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Contact Pete Heley
PO Box 264
Reedsport, OR 97467
Monthly Archives: April 2015
This past week bass fishing has been amazing for largemouth back in the sand dunes and smallmouth in the Lind Coulee arm of Potholes Reservoir. Walleye action has been improving each week. The MarDon Dock has been fair. Kids dock fishing with swim baits, storm wild-eye jigs and Yamamoto Hula Grubs have caught some bass as small as 10 inches and up to 6 lbs. We are also seeing a few rainbow trout and some perch as well.
We are excited for our upcoming Spring Walleye Classic the Saturday and Sunday, May 2nd and 3rd. If you are interested in fishing this tournament you can sign up until 7pm on Friday (5/1) night at MarDon Resort. Or just come out and enjoy the weight in’s each day. Fishing begins Saturday Morning with flights taking off at 7am and 7:30am and weigh in at 4pm and 4:30pm. Sunday they take off at 6am and 6:30am and weigh in at 1:30pm and 2pm. We would like to thank our sponsors of the Walleye Tournament, Walleye Dinner and Walleye Raffle. We have a nice raffle Sunday Afternoon after the final weigh in benefitting Central Washington Fish Advisory Committee (cwfac.org). Please visit the website for more information on the non-profit.
Upcoming MarDon Resort Events:
- May 2nd – 3rd 2015. Spring Walleye Classic (CWFAC). This is our annual tournament drawing large turnouts and good payouts. Special: Prefish nights 1/2 off on anything.
- May 16-17, 2015. MarDon Open Bass Tournament (CWFAC). This is the 2nd bass fishing tournament for the season.
- May 22nd-25th, 2015. What greater place to spend a holiday weekend than in our beautiful backyard with 28,000 acres of water, sun and local festivities. Special: 1/2 Price Monday Night, 4th Night Only
- June 6th-7th, 2015. FREE Fishing Weekend – Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife annual weekend for free fishing. Take advantage of our marina/docks and even our weekend lodging special.
One of the more popular bass tournaments in the northwest took place last week at Potholes Reservoir. The Potholes Open enjoyed better weather than usual and warmer water temperatures – and fishing was very good with some teams weighing in more than 20 pounds on each day of the two day tournament. What was most unusual is that the average weight of the 179 smallmouth bass weighed in was the same, at two pounds 11 ounces, as the average weight of the 907 largemouth weighed in. The heaviest largemouth weighed in exceeded 7.5 pounds and the heaviest smallmouth weighed more than five pounds.
Fishing for smallmouth bass on the Umpqua River and for largemouth bass in lakes and ponds in our area has been good, but should get even better with stable, warmer weather.
Fisheries that are plugging along at a slow pace include Umpqua River shad where most of the fishing pressure is occurring at Yellow Creek (about halfway between Elkton and Sutherlin), Spring Chinook salmon(above Scottsburg) and the larger trout lakes along the Oregon coast.
Until warmer water stops the trout plants, the smaller, more heavily planted lakes usually offer better trout fishing, but when trout stocking takes its annual mid-summer break, the larger lakes quickly catch up – as they have more carryover trout and some searuns. Anglers using worms, or nightcrawlers for bait are less dependent on trout plants as their bait choice will target all the fish species in a body of water although not so much the crappie.
The annual run of female redtailed surfperch on the Umpqua River could start any day. This very popular fishery usually runs from mid-May through July and takes place from across the river from where Winchester Bay’s East Boat Basin connects with the Umpqua River upriver as far as the rows of pilings above Marker 12. However, the “official” start of the run and the intense fishing pressure associated with it is dependent upon someone actually catching the first fish.
Here’s some tips to improve your surfperch catch. (1) – Use a superbraid line. It’s thinner diameter allows you to cast farther and use lighter sinkers. It also does not stretch nearly as much as monofilament and will telegraph bites much better. (2) – Use two or three hooks spaced just far enough apart that they won’t snag each other. You won’t be able to keep the hooks from from occasionally snagging your mainline, but that won’t keep a perch from biting your bait. (3) – The most popular bait for surfperch when they are in the Umpqua River is sand shrimp (called ghost shrimp in California). They are easily torn off the hook by both perch and such nuisance biters as sculpins – or during a cast. Using long shank hooks or elastic thread will somewhat help keep the sand shrimp on the hook, but the most effective way to ensure that you are not fishing without bait is to use a hardy artificial bait such as Berkley Gulp on one of your hooks – preferably the bottom hook where most of the nuisance bites occur.
Surfperch are generally not considered a wary fish, but if you treat them like they are, your catch will almost certainly go up. Using fluorocarbon line for your dropper hooks may not be necessary, but what is the downside? You certainly won’t catch less fish if the line attached to your hooks is less visible. Several years ago, a commercial fisherman that was participating in the live commercial rockfish fishery down there told me about his friend who he considered the most successful angler in that particular commercial fishery. When that angler switched from green line to clear line, he became even more successful.
Common sense would indicate that some perch will move away from a boat as it moves into anchoring position. That is why I think upriver surfperch anglers should cast away from the boat into undisturbed areas for at least the first few minutes. What keeps some surfperch anglers from adopting this logical strategy is that every once in a while they will hook a perch immediately upon dropping their bait straight to the bottom. The mistake they are making is in thinking that no perch shied away from the path of their boat.
Another common mistake is to attempt to fish near a group of boats that are not hooking fish. While there is undoubtedly some benefit to “community chumming”, a more effective strategy might be to fish elsewhere – after all, that group of boats is telling you where the perch are not biting.
And if you do see a group of boats that are hooking perch, rather than charging into their midst, approach them from down current, keeping a respectful distance. Surfperch schools almost always move with the current and they should meet up with you in mere minutes.
While the much anticipated late spring Umpqua River pinkfin run is not yet fully underway, it is on the verge of doing so. Over the last week, several anglers have reported catches of one to three perch and while none of the anglers reporting perch catches employed electronics, it is safe to assume that the numbers of perch on their spawning grounds upriver of Winchester Bay is still low.
That could change quickly, however, and currently, the supply of sand shrimp, the preferred bait for the spawning perch is good. When the run is well underway, fresh sand shrimp (ghost shrimp in California) is hard to find as suppliers cannot keep up with demand.
While a boat is necessary to effectively target the spawning female redtailed surfperch in the first two miles of the Umpqua River above Winchester Bay, the male perch tend to remain along coastal beaches and can be targeted by bank anglers fishing the surf.
The 2015 Potholes Open Bass Tournament was a complete success. The volunteers from the Moses Lake based bass club did an excellent job presenting this bass tourney for the 36th year in a row. This tournament is always the 3rd weekend in April and some years the weather has been very unforgiving. But this year we had a beautiful, calm and sunny weekend. The excellent quality and size of both the largemouth and smallmouth bass weighed was unbelievable. Tom Tweed weight 1086 bass that totaling 2905.68, this is a catch and release tournament. The weight master and club president, Tom Tweed and other volunteers, put on a great show for all the spectators. This was the 1st year Gary and Opal Lamar let the younger generation take over the tournament completely and I am sure they were very proud of how this event was put on. The Potholes Bass Open Tournament is a great event and the most popular bass tournament in the Pacific Northwest year after year.
The tournament anglers brought 179 smallmouth and 907 largemouth bass to the scale and. ironically, the average weight for each species was two pounds and 11 ounces.
Recommendations by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to provide dual areas of protection to Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon were approved by the state Fish and Game Commission on April 17. An emergency regulation closing 5.5 miles of spawning habitat above the city of Redding on the Upper Sacramento River will go into effect on or about April 27. Enhanced protective measures were also included in the ocean sport and commercial fisheries regulations for the 2015 season.
“We are taking proactive measures on two fronts to protect these endangered fish both in the ocean and on their natal spawning habitat,” said CDFW Chief of Fisheries Stafford Lehr. “The fishing communities have stepped forward to support these measures and work towards long-term sustainability of the resource. None of us wanted to be in this situation, but heading into a fourth year of extreme drought calls for extreme measures.”
The emergency regulation closes all fishing on the 5.5 mile stretch of the Sacramento River from the Highway 44 Bridge where it crosses the Sacramento River upstream to Keswick Dam. The area is currently closed to salmon fishing but was open to trout fishing. The closure will protect critical spawning habitat and eliminate any incidental stress or hooking mortality of winter-run salmon by anglers.
The Commission also adopted ocean sport fishing regulations, which will mirror federal regulations approved earlier this week. CDFW, in consultation with representatives of California’s sport and commercial salmon fishing industries, recommended additional strategic protective measures for winter-run Chinook salmon to the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC). Following a two-month evaluation process, the PFMC recommended federal regulations that provide for sport and commercial seasons off California designed to target more abundant stocks, including Sacramento River fall-run Chinook salmon, while minimizing contact with winter-run Chinook.
“The CDFW proposal to reduce the allowable ocean harvest rate on winter-run salmon and change the timing and location of ocean fisheries south of San Francisco was accepted by the PFMC after in-depth analysis, review and discussion,” said Marci Yaremko, CDFW’s representative to the PFMC. “The Commission concurred with these recommendations, realizing their conservation benefit to all winter-run.”
It is highly unusual for a state to propose even stricter guidelines on a listed species than required by the federal Endangered Species Act. However, CDFW scientists believe the additional protection provided in the emergency river closure and additional ocean fishing restrictions will help a significant segment of the winter-run population to avoid losses.
“Given the gravity of the current situation, the Commission recognizes the need for highly protective measures,” said Commission President Jack Baylis. “It is imperative that our fisheries are given the best protections.”
The California Fish and Game Commission adopted changes to the Central Valley and Klamath River basin salmon sport fishing regulations for the 2015 season on Friday, April 17. The changes include fall-run Chinook quotas, bag and possession limits, and restrictions at the mouth of the Klamath River (spit area) and in the main stem Klamath River in the vicinity of Blue Creek. The only change to the Central Valley regulations is an increase in the possession limit from two to four salmon. All other Central Valley regulations remain unchanged from last year.
The Klamath basin sport fishing quota for adult fall-run Chinook salmon is 14,133 fish. This represents a 250 percent increase over last year’s salmon quota and allowed for an increase in daily bag limit. The daily bag limit for fall-run Chinook salmon is three fish, no more than two adults (greater than 22 inches) and the possession limit is nine fall-run Chinook salmon, no more than six adults. The 2015 sport fishing season for fall-run Chinook salmon will run from Aug. 15 through Dec. 31 on the Klamath River and Sept. 1 through Dec. 31 on the Trinity River.
The Commission adopted two new restrictions for Klamath anglers, one recommended by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) in regard to the spit area and one in the main stem Klamath near Blue Creek recommended by the Yurok Tribe. The new spit area restriction limits anglers to “catch and keep” for all legally caught Chinook salmon. Additionally, once anglers have retained two adult Chinook salmon greater than 22 inches or their total daily bag limit they must cease fishing in the spit area.
The Commission reviewed two key proposals for Blue Creek. CDFW’s, which requested a joint focused study to determine hook and release mortality in the Blue Creek area and the Yurok Tribe proposal to implement a conservation closure. The Commission selected the Yurok Tribe proposal to close all non-tribal sports fishing in the Blue Creek area from June 15 through Sept. 14 from ½ mile below to 500 feet above the confluence of Blue Creek and the Klamath River. From Sept. 15 through Dec. 31 the closure is 500 feet above and below Blue Creek. The Commission adopted the proposal as a conservation measure.
The Klamath fall-run Chinook quota is subdivided into sub quota areas within the basin. The lower Klamath River (mouth to Weitchpec) will receive 50 percent (7,067 fish) of the quota, the upper Klamath River (upstream of Weitchpec) will receive 17 percent (2,403 fish) of the quota and the remaining 33 percent (4,663 fish) is allocated to the Trinity River, split between the lower (Trinity confluence to Cedar Flat) and upper Trinity (upstream of Cedar Flat). The mouth of the Klamath River (spit area) will receive an allocation of 2,120 adult fall-run Chinook which is inclusive of the lower Klamath River sub area quota.
Bill Taylor of Winchester Bay, a volunteer for the Gardiner, Reedsport, Winchester Bay STEP chapter asked me to help make people aware that the organization will be finclipping 108,000 fall Chinook salmon fingerlings during the week beginning Monday, April 27th. The finclipping will take place at the chapter’s Gardiner hatchery and will run from 9 am until 2 pm daily until the task is finished. Bill says that the chapter could really use help from the public in completing the massive task. If you want to help, the hatchery is located at the north end of the Highway 101 bridge over the lower Smith River and about 100 yards west of Highway 101. It’s a right turn if you are traveling from Reedsport to Gardiner and a left turn if you are driving from Gardiner towards Reedsport.
The trout stocking schedules for all zones are now available on the ODFW website. Scheduled to be stocked this week are Mercer Lake (2,250 12-inchers); Sutton Lake (1,500 12-inchers);Siltcoos Lagoon (850 legals, 350 12-inchers and 106 16-inchers). Next week, Alder, Buck and Dune lakes are scheduled for trout plants with Alder and Dune to each receive 850 legals, 225 12-inchers and 36 16-inchers with Buck Lake to receive the same number of legals and 16-inchers as Alder and Dune, but only 200 12-inchers. Other Florence-area trout plants occurring next week will take place at Georgia and North Georgia Lakes (150 legals each); Elbow Lake (600 12-inchers); Lost Lake (500 12-inchers) and Perkins Lake (205 legals and 200 12-inchers).
Trout plant nobody should get excited about will occur next week at Tenmile Lakes where 6,000 legal trout will be dumped into about 2,700 surface acres of water and Siltcoos Lake where 1,000 12-inchers will be stocked into a lake with more than 3,100 acres of water. Loon Lake and Lake Marie are not scheduled to receive their next trout plants untill the week beginning May 18th when they will each receive 1,000 legal rainbows.
Fishing for such warmwater species as bass and catfish should be getting more consistent as more and more afternoons along the Oregon coast reach and exceed 60 degrees. As the bass and panfishing gets more consistent, trout fishing will become more productive in the early mornings and late evenings.
The general trout opener for lakes that are not open all year is this Saturday, April 25th and even though most lakes are now open all year, most of the fishing tackle sales still occur in mid-to-late April.
Spring Chinook and shad fishing on the Umpqua River remains slow, but the river above Scottsburg is improving for smallmouth bass with spinners and crankbaits being productive. As the river continues to drop and clear, expect soft plastics such as worms and grubs to become more effective.
Action: The summer-season recreational fishery in Bonneville Reservoir opens to white sturgeon retention for three 3-day periods in June and July.
Effective dates: Friday, Saturday and Sunday on these dates: June 19-21, June 26-28, and July 3-5, 2015.
Species affected: White sturgeon measuring 38-54 inches fork length.
Location: The Columbia River and adjacent tributaries from Bonneville Dam upstream to the sturgeon spawning sanctuary boundary located 1.8 miles downstream of The Dalles Dam, from the east (upstream) dock at the Port of The Dalles boat ramp straight across to a boundary marker on the Washington shore.
Reason for action: Establishes a summer white sturgeon retention period in Bonneville Reservoir. Approximately 945 fish remain available for harvest from the 1,100 fish total guideline. This balance allows for a summer retention season. This decision was made April 8, 2015 at a joint Washington-Oregon public hearing.
Other information: All other permanent regulations remain in effect. Catch-and-release fishing for sturgeon is allowed, except the spawning sanctuary is closed to all sturgeon angling during May through July.
The Columbia River and adjacent tributaries between The Dalles and McNary dams remain open to sturgeon retention until respective harvest guidelines for each reservoir are reached. The spawning sanctuaries from the Highway 395/I-82 Bridge upstream to McNary Dam and from the Rufus grain elevator upstream to John Day Dam close to all sturgeon fishing May 1 through July 31.
This year the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to stock 11,000 rainbow trout (including 3,000 of trophy size) in popular Lake of the Woods, and the agency would like anglers help in figuring out what happens to those fish.
To do this, ODFW will tag and release a known number of fish into the lake beginning the week of April 25, and is asking anglers who catch a tagged fish to report the information to ODFW.
According to Bill Tinniswood, ODFW fish biologist in Klamath Falls, the goal is to replace time-consuming and expensive creel surveys – interviewing anglers – with a more cost effective way to learn more about the fishery.
“We know anglers catch a lot of fish in Lake of the Woods,” Tinniswood said. “But we don’t necessarily know if we’re stocking the lake with the optimum number of fish or using the best fish stocks to maximize angler satisfaction.”
The program in Lake of the Woods is part of a larger ODFW pilot program to find an efficient way to track the harvest, movement and growth of hatchery stocked fish. The pilot program began last spring in Wallowa Lake in Northeast Oregon and Henry Hagg Lake in the Willamette Valley.
“If every angler who catches a tagged fish reports it, we can calculate the total number of fish caught as a proportion of the number of fish released,” Tinniswood. To fine tune these calculations, a small number fish will carry a special reward tag worth $50 to the angler who turns it in.
In Lake of the Woods ODFW will release 500 tagged rainbow trout, including 36 with reward tags.
Tinniswood describes the program as a win for both ODFW and local anglers. ODFW gets valuable information to help better manage the fishery, and anglers get a chance to participate in fishery management and, perhaps, come away with $50 for that help, he said.
If you catch a tagged fish in Lake of the Woods:
Tagged fish can be harvested or released. If the fish is released, cut the tag off at the base rather than try to rip the tag out.
Anglers can report non-reward tags in person, by mail, by phone, or by using the tag-reporting page on the ODFW website.
Reward tags must be returned to the Klamath District Office at 1850 Miler Island Rd., Klamath Falls, OR 97603, either in person or by mail.
Look for “Tag Team” posters at the boat ramps for further project and contact information.
This pilot program will be funded through a grant from the ODFW Fish Restoration and Enhancement Program.
The general trout opener in many counties throughout California will commence on Saturday, April 25, one hour before sunrise.
Because of the popularity of this annual event with the angling public, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is making every effort to stock trout in all accessible waters approved for planting prior to the season opener. Lingering winter conditions and this year’s unprecedented drought could play a major role in determining how many rivers, creeks, lakes and reservoirs can be stocked before April 25.
Most lakes, rivers and streams have a limit of five trout per day and 10 in possession. However, regulations differ on season opening and closing dates, bag limits, minimum and maximum size limits, and gear restrictions.
Anglers are advised to check specific area regulations and opening dates in the 2015/16 California Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulation booklet at www.wildlife.ca.gov/regulations, for regulations specific to each body of water.
In 2012, CDFW regional staff created the Eastern Sierra Back Country Fishing Guide to provide anglers with a quick, informative and accurate account of the distribution of fisheries in back country high elevation lakes. This guide does not address front country waters, defined as lakes and streams that are accessible by vehicle. Most of the lakes lie within U.S. Forest Service lands managed as wilderness and usually require back country permits for overnight use. Most back country fisheries are based on self-sustaining populations of trout and do not need regular trout stocking to maintain fish populations. The guide can be found at http://www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/6.
Crowley Lake in the Eastern Sierra is expected to be one of the most popular opening day destinations for anglers from around the state. In past years, an estimated 10,000 anglers have turned out for the opener, and approximately 50,000 trout are caught during the first week of the season. Typically Crowley is planted with hundreds of thousands of small and medium sized trout, and because of excellent food sources in the 5,280-acre reservoir, these trout grow to catchable sizes and weigh at least three-quarters of a pound by the opener. About 10 percent of the trout caught at Crowley during opening weekend weigh over a pound and a half. These fish are from stocks planted in previous years or are wild fish produced in Crowley’s tributary waters.
Anglers are asked to be particularly vigilant when cleaning fish and fishing gear at Crowley Lake and in the upper and lower Owens River Drainage. The New Zealand Mudsnail was discovered several years ago in the Owens River Drainage, and CDFW would like to prevent the Mudsnail from spreading into other waters. To avoid spreading New Zealand Mudsnails and other aquatic invasive species to other waters, anglers are advised to dispose of their fish guts in bear-proof trash cans, rather than throw them back into the water. Wading gear should be properly cleaned before using in new waters.
All persons age 16 and older must possess a valid California fishing license to fish within state lines. Freshwater fishing licenses can be purchased online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/online-sales or at regional CDFW offices or other license agents. Anglers no longer have to display their license visibly above the waist but they must have it in their possession while fishing.