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Contact Pete Heley
PO Box 264
Reedsport, OR 97467
Monthly Archives: October 2015
Starting Nov. 1, anglers will be restricted to one hatchery-reared adult coho salmon per day as part of their catch limit on several tributaries to the lower Columbia River.
Poor returns of coho salmon prompted state fishery managers to reduce the daily limit to one hatchery adult coho – down from six – to preserve fish for state hatchery propagation and restoration programs.
Waters affected by the new limit include the Deep, Grays, Elochoman, Cowlitz, Toutle, Green, Tilton, Cispus, Kalama, Lewis and Washougal rivers, plus Mayfield Lake and Lake Scanewa.
Cindy LeFleur, southwest regional fish manager at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said early run coho have returned to area hatcheries at about one-third the projected level of 26,000 fish.
“The late run is just getting started, but we’re seeing the same trend,” LeFleur said. “We’re not ready to close the fishery completely for coho, but we do believe a more conservative approach is in order.”
Under the new rules, anglers can still catch up to two adult salmon per day, including up to one hatchery coho in combination with chinook salmon. Except for chinook caught on the Deep and Lewis rivers, only coho and chinook salmon marked as hatchery fish with a clipped adipose fin may be retained.
WDFW posts all fishing-rule updates at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/.
Last week, poor coho returns prompted state fishery managers to close all salmon fisheries in several Puget Sound tributaries and Grays Harbor and its tributaries. Cyclical changes in ocean conditions are a key factor in the current downward trend in coho coastwide, LeFleur said.
“Last year, we had a strong return of nearly a million coho to the Columbia River,” she said. “This year, we’re clearly going to fall far short of that mark, which shows how quickly ocean conditions can change.
As the salmon run on the Umpqua slowly tapers off, there are still areas that continue to produce. The bankfishing spots at Winchester Bay and Gardiner are still giving up some keepable fish (Chinook salmon and finclipped coho salmon. For the shore anglers that are tired of throwing spinners, there is the “mudhole” at the mouth of Winchester Creek. It hasn’t been a good year, so far, at the mudhole, but it will produce finclipped Chinooks through November with some anglers catching their salmon on bait and bobber rigs using either sand shrimp or salmon roe. These same baits are also accounting for some Chinook salmon for anglers fishing Smith River.
Many salmon anglers have moved south to the Coos and Coquille rivers which usually get their salmon several weeks later than does the Umpqua River. Recently, the Coos has been offering more consistent salmon fishing. Salmon fishing in the ocean for Chinook salmon will close one hour after sunset on Saturday, October 31st. But a few Chinooks will still be entering rivers such as the Umpqua, Coos and Coquille until at least mid-November – but in ever decreasing numbers.
Depending upon how substantial the rain turns out to be that is falling as I write this column on Sunday afternoon, there could be fair numbers of coho salmon in Siltcoos Lake and the legal to fish portion of the Siltcoos River by the end of the month. There should also be some eight foot plus high tides the last week of October which should get some salmon into the Siltcoos River and once in the river its a relatively easy upstream migration into the lake. It’s going to take a lot of rain to get salmon into Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes.
In years past, many of Siltcoos Lake’s jumbo rainbow trout have fallen to plugs and spinners intended for salmon. Last year, according to Dwayne Swartz, one of the area’s most accomplished tournament bass anglers, the largemouth bass in Siltcoos Lake went on a major bite when the coho salmon were in the lake.
I got a chance to fish a couple of overlooked small lakes this last week. They contain very few decent-sized fish, but are still fun to fish with ultralight tackle. Hall Lake produced about 15 small largemouth bass on a Rapala-type lure cast from shore with the two largest weighing about a pound each. Butterfield Lake was tougher. It seems that the ODFW made a heavy plant of fingerling rainbows in the largest (east) section of the lake and these 4-5-inch fish were a complete nuisance. They will definitely effect the lake’s panfish populations as they will be competing directly with the lake’s bluegills, crappies and smaller largemouth bass. As of last week, it seemed that birds and mammals have yet to discover the lake’s new forage base and falling water temperatures will keep bass from preying on the smolts effectively. However it will be late next summer, at the earliest, before these trout grow large enough to become legal angling fare.
I used to fish the sand dunes lakes quite often for bass and panfish, but the more shallow lakes that were located between Hauser and North Bend often suffered from water level problems and sometimes would almost completely dry up.
Last week I checked out a very small pond located near Coos Bay’s North Spit Boat Ramp and was pleasantly surprised to see that it had two or three foot of water and actually looked quite “fishy”. Better yet, I actually saw an apparently healthy ten inch largemouth bass swimming around and made a mental note to fish the pond at a future date.
It seems that the water table in that area is far healthier than it was when the paper mill was operating and the area’s shallow lakes quite possibly retained their fish popularions far better than I would have believed. I plan to have a much better idea of the area’s “fishability” by next spring. But for now, much of the shallow freshwater in this area that I had previously assumed could not support fish for the entire year are now potential fishing spots.
On the downside, unsigned “no trespassing signs” have made access to Beale Lake virtually impossible without a 4-wheel drive vehicle.
The surface water temperature on Potholes Reservoir is around 62 degrees, which is just about perfect for a good fall bite. The walleye fishing on the humps in front of the sand dunes is as good as it gets to me. Trolling a slow death hook in 8 to 29 feet of water is your best bet for catching lots of walleye and also some jumbo perch up to 14 inches. Trolling diving plugs is also working well for the walleye. Try # 4 and #7 shad raps for as well. Perch and Crappie fishing off the MarDon Dock has been fair. But lots of perch and catfish are being caught in the Lind Coulee in 10 to 14 feet of water. Trolling needlefish in this area is a great way to catch some nice fish. As the water temps drop fall fishing will only improve. So get the kiddos out on a fishing trip before cold weather winter hits the Inland Northwest.
Now renting RV Roofed/3 Sided Storage with electricity 12 X 48 for $175 a month. We only have 4 of these available, going quickly. Call (509) 346-2651 to inquire.
Offering our annual Hunter Special for RV Sites at MarDon Resort this winter.
RV Site October to March 1 $1050
Electricity Fee $140
Total for all 5 months $1190.00
The rental includes the RV site with full hookup (water, electric & sewer), internet, boat launching. The store building and the restrooms/laundromat remains open all winter. The Depth’s Restaurant will be open with limited days and hours. Fuel is available at the 76 gas station 1 mile from MarDon. Call 509.346.2651 if you are interested. Space is limited.
Fished today out of Winchester Bay. We went out to the Ten Mile Reef for Lingcod. The bite was slow and we concentrated on Lingcod, lead head jigs with no shrimp fly rigs. I wasn’t sure how long we would be able to fish due to increasing winds, so get the Lingcod while you can! The strategy worked, as the wind kept building and the bite was slow. After four hours, we had three limits. We caught one Yelloweye and sent it back to where it came from. We didn’t catch any bottom fish, but felt good about the limits of Lingcod, we did send two
small Lings back.
Several fin clipped cohos were caught at Half Moon Bay last Thursday, which ironically, was the last day that wild coho were legal in Oregon’s coastal rivers that had a nonselective coho season. One of the finclipped cohos caught that day weighed 17 pounds.
While wild or unclipped cohos are dominating the catch numberswise, some Chinooks and finclipped cohos are still being caught. The STEP finclipped Chinook fishery at the mouth of Winchester Creek is well underway and fairly productive for anglers fishing with bobber and bait when sand shrimp is available. A few anglers are using roe or anchovies beneath their bobbers.
Crabbing in Half Moon Bay seems to have improved slightly now that the ocean is closed to crabbing. A few crabbers seem to be unaware that Oregon’s coastal rivers are open all year including the six weeks when the ocean is closed to both commercial and sport crabbing.
This year is winding down as one of the best ever for good-sized smallmouth bass on the Umpqua River and afternoon fishing should be productive for the next several weeks. The Coquille River should also be providing good smallmouth fishing and is the top choice for a combo smallmouth bass/striped bass trip.
Still no reports of salmon being caught in Siltcoos Lake or in that portion of the Siltcoos River that is open to salmon fishing. However fair numbers of searun cutthroats are in the Siltcoos system and hopefully the coho salmon will not be far behind.
Yellow perch fishing is good in virtually every local water that contains them. Bluegills and crappies at Loon Lake are suspending off shore and should be relatively easy to find for those anglers whose boats are equipped with electronic fish finders.
It’s that time of year when the crappie in southwest Washington’s Silver Lake move into Streeter’s Canal and become incredibly easy to catch. Some anglers will catch more than a thousand crappies in a two day fishing trip. The daily limit for anglers keeping their crappies is ten fish at least nine-inches in length. Some area anglers probably remember the winter crappie fishery that occurred more than ten years ago in the channel connecting North Tenmile Lake and South Tenmile Lake. The fishing was so good that it was not unusual to go more than an hour hooking a crappie on every cast. At the same time it was extremely difficult to hook a crappie in any other parts of the lake. Unfortunately, it was a one winter phenomenon and has yet to be repeated.
A few of the things I would like to see the ODFW address in Douglas County would be to reopen Mill Creek to fishing – if only for smallmouth bass. With the ODFW’s concern about the impact of smallmouth bass on the Umpqua system, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to make a stream that contains a lot of them, off limits to anglers.
The same goes for closing Soda Springs Reservoir to all fishing after establishing salmonid runs above the reservoir. Perhaps the ODFW wanted to ensure that only the fastest-swimming smolts survived their downstream migration.
I would also like the ODFW to clearly define angling boundaries on the pond at the confluence of the North Umpqua and South Umpqua rivers. The pond, which offers good fishing for a variety of panfish species, is primarily on the South Umpqua, As long as the fishing seasons on the North and South Umpquas don’t exactly match there will be confusion. A logical spot to separate the pond and the South Umpqua would be the riffle where the flowing waters of the South Umpqua meets the relatively slack water of the pond.
An aeration system would tremendously increase fish populations at the once private, now open to the public, large ponds at Yoncalla.
Action: Lifts closures in the Yakima Basin.
Effective date: Immediately.
Species affected: All game fish (trout, whitefish, etc.).
Ahtanum Creek, including the North Fork and Middle Fork
Little Naches River
Teanaway River, including the West, Middle and North forks
Reason for action: Cooler weather and recent precipitation have increased flows in these tributaries eliminating the need for the drought-related fishing closures adopted in mid-July.
Additional Information: The fishing season in all three locations is open through Oct. 31. See pages 64-66 in the 2015-16 fishing rules pamphlet for trout minimum size, daily limit and gear rules.
With some 125,000 trout scheduled for stocking in western Washington lakes, area anglers should have an excellent chance at phenomenal fishing this fall and through the holiday season.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will stock 44 western Washington lakes with catchable-size trout this fall.
“Fishing at lakes throughout the region should be great over the next few months,” said Larry Phillips, WDFW’s inland fish program manager. “Most of the trout are 11 to 13 inches long, with a few larger ones in the mix,” he said.
Some of the lakes recently stocked include Grandy in Skagit County, Beaver in King County, Campbell in Skagit County, Gibbs, Leland and Teal in Jefferson County, and Isabella, Island, Lost, Spenser and Nahwatzel lakes in Mason County. Additional stocking efforts will take place in western Washington through October and November.
A list of lakes to be stocked, and the department’s recently updated stocking plan are available for viewing at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/fall-into-fishing/.
The fall fish plants are in response to anglers’ requests to increase fall and winter trout fishing opportunities in western Washington, said Phillips.
That effort also includes stocking lakes in southwest Washington for the Nov. 27 Black Friday opener, which offers anglers the opportunity to skip the shopping malls, get outside and enjoy fishing on the day after Thanksgiving.
For up-to-date stocking information this fall, anglers should follow the department on Twitter or Facebook, accessible from http://wdfw.wa.gov, or see the department’s weekly catchable trout stocking report at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/.
Anglers must have a current Washington freshwater fishing license valid through March 31, 2016, to participate.
Licenses can be purchased online at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov; by telephone at 1-866-246-9453; or at hundreds of license vendors across the state. For details on license vendor locations, visit the WDFW website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors/.
Darrah Springs Hatchery, operated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), was partially released from quarantine on Oct. 9 after being in quarantine since May because of whirling disease.
Extensive DNA testing of the fish by a commercial sciences lab have determined that all the trout in the hatchery building and the lower rearing ponds are free of the disease and the hatchery is resuming normal operations for that portion of the facility.
“We were able to save thousands of fish by isolating them from the disease and will be able to grow and plant them into state waters very soon,” said Linda Radford, CDFW Regional Hatchery Supervisor. “Unfortunately part of the hatchery is still infected and we will have to destroy some fish.”
The upper part of the hatchery, located near the town of Paynes Creek, is still infected with the disease; the fish there will be destroyed, recycled and used for pet food and other purposes. The fish rearing areas still infected will be dried up and not utilized until the water supply can be either disinfected through a water treatment system or pathology testing verifies that the water supply no longer is infected.
Approximately 160,000 fish will be euthanized. The disposal of infected hatchery-raised trout is a necessary precaution to prevent the spread of disease to non-infected state waters where the fish would normally be planted.
Whirling disease is caused by Myxobolus cerebralis, a protozoan parasite that destroys cartilage in the vertebral column of trout and salmon. It can be fatal to infected trout and salmon but does not affect humans or other wildlife or fish. The whirling disease parasite is naturally present in some streams and rivers in California. Hatchery outbreaks are unusual but not unheard of (there has never been another outbreak of whirling disease in the department’s hatcheries in northern California).
Darrah Springs Hatchery supplies catchable trout for waters in Lassen, Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou and Trinity counties and is one of 21 state-run hatcheries that provide millions of fish for California anglers.
10/16/2015 ACTION NOTICE: Fishery managers of the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife have discussed the status of the commercial troll ocean Chinook salmon fishery within state waters (0-3 nautical miles) off the Chetco River at Brookings.
ACTION TAKEN: The commercial troll ocean Chinook salmon fishery within the Chetco River Terminal Area between Twin Rocks and the Oregon/California border will close to fishing effective 11:59PM on Saturday, October 17, 2015.
RATIONALE: The Chetco River Fall Chinook commercial troll season was scheduled to be open for the period of October 12 through the earlier of October 31 or a quota of 600 landed Chinook, with a single daily possession and landing limit of 20 Chinook. After the first four open days of fishing, 60% of the quota had been taken, with the most recent two fishing days accounting for 44% of the overall quota. At that rate, the quota is likely to be met sometime on Saturday. As usual, fishery managers will evaluate the total landings in the unexpected event that enough Chinook remain on the quota to reopen for another day.
Troll fishermen are reminded of the mandatory reporting within this fishery to 541-867-0300Call: 541-867-0300 ext. 252 within one hour of delivery or prior to transport away from the point of landing.
New rules for hunting Canada geese in northwest Oregon will be in effect when the Northwest Permit Goose Zone opens to hunting on Oct. 24.
Gone are the requirements to check in geese at a check station, which was inconvenient for hunters. The check-in requirement was to screen for Dusky Canada goose, a subspecies of Canada goose with a small population size.
Now, the Dusky Canada goose season is simply closed. It is a wildlife violation to shoot one. Legal shooting hours have also been changed to 15 minutes after sunrise to 15 minutes before sunset.
“It is more important than ever for hunters to hold their fire unless they are sure the target is not a Dusky Canada goose,” says Brandon Reishus. “Hunters are advised to focus efforts on cackling Canada geese, which are very abundant and easy to identify.”
Goose hunters are still required to pass the Northwest Oregon Goose Identification Test to hunt. Also, the Northwest Permit and Northwest General goose zones are combined and now the Permit Zone include all of Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Washington and Yamhill counties.
The Northwest Permit Zone goose season will be open Oct. 24-Nov. 1, Nov. 21-Jan. 12 and Feb. 6-March 10. See page 22 of the Oregon Game Bird Regulations for more details.