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Contact Pete Heley
PO Box 264
Reedsport, OR 97467
Monthly Archives: May 2017
The weather has been rough on the anglers this past week. The wind, rain, and hail have made for tough fishing conditions as wave after wave of cells rolled through the area. Boat and line control are hard to handle in that type of weather. On the upside – water temperatures were not affected as much as the fishing conditions were. Surface temperatures are in the mid to upper 60’s in the dunes and in the low 60’s on the main lake. The Seep Lakes are experiencing the same temperature range.
Bass – both Largemouth and Smallmouth – are the prime target right now despite the past week’s weather. The male Largemouths are bedding up and the females are ready to move on and are nearby. Throw a Wacky rigged Senko towards the visible beds up shallow and work from there out to eight feet of water. The bigger fish are holding right on the transition – between 3 and 8 feet of water. Spinnerbaits and swim jigs are producing bigger fish as well. The top-water frog bite has been good this past week when the conditions have allowed.
The Smallmouth are staging for their spawn and will begin to bed in more numbers very soon with the current weather forecast. Look for flats in 3-5 feet of water close to 14 feet of water – both on the main Reservoir and in the dunes. Cast to the edge of the flat and work the transition to 14 feet. Successful smallmouth anglers are throwing either a drop shot rig or a crankbait to the edge of the flat and working it back to the boat. For drop-shotting – use a 3/16 oz. drop shot weight, a #2-#1 drop shot hook and a DS Minnow, Dream Shot, or Half Shell on the hook. If you are throwing crankbaits – stick with the perch patterned Berkley Flicker Shad, Rapala Shad Rap, or the Strike King series of medium divers.
Walleye fishing has been fair and somewhat scattered. Fish are being caught – but not yet with consistency. The walleye have finished up their spawn for the most part and are moving into the dunes. The best reports are coming from the Winchester area to the Big Dune – and in Crab Creek as well. Not many reports from Lind Coulee. Slow trolling a Slow Death Hook with half a night crawler threaded – alone, with a bead, or with a bead and a Mack’s Smile Blade in .8” or 1.1” have been working.
Have not received many reports on the trout fishing on the Reservoir this past week – mainly due to the wind and weather conditions. One report came in that the trout fishing was fair – not many fish – but big fish. The fishermen were trolling Worden’s Rooster Tails from MarDon Resort to Frenchman’s Wasteway – following the shore of the reservoir in 10-20 feet of water. The party hit several fish up to 5 pounds.
Perch – Crappie – Bluegill – off the MarDon Dock and on the Reservoir – no reports yet.
Soda Lake and Long Lake in the Seep Lakes are waking up for keeper walleye, big Smallmouth and decent Largemouth – no reports of panfish yet.
The weather has played a major factor this past week on the ability to fish effectively. Looking at the forecast – we anticipate a dramatic improvement all around. We have warming temperatures and stable, calming conditions This combination should add up to fantastic fishing. It appears we have finally turned the corner!
Largemouth bass are in full spawning mode along the Oregon coast. While the larger bass are still tough to fool, they are in relatively shallow water and easier to find than at any other time of the year.
With this seasons rough weather start there have been few boats targeting the pink fins up river, but the few that have are starting to get bites as of 2 weeks ago. Along the jetty the bar perch bite has been great for over a month now (High slack tide most productive). Off the beaches the reports are large quantities of hefty sized perch, so we are looking towards a good season. Be sure to stop by and grab your live sand shrimp $3.00/dzn and get information on the 3rd annual pink fin derby coming up on Father’s Day weekend.
Most of the lakes that receive trout plants will be stocked during the last week in May. Scheduled to be stocked this week are Millicoma Pond with 500 legal rainbows and Powers Pond with 3,000 legal and 100 trophy rainbows. Trout fishing should be fair at North and South Tenmile lakes, Eel Lake and Saunders Lake – all of which were stocked with 3,000 legal rainbows the first week of May.
Warmwater fish species have definitely become more active . Bass and crappies in the Medford area have already spawned and those fish species should be in the middle of the spawn in most of our area’s lakes. A few bass fry have been observed in some of the larger coastal lakes and that is a good sign that some of them will reach sufficient size to survive their first winter. Recent cool weather should extend the duration of the crappie spawn at the upper end of Loon Lake while at the same time holding down the bluegill bite.
The heavy rainfall this year has affected different waters in varied ways. Some of the extremely shallow sand dunes lakes won’t have fish dieoffs this fall due to low water, but will fish poorly because of the greatly expanded surface acreages of the waters the fish reside in.
High, often muddy water has limited fishing pressure and success for smallmouth and striped bass on the Umpqua and Coquille rivers. On the Umpqua the muddy water has also caused temporary “hiccups” in spring salmon fishing success, but overall, it’s been a very good year. Cool, high water has kept the amount of suspended moss in the river low enough that nobody is yet complaining about it. Daro Handy remains the leader in the Wells Creek Inn spring chinook contest. Presently it appears that the Umpqua’s springer fishing will remain worthwhile for several more weeks. Several salmon were caught at Winchester Bay last weekend by anglers casting spinners from the bank at Half Moon Bay and Osprey Point.
Where the Umpqua’s high muddy water has most negatively affected fishing success is for shad. There appears to be good numbers of shad in the river, but catching them has been difficult. High river flows mean the shad won’t be stacking up below Sawyers Rapids and at Yellow Creek, where most of the current fishing pressure is, moving along the bank has been very difficult.
Ford’s Pond in Sutherlin, which was closed to boat angling for more than 20 years reopened to boat angling last year. This year, peope are starting to take advantage of its reopening and are enjoying fair fishing for largemouth bass and black crappies with the best fishing occuring on the far side of the 90 acre pond.
In Yoncalla, the log pond on Elkhead Road has been opened to fishing after being closed for decades. A couple of weeks ago, on a non-fishing hike around the sizable, but very shallow pond, I spotted a dozen bass and a couple of crappies. It seems that this pond has benefitted from this year’s frequent rains and high water as this was the most fish I have spotted while hiking around this pond which has late summer dissolved oxygen deficiencies.
Anglers wanting to lake-fish for smallmouth bass should consider Woahink Lake or Galesville Reservoir with Galesville, located west of Azalea, south of Myrtle Creek, offering a much better chance at a smallie weighing more than two pounds.
Tenmile Lakes seems to be producing well for bass tournament anglers and Coleman Arm on South Tenmile seems to be the only place on either lake producing black crappies and bluegills.
The Umpqua’s famed redtailed surfperch run has started, but with the cool water, it will likely be three or four weeks before the run peaks.
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.
CDFW News – Fish And Wildlife Director Extend Commercial Rock Crab Fishery Closure In Northern California Due To Public Health Hazard.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton H. Bonham, under new authority granted this year, has acted to extend the emergency commercial rock crab fishery closure that was due to expire on May 16.
State health agencies determined last fall that rock crabs north of Pigeon Point (37° 11’ N. lat.) to the Oregon border had unhealthy levels of domoic acid and recommended a commercial fishery closure. Subsequently, Director Bonham submitted an emergency rulemaking to close the commercial rock crab fishery north of Pigeon Point. The recreational fishery for rock crab remained open statewide with a warning from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to recreational anglers to avoid consuming the viscera of rock crab caught in the closure area. Following the recommendation of state health agencies, the CDFW Director announced on February 10, 2017 that the open area of the commercial rock crab fishery had been extended northward to Bodega Bay, Sonoma County (38° 18′ N. Lat.).
Bonham’s decision today extends the emergency commercial rock crab fishery closure that was due to expire on May 16. CDFW is continuing to work closely with state health agencies to monitor levels of domoic acid in rock crabs and other species not affected by this closure. This closure shall remain in effect until the Director of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), in consultation with the Director of CDPH, determines that domoic acid levels no longer pose a significant risk to public health and recommends the fishery be open. CDFW will continue to coordinate with CDPH and OEHHA to test domoic acid levels in crab along the coast to determine when the fishery can safely be opened.
Domoic acid is a potent neurotoxin produced by a naturally occurring marine alga, whose levels can be increased under certain ocean conditions.
While hundreds of anglers are intensely waiting on Winchester Bay’s famous pinkfin run, there are other options available. The South Jetty area produces lots of striped surfperch and a few pile perch and the local beaches are offering good fishing for pinkfin in the surf.
By the way, the first redtailed surfperch, or “pinkfins” were caught above Winchester Bay on Friday, May 5th. Now it’s just a matter of how quickly the run builds.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Oregon State Police are investigating a confirmed cougar sighting that occurred about 11 a.m. on Sunday, May 7 near the Sweetbriar Elementary School in Troutdale.
Officials surveyed the area this week after receiving two reports from Troutdale area residents, including one with a photo of the animal. No further sightings have been reported since last Sunday.
Several site visits this week turned up no evidence of cougar. However, officials ask that any new sightings be promptly reported to ODFW or local law enforcement. Officials remind that anytime a cougar is spotted within the city limits, near schools, parks or around houses it should be considered a threat to public safety; in those instances ODFW recommends immediately calling 9-1-1.
Wildlife biologists are enlisting the public’s help by providing evidence of a cougar’s presence, age, and condition by taking photos and preserving evidence such as a tracks in the mud by covering them with a bucket. Send photos to moc.wfdonull@ofni.
There are no documented cases of a cougar attacking a human in the wild in Oregon. Nevertheless, ODFW recommends that people concerned about the presence of cougars familiarize themselves with actions they can take to reduce possible conflicts with these animals. These actions are summarized on ODFW’s website at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/living_with/cougars.asp and include the following:
Stay calm and stand your ground.
Maintain direct eye contact.
Back away slowly. Do not run. Running triggers a chase response.
Raise your voice and speak firmly.
Teach children and other family members how to react if they see a cougar, i.e., make themselves look as big as possible; yell, throw rocks and ensure the cougar does not feel welcome.
If the cougar seems aggressive, raise your arms to look bigger and clap your hands.
If a cougar attacks, fight back with rocks, sticks, tools or any items available.
SALEM, Ore.—The Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet Friday, May 19 beginning at 8 a.m. at the Embassy Suites Portland Airport, Spruce and Oak Rooms, 7900 NE 82nd Ave.
The meeting will be livestreamed via ODFW’s Periscope and Twitter accounts.
The only topic on the agenda is the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan Review. ODFW staff will present an overview of the initial draft Plan (the same one presented April 21 in Klamath Falls).
The Commission will then host a panel discussion with stakeholders. Representatives from Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, Oregon Farm Bureau, Oregon Hunters Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Cascadia Wildlands, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and Oregon Wild have been invited to be on the panel. Following that panel discussion, the meeting will open to other public testimony. Commissioners will not take any rule-making action on the draft Plan during the meeting, and a date for final adoption of a revised Wolf Plan has not yet been set.
The draft Plan is the result of a year-long review process to evaluate the current Wolf Plan’s effectiveness and address opportunities for improvement. The draft Plan incorporates the latest science about wolves and incorporates large amounts of Oregon-specific wolf data. It also updates base information about wolf status, population and distribution, plus management improvements based on actual field experience with wolves. (See a summary of changes to the Plan.)
The original Wolf Plan was initially adopted by the Commission back in 2005 after ODFW’s largest-ever public process. The Plan was also reviewed in 2010.
The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in Oregon and usually meets monthly.
An emergency angling closure at the “Hatchery Hole” at Cole Rivers Hatchery Dam begins Monday, May 15 through July 31, 2017.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists need to protect hatchery spring Chinook broodstock collection and maximize future angler benefit throughout the Rogue River.
Russ Stauff, ODFW’s Rogue Watershed Manager said Cole Rivers Hatchery’s spring Chinook program is very successful, particularly when compared to other hatchery springer programs with similar ocean distribution. These include the Trinity River Hatchery on the Klamath River and Rock Creek Hatchery on the North Umpqua River.
“Cole Rivers’ program consistently outperforms these, but in recent years, we’ve had somewhat of a decline in performance. Ocean conditions affected hatchery springer returns in 2015 and 2016. Last year, we ended up slightly below our broodstock collection goal,” Stauff said.
Stauff said the current season looks similar to 2016 with possibly even lower numbers of hatchery fish returning. The closure is mean to address these concerns and ensure the hatchery program provides the best possible benefit to anglers throughout the Rogue River in the future.
Cole Rivers Hatchery produces1.7 million spring Chinook salmon for release into the Rogue River, and has a broodstock collection goal of 1,600 returning hatchery spring Chinook.
As part of a 10-year review of the Rogue Spring Chinook Management Plan, biologists are working closely with Cole Rivers staff to optimize hatchery rearing performance such as pond densities, and adjust release strategies for improved hatchery fish survival. Although poor returns are primarily due to ocean conditions, these hatchery practice adjustments will help.
The Hatchery Hole was opened in 2002 as a new opportunity for anglers to harvest a then overabundance of returning adult hatchery fish.
Russ Stauff 541-826-8227 firstname.lastname@example.org
Meghan Dugan, 541-464-2179 email@example.com
A Sierra Nevada red fox (SNRF) was captured and radio-collared in Deschutes County this week, a first for Oregon wildlife biologists researching this rare sub-species of red fox.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Tim Hiller of the Wildlife Ecology Institute have continued a SNRF study that began in 2012 and are now in the phase to capture and radio-collar the foxes in the Oregon Cascades. The original study confirmed SNRF presence in the Oregon Cascades and was partially responsible for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision not to list the species in Oregon.
Project leaders Hiller and ODFW wildlife technician Jack Vaughn hope to capture and radio-collar nine more SNRF by the end of June 2018. Capture activities will continue for the next few weeks, and resume again later this fall when success rates are higher than other seasons.
“We use specialized cage traps originally designed for bobcats. It’s a challenge using these during winter, especially this year with the heavy snowfall, so we were very happy to capture this SNRF female,” Vaughn said.
The collars will be active for one year and Vaughn will monitor them from the ground.
SNRF is an Oregon Conservation Strategy Species. Strategy Species include those with small, declining, or unknown population levels that could be at risk and may be in need of conservation.
Within the Strategy, ODFW identified data gaps associated with this rare montane (mountain) fox, including assessing population dynamics, collecting genetic information, understanding seasonal habitat use, and evaluating competition from coyotes. The current study aims to fill some of those data gaps.
“Information collected from SNRF in Oregon has never before occurred, and will not only benefit conservation and management in Oregon, but could also be critical for efforts in California,” stated Hiller. “Radio-collared foxes could give us information on habitat use, denning activities, foraging behavior, seasonal elevational changes and sources of mortality.” Hiller said six SNRF have been captured in past and present studies in California.
SNRF is found only in high-elevation meadows and forests of the Oregon Cascades south into northern California, and in the Sierra Nevada of California. The latter population is believed to have less than 50 individuals in total, whereas the Oregon Cascades may hold more foxes, but probably in fragmented areas. In fact, Hiller said past and ongoing research in Oregon suggests that SNRF, while still rare, may be more widespread than originally thought.
The individual captured in Deschutes County early this week was an adult female and the “cross” color phase (see photo). Other color phases include silver (black) and the more familiar red. SNRF generally are smaller than other red foxes and average about eight pounds.
Field research on SNRF in Oregon was first initiated during 2012 by ODFW with assistance from U.S. Forest Service, and included camera surveys and hair and scat collection for genetic analyses. This study, which continues to collect information on SNRF, confirmed their presence in the Oregon Cascades, specifically in the Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington, and Three Sisters Wilderness Areas. Genetic samples are sent to UC Davis for analysis. Additional research findings from this phase of the project will be coming out in the near future.
Funding for this project comes from ODFW, the Pittman-Robertson Act and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Other project cooperators and funders include Wildlife Ecology Institute, U.S. Forest Service, UC Davis, The High Desert Museum, Cascades Carnivore Project, Oregon Wildlife Foundation, and Oregon Zoo Foundation.