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Contact Pete Heley
PO Box 264
Reedsport, OR 97467
Monthly Archives: September 2014
SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission appointed Curt Melcher as the Interim Director for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Melcher, 50, has worked for ODFW for 27 years, most recently as the Deputy Director for Fish and Wildlife Programs and prior to that he served as the Fish Division Assistant Administrator for the Columbia River and Marine Programs.
Melcher begins his new position and duties effective Oct. 1 and will serve until the Commission appoints a new permanent replacement for the agency.
The Commission will consider its recruiting process, timeline and criteria for the next director at its next regular meeting on Oct. 10 in Medford.
It was inevitable – with the fishing pressure and overall angling success, but the Umpqua River fishery for wild or unclipped coho salmon will close on Thursday, Oct. 2nd.
This means that all unclipped cohos become illegal to keep – including unclipped coho jacks – at one hour after sunset on Wednesday.
Chinook salmon and clipped coho and jack coho salmon remain legal to keep – subject to individual daily and seasonal quotas.
Almost all of Oregon’s coastal rivers had their quotas removed regarding total catch of wild or unclipped coho salmon -but because of fishing pressure and catch success, the biologists could not bring themselves to remove the quota on the Umpqua River – and fishing pressure and the numbers of unclipped cohos caught in the last two weeks will only heighten their concerns regarding removing any such quota on the Umpqua River.
Salem, Ore. — The Commercial Fisheries Permit Board will meet on Oct. 1, 2014 at 10 a.m. to prepare the Final Order in the limited entry ocean troll salmon permit contested case hearing for Dewey Gibson.
Public wishing to listen to the meeting may do so at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Headquarters Building, 4034 Fairview Industrial Dr. SE, Salem, Oregon.
The meeting location is accessible to person with disabilities. A request for an interpreter for the hearing impaired or for other accommodations for persons with disabilities should be made at least 48 hours before the meeting to DeAnna Erickson, (503) 947-6112.
Many anglers are fishing the Umpqua River since only Chinook salmon of 24-inches in length or longer are legal to keep in the ocean.
Last week, Chinooks rarely entered the catch, but seem to be more in evidence this week.
Many sport anglers have resorted to casting spinners from the bank and their catch has been almost 100 percent coho salmon.
Boat anglers, especially river guides, have brrn doing well from Marker 15 up to the Elk Viewing Area. Many of the Chinooks are being caught in the vicinity of Reedsport.
Fishers on Pothole Reservoir are enjoying some of the best catching we have seen in decades, both bank fishing and especially boat fishing. We are enjoying many anglers that we have not seen in over ten years, returning for the abundant yellow perch catches. Serious perch anglers are not keeping perch unless they are at least 10 inches in length. These are the classic JUMBO PERCH!
Crappie fishers at the MarDon Dock are having days with limits of crappie, most of which are between 10 and 12 inches. Many 13 and 14 inch crappie are also being reported.
Quiet walleye anglers are being overwhelmed with the 25 in plus walleye being caught from not only the edge of the sand dunes, Goose Island and especially the Medicare Beach Area.
Bass fishers are repeatedly commenting on very strong, healthy largemouth and smallmouth bass, with and occasional 20 inch and longer bass. With the ever changing aspects of Potholes Reservoir the simplest fishing techniques continue to provide the most enjoyment. The slow death hook, beads, and Max Lure Smiley Blades combined with a night crawler have been producing everything that swims in the lake, except mermaids.
The seep lakes below O’Sullivan Dam are taking a 2nd position to the catching action going on in Potholes Reservoir. But these lakes, especially Soda, Long, and Crescent Lakes are experiencing the same successes. Now the lakes on the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge remain open through the last day of September. The 2 areas that deserve attention are Corral Lake (across the street from MarDon) and The Goose Lakes.
The fall migration patterns have begun. The sand hill cranes are routinely being seen in the Frenchman Hills and the Royal Slope Area. Many other migratory birds are being seen daily in the Potholes Recreation Area and especially the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge. This is a great time if you enjoy going out for a little bird watching.
Dove Hunters have only a few days to enjoy a very productive 2014 Dove Season. And before long the October 11th Waterfowl Season will be upon us. Take a look at the Meseberg Adventures Website to learn about guided and non-guided hunting options (www.ducktaxi.com). Also, the Royal Youth Boosters are continuing to grow with a wonderful volunteer parent group. The early waterfowl season is a great time to consider a cast and blast getaway. As our fall patterns become more pronounced and weather cools, not only do we see incredible numbers of waterfowl coming to our area but also the walleye and bass bite improving as they instinctively feed heavily in preparation for the cold winter months.
SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking public comment on a request to waive fish passage requirement for an existing dam on Lower Pony Creek and to amend an existing waiver for a second dam on Upper Pony Creek, both near Coos Bay.
The Coos Bay North Bend Water Board has requested the waivers and has proposed restoring habitat in Matson Creek, a subwatershed of the Catching Slough, to mitigate for the loss of passage on Pony Creek. The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will be asked to approve the waivers at its Dec. 5, 2014 meeting in Salem.
In the meantime, members of the public will have until Oct. 15, 2014 to submit written comments on the two proposed actions, for consideration by the Oregon Fish Passage Task Force. The Task Force will consider comments on these waiver requests at its next meeting Oct. 17 at the ODFW Headquarters in Salem. Members of the public area welcome to attend.
The applicant’s plan to structurally retrofit the Lower Pony Creek Dam and amend the existing passage waiver for Upper Pony Creek Dam has triggered a state requirement to consider fish passage. Currently, the existing dams on Pony Creek are complete barriers to the passage of native migratory fish.
The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission can waive the passage requirements on Pony Creek if the restoration in Matson Creek would provide more benefit to native migratory fish. The applicant has proposed restoring Matson Creek which will provide year-round rearing, foraging, and refuge habitat for native migratory fish. ODFW has made an initial determination that the proposed restoration activities in Matson Creek would result in a net benefit to migratory fish by providing restored habitat conditions for coastal cutthroat trout, coho, Chinook, chum, winter steelhead and lamprey species. Presently, only cutthroat trout reside in Pony Creek.
Copies of the fish passage waiver application, ODFW benefit analysis and proposed waiver agreements can be found on the ODFW Web site .
Members of the public can send written comments to or request additional information from Greg Apke, ODFW Fish Passage Program Coordinator, 4034 Fairview Industrial Dr., Salem, Ore. 97302, e-mail, su.ro.etatsnull@ekpA.D.gerG, or by calling (503) 947-6228.
There also will be an opportunity for public comment at the Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting on Dec. 5, 2014 at ODFW headquarters in Salem.
The Crab Bounty Hunt is still in effect – and will be through September. This annual event is a wonderful contest for several reasons.
(1) – It doesn’t require an entry fee.
(2) – I doesn’t even require any sort of pre-registration.
(3) – Each tagged crab has a numbered spinner blade attached and is good for an immediate prize of either a T-shit or a cap when that tagged crab is turned in and recorded at the Sportsman Cannery in Winchester Bay.
(4) – You get to keep the crab.
(5) – You get a chance, at contest’s end, to win the $1000 grand prize
(6) – If no tagged crab matches the grand prize number, you still have to draw a cash prize of $500, $300 or $200.
The first tagged crabs for this year’s contest were turned in at the cannery two weeks ago and one can reasonably expect considerably more taggeg crabs to be caught and turned in before the contest ends.
We should be entering the most productive time of the year for crabbing as the lower river is very low and at it’s saltiest and attracting ocean crabs that are not immediately caught due to decreased crabbing pressure. Ocean crabbing remains legal through October 15th while the the Umpqua River and Coos Bay allow legal crabbing all year.
Ocean salmon fishing pressure has dropped off now that only Chinook salmon of at least 24-inches are legal to keep. There has been a fair amount of fishing pressure directed at salmon in the Umpqua River, but the biggest news has been how successful the bank anglers have been when casting spinners for salmon. Almost every angler that has spent much time casting spinners for salmon has had at least one hookup – and they are hooking salmon anywhere they can get down to the water (Osprey Point, Half Moon Bay, between the boat ramp and old paper mill in Gardiner, near the mouth of Winchester Creek and the entire shoreline adjacent to the Winchester Bay RV Park).
Although the majority of the catch has been coho salmon, a number of very big Chinooks have been hooked as well, but very few have been successfully landed.
Herring is still the bait of choice for anglers fishing for salmon from a boat and some boats, especially the guide boats have been enjoying consistent success. Most of the fishing is taking place between Reedsport and Winchester Bay, but there seems to be an increasing number of boats fishing near the Elk Viewing Area.
On a non-salmon note, Jeremy Fletcher and his young daughter Alyssa were pulling their crab pot at their “secret” location in Winchester Bay’s East Boat Basin when a very large lingcod came near the surface and grabbed one of the crabs hanging onto the outside of their pot. The fish was big enough that Alyssa thought it was a shark and of course neither Jeremy or Alyssa had a fishing rod handy.
Freshwater fishing is improving on many fronts. Many coastal lakes are offering improved fishing for their uncaught trout that were planted last spring and summer. Fishing for yellow perch and largemouth bass is also getting better in these same waters. Smallmouth bass fishing on the Umpqua River remains very good with the cooling water increasing the chances of hooking lunker-sized fish.
On Thursday, October 2nd at the Marina Activity Center (MAC) in Winchester Bay will hold their next meeting.
The Coastal Conservation Association (CCA)is the largest group of its kind with membership spanning seventeen coastal states. There are already 11 chapters in Oregon with 2,000 members.
The CCA works at all levels of government – local, state and federal – to protect our fisheries and advocate recreational fishing.
At CCA meetings, members and guests can openly discuss fishing in the rivers or on the ocean. It’s a great opportunity for anglers to get together and have a good time – and there is a fishing equipment raffle with members getting one free ticket.
With the water cooling the fishing for just about every species is really good. Catches of largemouth and smallmouth bass on the face of the dunes has been really great! Throwing diving plugs in 4 to 12 feet of water works the best to catch these fish. But just about any bass method will still work for you as well.
Perch and Bluegill catches have been good of the MarDon Dock and also on the rock piles off Goose Island.
The walleye catch have been fair to good off Goose Island. Or you can try the humps across the sand dunes using # 5 and #7 Rapala’s or a worm harness for these fish. Fish for these marble eyes in 8 to 20 feet of water or where-ever you start to catch perch.
Trolling Needlefish and Dick Nights in front of the spillway and Medicare Beach has been very good for trout between 2 and 6 pounds. These fish are a blast to catch because of the good fight they put on.
MarDon Tackle Shop
Great fishing and good weather throughout September means that quotas for ocean coho should be met in the next few days. As a result, the area from Cape Falcon, Ore. south to Humbug Mountain will close for coho salmon effective midnight on Friday, Sept. 19.& The area from Leadbetter Point, Wash. to Cape Falcon, Ore. will close for all salmon at midnight on Sunday, Sept. 21.
“This has been the absolute best September we’ve ever had for ocean coho fishing,” according to Eric Schindler, ODFW ocean salmon project leader. “There were more fish in the quota than we thought we’d ever catch in September, but fishing has just been phenomenal.”
“The good news is that anglers can continue to fish for Chinook between Cape Falcon and Humbug Mt. through the end of October,” Schindler added. Coastal streams and the Columbia River also remain open for coho.
According to Chris Kern, ODFW administrator for marine and Columbia River programs, the final total will be over 100,000 angler trips for the 2014 ocean salmon season, the highest in 10 years. The total number of coho caught since June –which will exceed 83,000 – is the most since 2003. Overall, the 2014 ocean salmon seasons yielded almost one salmon per angler per trip for the entire season, which is much higher than average.
“The September coho fishery has been very popular and productive thanks to good coastal coho returns,” Kern said. “We can’t always count on these kinds of returns, but this year is a great example of the kind of opportunity these fish can provide under good conditions.”
The 2014 fishery also demonstrated how important these fisheries are to coastal communities and the Oregon public, Kern added.
While the ocean coho season is ending, coho fishing continues to be outstanding at Buoy 10 near the mouth of the Columbia River, where the crowds have largely gone home, the bag limit is up to three hatchery coho, and anglers have averaged more than two kept coho per person so far this week. Coho fishing, including the retention of wild coho where allowed, is also starting to pick up in coastal rivers and streams, and coastal Chinook fishing is expected to be very good as well.