Monthly Archives: June 2013

Mardon-Potholes Fishing Report

Cooling weather this past week has erupted into fine Trout Action.  The mouth of Frenchman’s Wasteway near Potholes State Park and Medicare Beach would be your best bet to catch some Trout.  Trolling Needle Fish or Rapala Shad Raps has produced rainbow from 2 lbs to 4 lbs with some 5 and 6 lb trout.

Bass fishing has been tough this past week as our surface temperatures have dropped from the low 70’s  to now right around the 65 degree range.  With warmer weather in our forecast we are hopeful that water temp’s will warm back up next week.

MarDon Dock Fishing

Dock fishing continues to provide great action for Yellow Perch.  This past week bluegill and crappie action has much improved for dock fishers as well.

Your best lure and baits for crappie fishing would be to use mini-jigs tipped with a grub (maggots).

Washington Bow Fishing Tournament on Potholes Reservoir

Thanks again to all those who attended the 2013 WBA State Championship at the Potholes Reservoir this past weekend! We had 91 competitors on 36 boats and finally got the weather we’ve been hoping for. Approximately 20,000 lbs of carp was removed from the reservoir and almost $7800 in prize money was awarded!

Congratulations to Chris and Cody Bird who came all the way from Oroville, CA to take home the State Championship trophies and $1350 first place prize money this year with a grand total of 136 fish! Also want to say congratulations to our first all-women’s team of Kelly Valentine, Amy Wakefield and Miranda Nash on their 25th place finish. Watch out boys, these girls are getting serious about stickin’ fish! We also had a quite a few ties that came down to the big fish tie-breaker rule.

Carp Tournaments provide great recreation for archers. These events help remove carp that make silt while rooting around in the shallows.  The carp enter the shallows after the Perch, Crappie, Blue gill and Bass have spawned.  The silt that they create while rooting around in the bottom drifts over to the recently delivered spawn and kills it.   There are several areas deep in the sand dunes that I experienced quality bass fishing during the 70’s and 80’s that no longer hold bass, due to the infestation of 1000’s of carp.  Additionally, in the 50’s, 60’, and early 70’s we had commercial carp harvesters in Potholes Reservoir and Moses Lake that would sell carp by the ton for not only fertilizers but for a religious dinner celebration to be shipped to the Mid-West and East Coast.

Devon Gonzalez from Moses Lake enjoyed some fine Crappie action this past week fishing off the MarDon Dock. (Devon’s group caught and released 32 crappie during their day long fishing trip).

Devon Gonzalez from Moses Lake enjoyed some fine Crappie action this past week fishing off the MarDon Dock. (Devon’s group caught and released 32 crappie during their day long fishing trip).

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Pete Heley Outdoors 6/19/2013

At Winchester Bay, the ocean chinook salmon fishing if now competing with the Umpqua River redtail surfperch run for major billing. While the surfperch run is now in its fifth week, and lots of perch are being caught – including some boat limits every day, the fishing has been hard to figure out on a consistent basis and lots of anglers are disappointed with their catch. As for the ocean salmon fishery, it seems that anytime anglers are able to get out for several hours on a few consecutive days, they are able to find and catch their salmon.

The best news for the river perch anglers is that the fishing cannot get any more inconsistent and judging by the size of the unborn baby perch (the perch are born live), it appears that the perch will be present in the river above Winchester Bay spawning for several more weeks – and at least so far this season, the perch are not all being caught in the early morning.

The ocean salmon fishery seems to consist of mostly ten to 13 pound chinooks with a rare larger salmon. Some larger salmon have been caught near the Umpqua River Bar and in the lower river and those are most likely late run spring chinooks – as a couple of weeks ago there was a number of springers caught above Scottsburg including some very large ones. The biggest drawback to catching the ocean chinooks is that they been, in recent days, out farther than most sports anglers want to go. However, the sport anglers fishing in more than 300 feet of water with their lures from 40 to 100 feet below the surface are enjoying some good fishing. Scott Howard, of Strike Zone Charters, and a couple of sports boats caught boat limits for three anglers last Saturday – but the fishing was not good for everyone.

The South Jetty/Triangle area fished a little slower last week than it usually does. But some anglers seem immune to the fishing being a little off – such as Curt and Shannon Burdett of Creswell, who landed several nice-sized greenling as well as a cabezon that they could not keep (until July 1st) off the south side of the Triangle last Sunday.

Since 29 percent of the spring all-depth halibut quota remains uncaught, there will be another three day opener on June 20th – June 22nd (Thursday – Saturday). Unlike most years, the halibut fishing actually improved later in the season than at its start. The catch rate on the latest three day opener was about .8 halibut per angler for sport boats and .9 halibut per angler for those anglers fishing on charterboats. In the unlikely event that a significant portion of the quota remains uncaught, there may be another all-depth spring opener on July 4th through July 6th. If anyone would like to read additional halibut information, including how they figure the estimated poundage caught by sport anglers, they should visit: www.dfw.state.or.us/MRMP/finfish/halibut/index.asp.

While Lake Marie fished well for trout the week before last, the trout fishing definitely slowed down last week and most of the rainbow trout planted prior to Free Fishing Weekend (June 1st and 2nd) have been caught. The area’s best trout fishing continues to be Tenmile Lakes which doesn’t receive large numbers of stocked trout, but does have fair numbers of carryovers, natives (both rainbow and cutthroat) and searuns and some of the trout will weigh as much as two or three pounds. Even larger, but fewer, trout are available at Siltcoos Lake which holds the Oregon state record for coastal cutthroat trout with a six pound four ounce fish – and a near record cutt taken a couple of years later that weighed six pounds three ounces.

Virtually all of the male largemouth bass that were guarding their nests or fry and completed their duties and moved off the shoreline. Smallmouth bass fishing in the Umpqua River downstream as far as milepost 9 on Highway 38 is very good and the water is clear enough to effectively sightfish for the bass using soft plastic baits. Beginning smallmouth anglers might want to try whole nightcrawlers with as little weight as it takes to cast them – until they get their confidence level high enough to use lures. Bluegill fishing has been tough in most area lakes, but is very, very good in Loon Lake.

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Exploratory Fishing – Hits and Misses.

I made a three day fishing trip in which I did more driving than actually fishing and while I had more “misses” than “hits”, I had forgotten just how much fun it was to really stretch my fishing boundaries.

The first spot I fished, and only for about 15 minutes, was Johnson Mill Pond – a 100 acre former mill pond that is very shallow and weedy and lies about four miles east of Coquille. I only found fish in one of the three spots I tried fishing, but in that small spot, I hooked a bluegill on almost every cast I made and they ranged in size from about five to nearly nine inches. I was using a small white fliptail grub on a light (1/32 oz) jighead.

And then it was driving and I didn’t come close to stopping to fish until I hit Highway 140 (Medford). I admit that I thought about fishing Galesville Reservoir, Lake Selmac, the Expo Ponds and Agate Lake, but this trip was to be of a more informative purpose than simply catching fish.

Early that afternoon, I found myself checking out the far side of Willow Lake. I always though it looked far “fishier” than the Resort side, but I did not know how to get there. This time, I made sure to get good directions and I found the east side of the lake to definitely appear to be better bass and crappie habitat than the west side. Because it was about noon and there were numerous people engaged in various forms of water recreation, I decided to wait until another time to spend much time fishing it – but it is definitely on my bucket list.

The last 45 minutes of daylight, I spent fishing Howard Prairie Lake from the bank and caught a number of pumpkinseed sunfish and small largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass. None of the bass measured as much as 11-inches and the pumpkinseed sunfish were much smaller than the nearly seven inch average I had when I first fished Howard Prairie a couple of years ago.

The following morning, I spend a half hour fishing John Boyle Reservoir and caught crappie, tui chubs and a bunch of small largemouth bass. But they were fun on the light tackle I was using. I managed to get a white pelican to swallow one of the chubs I caught. With a nine foot wingspan, they dwarf brown pelicans, and are a very impressive bird when viewed close up. One of the reasons I wanted to fish this reservoir was because on my last two occasions that I had launched my River Rat (a polyethylene float tube type of device), I had paddled up to where the Klamath River entered the reservoir and in each case had spooked a very large fish at the mouth of Spencer Creek while I was quietly paddline more than 50 yards away. I wanted to see just what was making the wakes. So I walked up the side of the reservoir that Spencer Creek enters on – only to discover that Spencer Creek was fenced off. The Creek was also fairly high and there wasn’t enough temperature differential to attract many fish. It looks like I’m going to have to make a float tube trip this fall when the Keno stretch of the Klamath River reopens on October 1st. Because of how warm the water gets in that section of the river, it is closed to fishing from June 16th through September.

I then checked out the upper end of that stretch of the Klamath River which begins at the dam just west of Keno. The area just above the dam is slow moving with heavy algae blooms. The locals never talk about fishing the area above the dam for warmwater fish, but I talked to a guy who used to live there, but now lives in Winchester Bay, and he said he caught largemouth bass, brown bullheads and yellow perch from the Keno area of the Klamath. Ironically, in the section between the Keno Dam and the upper end of John Boyle Reservoir, nobody ever seems to catch any warmwater fish, but there has to be some. However, trout to four or five pounds are regularly caught between Keno Dam and John Boyle Reservoir and ten pounders are possible.

The next step was to visit Fish Lake (the 400+ acre one in Jackson County). I wanted to catch a tiger trout, which were planted in the lake more than a year ago in the hopes that they would feed on the prolific tui chubs. Of course, I always wonder why they do not attempt to revitalie the lake’s former brown trout population (there is a mounted Fish Lake brown in the resort that weighed more than 18 pounds). The tiger trout are not yet legal to keep, but they are a beautiful fish and I really hoped to get a close look at one – but the lake had a heavy algae bloom and I did not bother to fish.

One of the main reasons for my trip was that I wanted to find and fish the Silver Creek Diversion Canal which is located fairly close to the community of Silver Lake. I took the southern route from Highway 97 into Silver Lake and was directed to the local gas station for fishing advice. The angler/mechanic was full of fishing advice, but the most important thing he said was that there was no way that my car was going to make it the five or six miles into the canal – no matter how badly I wanted to fish it. Some of the other places he spoke highy off were Slide Lake for big rainbows, Ana Reservoir for hybrid striped bass, Ana River for rainbow trout and Thompson Reservoir for big largemouth bass and rainbow trout.

After that, it was a pretty long drive north to Redmond. I decided to stay in a motel since there was no way I was going to find my next fishing destination, Reynolds Pond, in the dark.

The next morning, I visited the Alfalfa Store to get one of their famous “Reynolds Pond Maps” and then fished the pond for three hours, catching a number of smallish bass and crappies and three larger bass measuring 16 to 18-inches. However, the reason I chose to fish the ponds was because it was reputed to have large redear sunfish in it and had produced the current state record which weighed a half-ounce under two pounds – and I couldn’t any evidence that there were still redears in the pond. Outside of the larger, extremely hard-fighting bass I caught, the most exciting part of the fishing trip was knocking my spare rod into the water and then grabbing it – forgetting that I was in the process of taking a crappie photo and was holding my digital camera.

Fortunately, about a day later I was able to reuse the camera and download my Reynolds Pond photos – but without the use of my camera, I figured it was a good time to head home to Reedsport.

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Winchester Bay Fishing Report 6/16/2013

It’s feast or famine when it comes to fishing Winchester Bay.

Salmon anglers are enjoying good fishing in the ocean for chinook salmon, but success rates are varying greatly. Some anglers have got boat limits of chinook, while other anglers have to fish hard for a meager catch. On Saturday, Scott Howard of Strike Zone Charters got six chinookds for his three passengers (a boat limit). A few sport anglers did likewise, but the overall success was spotty. The fish count worked out to nearly two salmon per boat.

A few salmon, almost certainly late run spring chinook, have been caught in the lower river and they have weighed as much as 22 pounds. Herring is the bait of choice.

Likewise, the redtail surfperch run has been a feast or famine situation. Every day there are boat limits of perch taken, but the usual catch  is usually much modest. What is unusual this year is that fishing success does not seem very dependent upon fishing skill. It seems like the catch rate depends a lot more on luck than it does any particular strategy. The Umpqua River surfperch run is made up predominately of female redtailed surfperch and current reports indicate that the baby perch, which are born live, are no very far advanced and the run should last several more weeks.

Fishing the jetty for bottomfish and the surf for “pinkfins” (almost all males) has been less productive than normal and that may have to do with fairly strong afternoon winds. But there are good catches amidst the angling misery at these places as well.

On Sunday, June 16th, Curt and Shannon Burdette combined for several nice bottomfish including these nice-sized greenling on the ocean side of the south side of the Triangle.

On Sunday, June 16th, Curt and Shannon Burdett combined for several nice bottomfish including these nice-sized greenling on the ocean side of the south side of the Triangle.

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Fishing Reynolds Pond

I decided to try extra hard to catch a redear sunfish and I figured that the right place to do so was in Reynolds Pond, a shallow warmwater fishery about ten miles west of Bend.

The pond is listed in some fishing guides as being 20 acres in size, but I am fairly certain that it is no more than half that. However, the several small islands in the pond give it significantly more shoreline to fish.

As usual, the few times I have fished the pond, I first stopped at the Alfalfa Store to get directions to the pond. The store has, on their own, created a map to help anglers wanting to fish the pond, that they are able to find it.

On my previous trip to Reynolds, I found Glenn, the store owner, to be most helpful. I was saddened to learn that Glen was no longer with us, but his son, Justin, did a great job of making sure I was going to be able to find the pond – even producing the same map that his father had showed me.

And so I soon found myself at the pond and tried a few casts from shore before I launched my polyethylene float tube-like fishing device called a “River Rat”. I managed to quickly catch a couple of small bass underneath the small primitive “footbridge”. I also saw a couple of ten-inch bullheads in water less than a foot deep, but spooked them even though I cast well away from them.

And then I was in my River Rat and serious about catching a redear sunfish as well as largemouth bass and black crappie. But the fishing was slow for everything but very small bass. When I approached the spot where I caught a ten inch crappie on my previous trip, I started using Berkley 1.5-inch fliptail grubs and soon had several more crappies. However, they only averaged about six inches in length.

As soon as I found some substantial shallow water shaded areas, I switched over to a Zoom fluke and in quick order I had a couple of three pound largemouth bass. They found incredibly well and I hoped they were pond-reared fish and not recent transplants from Davis Lake.

I never encountered any redear sunfish and I paid close attention to any spot that looked like a spawning area. On my first trip to Reynolds, a man walking his dog had stated that he was amazed by how many jumbo sunfish were laying on the bank dead. They were gone by the time I was there, but I did notice a number of brown bullheads that had recently died.

It now seems that, what I had hoped to be was a regular die off of redears after spawning, might have instead been a more serious, more permanent dieoff. Area ODFW biologists believe that there are still a few redears present in Reynolds Pond, but I am certain that if that is the case, the population is very, very low.

In the meantime, I caught another nice largemouth weighing two and a half pounds and ended up with about 20 crappie and whether, or not, there are any redear sunfish left in the pond, the bass and crappie fishing is very good. I think that next year, and especially the year after, are going to be stellar crappie years.

I am also going to make an effort to fish Reynolds when the largemouth are in the prespawn mode when larger fish should be available in the shallows. According to Justin, a friend of his caught bass to six pounds earlier this spring.

The Alfalfa Store is an ideal spot to get supplies and fishing information on fishing Reynolds Pond.

The Alfalfa Store is an ideal spot to get supplies and fishing information on fishing Reynolds Pond.

Justin Green shows off the map they made to make it easier to find Reynolds Pond. On my first trip to Reynolds, his father Glenn showed me how to get to the pond and Justin does a good job of carrying on the tradition.

Justin Green shows off the map they made to make it easier to find Reynolds Pond. On my first trip to Reynolds, his father Glenn showed me how to get to the pond and Justin does a good job of carrying on the tradition.

Although Reynolds Pond, in some fishing guides, is said to have 20 surface acres, it is actually much smaller than that. However, there are several small islands in the lake that increase the shoreline considerably.

Although Reynolds Pond, in some fishing guides, is said to have 20 surface acres, it is actually much smaller than that. However, there are several small islands in the lake that increase the shoreline considerably.

This largemouth bass weighed three pounds and put up a spectacular battle - clearing the surface by a full three feet on one leap. I really wish I could figure out a way to do a fish “justice” when holding it up from a float tube.

This largemouth bass weighed three pounds and put up a spectacular battle – clearing the surface by a full three feet on one leap. I really wish I could figure out a way to do a fish “justice” when holding it up from a float tube.

The crappie didn’t average very big. This one was typical. The most exciting thing was knocking my fishing rod into the water and reaching for it only to discover that I was holding my camera in my hand. It took most of a day, but I was able to salvage the photos and my camera.

The crappie didn’t average very big. This one was typical. The most exciting thing was knocking my fishing rod into the water and reaching for it only to discover that I was holding my camera in my hand. It took most of a day, but I was able to salvage the photos and my camera.

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Pete Heley Outdoors 6/13/2013

The Umpqua River’s redtailed surfperch run continues to dominate our area’s fishing opportunities. The fishing is gradually improving, and while some days are better than others, the fishing is definitely getting better. Last Friday was the best fishing day yet for the upriver perch and a number of boat limits were reported taken by 8 am. Sand shrimp continues to be the most popular bait, but other popular baits include Berkeley Gulp sandworms, clam necks, squid and nightcrawlers.

Meanwhile, anglers fishing for the “pinkfins” in the surf are also catching fish (mostly male perch now), but last week the fishing was erratic on the beach for the perch. The South Jetty/Triangle area continues to provide consistent bottomfishing, usually for greenling and striped surfperch while using sand shrimp for bait. A few rockfish and lingcod are also being taken, but many anglers are eagerly awaiting July 1st when the many nice-sized cabezon now being caught will not have to be released.

Some large spring chinook were caught in the last two weeks in the Scottsburg area and above. Removing moss from your line and lures can be quite irritating, but catching a spring chinook makes it all worthwhile. The Wells Creek Inn’s spring chinook tournament runs through June 30th. Last week, sport anglers fishing out of Winchester Bay were reporting boat limits of 10 to 12 pound chinooks. But since then, mostly because of wind, bar and ocean conditions, but also partly because of the upriver pinkfin fishery, almost no sport boats have tried to catch chinook salmon in the ocean.

An announcement will be made by noon on Friday, June 14th as to whether there enough remaining quota on the central coast all-depth halibut fishery to allow an additonal opener – which most likely would be June 20th through June 22nd (Thursday – Saturday). Through June 1st, 61 percent of the quota had been caught. As for the near shore halibut quota, it has hardly been touched with 95 percent of the quota uncaught through June 2nd.

The ODFW, at a Salem meeting on June 6th, set fall coho salmon seasons. One change is that on some streams, they are going to set conservative bag limits and seasons without setting an actual quota. On most streams, there will be season quotas. A complete description of the 2013 coastal salmon seasons <http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/fishing/coastal_salmon_seasons.asp> , including open areas and wild coho quotas (as applicable), can be found on the ODFW website.

I found Bill Monroe’s article in the June 2nd Sunday Oregonian to be especially interesting. He had some very interesting quotes in the article from both Buzz Ramsey, who works for Yakima Tackle and Bob Rees who is a a fishing guide/conservationist living in Bay City. What I found most interesting among Rees’ quotes was where he stated that when they collected a few cormorants to test their stomach contents, the rest of the cormorants in the area left. My take on this, is that the cormorants went to some other fishing spot, but if each community would harrass them, in sequence, the cormorants would spend so much time flying that they would not have the energy to breed – or they would eat a lot more fish because of all the energy they burned.

The most interesting revelation, to me, that Buzz Ramsay made in Monroe’s article was his blaming the increased gun sales in the first quarter of 2013 as the major reason for decreased tackle sales. I found the entire article quite interesting and the paper should still be available in virtually all of Oregon’s libraries.

As the planted trout populations in our local fishing spots gradually shrimk, I am surprised that many freshwater anglers continue to use Powerbait, and only Powerbait, to fish for them. A more logical approach would be to continue to use Powerbait on a small treble hook (make sure your drag is set very light) and use a second hook baited with an redworm or a piece of nightcrawler. This second hook should be a thin wire hook in a size no larger than a #8 and this second hook should add bass, yellow perch, brown bullheads, bluegills and even an occasional crappie to the anglers trout catch. Make sure that this second hook is clearly separate from the small treble to maximize your total catch.

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Umpqua Pinkfin Run Continues To Improve

Although the redtailed surfperch run in the Umpqua River above Winchester is continuing to improve, it is still erratic to the point where many anglers are having a tough time catching fish. But it seems like every few days there is a noticeable improvement in the percentage of anglers making good catches.

Berdett Howell came all the way from Bismark, North Dakota to fish for the famous pink fin perch with Bryan Gill of the Umpqua Angler (541-852-9889). They landed 32 perch before the wind came up. Not all the perch were kept and most were taken in Fishing in 17" of water on the opposite side of the river from Bouy 12. Bryan Gill (The Umpqua Angler) is offering Umpqua River surfperch trips for $110 per person.

Berdett Howell came all the way from Bismark, North Dakota to fish for the famous pink fin perch with Bryan Gill of the Umpqua Angler (541-852-9889). They landed 32 perch before the wind came up. Not all the perch were kept and most were taken in Fishing in 17″ of water on the opposite side of the river from Bouy 12. Bryan Gill (The Umpqua Angler) is offering Umpqua River surfperch trips for $110 per person.

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Potholes Reservoir Still Kicking Out Impressive Fish Stringers

This past week at MarDon Resort have been filled with good fishing and great visitors!  We had the pleasure of hosting Shaw Grisby from the Strike King Corporation.  My son Levi helped them film a bass fishing show on Potholes Reservoir and Aaron Eckterncamp of Moses Lake assisted them with a show filmed on Moses Lake featuring the Strike King Frog Bates.  The amazing thing about Mr. Grisby, after decades of international exposure,  remains a very humble and kind man.  We loved having him and his crew here for a few days.

 

Fishing on Potholes Reservoir

Dock fishing at MarDon Resort remains excellent for yellow perch.  Oak Harbor Resident, Herb Shultz, was perch fishing at the MarDon Dock and landed a 4lb 8oz smallmouth Bass.  We have been seeing some perch to 12 inches off the dock this past week.

Bass fishing on the face of O’Sullivan Dam has been very active for smallmouth using top water lures.  Small mouth fishing has also been active in the Lind Coulee Arm of Potholes Reservoir.  Diving Plugs in a crawdad color or pattern, ½ oz spinner baits in chartreuse or white have been the best lure’s for this type of fishing.  Always fish the rocky points.  (An occasional walleye will attach these baits).

The Frog bite in the Sand Dunes has started.  Bass anglers have been reporting surface water temperatures in the sand dune area in the low to mid 70 degree range.

With warming surface water temperatures the Rainbow Trout bite has improved.  The giant rainbows we watched earlier this spring from the shoreline at the south end of the Lake have reappeared at the mouth of Frenchman’s Wasteway and Medicare Beach.  They have been actively feeding on  yellow  perch and growing up to an inch a month.  Anglers have been catching these jumbo rainbows trolling #3 Needlefish and Rapala Shad Rap’s this past week with improved success.

Russ Anderson, who has been enjoying Shaw Grisby’s television programs for many years and was very excited to meet him this week at MarDon Resort.  Russ also indicated he could not believe what a nice  and gracious man Shaw is.

Russ Anderson, who has been enjoying Shaw Grisby’s television programs for many years and was very excited to meet him this week at MarDon Resort. Russ also indicated he could not believe what a nice and gracious man Shaw is.

Chris Herrera and Ray Arnhold enjoyed a successful day of trolling in the Crab Creek Area for walleye.

Chris Herrera and Ray Arnhold enjoyed a successful day of trolling in the Crab Creek Area for walleye.

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Washington’s Free Fishing Weekend is June 8th and 9th

Washington’s Free Fishing Weekend is this coming weekend and it is a great opportunity for many Oregon anglers to sample Washington’s fishing before deciding to purchase a nonresident license.

It is also a great opportunity for residents of other states to sample Washington’s fishing opportunities for free prior to deciding to purchase a Washington fishing license.

Of course, it is also a great way to convince Washington residents that they are missing out by not purchasing a fishing license.

Some other details of Washington’s Free Fishing Weekend include: No fishing licenses are required for Saturday & Sunday. Catch Record Cards are required to fish for salmon, sturgeon, steelhead. All other rules still apply, including seasons, area and lure or bait restrictions, and size and catch limits. A vehicle Access Pass, Discover Pass, Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement, and Two-Pole Endorsements are not required during this weekend.

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Pete Heley Outdoors 6/06/2013

The Umpqua River redtailed surfperch run (pinkfins) has been more productive recently with a number of bosts catching 30 or more fish and one boat with five anglers catching 65 last Sunday. However, there are lots of boats enjoying little or minimal perch fishing success. Of course I have little sympathy for the guy who called me last Saturday at 6;30, while anchored above Winchester Bay, wondering why he had not yet caught a perch – because there is no way he could have given his trip any realistic chance to catch a perch.

The perch pretty much hang out in a stretch of at least three miles of the Umpqua River from the entrance to Winchester Bay’s East Boat Basin up to at least the old International Paper Mill site. They are almost always moving and usually moving with the tide which makes it difficult to encounter them by drifting unless they are right below you when you start out. To make matters worse, they usually move when a bost pulls up, especially under power, and throws out an anchor. Most anglers drop their baits straight over the side after dropping the anchor and even semi-wary fish will have moved away from the boat at that point. The first casts should be well away from the boat and not anywhere close to the boat’s path prior to anchoring.

Most anglers also think the perch quit biting when they stop catching fish, but in almost every case, the school has simply moved away from the anglers. Since they usually move with the current, try to head them off without spooking them. Most perch anglers do not give these fish enough credit for being wary and a good rule of thumb is to act like you are fishing for really smart or wary fish – because you will be amazed by how many “dumb” ones you will catch while you are doing so.

For the few ocean salmon anglers targeting chinook salmon, the success has been very good. The first two anglers giving me a fishing report last Saturday reported boat limits of ten to 12 pound chinooks and while they were fishing near the commercial boats (which did very well over the last several days). They also caught some fish in water less than 120 feet deep. Most anglers were fishing 50 to 60 feet below the surface with herring. While the bar has been restricted much of the last week, the salmon fishing is definitely worth it when you can get out.

I did not realize that the number of California halibut in Coos Bay fluctuates as they migrate to and from the Pacific Ocean. But according to Joe Cook, at “The Bite’s On” in Empire, the number of California halibut caught has shown a major increase in recent weeks. Many of these flatfish are caught between the railroad trestle and the McCullough Bridge.

I would like to give the ODFW a plug regarding their Free Fishing Weekend. It is better than Washington’s which will be this coming weekend (June 8th and 9th), because Washington still requires anglers fishing for salmon, steelhead, halibut or sturgeon to get the required tag and even the taking of crabs requires a report card. Oregon’s Free Fishing Weekend is as simple as it can be – and that is important to most anglers. A good example of what I am talking about is the vast number of Washington residents that do their crabbing in Oregon because Oregon has a consistent non-changing season (all year in rivers and bays) and ten and a half months in the ocean (December 1st through October 14th). Oregon also has a consistent limit (12 male crabs of at least 5.75 inches in width). While the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife does a lot of things right, their policy regarding crabbing is definitely a benefit to Oregon. That said, if you want to sample Washington’s fishing, a good time to do so would be this coming weekend on Washington’s Free Fishing Weekend.

Angling parents wishing to get their young kids interested in fishing might do well to forego fish like salmon and instead introduce them to bluegill fishing with the appropriate kid-sized tackle. Bluegills are spawning in most lakes and are easy to find and aggressive to the point of being easy to catch. Some of the best bluegill lakes in our area would be Cooper Creek Reservoir (Sutherlin), Loon Lake and Triangle Lake (along Highway 36 between Mapleton and Junction City). Many other lakes also offer fair to good bluegill fishing and as long as an angler is using small enough hooks to fit into their mouths, they should have no trouble catching a number of these feisty sunfish.

Tenmile Lakes continues to offer the most consistent trout fishing although virtually all the lakes that receive trout plants have plenty of fish left in them. But at Tenmile, the anglers trolling near the bottom are catching some surprisingly big carryover rainbows as well as the occasional bullhead catfish that does not seem to realize that they should be spawning now.

One trend that I wish Oregon would reverse, and reverse quickly, is the closing, or non-opening, of potential fisheries because the Oregon State Police or who ever is in charge of regulation compliance on that potential fishery decide that they cannot properly or effectively enforce those regulations. This is essentially making every angler that would use that potential fishery in the future guilty prior to having the chance to do anything wrong. With a growing population combined with shorter fishing seasons on may waters and less available waters to fish, Oregon should do everything it can do to  fight this alarming and depressing trend. In other words, give people a chance to do wrong fishingwise and then restrict or close the fishery – don’t do it before giving Oregon’s anglers a chance to surprise the enforcement people in a good way. The example I would use to illustrate a deserved closure would be Mill Creek on the lower Umpqua River. It was closed to all fishing because a number of anglers decided that they could not catch its salmon and steelhead by legal angling methods and resorted to snagging.

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