Monthly Archives: May 2015

Umpqua Surfperch Run Still Improving

The redtailed surfperch, while still somewhat inconsistent, is improving daily. The Stockade Market is sponsoring a Memorial Weekend pinkfin derby for the heaviest perch turned in over the weekend with the winner getting a GX2 Ugly Stick spinning rod.

contestants are eligible to sign up after purchasing two or more dozen sand shrimp at the super low price of $ 2.75 per dozen and must weigh their perch at the Stockade Market on same day of their entry. Weigh-in deadlines are 7 pm on Saturday and Sunday and 1 pm on Monday.

Some of the local guides who target the surfperch run have been doing quite well.

Mike Cell from Idaho and Cindy Jones from Eugen enjoyed heavy action on pink fin perch Thursday morning as the bite was red hot. Photo courtesy of "The Umpqua Angler" (541-852-9889.

Mike Cell from Idaho and Cindy Jones from Eugen enjoyed heavy action on pink fin perch Thursday morning as the bite was red hot. Photo courtesy of “The Umpqua Angler” (541-852-9889.

 

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Pete Heley Outdoors 5 / 20 / 2015

Most of the Douglas County lakes that receive trout plants were planted this week, including Lake Marie and Loon Lake which each were slated to get 1.000 legal rainbows. More than 20,000 legal rainbows were stocked in Coos County last week in the following numbers: (Bradley Lake – 3,500; Bluebill Lake – 3,000; Butterfield Lake – 3,000;, Eel Lake – 4,000; , North and South Tenmile Lakes (3,000 each); Millicoma Pond – 500; Powers Pond – 3,500 and Saunders Lake – 3,500. In the Florence area, Cleawox Lake is slated for 1,800 foot long rainbows this week. Alder, Buck and Dune lakes are each to receive 425 12-inchers and 36 16-inchers. Georgia and North Georgia lakes were scheduled to receive 75 foot long rainbows. Perkins Lake was slated for a 100 foot long rainbows and the Siltcoos Lagoon was to receive 36 16-inchers.

James Thurber, of Reedsport reported catching 50 shad while fishing from a boat near Elkton. He also stated that they did some sight-fishing for smallmouth bass near their spawning beds. Two of the smallies they caught weighed 5.4 pounds and 4.2 pounds on their digital scale. Lots of shad are jammed up below Sawyers Rapids and fishing, especially from a boat, is very good.

The pinkfin spawning run is heating up and while the fishing can only be described as inconsistent, 15 perch limits are being caught daily. At least three spring Chinook salmon were hooked above Winchester Bay last week by perch anglers and two were landed. Spring Chinook were also hooked last week by shad anglers fishing near Yellow Creek.

Perch anglers above Winchester Bay got a surprise last Saturday when a very large orca showed up and spent some time cruising near the boats on the north side of the river near where the seals beach themselves. Unfortunately, the orca seems to have concluded the visit while still hungry although one boat stated that they saw it with a baby seal.

Ocean fishing for Chinook salmon is improving with fish caught last week from just outside the Umpqua River Bar to depths  as far out as 60 fathoms. Afternoon winds have pretty much ruled out fishing farther offshore.

The first three day spring halibut opener was a disaster for the south coast. Few anglers were able to get out and fishing conditions were brutal. Saturday was somewhat better and some local anglers caught halibut, but angling pressure for the three days and the halibut catch was pretty much a Newport show.

There were some fishing reports of anglers fishing Tenmile Creek last week. I pointed out to them that  Oregon coast streams did not open for fishing until the fourth Saturday in May to protect salmonid smolts. I hope they picked a legal alternative for the rest of their stay.

A couple of anglers from Washington state fished Siltcoos Lake last Friday using Wedding Rings with pieces of nightcrawlers. They caught trout to 19-inches and a 28-inch striped bass.

Steve Godin, of our local CCA Chapter, and myself, have both been assured by people at the ODFW office in Roseburg that they are going to take care of the looming problem of having to tag Umpqua River fall Chinook salmon as springers during July. In fact, Steve was told that the “problem” would be handled in a way that would take care of the “problem” for future years. I have been getting these assurances for several weeks, but as I am writing this week’s column,the “problem” has not yet been handled – and time is getting short before the earliest fall Chinook arrive in the lower Umpqua River.

Two things that will definitely happen in July if nothing changes. (1) – The Winchester Bay-Reedsport area will suffer a major economic hit and (2) some anglers that normally fish the river for fall Chinooks will be forced to fish the ocean if they want to catch salmon they can keep. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that – and if it does, nothing bad happens.

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Upper John Day River To Open For Spring Chinook

John Day, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced today that the upper John Day River will open for salmon fishing from May 20 through June 7, 2015. The river will be open for the 26 miles from the Hwy 207 bridge (located .5 mile downstream of Service Creek, Ore.) upstream to the mouth of North Fork John Day River near Kimberly, Ore.

According to Brent Smith, ODFW fish biologist in John Day, this year’s spring Chinook return over Bonneville Dam has exceeded the escapement goals for the John Day River.

“Over 4,000 adults returning to the John Day have crossed Bonneville Dam so far,” Smith said “These high numbers can be credited, in part, to habitat and passage improvements that have occurred throughout John Day basin – much of it on private land.”

The daily bag limit will be two adult Chinook salmon and five jack salmon; it is unlawful to continue fishing for jacks after taking a daily bag limit of two adult Chinook salmon. Both wild and hatchery (adipose clipped) salmon can be harvested. A fishing license including a Columbia River Endorsement and a combined angling tag is required for this fishery.

ODFW will conduct random angler surveys throughout the fishery area with periodic check stations at Spray and Service Creek to collect angler information.

For more information contact Brent Smith, acting district fish biologist at 541-575-1167 x225.

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Pete Heley Outdoors 5 / 17 / 2015

The first fall Chinook salmon will start entering the lower Umpqua in less than two months and it seems that there is going to be plenty of things to fish for in the meantime.

A number of anglers fished the ocean for Chinook salmon last weekend with sporadic success. Chuck Hurlocker, of Reedsport, trolled plug cut herring in the ocean near the Umpqua River Bar to account for a couple of Chinooks weighing between ten and 15 pounds.

Cabezon are illegal to keep until July 1st when the bag limit will become one per day at least 16-inches in length. The South Jetty has been fishing fairly well for striped surfperch and greenling.

In the last few years, small octopi have been common enough along the rocks of Winchester Bay’s South Jetty that they have been targeted by some crows and sea gulls. Their appearance along the jetty is almost certainly of a cyclical nature and the octopi will almost certainly move to deeper water as they continue to grow.

The annual pinkfin run is now going strong. The stretch of river where they actually spawn covers slightly more than two miles (between Winchester Bay and Gardiner) and the run should last through late July. The fishing should continue to improve through the next several weeks and while the fishing hasn’t been consistently great, each day has some anglers catching their 15 perch limits. Sand shrimp is the most popular bait.

Shad are now scattered throughout the Umpqua River, but the greatest concentrations of them are just below Sawyers Rapids which seems to stop or delay the shad’s upstream migration during periods of low river flows. A boat is a big advantage at Sawyers, but many anglers catch shad from the bank near Yellow Creek, which is located about midway between Elkton and Sutherlin. Pink and chartreuse are the most popular colors.

The largemouth bass are spawning now and easy to see, if not catch. The adult bass move to deeper water during the cooler nights and early mornings, but are cruising shallow water by noon prior to actually spawning.

Loon Lake has been very productive for crappie, some of which have not yet finished spawning. Flies, jigs and small lures have all been working well. Loon Lake is definitely the top lake for crappies in Douglas County – and should remain so for the next few years as they seem to have become established in a number of new areas in the lake – although the old Fish Haven Dock near the upper end of the lake remains the most popular spot.

With the water low and relatively clear, The Umpqua River has been fishing very well for smallmouth bass, which seem to be in their immediate post-spawn phase. Smaller plastics such as jigs, worms or grubs are working well as do real nightcrawlers.

Mardon Resort on Potholes Reservoir held their annual Rod Meseberg Spring Walleye Classic last weekend. All 74 participating boats caught fish and the top eight placers each weighed in more than 40 pounds of walleyes during the two day tournament. The average weight of the 822 walleyes weighed in was 2.77 pounds while the biggest walleye weighed in on Saturday weighed 8.54 pounds and the largest on Sunday weighed 9,74 pounds. The team of Ron Charlton and Jason Bauer won the tournament with 45.66 pounds.

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Umpqua River Pinkfin “Officially” On.

You know the unique Umpqua River run of redtailed surfperch is officially on is when some some of the river guides stop guiding for salmon and steelhead and start running trips for the perch, known locally as “pinkfins”. Fishing has been very good, if somewhat erratic and fresh sand shrimp remains the top bait, although clam necks, squid, nightcrawlers and Berkley Gulp sandworms are all proven perch baits.

The run should last through July from Winchester Bay as far upriver as Gardiner with most the fish being caught between the entrance to Winchester Bay’s East Boat Basin and Marker 12.

Ted Bertha, of Oakridge, shows off a typical Umpqua River pinkfin double.  Photo courtesy of Bryan Gill of "The Umpqua Angler".

Ted Bertha, of Oakridge, shows off a typical Umpqua River pinkfin double. Photo courtesy of Bryan Gill of “The Umpqua Angler”.

 

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Potholes Reservoir / Mardon Resort Fishing Report

The 2015 MarDon Open Bass Tournament is this Saturday and Sunday May 16 and 17. This tournament is a CWFAC Fundraiser and this is open to the public. The weigh-in on Saturday at 3pm and Sunday at 2pm. We invite anyone who enjoys a good bass weigh in and raffle to come on down and enjoy the festivities. We will be selling raffle tickets all weekend and the drawing will be Sunday after the weigh-in. In addition to our general raffle we will also raffle off 2 Lowrance GPS Fish Finders. This is a catch and release tournament.

Walleye Fishing has been really great all week long. Wednesday’s storm slowed the bite down a bit but it is already picking back up. They are catching them trolling a worm harness set up with a slow death hook. Be aware that Potholes Reservoir is near high pool so navigation is readily available to almost any part of the reservoir.

Mason Meseberg shows a 4lb largemouth bass he landed sight fishing with a Sniper Lure.

Mason Meseberg shows a 4lb largemouth bass he landed sight fishing with a Sniper Lure.

Jeff Dillion caught this nice smallie off the MarDon Dock.

Jeff Dillion caught this nice smallie off the MarDon Dock.

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Hatchery Spring Chinook Limit Increased At Drano Lake

Action:   Drano Lake anglers may retain up to 3 hatchery adult spring chinook.

Effective dates:   May 17 through June 30

Species affected:   Chinook

Location:   Downstream of markers on point of land downstream and across from Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery and upstream of the Highway 14 Bridge.

Reason for action: Hatchery returns have been strong to date. The hatchery brood stock goal has been met and surplus hatchery fish are available for harvest.

Other information:   The salmon/steelhead daily limit is a 3 hatchery chinook or hatchery steelhead of which no more than 2 may be hatchery steelhead. Salmon minimum size is 12 inches.  Release wild chinook and wild steelhead.

Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement is required. Anglers may fish for salmon and steelhead with two poles with a Two Pole Endorsement. In addition, each angler aboard a vessel may deploy salmon/steelhead angling gear until the salmon/steelhead limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved.

Anglers are reminded the lake is closed to all fishing on Wednesdays through June. In addition, the area west of a line projected from the easternmost pillar of the Highway 14 Bridge to a posted marker on the north shore is open to bank fishing only.

Barbed hooks may be used under a previously adopted emergency regulation.

Information contact:   (360) 696-6211.

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Spring Chinook Rgulations Changed On Wind River

Action:   Wind River anglers may retain up to 3 adult spring chinook.

The Burlington Northern Railroad Bridge will no longer be used as boundary.  Instead, the Highway 14 Bridge will be used as a boundary for the anti-snagging rule, two poles, and boat limits.

Effective dates: May 17 through June 30

Species affected: Salmon and steelhead

Location:   Daily limit increase – Wind River from the mouth (boundary line/markers) upstream to 800 yards downstream of Carson National Fish Hatchery except closed waters from 400 feet below to 100 feet above Shipherd Falls and from 400 feet below to 100 feet above the coffer dam.

Anti-snagging rule – Wind River from the Highway 14 Bridge upstream to 800 yards downstream of Carson National Fish Hatchery.

Two poles and boat limits – Wind River from the mouth (boundary line/markers) upstream to Highway 14 Bridge.

Reason for action:   Hatchery returns have been strong to date.  The hatchery brood stock goal is expected to be met and surplus hatchery fish are available for harvest.

Using the Highway 14 Bridge as a new boundary will implement new permanent rules recently adopted during the North of Falcon salmon regulation process.   The attempt is to make boundaries for the spring season anti-snagging rule, two poles, and boat limits consistent with those used for the fall season. There should be little to no lost opportunity as the two bridges are within feet of each other.

Other information:   The salmon/steelhead daily limit is a 3 chinook or hatchery steelhead of which no more than 2 may be hatchery steelhead.  Salmon minimum size is 12 inches.  Release wild steelhead. From Shipherd Falls downstream, release wild chinook.

Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement is required.  Anglers from the mouth to the Highway 14 Bridge may fish for salmon and steelhead with two poles with a Two Pole Endorsement.  In addition, each angler aboard a vessel may deploy salmon/steelhead angling gear until the salmon/steelhead limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved.

When the anti-snagging rule is in effect, only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.  Barbed hooks may be used under a previously adopted emergency regulation.

Information contact:   (360) 696-6211.

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Spring Chinook Limit And 2 Rod Area Increased On Lower Cowlitz River.

Action:   Cowlitz River anglers may retain up to 3 hatchery adult spring chinook.   In addition, anglers may fish with two poles up to the barrier dam.

Effective dates: May 17 until further notice

Species affected:   Chinook

Location:   Daily limit increase from boundary markers at the mouth to 400 feet or posted markers below the barrier dam.

Two-pole area increase from Lexington Drive Bridge (Sparks Road Bridge) upstream to 400 feet or posted markers below the barrier dam.

Reason for action: Hatchery returns have been strong to date.  The hatchery brood stock goal is expected to be met and surplus hatchery fish are available for harvest.

The area for using two poles was increased from the Highway 505 Bridge at Toledo upstream to the barrier dam in an attempt to harvest more hatchery spring Chinook.  In addition, it is consistent with the recently adopted North of Falcon rules which will allow the use of two poles to target hatchery salmon, steelhead, and cutthroat trout up to the barrier dam year round.

Other information:   The salmon daily limit is 6 hatchery chinook of which no more than 3 may be adults.  Release wild chinook.  Anglers may also retain up to 3 hatchery steelhead under a previously adopted emergency regulation.

Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement is required.  A valid Two Pole Endorsement is needed to fish with two poles from the Lexington Drive Bridge (Sparks Road Bridge) upstream to the barrier dam.

Barbless hooks are required through June.  Under recently approved permanent game fish rules, barbed hooks may be used to target hatchery summer run steelhead in July.

Under permanent rules, bank angling from the south side of the river from Mill Creek (below the salmon hatchery) to the barrier dam are closed to all fishing through June 15.

Information contact:   (360) 696-6211.

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California Poachers Take Advantage Of Drought Conditions To Target Juvenile Salmon

California wildlife officers patrolling the Sacramento River recently cited six suspects for unlawfully taking and possessing juvenile salmon, and using the young fish as bait to target sturgeon. All of the suspects initially denied use of salmon as bait, but wildlife officers were able to reel in their lines and show them the dead salmon on their hooks.

The alleged poachers worked during the early morning hours under the cover of darkness and focused their effort on sandbars on the Sacramento River in Yolo and Sacramento counties. The sandbars were recently exposed due to drought conditions. Wildlife officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Delta Bay Enhanced Enforcement Project (DBEEP), Special Operations Unit (SOU) and local squads continue to use the Governor’s drought overtime support to step up patrols in these sensitive areas to protect salmon and sturgeon from poachers.

In the first case, a wildlife officer observed two subjects wading in the Sacramento River and using a large net to capture juvenile salmon near a sandbar created by the low flow conditions. They netted the small salmon for later use as bait to fish for sturgeon. The wildlife officer ultimately determined that the two anglers and one more fisherman used fishing rods baited with the juvenile salmon they’d caught. Tony Saetern, 25, Michael Anglero, 24, and Kao Saeyang, 28, all of Sacramento, were each cited for unlawful use of salmon as bait and unlawful possession of salmon out of season.

A few nights later, wildlife officers observed a suspect using a hand light and dip net to unlawfully capture and keep multiple juvenile salmon in the same area of the Sacramento River. The officers watched as a total of three suspects in the group appeared to use the salmon as bait for fishing. Officers contacted the suspects and found two of them in possession of fishing rods with hooks baited with the salmon. As the officers were conducting the investigation, a sturgeon was hooked on another fishing rod belonging to the group, was landed and released. Officers found the group in possession of a Snapple beverage bottle containing 14 additional juvenile salmon for later use as bait.

Nai Poo Saechao, 36, of Antelope and Lai C Saechao, 27, of Sacramento, were both cited for unlawful use of salmon as bait, possession of salmon out of season and an overlimit of salmon. Vincent Sai Poo Saechao, 23, of Antelope, was cited for unlawful method of take of salmon.

“During this time of year, juvenile salmon are migrating downstream to the Delta and are vulnerable to this type of poaching as they seek shelter from prey fish close to shore,” DBEEP Warden Byron Trunnell explained. “Salmon season is closed on the Sacramento River, and nets are not an authorized method of take for game fish in inland waters.”

The unlawful practice of catching juvenile salmon for bait has long been a concern and is an enforcement priority this time of year. Poaching pressure on salmon is particularly harmful now, given California’s current drought situation. CDFW and numerous other agencies on both the state and federal levels are taking action wherever possible to support the long-term viability of salmon populations of the Sacramento River watershed.

CDFW appreciates legitimate anglers and asks for the public’s help in apprehending those who are taking advantage of our natural resources. Illegal activity can be reported through the CDFW Californians Turn In Poachers and Polluters (CalTIP) line at 888-334-2258, or via email or text (please see www.dfg.ca.gov/enforcement/caltip.aspx for details).

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