Monthly Archives: October 2016

Pete Heley Outdoors 10 / 26 / 2016

There are a number of fishing opportunities that will end on October 31st. The ocean Chinook salmon fishery for fish at least 24-inches long will end. Also ending will be the summer halibut seasons. There will be a final summer season all-depth halibut opener on October 28th and 29th because there were no reported halibut landings during the last all-depth opener on October 14th and 15th.

Almost all the coastal streams close at the end of October, but until then, they are legal to fish for trout and bass. Where it can get awkward is on coastal lakes that have coho seasons. Siltcoos River, the outlet to Siltcoos Lake, is open for salmon down to the Highway 101 Bridge, but is open for trout and bass throughout its entire length – through October 31st (excepting the 200 feet of river above and below the dam).

Salmon fishing ia not allowed on Tahkenitch Creek, but trout and bassfishing is legal through October 31st. Where one can get into trouble, is when an enforcement officer believes an angler is targeting salmon – even if they are not keeping them. The best example of this is on Tenmile Lakes, which does not have a coho salmon fishery this year (but will next year). Every fall a number of anglers fish the channel connecting North and South Tenmile, which is an area closed to coho salmon fishing. – even though because of how shallow it is, it is a poor choice for bass or yellow perch. But every year by using bass lures that also appeal to salmon they catch a number of cohos that are already weakened from ascending Tenmile Creek. Even if they are released, the salmon’s chances of successfully spawning are considerably reduced.reduced.

As I am writing this, there are coho salmon in Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes. Since Tenmile Lake doesn’t have a coho fishery this year, parking isn’t a problem, but it most definitely is at Siltcoos and can be at Tahkenitch.

As for the County Park on South Tenmile Lake, after an absense of 11 months, yellow perch are once again being caught in decent numbers. The larger perch are measuring ten to 11-inches and they are usually caught on strips cut from the bellies of smaller perch. It seems like most of the smaller and even some medium-sized perch are simply thrown on the fishing dock rather than back in the water and anglers wanting to fish off the dock are going to have to share it with a number of fish-eating birds.

Ocean crabbing is closed through November, but the lower tidewater areas of Oregon’s coastal rivers are open the entire year and there were a number of decent catches made by dock crabbers at Winchester Bay last week. If the rains continue to the point where crabbing is no longer feasible, there should always be the option of Charlston which is much saltier during the winter months than any of the coastal rivers.

Bradley Lake, south of Bandon, is scheduled to be stocked with 800 14-inch trout this week, but some of the Coos County lakes, including Bradley, that were stocked with 14-inch trout the second week of October have been fishing well. The 600 trout planted in Butterfield Lake seemed to have largely been ignored by anglers, but the 4,000 trout dumped into Empire Lakes have provided good fishing and the 1,300 stocked into Saunders Lake seemed to have turned on this week and fishing has been very good. No more trout plants are slated until next spring along the Oregon coast.

Despte recent rains and winds, temperatures have been surprisingly warm which should keep those planted trout biting well and should extend the fall bass bite for several more weeks. Smallmouth bass anglers on the Umpqua and Coquille rivers are somewat at the mercy of water clarity – as are bottomfish anglers fishing the South Jetty. If the water in the lower Umpqua River gets muddy to the point where it has a negative impact on fishing success, anglers should fish the south side, or ocean side of the Triangle where the water should be much clearer. Offshore bottomfish anglers shouldn’t have a problem with water clarity.

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Oregon, Washington Closes Salmon, Steelhead Seasons On 300 Miles Of Columbia River.

Recreational salmon and steelhead fishing will close starting Saturday on the Columbia River from Buoy 10 to the Hwy. 395 Bridge near Pasco, Wash., under rules adopted today by fishery managers from Oregon and Washington.

The closure is based on the latest fall Chinook run forecast, which indicates the Upriver Bright component, which includes ESA-listed Snake River wild Chinook, is tracking at 71 percent of the preseason forecast of 579,600 Chinook. Coho salmon and steelhead returns have also been revised downward from pre-season forecasts.

Based on the revised run-size projection, fishery managers estimate that combined non-treaty fisheries have exceeded the allowed harvest limit on Upriver Bright Chinook. The states opted to also close the recreational coho salmon and steelhead seasons to prevent any additional Chinook mortalities that might have occurred as the result of incidental bycatch.

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Pete Heley Outdoors 10 / 19 / 2016

I, like many others, had heard conflicting reports regarding Tenmile Lakes coho season. So I called the ever helpful folks at the ODFW office in Charlston and they informed me that there was no coho season for Tenmile Lakes. I had not really paid much attention to Tenmile’s coho season because they typically arrive very late – several weeks after the official opening of Tenmile’s coho opener, when it has one (Oct. 1st).

It seems that the coho salmon seasons on Siltcoos Lake and Tahkenitch Lake are somewat “grandfathered in”, while Tenmile Lakes needs to be “authortized” every year – kind of like the nonselective coho seasons on Oregon’s coastal rivers. And with anticipated extremely low coho returns this year, such authorization was not forthcoming. The plan is to lump Tenmile Lakes in with Tahkenitch and Siltcoos lakes next year so that if there isn’t a special meeting resulting in an emergency closure, all three lakes will have a coho salmon season running from Oct. 1st through December every year.

On a positive note, it appears that 2-rod licenses will be valid on Tenmile Lakes during October, November and December of this year for the first time in quite a few years. That alone should make Tenmile a preferred destination for serious late-season yellow perch anglers.

As a teenager living in Lakeside, Tenmile Lakes had a reputation as Oregon’s top producer of coho salmon. Although a number of different lures were popular, by far the most popular was a “Hotshot” in the fluorescent red finish. At the same time. the most popular salmon lure on Siltcoos Lake was a “Hotshot” in a green frog finish.

Thirty four years ago, on Thansgiving Day, Chris Engel, a frequent fishing buddy and I were trolling for coho salmon on Tenmile near Shutter’s Creek. The reason that we were there was that Chris had heard that someone had landed a 14 pound coho and we agreed that a coho that big was a fish worth catching. I believe that Chris was using a red Hotshot and I was using a red Tadpolly. We had been fishing less than an hour when I had a solid strike and a large salmon leaped three feet in the air. Since I was using monofilament that tested only six pounds, it took a while to get the coho near the boat. Every time I managed to get the salmon close enough for it to see something it didn’t like (I’m pretty sure it was me), it would effortlessly peel off at least 30 yards of line. This went on long enough that the only other boat on the lake during that rainy windy day pulled up to watch the battle. They parked their boat about 40 yards fron Chris’ boat and actually netted my fish when one of its runs went directly under their boat. Their netting job was incredible and when they returned the salmon to me, it was even heavier than I thought. At 22 pounds, it remains , by far, the largest coho salmon I have caught. The chunky coho was starting to turn dark, so I promptly released it with the hope that its superior genetics would endure.

Over the years, Tenmile’s cohos have had much to endure. For a number of years, there was a major sandbar where Eel Creek entered Tenmile Creek. While the sand bar created a nifty fly fishery in the late spring for native and searun cutts as they terrorizes schools of small bluegills as they navigated the sand bar on their journey down Tenmile Creek. But that same sandbar would block the upstream migration of cohos – sometimes for several weeks. At one time a small dam was proposed on Tenmile Creek near where Eel Creek flowed in, but the dam was opposed by a student activity group at Southwestern Oregon Community College and was never built. It would have definitely helped the coho salmon entering Tenmile Creek reach the lake much earlier.

Presently, a number of small well-placed boulders in lower Eel Creek divert the stream flow so that a significant sand bar no longer forms and Tenmile Lakes produces more salmon smolts than Tahkenitch Lake and about the same as Siltcoos Lake.

It doesn’t produce as many salmon for anglers as does Tahkenitch and Siltcoos, but that is primarily because the returning salmon are more difficult to target on Tenmile. A natural place to fish for cohos on Tenmile is the channel between North Tenmile Lake and South Tenmile Lake, but the channel has not been open for salmon fishing and there is only about 40 yards of Tenmile Creek where salmon are legal to catch and that is between South Tenmile Lake and the bridge over Tenmile Creek on Hilltop Drive. Almost all of Tenmile’s tributaries are small and difficult to see while out on the lake.

Anyway, the key thing to remember amidst all this reminscing is that there is no coho salmon season on Tenmile Lakes this year.

There was some pretty good crabbing at Winchester Bay last weekend despite the heavy rains. Hopefully, those catches were not due to crabs that reached areas above Winchester moving downriver because of the added freshwater. Ocean crabbing has been closed since Oct. 16th and will remain so through November.

Other regulations that may result in an angler getting a ticket might be using two rods on Tahkenitch or Siltcoos Lakes between Oct. 1st and Decenber 31st or using two rods on the lower Umpqua River after October 31st.

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Deer Virus Confirmed In Coos County.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists confirmed one Coos County black-tailed deer died from a viral infection and suspect several others succumbed to the same disease this past summer.

Adenovirus Hemorrhagic Disease (AHD) is a virus transmitted by direct contact between deer, making it easier to spread in areas of high deer concentrations. This is particularly a concern where people feed and water deer since it unnaturally concentrates them in a small area.

Deer with AHD can have clinical signs common to other diseases and include: rapid or open mouth breathing, foaming or drooling at the mouth, diarrhea (possibly bloody), weakness and emaciation.

ODFW asks the public to report sightings of deer with these symptoms in Coos County and coastal Douglas County to 541-888-5515.

District Wildlife Biologist Stuart Love said his office received several reports of deer dying in yards in the past month that he suspects had AHD.

“If these deer died from AHD, then feeding them will potentially spread this disease to other deer rapidly. It’s very important people don’t provide water sources or feed for deer for this reason. Their bodies are built for browse and grass, not grain.”

Love said this is the first confirmed case of AHD in Coos County. In 2001, it was confirmed in deer from southwest Oregon, then spread to the central part of the state.

There are no known cases of humans getting sick from AHD or getting the disease from consuming the meat of a deer infected by AHD. With hunting season here, Love said it’s a good idea to wear rubber gloves when handling the carcass of harvested deer and to thoroughly cook the meat.

Click here for more information on AHD and read about the dangers of feeding deer

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Pete Heley Outdoors 10 / 12 / 2016

Nearly two years ago there was considerable discussion about Bass Pro Shops buying Cabelas and then nothing was heard for nearly a year. Then last week the buyout was presented as pretty much a “done deal”. I guess when one business entity absorbs another business entity that is almost as large as they are, it takes some time.

I have always felt that prices were slightly lower at Bass Pro and they carried a more exensive product line than at Cabelas. Bass Pro Shops also has a wholesale division and their wholesale division, American Rod and Gun, allows their products to be sold by other retailers. The acquisition may eventually allow some fishing tackle retailers to personally check out some products they might be interested in carrying. Don’t expect any major changes in the near future.

It seems that the Pacific northwest states are starting to pay more attention to the population levels of marine forage fish species. Last week California had a meeting to take a closer look at how the state was going to manage marine forage fish. Starting Oct. 3rd, the ODFW began a closure on commercial anchovy fishing in the Columbia River due to uncertainty regarding the impacts the anchovy catch has on salmon and the local ecosystem. Small-scale bait fishing in the river will be allowed to continue, but boats must go to the ocean to seek larger volumes of anchovies if the demand continues.

A number of Coos County waters will be stocked with 14-inch trout this week. They are: Upper and Lower Empire Lakes (2,000 trout each); Powers Pond and Saunders Lake (1,300 trout each); Bradley Lake (800 trout) and Butterfield Lake (600 trout). Water temperatures in the lakes receiving trout should allow good survival, yet not be so cold that feeding activity is reduced. The year’s last trout plant in Coos County will occur in Bradley Lake when 800 14-inch trout will be stocked during the week beginning Oct. 24th.

Crabbing continues to be very good at Winchester Bay and Charlston. While crabbing in coastal rivers remains open all year, ocean crabbing will be closed from October 16th through November 30th. Fishing area jetties has been productive and relatively uncrowded since most coastal sportsmen are either salmon fishing or crabbing. The very few anglers fishing area beaches for surfperch are catching some redtailed surfperch, but fishing has been spotty.

The Coquille River continues to offer good fishing for smallmouth bass. Most anglers are tossing crankbaits and are also catching a few sublegal striped bass. Two of the most favored stretches include the mile each side of the Arago Boat Ramp and the lowermost mile of the Coquille’s South Fork. Last October, several anglers fishing salmon roe for Chinook salmon caught good-sized striped bass instead.

The healthy rain last week was enough to make the salmon more active, but will also make it much less likely that many shallow sand dunes lakes north of North Bend will suffer a fish kill this fall or winter. Each year these lakes shrink to the point of virtually drying up and their fish populations shrink accordingly. Then when winter and spring rainfall fills these lakes to their full size, the fish that managed to survive scatter throughout the much larger lake. The result is a low density fish population and tough fishing.

Ideally, a lake would undergo fall shrinkage to the point where the fish population is cramped, but doesn’t suffer a full or partial die off or stunted growth and when the lake fills to its maximum surface acreage in the spring the fish density is still fairly high.

These smaller lakes between Lakeside and North Bend are the area’s most under-utilized resource and perfect fishing spots to use a canoe, kayak or float tube.

Each year late in the season, I out a small, but interesting fishery knowing full well that by the time it begins fishing well the following spring, virtually everyone who reads this will have forgotten all about it.

So the spot I am outing is Mingus Park Pond. This tiny pond averages about two feet deep and is filled with waterfowl and people out for their daily walk. But the pond also contains a few bluegills, a few brown bullheads, a few goldfish and a surprising number of decent-sizes bass. The pond even received a plant of 2,000 legal rainbows last April.

Many of the bass taken at Mingus Park are caught by members of a facebook club, the Coos County Bass Masters, whose original facebook page featured Mingus Park Pond.

Most of the pond’s bass are caught at night and the largest ones have weighed at least eight pounds – and most are released to bite again.

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Mardon Resort / Potholes Reservoir Fishing Report

Aubrey Newberry from Benton City with a 1.9 crappie off the MarDon dock.

Aubrey Newberry from Benton City with a 1.9 crappie off the MarDon dock.

Dave Schultz of Moses Lake with a fine walleye catch from Frenchman's Wasteway, trolling spinners and night-crawlers in 15 feet of water.

Dave Schultz of Moses Lake with a fine walleye catch from Frenchman’s Wasteway, trolling spinners and night-crawlers in 15 feet of water.

Mike and Mason Meseberg enjoyed three hours of Walleye fishing Wednesday evening.  Levi has been locating quality Walleye action on Potholes Reservoir this early October like this 32" Walleye, released.  We used blade baits in 24-42 feet of water.

Mike and Mason Meseberg enjoyed three hours of Walleye fishing Wednesday evening. Levi has been locating quality Walleye action on Potholes Reservoir this early October like this 32″ Walleye, released. We used blade baits in 24-42 feet of water.

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Pete Heley Outdoors 10 / 05 / 2016

The Oregon Department of Agriculture and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced the closure of razor clamming and mussel harvesting along the entire Oregon coast, from the Columbia River to the California border. Recent shellfish samples taken indicate levels of the marine biotoxin domoic acid have risen above alert levels.

Coastal scallops are not affected by this closure when only the adductor muscle is eaten. The consumption of whole recreationally harvested scallops is not recommended. Crab, bay clams, and oysters are also not affected by the closure and are safe to eat. Commercial shellfish products remain safe for consumers.

Domoic acid is produced by algae and usually originate in the ocean. ODA will continue to test for shellfish toxins twice per month, as tides permit. Reopening of an area requires two consecutive tests in the safe range.

For more information, call ODA’s shellfish safety information hotline at (800) 448-2474, the Food Safety Program at (503) 986-4720, or visit the ODA shellfish closures Web page .

Crabbing continues to be very good at Winchester Bay and Charlston and the legal-sized male crabs have been full of meat. While crabbing is open all year in the lower reaches of Oregon’s coastal rivers, ocean crabbing closes at the end of the day on October 15th anf will not reopen until December 1st.

Regulations for the coho seasons on Siltcoos and Tahkenitch lakes were left out of this year’s regulation booklet.
The regs for both lakes are as follows: (1) Open for coho salmon from Oct. 1st through Dec. 31st; (2) One adult and one jack coho salmon may be harvested per day: (3) No more than 5 adult wild coho, in aggregate from Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes this season and (4) Closed to two rod angling for all species (along with Tenmile Lakes) during coho season.

The legal coho fishing areas for Siltcoos Lake lie above the Highway 101 Bridge on Siltcoos River and below the railroad trestle on Maple Creek Arm and below the Fivemile Road crossing on Fiddle Creek Arm. On Tahkenitch Lake, the legal coho fishing area is above the Highway 101 Bridge and below the first road crossing on Mallard Arm and the road crossing on Five Mile Arm.

As for coho fishing on Tenmile Lakes, fishing is not allowed on Tenmile Creek below the bridge on Hilltop Drive or in the channel or canal connecting North Tenmile and South Tenmile lakes.

Two rod fishing validations are good through December 31st with the following exceptions. (1) During coho seasons on Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes (Oct. 1st through Dec. 31st) and (2) from November 1st through Dec. 31st on Oregon coast rivers that started allowing 2-rod validations this year.

Idaho’s new catch and release fish record systen still has nine fish species with no record submissions. The catch and release records records are based strictly on fish length and the open records are for: bullhead catfish; lahontan cutthroat trout; flathead catfish; gerrard rainbow trout; golden trout; lake whitefish; splake (brook trout/mackinaw hybrid); tiger muskie (muskellunge/northern pike hybrid and tiger trout (brook trout/brown trout hybrid).

Steve Godin, who recently started a southern Oregon coast fishing club (Oregon Coast Anglers) has been working with the ODFW to ensure that “descenders” are available for free (donations accepted) at many southwest Oregon fishing tackle retailers. The descenders make deepwater releases of bottomfish easier and more efficient and they have already helped lift the restriction ahead of schedule on fishing for bottomfish in waters deeper than 20 fathoms (120 feet).

Kudos to the ODFW and to Steve Godin for helping to make these useful devices more available to bottomfish anglers.

Many of the shallow sand dunes lakes between Hauser and North Bend are providing their season’s best bass fishing. Their surface areas have shrunk to the point where their fish are more concentrated, but not so much that there are fish die offs. It’s also nice to hit these waters before the waterfowl hunters arrive in numbers.

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Bottomfish “Descenders” Now Available In Coos Bay And Winchester Bay For Free.

Steve Godin stopped by the Stockade Market in Winchester Bay to drop off some free bottomfish descenders. The number of free descenders is limited, but the price is right and they are available at a number of fishing tackle retailers in Winchester Bay, Coos Bay and Charlston.

Additional information in Steve’s own words to follow.

“The Oregon Coast Anglers has provided rigged Descenders to local tackle shops that cater to ocean all depth anglers. The descenders will be available free of charge in Winchester Bay and Coos Bay. OCA is providing them to encourage anglers to release Yelloweye Rockfish and Canary Rockfish at depths exceeding one hundred feet. Releasing these fish at depth gives them the best chance for survival. Additionally, ODF&W encourages the use of descenders and has provided additional descenders, instructions on how to use them and charts for identifying bottom fish. This year the bottom fishing boundary was moved inside twenty fathoms to protect Yelloweye Rockfish. In the ODF&W announcement, that move was attributed to Sports Anglers NOT using descenders, while fishing All Depth Halibut. So, by using descenders we improve the odds of survival of a stressed fish and our own ability to fish all depth bottom fish. If there any questions regarding the use of descenders, please call Steve Godin at 541 255 3383.

Attached is a photo of a rigged descender.

Regards,
Steve Godin
Oregon Coast Anglers, President

A ready-to-use bottomfish descender

A ready-to-use bottomfish descender

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