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Contact Pete Heley
PO Box 264
Reedsport, OR 97467
Monthly Archives: May 2017
The best news is that the Umpqua River’s surfperch run is finally fully underway and it appears that this year’s run, like last year’s, will see lots of perch caught by bank anglers right in Winchester Bay – at such spots as Half Moon Bay and Osprey Point. There were some limits caught heading into last weekend and a number of perch were caught by anglers casting salmon spinners, although the most popular surfperch baits are sand shrimp and Berkley Gulp sandworms.
A few anglers have retained more perch than the legal limit. Since the daily legal limit is a more than generous 15 per person, I would hope that these fish hogs would get turned in. The Oregon State Police have a TIP (turn in poachers) number where even anonymous calls are accepted The number is (1-800-452-7888).
Oregon now has four “Free Fishing Weekends” and the longstanding original one will be this coming Saturday and Sunday (June 3rd and 4th) – and on this one there will be all sorts of good fishing available.
Cleawox Lake will be stocked with 1,750 12-inch trout before the weekend while Loon Lake and Lake Marie will each receive 2,000 12-inch trout. North and South Tenmile Lakes will each receive 3,000 legal rainbows while Upper and Lower Empire Lakes will each receive 1,000 14-inch trout and 150 15-inch trophy rainbows. Millicoma Rearing Pond in the Allegheny Area of Coos Bay will receive 500 legal rainbows, but in that small pond that works out to 2,500 trout per acre. The trout plant in Tenmile Lakes only works out to about 2.2 trout per acre, while the Lake Marie trout plant is more than 130 trout per surface acre.
Dock crabbing at Winchester Bay remains slow, but boat crabbers have made some good catches when they are able to crab in the ocean. Boat crabbers have also made some decent catches at the lower end of Half Moon Bay just above the South Jetty. The South Jetty has been fishing very good for black rockfish and good for striped surfperch.
The updated ODFW halibut report contains data through May 21st.
Columbia River Subarea – ( All-Depth) this fishery closed at 11:59 pm on Thursday, May 25, 2017, the quota was anticipated to be attained at that time. Therefore, this fishery is closed for the remainder of 2017.
Nearshore—there have been no landings in the Columbia River Subarea nearshore fishery yet. This fishery is open on days not open to all-depth (currently Monday-Wednesday) and has a quota of 500 pounds.
Central Oregon Coast Subarea – Spring All-Depth season— through the second set of fixed open dates, May 18-20, the total landings are 42,417 pounds. This leaves 109,295 pounds or 72 % of the spring all-depth quota remaining. The remaining “fixed” openings are June 1-3, June 8-10, and June 15-17. The weekend of May 26-28 was scheduled pre-season to be closed due to the large negative tides in the mornings.
While the first opening had very poor weather with little effort and landings (~800 lbs.), the weather for the second opening improved (Thursday and Friday being better than Saturday) and allowed many anglers to get out to chase halibut. Anglers fishing out of Newport accounted for 72.4 percent of landings (30,133 lbs.) and 76 percent of the effort. Garibaldi and Coos Bay each had 6-8 percent of the effort. Angler success varied by port; ranging from 30% out of Garibaldi to 80-90% out of Bandon and Coos Bay. The remaining ports all had approximately a 50% success rate (5 fish landed for every 10 anglers). Average size of landed fish also varied by port from 21 lbs. round weight in Garibaldi to 34 lbs. round weight in Bandon. Coastwide the average size was 27 pounds round weight. The subarea-wide daily catch rate of approximately 14,000 lbs./day is lower than the high daily catch rates (~17,000 lbs./day) seen during May openings in the last two years.
I got a couple of warmwater fishing trips in last week. I launched my float tube on Johnson Mill Pond for the first time ever and was delighted with the panfishing in this nearly 100 acre pond with an average depth of about five feet. Dwayne Schwartz and I didn’t catch any brown bullhead catfish on our artificial lures, but we caught lots of bluegills, yellow perch and crappies. The largemouth bass spawn appeared to be over but we hooked a fair number bass to three pounds and Dwayne had a lunker of at least five pounds follow his buzzbait back nearly to his rod tip. While most of the bass seemed to be fairly close to heavy shoreline cover, the best panfishing seemed to be in the middle of this shallow pond. The water seemed to be quite warm and we didn’t catch any planted trout, but we had numerous bites from either salmon or steelhead smolt that must have entered the pond when the Coquille River flooded earlier this spring. The smolt may be eight inches long by fall and there appears to be lots of them.
Extremely aggressive bluegills dominated the action at Loon Lake. While there were still crappies hanging around the old “Duckett’s Dock” at the upper end of the lake, I was very pleased to find crappies scattered around the lake – making it much more difficult to completely ruin this fishery. The largemouth bass were not nearly as active as the bluegills and the fishing was tough as the bluegills were grabbing even the largest bass lures. In fact, on my next trip to Loon Lake my favorite bass lure will be the one the bluegills leave alone.
California recently reinforced its reputation as the country’s best location for giant spotted bass when an angler pulled a nine pound ten ounce lake record spot out of Shasta Reservoir.
Pete Heley works weekends at the Stockade Market & Tackle, across from ‘A’ Dock, in Winchester Bay where he is more than happy to swap fishing info with anyone.
Up until this week, pinkfin fishing at Winchester Bay has been disappointing. A few limits were taken above the normal fishing area (almost to Gardiner). Yesterday, some very good catches were made right in Winchester Bay with one greedy angler catching and keeping 40 fish off Osprey Point while using a combination of sand shrimp and Berkley Gulp sandworms. Some pinkfins were also caught by anglers casting salmon spinners from the shore at both Half Moon Bay and Osprey Point.
The daily surfperch limit is a more than ample 15 and I hope anglers actually seeing someone keep more than the daily limit turns them in to the Oregon State Police. (Turn in poachers (TIP – 1-800-452-7888 or *OSP (*677). Tips can remain anonymous.
The Umpqua River redtailed surfperch run is a unique fishery that needs to be preserved.
While this fishery can be wildly inconsistent, it appears that the perch are finally in and fishing should be good more often than not. Good Luck!
Federal Agencies Remind Boaters That They Can Help Fight Spread of Invasive Mussels Over Memorial Day Weekend.
AAgencies combatting the spread of invasive quagga and zebra mussels remind boaters to remain cautious over Memorial Day weekend.
Quagga and zebra mussels are invasive freshwater mussels native to Eurasia. They multiply quickly, encrust watercraft and infrastructure, alter water quality and the aquatic food web, and ultimately impact native and sport fish communities. These mussels spread from one body of water to another by attaching to watercraft, equipment and nearly anything that has been in an infested waterbody.
Microscopic juveniles, invisible to the naked eye, are spread from infested waterbodies in water entrapped in boat engines, bilges, live-wells and buckets. Quagga mussels have infested 31 waterways in Southern California and zebra mussels have infested two waterways in San Benito County.
To prevent the spread of these mussels and other aquatic invasive species, people launching vessels at any body of water are subject to watercraft inspections and are strongly encouraged to clean, drain and dry their motorized and non-motorized boats, including personal watercraft, and any equipment that contacts the water before and after recreating.
“The public plays a critical role in preventing the spread of quagga and zebra mussels,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham. “The public should remember to Clean, Drain, and Dry their watercraft to prevent the further spread of quagga/zebra mussels, and other invasive species.”
To ensure watercraft are clean, drained and dry, many local agencies conduct boat inspections. The CDFW website provides a list of these inspection programs (www.wildlife.ca.gov/mussels), along with additional information about the invasive mussels and what people can do to help prevent their spread in California. Prior to traveling, boaters should contact destination waterbodies directly to check for restrictions and requirements.
Take the following steps both before traveling to and before leaving a waterbody to prevent spreading invasive mussels, improve your inspection experience and safeguard California waterways:
CLEAN — inspect exposed surfaces and remove all plants and organisms,
DRAIN — all water, including water contained in lower outboard units, live-wells and bait buckets, and
DRY — allow the watercraft to thoroughly dry between launches. Watercraft should be kept dry for at least five days in warm weather and up to 30 days in cool weather.
CDFW has developed a brief video demonstrating the ease of implementing the clean, drain and dry prevention method, which can be viewed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaeAIPLoK-k. In addition, a detailed guide to cleaning vessels of invasive mussels is available on the CDFW’s webpage at https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=4957&inline. Additional information is available on the Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) website at http://dbw.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=28996.
Travelers are also advised to be prepared for inspections at California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Border Protection Stations. Over the past nine years, more than one million watercraft entering California have been inspected at the Border Protection Stations. Inspections, which can also be conducted by CDFW and California State Parks, include a check of boats and personal watercraft, as well as trailers and all onboard items. Contaminated vessels and equipment are subject to decontamination, rejection, quarantine or impoundment.
Quagga and zebra mussels can attach to and damage virtually any submerged surface. They can:
Ruin a boat engine by blocking the cooling system and causing it to overheat
Jam a boat’s steering equipment, putting occupants and others at risk
Require frequent scraping and repainting of boat hulls
Colonize all underwater substrates such as boat ramps, docks, lines and other underwater surfaces, causing them to require constant cleaning
Impose large expenses to owners
A multi-agency effort that includes CDFW, DBW, CDFA and the California Department of Water Resources has been leading an outreach campaign to alert the public to the quagga and zebra mussel threats. A toll-free hotline, 1 (866) 440-9530, is available for those seeking information on quagga or zebra mussels.
As the summer months approach and with increased sightings of White Sharks off Southern California beaches, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is issuing a reminder that White Sharks are a protected species under both state and federal fisheries laws and regulations.
“White Sharks are regularly found in Southern California in summer months, usually heading to Mexico in the winter,” said John Ugoretz, CDFW’s Pelagic Fisheries and Ecosystem Program Manager. “With relatively warm water last year, the sharks may have stayed closer and in greater numbers. Many anglers are wondering if they can catch a White Shark but, as a top level predator critical to the marine ecosystem, White Sharks are protected.”
In 1994, White Sharks received special protected status in California law, which prohibits take of White Sharks, except by special permit and some commercial incidental take allowances. Additionally, state regulations protect White Sharks from recreational fishing. Federal regulations implemented in 2004 prohibit White Shark retention in California, requiring their immediate release if caught. Under these protections, it is illegal to fish for or purposely attract White Sharks and they must be released immediately if incidentally caught while fishing for other species.
These laws and regulations are in place because of White Shark biology. As a top-level predator with naturally low reproduction, white sharks are susceptible to overfishing. Additionally, nearshore areas in northern Baja and Southern California are known as a “nursery ground” for juvenile White Sharks. Most of the sharks observed off Southern California beaches are sub-adults that typically feed on fish. Sharks in this high human population area can be particularly vulnerable to capture and incidental take.
According to CDFW Law Enforcement Division Captain Rebecca Hartman, “it is illegal not only to catch and keep a White Shark, but to pursue one as well.” This means intentionally pursuing or otherwise attracting White Sharks is prohibited.
With White Sharks near Southern California beaches, CDFW Wildlife Officers will be looking for people trying to catch them. “We want to protect the sharks and the public,” said Captain Hartman. “Our biggest concern is that someone will accidentally hurt themselves or someone else while illegally trying to catch a White Shark.”
To learn more about White Sharks in California, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/White-Shark.
Dr. Amber Pairis, director of the Climate Science Alliance-South Coast, recently received the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Climate Adaption Leadership Award for Natural Resources. The award recognized her inventive approaches to preparing Southern California for the effects of climate change.
The Climate Science Alliance is a partnership between the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative with more than 140 partner agencies and organizations. Its mission is to increase resilience to climate change among the natural and human communities of the South Coast Eco-region through community-focused activities and partnerships.
“Today we recognize individuals and agencies who are developing and using innovative methods to safeguard the nation’s living natural resources from a rapidly changing world,” said Kevin Hunting, chief deputy director of CDFW and co‐chair of the Joint Implementation Working Group of the National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy. “Their leadership is a source of inspiration for additional efforts to advance climate‐smart resource conservation and management with lasting positive impacts on the nation’s communities and economy.”
Recipients were selected from 27 nominations representing activities from individuals and federal, tribal, state, local and non‐governmental organizations throughout the country. Dr. Pairis’ nomination was submitted by the Pala Band of Mission Indians.
Dr. Pairis has worked on climate change issues since 2005. In 2013, Governor Brown appointed her assistant secretary for climate change at the California Natural Resources Agency to coordinate the state’s nature-based climate adaptation activities. Previously, as senior climate change advisor for CDFW she created the Climate Science Program, CDFW Climate College, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Climate Committee, and supported development of the National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy.
The San Diego native earned her doctorate in environmental studies with an emphasis on conservation biology at Antioch University New England.
California’s natural resources provide important benefits and services to Americans every day, including jobs, income, food, clean water and air, building materials, storm protection, tourism and recreation. For example, outdoor wildlife‐related recreation contributes an estimated $7.5 billion to our state’s economy every year, and marine ecosystems sustain a seafood industry that supports more than 130,000 jobs and $23.4 billion in economic activity annually.
Information about CDFW’s Climate Science Program is at https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Climate-Science.
For more information about the 2017 Climate Adaptation Leadership Awards for Natural Resources, including the eight recipients, honorable mentions, and all 27 nominees, please visit the Climate Adaptation Leadership Award main page.
California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. and Oregon Governor Kate Brown sent a letter today to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross requesting declaration of a catastrophic regional fishery disaster and commercial fishery failure for salmon in their states. The declaration begins the process for requesting federal aid to assist commercial salmon anglers and salmon-dependent business who continue to suffer from declining salmon populations.
Last month, the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s projections for salmon in these states were dire. In the 2017 season, many miles of coastline will be closed to commercial salmon fishing and allowable catch will be greatly reduced, compounding the already significantly lower economic returns seen in 2016.
For more information about declared West Coast disasters, please see The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration list here: www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/management/disaster/determinations/wcro.html
There will be a Free Fishing Weekend in Oregon on June 3-4 – making it the perfect weekend to take a friend or family member out fishing, crabbing or clamming.
During this weekend, no fishing licenses or tags (including a Combined Angling Tag and a Columbia River Basin Endorsement) are required to fish, crab or clam anywhere in Oregon.
“Free Fishing Weekend is a great opportunity for friends and families to get out and enjoy a day or two of fishing,” said Mike Gauvin, ODFW recreational fisheries manager. “Lakes and ponds are fully stocked, rivers and streams are open for trout, and don’t forget about the coast for crabbing and clamming.”
Although no licenses or tags are required, all other regulations apply including closures, bag limits and size restrictions.
Free Fishing Weekend also aligns with State Parks Day on Saturday, June 3, so if you’re going camping in an Oregon State Park this weekend, be sure to pack your fishing, crabbing or clamming gear, Gauvin said.
Several state parks will be hosting ODFW Free Fishing Weekend fishing events and State Parks is waiving park admission and camping fees in many parks on “State Parks Day” Saturday, June 3.
For the do-it-yourselfer there are hundreds of lakes and rivers, and hundreds of miles of coastline to explore. ODFW’s extensive website offers information about how and where to fish for trout, bass, steelhead and surfperch, to name a few.
Anglers will find:
The Learn to Fish page describing what you’ll need, how to do it and where to go.
Weekly updates of current fishing conditions in the Weekly Recreation Report.
Great spots to take the family fishing in Easy Angling Oregon.
Trout stocking schedules and Google-based maps of all stocking locations.
Local guides describing 50 or so places to fish near Bend, Lane County, Medford, Portland and Roseburg.
For the new angler, ODFW and its partners will be sponsoring Free Fishing Weekend events throughout the state. At most events there will be free fishing equipment first-time anglers can use. Volunteers will be available to help, from baiting the hook to landing the catch. For a complete list of events with times and locations, go to the ODFW website.
“Even if you’ve never cast a line or baited a hook, we can show you how to fish,” Gauvin said.
The following scheduled Free Fishing Weekend events will take place on Saturday, June 3, unless otherwise noted.
Alton Baker Canal/Eugene, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Katherine Nordholm, 541-726-3515 ext. 28
Benson State Recreation Area/Columbia Gorge, 9 a.m.-noon, Mo Czinger, 503-969-8853
Detroit Reservoir/Hoover Campground, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Isaac Morris, 503-854-3522
Gnat Creek Fish Hatchery/Claskanie, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Mike Hazen, 503-455-2234
Henry Hagg Lake/Gaston, 6:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Will Warren, 503-453-0521
Henry Hagg Lake/Gaston, 6:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (SUNDAY, June 4), Will Warren, 503-453-0521
Silverton Reservoir, (anglers with disabilities event) 1 p.m. – 3 p.m., Jon Debo, 503-932-7699
Silverton Together Fishing Event, Silverton Reservoir, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m., Dawn Olson, 503-873-2681
St. Louis Ponds/Gervais, 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Jeff Fulop, 971-673-6024
Timber Linn Memorial Park/Albany, 9 a.m.-noon, Jack Rice, 503-394-2496
Willamette Fish Hatchery/Oakridge 9 a.m.-noon, Tami Edmunds, 541-782-2933
Cleawox Lake/Honeyman State Park, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Christine Clapp, 541-265-8306, ext. 253
Coffenbury Lake/Ft. Stevens State Park, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Dane Osis, 503-861-3170
Hebo Lake, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Luke Haworth, 503-392-5141
Nedonna Pond/Rockaway, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Brian Johnson, 503-368-6828
Olalla Reservoir/Toledo, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Christine Clapp, 541-265-8306, ext. 253
Trask Hatchery/Tillamook, 8 .am.-3 p.m., James Skaar, 503-842-4090
Arizona Pond/Port Orford, 8 a.m.-noon (SUNDAY, June 4), David Chambers, 541-332-7025
Cooper Creek/Sutherlin, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Evan Leonetti, 541-440-3353
Diamond Lake, 8 a.m.-2 p.m., Evan Leonetti, 541-440-3353
Eel Lake/Tugman State Park, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Antonio Salgado, 541-888-5515
Galesville Reservoir, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. (SUNDAY, June 4), Evan Leonetti, 541-440-3353
Hyatt Lake/Mountain View Shelter, 7 a.m.-2 p.m., Diana Bauman, 541-772-4970
Lake Marie/Reedsport, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. (SUNDAY, June 4), Evan Leonetti, 541-440-3353
Lake Selmac/Selma, 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Judy Lollich, 541-295-7700
Libby Pond/Gold Beach, 8 a.m.-noon, John Weber, 541-247-7605
Thissel Pond/Alsea, 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m., Jen Krajcik, 541-487-5512
Caldera Springs/Sun River, 9 a.m.-noon, Tim Foulk, 541-593-1510
Klamath Hatchery/Chiloquin, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Greg Lipsiea, 541-381-2278
Lake of the Woods/Klamath Falls, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., George Gregory, 541-949-8300
Pine Nursery Pond/Bend, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Jen Luke, 541-388-6366
Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery/Camp Sherman, 9 a.m.-noon, Luke Allen, 541-595-6611
203 Pond/Baker City, 9 a.m.-noon, Shannon Archuleta, 541-523-1385
Marr Pond/Enterprise, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Ron Harrod, 541-426-4467
McHaley Pond/Prairie City, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Brent Smith, 541-575-1167
Jessica Sall (503) 947-6023, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Gauvin (503) 947- 6214, email@example.com
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is stocking the Rogue River above Lost Creek Reservoir this week in time for the Memorial Day weekend. This stretch of river, commonly called the North Fork, is the Rogue’s premier summer trout fishery.
Trout are being released at Mill Creek, River Bridge, Union Creek and Farewell Bend campgrounds. Woodruff Bridge, Mt. Stella Bridge, and the Highway 230 release site are also receiving legal-sized trout.
A wet winter and higher snowpack mean some sites are still snowed in and some have streamflow too high to safely stock trout. Mill Creek Bridge at Prospect, Natural Bridge Campground, Crater Creek, and Minnehaha Creek will be stocked when conditions allow.
“The upper Rogue is one of the best places for families to fish while escaping the heat of summer,” says District Fish Biologist Dan Van Dyke. “It’s clean, cold water and great scenery, and in most places is flowing under the canopy of Ponderosa and sugar pines.”
With streamflow about 30 percent higher than 2011 – another year with heavy snowpack and high streamflow – Van Dyke encourages those with children to be vigilant around the water this year. Anglers are reminded that naturally produced brook, rainbow, and some brown trout and cutthroat trout are also available.
Water temperatures are continuing to rise in both the Potholes Reservoir and in the Seep Lakes. Surface temps moved into the upper 60’s in the dunes and the mid 60’s on the main lake. The increase in water temperature has increased fish activity all around!
Bass fishing – both largemouth and smallmouth – is extremely good right now! With the high water and late Spring – there are a lot of big fish hanging out in the dunes. Nixon’s Marine hosted the Northwest Bass Potholes Reservoir Qualifier Tournament at MarDon Resort. The result was awesome for both the fishermen and for the Reservoir! Day One Big Fish went to Mike Wolsky and Ron Hobbs Jr. weighing in a 7.21 pound largemouth with a total day one five fish weight of 22.90 pounds. Day two – Curt Morris/Ethan Lewis weighed big fish of the tournament at 8.02 pounds! Levi Meseberg and Kelly Ross weighed 23.46 pounds for the big bag on Day2. Big congratulations to Aaron Echternkamp and David Kromm. They took first place with a two-day weight of 44.70 pounds for ten fish!
A big “Thank You!” to Jeff Priester and Nixon’s Marine for donating $2,000 to the CWFAC. This donation and all proceeds from the raffle will be used to purchase the components required to build the habitat boxes that are dropped into the Potholes Reservoir to create cover for the forage base. This project has been ongoing since 2004 and will continue with the goal of creating outstanding recreational fishing opportunities, now and well into the future, on the Potholes Reservoir.
The largemouth bass are back in the dunes. Some have finished spawning and some are still on beds. Bass fishermen are using jigs, spinnerbaits, plastics and top-water baits. The smallmouth are just moving up to spawn. Anglers have been finding them in 2 -8 feet of water along the face of the dam, by Goose Island as well as in Lind Coulee. Crankbaits in perch patterns, Senkos and spinnerbaits are working well.
Trout fishermen are doing well trolling Needlefish and Super Dupers along Medicare beach and the stretch between MarDon Resort and the State Park. The trout are running 2-5 pounds in the Reservoir.
The walleye fishing has been fair. Anglers are having the most success fishing back in the dunes on weed-lines in 6-12 feet of water. The most productive area has been from Winchester Wasteway to the Big Dune over to the Job Corp Dike. Walleye are being caught in Crab Creek and a few are coming out of Lind Coulee as well. Slow Death Hooks and night crawlers trolled slow seems to be the top producer. A Whistle Pig with either a whole or half a crawler jigged near the willows is also picking up fish.
The Crappie and bluegill have finally shown up at the MarDon dock! One angler caught over 30 crappies in two hours using a 1/64 oz. Trout Magnet jig in white, brown, and green-red flake. The fish averaged 9-11 inches. We have had several other reports of Crappie being caught in Lind Coulee and under the Pump House.
Channel Catfish fishing is very good right now back in the dunes and up in Lind Coulee. Jesus Estrada of Renton, WA caught a 19 pound 8 oz. Channel Cat in Frenchman’s Wasteway using a worm scented with garlic oil. He released the fish alive after taking a few pictures!
The Seep Lakes have been picking up for all species. Hutchison Lake has been very good for Crappie and largemouth bass. Long and Soda Lakes have been good for bass, walleye, and trout. The Hamptons and the Pillar-Widgeon chain have been yielding some nice stringers of trout. Corral Lake is doing well for both bass and trout.
Most of the area lakes that receive trout plants will be stocked between now and the first week in June. After the first week in June, area trout plants will cease until the second week in October. The following Florence-area waters received trout plants this week: Cleawox Lake (1,900 12-inch trout); Alder Lake (425 12-inch rainbows and 36 15-inchers); Buck Lake (425 12-inchers); Dune Lake (425 12-inchers and 36 15-inchers) and Perkins Lake (225 12-inchers). Slated to be stocked next week is Cleawox Lake with 1,750 12-inch rainbows.
Most of the Umpqua District waters that receive trout plants are scheduled to be planted next week including Lake Marie and Loon Lake each of which will receive 2,000 12-inch trout. Coos County lakes slated to be stocked next week include Upper and Lower Empire lakes (1,000 14-inchers and 150 15-inchers each); North and South Tenmile lakes (3,000 legal rainbows each) and Millicoma Pond (500 legal rainbows).
The first all-depth halibut opener (May 11th through May 13th) was a bust due to rough bar and ocean conditions. The Betty Kay, in Charlston, did get out and caught a quick boat limit of halibut. Last week’s opener (May 18th through May 20th) was quite different as virtually enery body was able to fish and success was outstanding with numerous limits and more than the usual amount of large halibut taken. The next “fixed”openers will be June 1st through June 3rd, June 8th through 10th and June 15th through 17th. Any future “provisional” openers will be dependent on the halibut quota not being reached.
Somewhat dependent upon river levels, shad fishing on the Umpqua River has occassionally been very, very good. The river is still a little high for peak fishing at Sawyers Rapids, but has dropped enough so that anglers fishing at Yellow Creek can move along the bank. Small jigs with chartreuse or hot pink curlytail skirts seem to be producing best. Fishing may get even better if the river continues to drop.
Spring chinook salmon fishing above Scottsburg continues to be surprisingly productive, but most of the recent catches have been smaller fish of less than 20 pounds. An exception was Terry Newport’s chunky 41-incher. Daro Handy’s 36 pound ten ounce salmon continues to lead the springer contest sponsored by the Wells Creek Inn.
Salmon catches by the spinner flingers at Winchester Bay slowed down last week, but salmon anglers trolling herring in the ocean near Winchester Bay caught several salmon.
Its been nearly a month since Curly Dodge caught this season’s first redtailed surfperch above Winchester Bay and the run still has not taken off. The first good catches in the river should happen any day and in the meantime the fishing in the surf along most area beaches continues to be very good. Fishing along Winchester Bay’s South Jetty has been good for striped surfperch and very good for smaller rockfish. A few flounder have been caught above Winchester Bay by by anglers trying to target the pinkfin run and flounder anglers have enjoyed fair success fishing along the walking trail on the down river side of Winchester Bay’s RV Resort.
High river flows continue to make crabbing tough for dockbound crabbers as most of the crabs in the lower Umpqua River are downstream from any crabbing docks. The few boats attempting to crab in the ocean are doing much better. Boat crabbers have made some decent catches in the lower end of Half Moon Bay without having to venture across the Umpqua River Bar.
A few striped bass are being caught at night by anglers fishing Smith River, but virtually nobody is fishing for stripers on the Umpqua River. Striper fishing on the Coquille River has been slow to fair and the river is clear enough to fish lures. Smallmouth bass fishing has been fair and Fat Elk Slough is still somewhat murky, but has been giving up some crappie and largemouth bass. Johnson Mill Pond has dropped enough so that anglers can drive to the back side of the pond.
The road into Horsfall Beach was still blocked by high water last week, but may be reopened at any time. It remains to be seen whether Bluebill Lake will receive the trout plant that that it didn’t get earlier this month due to high water.
Most of our local lakes are starting to furnish very good bass and panfish angling and our coastal streams opened to angling on Monday, May 22nd – a departure from their usual Saturday opening.
Pete Heley works weekends at the Stockade Market & Tackle, across from ‘A’ Dock, in Winchester Bay where he is more than happy to swap fishing info with anyone.