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- WDFW – A Portion of the Skagit River to Close Four Days To All Fishing.
- WDFW News – Recreational Salmon Fishing Gets Underway June 23 in the Ocean.
- Caleb Salzman Obliterates Wyoming Largemouth Bass Record.
- WDFW News – Commission Selects Kelly Susewind as New Director of WDFW.
- WDFW News – Chinook Salmon Retention to Close on Lewis River; Floating Devices Allowed for Hatchery Steelhead.
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Contact Pete Heley
PO Box 264
Reedsport, OR 97467
Monthly Archives: April 2013
The folks at Mardon Resort keep sending photos of some of the lunker catches involving varioius fish species – and in a lake of more than 25,000 acres – there are lots of options fishing spot wise, but lots of these fish are taken off the extensive fishing dock at Mardon Resort – or very nearby. Mike Meseberg sent these photos of recent catches checked in at Mardon Resort and while the photos show some variety, there have been some good catches involving other fish species. One boat with two anglers caught their limit of walleyes to 29-inches while other potential catches involve channel catfish, yellow perch, crappies and bluegills.
Here are some of the upcoming fishing events involving Potholes Reservoir and Mardon Resort.
May 4-5 Spring Walleye Classic
May 8-10 TBF District Qualifier
May 18-19 The MarDon Open Bass Tournament
Photo #1-Jeff Frederick, of Moses Lake, caught the biggest fish in the Potholes Open Bass Fishing Competition. This largemouth bass weighed in at 7.83lbs. Photo#2-Steve Kaymond shows his nice 5.59lb smallmouth bass caught in competition. Photo #3-Nat Beck of Kent, caught this Jumbo Rainbow Trout off the shores of MarDon Resort. He was using Pautskees Salmon Eggs.
Ocean salmon fishing was surprisingly good last week with quite a few two fish limits caught. The fishing did slow down somewhat over the weekend as the fish apparently moved north, but while they were biting fish were taken from the Umpqua River Bar all the way out to water at least 200 feet deep. But even in the deeper water, anglers were fishing within 50 feet of the surface. However, some of the salmon caught weighed more than 20 pounds and were most likely spring chinook that would have entered the Umpqua River. and the hope of tangling with some of Oregon largest spring chinook keeps many anglers fishing fair close to the Umpqua River Bar. Anglers fishing the South Jetty for bottomfish have hooked a few more incidental springers and another chinook was reported hooked inside the Triangle – once again near the first culvert.
Upriver on the Umpqua, the springer fishing can only be described as erratic, but occasionally very good. One person hooked four fish in one day and most other springer anglers are going fishless. Some large salmon have been caught recently and Joe Hudson weighed in a 39.9 pound springer at the Wells Creek Inn and became the new leader in the Inn’s Annual Spring Chinook Contest – replace Rick Hoile’s 38 pound fish.
By the time you read this, a few shad should be entering the catch on the Umpqua River at such spots as Elkton, Sawyers Rapids, Tyee, near the community of Umpqua and at Yellow Creek. Warmer water will really perk up the bite. Within the next couple of weeks, striped bass should be dropping down into the mid-tidewater areas from spots upstream. After that happens, we should have a better idea regarding what kind of striped bass year we are going to have – but so far, it doesn’t look that good.
A few anglers have been fishing the slower-moving sections of the Umpqua between Elkton and Scottsburg for smallmouth bass and some larger smallmouth to more than three pounds have been recently taken. Although the numbers of smallmouth caught during the spring pales when compared to the numbers taken during the summer months – this is the best time of the year to catch a hefty pre-spawn smallmouth and one of the rare times when fishing a crankbait has a chance to be more productive that soft plastic baits.
The somewhat warmer and more consistent weather scheduled for the next couple weeks should usher in good largemouth bass catches throughout Oregon – with some of the bass in the Willamette Valley and eastern Oregon being on the verge of actually spawning. Coastal largemouth most likely will not be spawning until mid-May or later. With the exception of crappie and yellow perch, good panfishing appears to be at least a month off.
Some of Oregon’s best trout lakes will be opening this Saturday (April 27th). They include: Crane Prairie, East, Howard Prairie, Hyatt, Krumbo Reservoir, Odell, Paulina, Lake Simtustus, South Twin Lake and Wickiup Reservoir. Some of southeast Oregon’s finest trout streams will also open this coming Saturday.
Locally, almost all of the Florence-area lakes were stocked this week and they include: Alder, Buck and Dune (each with 850 legal, 200 foot long and 36 trophy trout); Elbow (600 foot long); Erhart (200 legal, 350 foot long and 36 trophy); Georgia and North Georgia (150 legal trout each); Lost Lake (500 foot long rainbows); Mercer Lake (2,250 foot long rainbows); Munsel (3,150 legal and 150 trophy rainbows); Perkins Lake (250 legal and 200 foot long rainbows); Siltcoos Lagoon (850 legal, 350 foot long and 106 trophy rainbows); Siltcoos Lake (1,000 foot long rainbows) and Sutton Lake (1,500 foot long rainbows). Loon Lake received 1,000 legal rainbows last week and the Empire Lakes are slated to receive a total of 8,550 legal rainbows this week
Striper Fishing has been very good for the past several weeks in most Northern California striper haunts. Some larger stripers (to at least 50 pounds have been caught), but the strength of the striper fishing is the impressive numbers of school-sized fish with many of them running six to 15 pounds.
And many striper anglers and guides who target them expect the great fishing to through most, if not all, of May.
Summer and fall salmon seasons set for Columbia River
April 18, 2013
CLACKAMAS, Ore. – Fishery managers have announced 2013 summer and fall salmon and steelhead fishing seasons on the Columbia River.
The seasons are based on results of this year’s Pacific Fishery Management Councils (PFMC) process including a series of public meetings, referred to as North of Falcon, in which fishery managers from several jurisdictions convene to plan salmon fisheries on the Columbia River and parts of the ocean off the Oregon and Washington coasts.
In general, anglers can expect seasons similar to those in 2012.
This year’s projected return of summer chinook is 73,500 fish, which compares to an actual return of 58,000 fish in 2012. The 2013 retention season for summer chinook and sockeye salmon on the lower Columbia is currently scheduled to run from June 16 through June 30.
The fall season begins Aug. 1, and includes the popular Buoy 10 fishery near Astoria and the fall “upriver bright” season in the main stem Columbia. Managers are estimating a total fall chinook return of 677,900 fish, including a record number of upriver bright fish. If the total run returns as projected, it would be the largest fall chinook run since 2004. While those numbers are up over 2012, the projected return of tule salmon is about the same as last year. That return will constrain the fishery to seasons similar to those in 2012.
Coho numbers also look to be up. Based on predicted ocean abundances, managers expect coho returns to the Columbia River to be significantly higher than the 2012 return of 135,000 fish.
Here is a summary of 2013 summer and fall salmon regulations for the Columbia River:
Summer chinook and sockeye
Retention of sockeye and adipose fin-clipped adult summer chinook (longer than 24-inches) allowed:
June 16 – June 30 ** from the Astoria-Megler Bridge upstream to Bonneville Dam
June 16 – July 31 from Bonneville Dam upstream to the OR/WA border.
Retention of adipose fin-clipped jack summer chinook (12 to 24-inches long) allowed June 16 – July 31 from the Astoria-Megler Bridge upstream to the OR/WA border.
The combined daily bag limit is two adults and five jacks. All sockeye are considered adults in the daily limit.
Retention allowed per permanent regulations.
Retention of adult adipose fin-clipped coho (longer than 16-inches) and adipose fin-clipped steelhead allowed Aug. 1 – December 31.
Retention of adult chinook (longer than 24-inches) allowed during Aug. 1-Sept. 1** and Oct. 1-Dec. 31.
Retention of adipose fin-clipped only chinook may be possible after the Sept. 1 closing.
The combined daily bag limit is two adults, only one of which may be a chinook. Jacks may not be retained between Aug. 1 and Sept. 30 under permanent rules.
All other permanent rules apply.
Lower Columbia (Tongue Point/Rocky Point upstream to Bonneville Dam).
Retention of adipose fin-clipped coho and adipose fin-clipped steelhead allowed Aug. 1 – Dec. 31.
Retention of chinook allowed:
Aug. 1 – Sept. 12** and October 1-December 31 from the Rocky Point-Tongue Point line upstream to a line projected from the Warrior Rock Lighthouse on the Oregon shore to red buoy #4 to a marker on the lower end of Bachelor Island. During September 6-12, only adipose fin-clipped chinook may be retained.
Aug. 1 – Dec. 31** from a line projected from the Warrior Rock Lighthouse on the Oregon shore through red buoy #4 to a marker on the lower end of Bachelor Island, upstream to Bonneville Dam.
The combined daily bag limit is two adults (only one of which may be a chinook) and five jack salmon.
Bonneville Dam upstream to the OR/WA border
Retention of chinook, coho, and adipose fin-clipped steelhead allowed Aug. 1 – Dec. 31**.
The combined daily bag limit is two adults and five jack salmon.
All coho retained downstream of the Hood River Bridge must be adipose fin-clipped.
** Seasons may be subject to in-season modification.
John North (971) 673-6029
Kevleen Melcher (971) 673-6030
Jessica Sall (503) 947-6023
Spring chinook angling between Scottsburg and Elkton has picked up noticeably. Of course, anybody who has recently driven along that stretch of Highway 38 could already guess this from the number of truck/boat trailer rigs parked along the highway because the boat ramp parking areas are full. It seems that those light bites of the previous week have turned into bites strong enough to actually get hooked and landed.
Longtime Scottsburg-area resident Rick Hoile landed a 38 pound springer last week and jumped to the top of the spring chinook contest sponsored by the Wells Creek Inn. Several fish weighing at least 30 pounds have been recently landed and the “tales” of larger salmon hooked and not landed are starting to mount. A few more springers have been landed in the lower river including a second one inside the Triangle near the culvert. While the numbers of salmon hooked near Winchester Bay pales when compared to the numbers of springs hooked above Scottsburg, it is much better than it normally is when it comes to hooking springers in the lower river in a normal year.
Although there has not been a lot of ocean sportfishing directed at salmon – perhaps there should be. A commercial salmon boat trolling last week from Charleston to the mouth of the Umpqua River caught all 18 of their salmon close to the Umpqua River Bar. Most of their salmon ran from ten to 15 pounds and they marked a lot of salmon and observed a lot of baitfish activity. Perhaps this is going to be the year when Umpqua Bait gets a fair shot netting the bait they depend on.
A sport angler, fishing out of Winchester Bay, emailed me that he had talked to the angler that was cleaning the jumbo lingcod that ended up in the dumpster at Winchester Bay’s East Basin. He stated that the angler said that he had caught the fish in relatively shallow water while fishing out of Charleston. The angler said the lingcod weighed 37 pounds prior to being processed.
A friend came into the tackleshop where I work and pointed out a passage in Oregon’s 2013 Fishing Regulations booklet that stated that one could fish with more than three hooks if the hook gap was not over three-eighths of an inch and the rig would be referred to as a herring rig. I was unable to convince him that such rigs were only legal when pursuing saltwater baitfish such as herring, sardines, anchovies or some species of smelt. Later on, I called the ODFW regional office in Charleston where I was informed that any fish taken while fishing with these “herring rigs” that was not one of the aforementioned saltwater baitfish species would be an illegal catch and would have to be promptly released since it was taken with terminal gear not legal for that species.
Loon Lake, and most of the Douglas County waters that receive trout plants will receive legal rainbow trout this week. Loon is slated to receive 1,000 trout. Woahink Lake is slated to receive 1,000 foot long rainbows this week. The Tenmile Lakes are slated to receive 6,000 legal rainbows this week while Empire Lakes is to receive 6,000 legal rainbows and 500 trophy rainbows.There are also heavy trout plants for our area slated for the week beginning on Monday, April 22nd.
If the weather report holds, warmer stable weather beginning this coming weekend should result in the best bass and panfish angling so far this year. A few anglers have been catching some sizable pre-spawn smallmouths on the Umpqua River above tidewater over the last couple of weeks. No reports on what they were using, but some of the fish have been in the three to four pound class.
Central California’s New Melones Reservoir is one of those rare fishing spots that starts producing larger specimens of several fish species many years after being built. The current reservoir, covering 12,500 surface acres, was created by a 625 foot high dam about 35 years ago, but New Melones produced many of its record fish in the last five years. A 17 pound 13 ounce largemouth was caught a couple of weeks ago and the lake record of 18 pounds 11.5 ounces was caught three years ago. A record brown trout of 13 pounds four ounces was caught in 2012 and in early March a spotted bass weighing 10.1 pounds (less than three ounces off the world record) was caught from the lake. While many fishing spots have periods of great lunker productivity, they seldom do so more than 30 years after they are constructed.
On Thursday, the ODFW website posted valuable information regarding some controlled hunt misconceptions that should help Oregon hunters. The deadline to apply for these hunts is May 15th and the ODFW contact person is Michelle Dennehy. Her phone number is: (503) – 947 – 6022. Here is the information fresh from their website.
After software engineer Ron Wold didn’t draw a tag he was sure he would, he created the Oregon Tag Draw Percentages website to help hunters figure out their chances. Hundreds view his website or contact him each year to get a sense of their chances. The book Oregon Tag Guide also helps hunters understand their odds.
Wold spoke with ODFW about the most common mistakes and misconceptions about controlled hunts he sees among hunters:
1. The process itself: Here is a step-by-step process of how the random computerized controlled hunt draw works:
Each application purchased is assigned a random 10-digit number.
Members of the public are invited to ODFW headquarters to randomly choose a 10-digit draw seed number for each hunt series. (Call 503-947-6108 to participate in the drawing.)
Applicants for each hunt are grouped by preference points and first choice hunt selected.
Tags are awarded in each preference point group beginning with the applicant whose 10-digit number matches, or is closest to and above, the seed number. The selection continues with the applicant having the next higher 10-digit number, until 75% of the tags have been awarded or until all first-choice applicants have received tags.
All remaining first-choice applicants are rearranged solely by 10-digit random number and the remaining 25% of tags are awarded randomly among all first-choice applicants for the hunt.
If there are tags left, the process restarts for second choice hunt applicants. (Preference points are not a factor for awarding 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th choices.)
Most hunters don’t understand how the draw works, says Wold. “While the regulations describe the process, they read that and make assumptions, or it differs from what their brother-in-law told them 20 years ago,” he says.
For example, people assume that because a hunt has a 100% chance to draw with 8 points, and they have five, they will draw it in three years. “This isn’t true. It could take 10 years, depending on the hunt,” says Wold. “In order to determine when you will draw, or more specifically when your point level will be part of the 75% draw, you must consider the number of applicants.” Wold goes into more detail on his website.
2. Non-resident tags: There is a quota for the number of big game tags that can go to non-residents (a maximum of 5% for deer and elk, 3% for antelope and bear and 5-10% for sheep). This doesn’t mean that percentage of tags automatically goes to non-residents; it just means no more than the maximum can go to non-residents. Non-residents must also realize that under Oregon law, a number equal to one half of non-resident deer and elk tags drawn in the previous year go to guides and outfitters, so trophy hunts can be particularly hard to draw.
3. Wasting points on hunts that could be second-choices: Don’t waste points by putting a hunt that you can draw as a second choice as your first choice, Wold advises. You will lose all your preference points instead of gaining one. Wold lists hunts that are typically safe second choices on his website, or see the Oregon Big Game Regulations and notice which hunts have many more tags than applicants.
4. Making a second-choice hunt third-choice: Even “safe” hunts run out of tags. “Putting down any hunt as a second choice that takes any number of points to draw is a mistake,” says Wold. So be careful not to put your second choice as your third choice, or you might miss out on a controlled hunt opportunity altogether.
5. Misunderstanding summary reports: ODFW’s hunting statistics page includes point summary reports with information about the previous year’s drawing but these reports can be difficult to understand. See this link for an explanation of point summary reports. ODFW does not calculate odds of drawing a tag but Wold’s website helps hunters understand their odds as does the book Oregon Tag Guide.
6. Speculation on hunt changes: Another frequent question Wold hears is how hunt changes will impact the draw. He speculates that the new Ochoco archery bull elk tag will cause rifle tag applicants to slip a bit, as some hunters move to the archery tag. He had no predictions on the new controlled archery elk tags for Mt Emily, Walla Walla and Wenaha. However, having drawn the Walla Walla and Wenaha tag, Wold believes the new limited-entry system will help improve the hunting experience as it’s currently a very crowded hunt area.
7. Hunts losing or gaining applicants: Wold urges savvy hunters to keep an eye on hunts that are losing or gaining applicants. For example, elk hunts that need 9-12 points to draw are starting to get more applicants as people jump ship from the “Big Three” elk hunts (Wenaha, Mt Emily, Walla Walla) due to the 13 or more points it requires to draw them as a resident. For example, last year for the Wenaha rifle elk hunt (#256Y1), two applicants had 17 points, six non-residents had 16 points and 36 had 15 points. So by the time the draw got to the 15-point level, only 17 tags were still available.
8. Remember there are NO preference points for goat and sheep hunts: Bighorn sheep and Rocky Mountain goat tags are a once in a lifetime hunts and hunters don’t accrue preference points by applying. Every hunter that applies has the same odds.
9. Maximize your opportunities to earn preference points: If your children are going to be part of your hunting party someday, you can start getting preference points for them at age 9 (they will need to have a hunting license, $14.50 for youth). Kids age 9-13 that hunt under the Mentored Youth program can get a mentor youth preference point for each year they hunt (some special rules apply to use these points). Also under a new program meant to spread the cost of tags and licenses throughout the year, hunters that didn’t apply for a series during the draw can apply for a preference point from July 1-Nov. 30.
10. Get the basics right. Clerical errors can mess up applications and hard won preference points. Double check your personal information, hunt number and party details every time you apply. (Look on your receipt before leaving a license sales agent and make sure you applied for the right hunt.) Also be sure to include a current phone number so ODFW’s licensing staff can get in touch if there is a problem.
Application changes can be done up to June 1. Call the Licensing Department at (503) 947-6100 or send a corrected copy of your application to ODFW Controlled Hunts, 3406 Cherry Ave NE, Salem, OR 97303, fax (503) 947-6113 or 6117.
Visit the Oregon Tag Draw Percentages website or get the Oregon Tag Guide for more detailed information on your controlled hunt draw odds and good luck! And if you have any questions on the process or would like to be at the drawing for seed numbers, call ODFW’s controlled hunts supervisor at 503-947-6108.
More about controlled hunts
Some of Oregon’s big game hunts are limited entry, including almost all rifle hunting of deer and elk east of the Cascades and pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, and Rocky Mountain goat hunts. These hunts require a controlled hunt application. Last year, more than 130,000 fall big game controlled hunt tags were available and 365,975 applications were received.
Hunters can apply for a controlled hunt online, at a license sales agent, at ODFW offices that sell licenses, or by mail or fax order using the application found here or on page 17 of the 2013 Oregon Big Game Regulations. The cost is $8 and applicants also need an annual hunting license ($29.50, $14.50 for juveniles age 17 and under). Don’t forget to apply by May 15, 2013.
Proposed tag numbers should be posted on the ODFW Hunting Resources page in early May. Final 2013 fall big game tag numbers will be adopted June 6-7 by the Fish and Wildlife Commission at the monthly meeting.
It was almost like karma. An angler had asked me if I had heard of any spring chinook being hooked inside the Triangle and I had told them that I had not. A couple of hours later, while I was selling a salmon tag to Christopher Edwards of Winchester Bay, he stated that a week or so previously, an angler he was fishing with had hooked and nearly landed what he felt was a spring chinook while fishing inside the Triangle. The fish appeared to weigh about ten pounds and was hooked next to the culvert in the Triangle that was the nearest to the road – in other words the inside culvert. Edwards also stated that a couple of other fishing buddies had hooked and lost what they felt were spring chinook while fishing the Umpqua River from the South Jetty.
Despite the fact that there appears to be more lower Umpqua River spring chinook activity than in any year in my memory, the bulk of the fishery remains above the Scottsburg Bridge and that fishery is picking up – although not as fast as those determined spring chinook anglers would like. So far, the largest salmon reported have weighed between 30 and 35 pounds, but the Umpqua produces Oregon’s largest spring chinook and most of its fish are still out in the ocean. More often than not, the river’s biggest springer each year will hit or exceed 50 pounds. Some shad are undoubtedly already in the river, but don’t expect much in the way of shad catches until the water warms up.
Commercial salmon anglers have caught some feeder chinook in the ocean fairly close to the Umpqua River Bar, but the bulk of the area’s salmon landed by the commercial fleet have been caught near Charleston. Most of the ocean sport anglers are targeting salmon within a mile or so of the Umpqua River Bar – undoubtedly hoping to tangle with spring chinook as they get ready to ascend the river.
There still seems to be some confusion over the cabezon closure. Normally, it does reopen on April 1st for about six months, but this year it will remain closed until July 1st. As of April 1st, ocean waters deeper than 180 feet (30 fathoms) closed to bottomfishing – which has caused a lot of speculation regarding the huge lingcod carcass that was left in the dumpster near the fish cleaning facility in Winchester Bay’s East Basin. The carcass, which everybody that this writer talked to about it had to weigh in excess of 30 pounds and since it was caught after the the closure of ocean water deeper than 30 fathoms, many thought that it was an illegally caught and kept fish since all of the lingcod spots, excepting the Triangle Area, are deeper than 30 fathoms and now closed. Far more likely, since many Charleston-area anglers clean their fish in Winchester Bay, it was a fish caught near Charleston in water less than 30 fathoms deep and cleaned at Winchester Bay’s East Basin.
Lake Marie is slated to receive 1,000 legal rainbows this week – the only Douglas County water to be stocked this week, although most of the Douglas County lakes will be stocked next week – including Loon Lake (1,000 legal rainbows). Almost all of the Coos County lakes will be stocked next week, but Butterfield Lake will receive 2,000 trout this week and Eel Lake will receive 2,500.
In the Florence area, Carter Lake is slated to receive 2,500 legal and 500 foot long trout this week and Cleawox Lake will receive 2,000 legal, 200 foot long and 300 trophy rainbows. Woahink Lake is slated for 1,000 foot long rainbows next week and almost all of the Florence area lakes will be stocked the week beginning April 22nd.
Bass and panfish angling remains iffyf with the cool unsettled weather. While the overall fishing remains slow, some sizable bass have been caught recently the quantity has definitely been lacking. While individual days with warmer temperatures might seem promising regarding an improvement in the warm water fishing – what would really perk it up would be several warm days in a row.
Starting to receive lots of phone calls asking about the the Umpqua’s legendary (if it isn’t yet there, it’s getting there) run of pinkfin perch. The pinkfin, more correctly called redtailed surfperch usually start entering the river around mid-May. However, someone has to actually go out and catch some before the run “officially” starts. While the perch can be caught during the run from just below the entrance to Winchester Bay’s East Boat Basin all the way up to Gardiner, the three most popular spots are near Marker 12, near the piling near Marker 15 and the area straight across and slightly upriver from where the East Boat Basin connects with the Umpqua River.
There was some reaction to the outdoor section (Go! Outdoors) of the World Newspaper where it stated “Check with the U.S. Coast Guard for the new deadlines in the lower Umpqua when the bar is closed”. A call to the Coast Guard Station in Winchester Bay resulted in the reassurance that the upriver limit regarding bar closures or restrictions is still the blinking yellow lights near the upper end of the South Jetty.
The latest fishing news from Mardon Resort on Potholes Reservoir reports that the relatively warm water in the 20 seep lakes that opened on April 1st pretty much ensured good fishing for bass, panfish and trout.
As for Potholes Reservoir, the walleyes have moved into the Lind Coulee Arm of the reservoir with good walleye fishing also recently available in the Crab Creek Channel between Power Line Boat Launch and the Moses Lake outlet.
Recent water temperatures in the sand dunes area of the reservoir have hovered around sixty degrees and fishing has been good. Largemouth bass to six and a half pounds, smallmouths to five and a half pounds and crappies to two pounds added to the very good trout fishing.
This Friday through Sunday (April 5th – 7th), the Washington Bow-Fishing Jackpot Tournament will be held at Potholes Reservoir and on Saturday (April 13th) there will be a major trout release and free fishing off Mardon’s huge fishing dock. The Potholes Open Bass Tournament will be held on Saturday and Sunday (April 20-21).
Thanks to Annie Meseberg and the crew at Mardon Resort for their fishing photos and timely fishing reports. The photo below is of Zach Sayler, of Milton, who enjoyed the seep lakes with his father Jeff. Zach landed his quality rainbow at Hampton Lake.
Spring chinook fishing on the Umpqua River has started to pick up. It seems that most of the bites are non-aggressive or tentative and many of the hooked fish are coming loose, but the overall activity level has picked up. Additionally, there has been some springer activity in the ocean and lower Umpqua River. Once again, most of the bites have been tentative and only a few fish have been landed. Alec Howard, while fishing with his dad, Scott Howard of Team Strikezone, hooked and landed a 20 pound springer last Sunday while trolling the jetty near the Coast Guard Tower on their way in from a bottomfishing trip. Even though Alec gave the fish plenty of time to finalize the bite, it was still hooked barely inside the mouth. A small increase in water temperature should make things much easier.
The fact that more than a dozen people stopped by to ask me when the ocean salmon opened has convinced me that the ODFW simply has to rehire the people that were in charge of getting their fishing information out – after all, by the time you read this, the ocean chinook salmon season will have been open about three weeks (since March 15th). In the ocean, the minimum legal size for the chinooks is 24-inches.
There was a lot bottomfish-directed fishing pressure over the weekend and some great lingcod catches were made. However, fishing success off the South Jetty was surprisingly inconsistent last week. One angler came into where I work last Saturday stating that the South Jetty/Triangle area was only jetty area in which he had yet to catch a fish. I managed to convince him that our bottomfish behaved pretty much like the fish he was catching off other jetties and I was sure that the “law of averages” would kick in for him. He came in the next day with a big smile on his face and stated that he had caught a limit of larger than average greenling and a cabezon that would have easily been large enough to keep if he had caught it after July 1st. Most of the fish were taken on sand shrimp, although a few lingcod anglers hooked fish on larger jigheads and plastics. Anglers fishing the jetty area from boats did well on rockfish and lingcod casting metal jigs.
Due to limited fishing pressure and, up till last week, cooler than normal water temperatures – there are plenty of stocked trout left in all the lakes that received recent plants. This week, Loon Lake is slated to be stocked with 1,500 legal rainbows and Saunders Lake with 3,000. Next week, Eel Lake is slated to receive 2,500 legal rainbows while Butterfield Lake and Lake Marie are slated for 2,000 and 1,000 legal rainbows respectively. South of Florence, Carter and Cleawox lakes are slated to be stocked next week. Carter is slated to receive 2,500 legal and 500 foot long rainbows and Cleawox is slated to receive 2,000 legal, 200 foot long and 300 trophy rainbows.
The Medford area has been giving up some outsized largemouth bass and the Roseburg area seems on the verge of offering the same. It appears that anglers wanting to fish the shallow water on our coastal lakes will have to wait a few weeks for improved fishing success. Anglers that carefully pick their fishing spots on the Umpqua can catch some nice-sized smallmouths right now. Even though the water is still cold, some of the backwaters can be much warmer than the main river curent. The backwaters that are the warmest are those where the upper ends are farther upriver than where the backwater joins the main river. These water at the upper ends of these backwaters will be segregated from the main river current allowing a greater temperature differential than those backwaters where the ends are farther downriver than where they join the Umpqua. These backwaters will almost always have some cooler river water entering them.
Crappie anglers should consider the next four weeks as prime time to catch these tasty panfish. While the lakes between Eugene and Medford produce larger crappie, at times the bluegills can be a nuisance. However, for the next several weeks, water temperatures should be cool enough to limit bluegill interference. While few anglers take advantage of the after dark bite, the crappies usually become active at least an hour before dark.
Dave Hudson was one year ahead of me through Lakeside Elementary, North Bend Junior and Senior High and Southwestern Oregon Community College. Since his recent retirement, he has been very active on facebook with many posts that would be considered public service posts and the one he posted last Sunday definitely got my full attention. He re-posted a photo from A.J. Zolten of a neighbor’s home and property that was covered by oil from the Exxon pipeline spill at Mayflower, Arkansas. The fact that it is much worse than media covereage would have one believe may be due to the fact that the local authorities have denied press access to those wishing to actually cover the spill. I cannot envision this type of behavior happening in Oregon or Washington – yet another reason to be proud to be an Oregonian.
I am writing this in response to the many complaints on one of the online fishing sites regarding griping about the cost of fishing licenses.
The actual “cost” of today’s fishing licenses is reasonable compared to the cost to fish in Oregon several decades ago. However, due to decreased bag limits and more restrictions regarding fishing locations and seasons – it is pretty much comparing apples and oranges.
The main way to get sufficient value from a fishing license is to use it and use it a lot.
For those of us that like to fish in different states, I am going to repost an article from last summer regarding a reasonable answer for multi-state anglers.
Since it is too much to expect all 50 states to cooperate fully, and because each state seems to have an inflated view of how their fishing stacks up against other states, it will never work. But if the states would cooperate and fight their inclination to try to a little bit extra – it would be a solution to multi-state angling fees that many of us would very much appreciate – and the total revenue from fishing license sales would almost certainly go up.
NATIONAL FISHING LICENSES
A recent survey by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) indicated that the number of Americans that fished last year rose slightly to 46.2 million. The number is far from static as approximately eight million anglers did not fish this year, but that number was more than offset by the 8.8 million new anglers. Slightly more than 16 percent of americans fished this year.
One negative finding in the survey was that the average number of fishing trips decreased from an average of 20.4 in 2010 to only 18.2 trips per angler in 2011 – a decrease of 10.8 percent.
The survey had some encouraging findings including an increase in the number of female anglers and youngsters between six and 12 years of age increased. Typically, fishing activity drops off among young anglers during their teenage years.
One thing I have noticed over the last several years is how many parents want their very youthful children to start their “fishing career” with a sizable salmon. Often these young kids are terrified that they will do something wrong, have extreme difficulty handling the salmon gear, afraid that they will not be able to hang on to the rod while playing a salmon – or simply realize that they are not a very large part of the equation when the rod is placed in a fish holder, the hookup is handled by an adult and an adult handles the rod when the salmon is close to the boat. If partents want their kids to be anglers in the future, they should introduce them to fishing for a wide assortment of fish species. The chances of one of those fishing trips striking a chord with a youthful angler will be greatly increased. Parents wanting their children to continue fishing into adulthood should let them choose what type of fishing they most enjoy.
One thing I found out, years ago, when I took 38 days to drive back to Oregon from Alaska was how difficult it was to find a fishing license outlet when you wanted to do some early morning or late evening fishing. I fished in several Canadian provinces as well as Alaska, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho and I was really thankful that I could purchase a fishing license in most of the bars and taverns in Montana.
However, I also thought how easy it would be to have a national fishing license that would take into account that you would not fish in most states and therefore still be somewhat reasonably priced. A national fishing license would take a lot of cooperation between states and they would have to not go overboard on special fisheries that would be excluded from a national license. Here’s how it would work.
A fair price for the license would be $150. Of the $150, one-third or $50 would go to the resident state and let us use Oregon for an example. One third of the license cost would also be evenly split among every state that borders Oregon. In this case, those states would be California, Idaho, Nevada and Washington. Each of those four states would receive one-fourth of that $50 or $12.50 each. The final one-third of the license cost would be evenly split among every state that is left. In this case, each of the 45 remaining states would receive 1/45 of that $50 – or about $1.11 each. Now $1.11 does not seem like much, but remember that each state would receive that amount from every national license sale made in a state that does not border them. The total revenue could easily mean an increase in total fishing license revenue for each state – and most likely would do so.
Of course, each state would retain their own fishing license offerings and pricing structure. But a national license would allow some traveling anglers to spend more time fishing and less time trying to stay legal. Unfortunately, a national fishing license makes far too much sense to ever become a reality.
The illustration below might indicate how a national fishing license might look.