that Rodney Ply keeps fighting the obvious injustice dealt him by the two record-keeping agencies is that he was signed up for Mustad Hooks’ “Hook A Million” contest that awards $100,000 to an entrant that sets a state record and $1,000,000 to an entrant that sets a world record.
Ply has not given up fighing for both the recognition and the money and public opinion is definitely on his side. This is not the first time that the IGFA has “robbed” an angler of world record recognition. In 1988, the IGFA ruled that Mike Manley’s 38 pound nine ounce brown trout from the North Fork of the White River, was not eligible for world record status because he caught it on a small treble hook with a cheese bait – like that fished by millions of other anglers. For some reason, most of the IGFA’s misteps have dealt with freshwater fish species.