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Contact Pete Heley
PO Box 264
Reedsport, OR 97467
Monthly Archives: September 2017
Recreational bottomfish will reopen October 1 for some species outside the 40 fathom regulatory line, with a 10 fish bag. Long-leader gear is required, and retention of black rockfish (aka “black sea bass”), other nearshore rockfish (blue, deacon, china, copper, and quillback), yelloweye rockfish, lingcod, and cabezon is prohibited. Please see the update news release at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/news/2017/09_sep/092617.asp
In an effort to mitigate the economic impacts of the September 18 bottomfish closure on Oregon’s fishing communities, ODFW is raising the bag limit from 7 to 10 fish, after determining that the higher bag limit is not expected to significantly increase catch of species whose quotas have already been met. When used outside the 40 fathom line and properly deployed, long-leader gear fishes very cleanly for midwater rockfish. The higher bag limit is expected to lure more anglers to the offshore long-leader opportunity.
Species commonly caught on long-leader gear outside of 40 fathoms include yellowtail, widow, and canary rockfishes. Others occasionally caught on this gear that may be retained include, but are not limited to, bocaccio, brown, and greenstriped rockfishes.
In addition to the offshore longleader rockfish fishery, flatfish fishing will remain open at all-depths, as will spearfishing for lingcod. Each of these must occur on separate trips; combination trips are not allowed.
Inside 40 fathoms, the ocean is closed to angling for all bottomfish except flatfish for the remainder of 2017 because catch of black rockfish, other nearshore rockfish, and cabezon, which are commonly encountered inside 30 fathoms, have already exceeded annual quotas.
Waypoints for the 40 fathom regulatory line can be found at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/regulations/sport_fishing/waypoints.asp.
Long-leader gear requires a minimum of 30’ of line between the terminal weight and the lowest hook, as well as a non-compressible float above the hook. A diagram and specifications for the gear are available at ODFW offices or at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/finfish/groundfish_sport/index.asp.
Nearly 300 species of fish, mussels and other sea critters hitchhiked across the Pacific Ocean on debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami, washing ashore alive in the United States, researchers reported Thursday.
It is the largest and longest marine migration ever documented, outside experts and the researchers said. The scientists and colleagues combed the beaches of Washington, Oregon, California, British Columbia, Alaska and Hawaii and tracked the species to their Japanese origins. Their arrival could be a problem if the critters take root, pushing out native species, the study authors said in Thursday’s journal Science.
“It’s a bit of what we call ecological roulette,” said lead author James Carlton, a marine sciences professor at Williams College, in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
It will be years before scientists know if the 289 Japanese species thrive in their new home and crowd out natives. The researchers roughly estimated that a million creatures traveled 4,800 miles across the Pacific Ocean to reach the West Coast, including hundreds of thousands of mussels.
Invasive species is a major problem worldwide with plants and animals thriving in areas where they don’t naturally live. Marine invasions in the past have hurt native farmed shellfish, eroded the local ecosystem, caused economic losses and spread disease-carrying species, said Bella Galil, a marine biologist with the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History in Tel Aviv, Israel, who wasn’t part of the study.
A magnitude 9 earthquake off the coast of Japan triggered a tsunami on March 11, 2011, that swept boats, docks, buoys and other man-made materials into the Pacific. The debris drifted east with an armada of living creatures, some that gave birth to new generations while at sea.
“The diversity was somewhat jaw-dropping,” Carlton said. “Mollusks, sea anemones, corals, crabs, just a wide variety of species, really a cross-section of Japanese fauna.”
The researchers collected and analyzed the debris that reached the West Coast and Hawaii over the last five years, with new pieces arriving Wednesday in Washington. The debris flowed across the North Pacific current, as other objects do from time to time, before it moved north with the Alaska current or south with the California current. Most hit Oregon and Washington.
Last year, a small boat from Japan reached Oregon with 20 good-sized fish inside, a kind of yellowtail jack native to the western Pacific, Carlton said. Some of the fish are still alive in an Oregon aquarium. Earlier, an entire fishing ship — the Sai sho-Maru — arrived intact with five of the same 6-inch fish swimming around inside.
Co-author Gregory Ruiz, a Smithsonian marine ecologist, is especially interested in a Japanese parasite in the gills of mussels. Elsewhere in the world, these parasites have taken root and hurt oyster and mussel harvests and they hadn’t been seen before on the West Coast.
Decades ago, most of the debris would have been wood and that would have degraded over the long ocean trip, but now most of the debris — buoys, boats, crates and pallets — are made of plastic and that survives, Carlton said. And so the hitchhikers survive, too.
“It was the plastic debris that allowed new species to survive far longer than we ever thought they would,” Carlton said.
James Byers, a marine ecologist at the University of Georgia in Athens, who wasn’t part of the study, praised the authors for their detective work. He said in an email that the migration was an odd mix of a natural trigger and human aspects because of the plastics.
“The fact that communities of organisms survived out in the open ocean for long time periods (years in some cases) is amazing,” he wrote.
Fall-fishing has begun on the Potholes Reservoir! The fishing has been good all species. Now is the time to get a mixed bag from perch, crappie and bluegill to walleye, bass and catfish. The Potholes Reservoir water level is currently at 1030.10 and slowly rising. The Reservoir level will continue to rise at different rates as the weather changes through the first part of fall. As the water rises, the rock piles around Goose Island become less visible – be careful navigating around the dunes and Goose Island. The water temps on the main lake and back in the dunes are in the low-60’s in the morning warming to the upper 60’s by evening.
The walleye fishing has been good this past week. Limits are being reported with an average of 4-8 walleye per boat each morning. The walleye have moved deeper – off mid-lake humps in 20-30 feet of water. At this depth it is tough to effectively fish crankbaits – so anglers have switched back to Slow Death hooks both with and without a Smile Blade and half a crawler. Troll at 0.7-1.0mph using a 1-2 oz. bottom walker.
Crappie, perch and bluegill fishing has picked up on the main Reservoir. Find the mid-lake humps and fish the tops and sides of them in 13-20 feet of water. Fish a 1-1/2”-2.0” Gulp Minnow on a 1/32nd or 1/16th oz. jig head – or drop worms for them. Jumbo perch have been showing around Goose Island more quality than quantity. The MarDon Dock is fishing very good for keeper crappie. Dock fishing is only available to registered guests staying at MarDon Resort.
The Largemouth bass fishing is still going strong and the Smallmouth fishing has picked up. For Largemouth fish the face of the dunes and the tops of the mid-lake humps with football heads and hula grubs, crankbaits, and Senkos. The smallmouth are taking the same baits adding tubes to that list. For Smallmouth fish around Goose Island in 5-15 feet of water as well as the face of the dam.
OCA Members and Friends,
We had a great turnout for the ODF&W 2018 Recreational Halibut Regulations Public Input Meeting in North Bend, standing room only. The support for my proposal for an alternative quota based on ten year’s Catch Estimate Data (attached) was overwhelming. This approach will provide the South Coast Central anglers more opportunity than the three alternatives proposed by ODF&W. So, we had great support at a well attended meeting in North Bend.
I listened to the Webinar for last evenings meeting in Newport. ODF&W mentioned the alternative proposal for using the ten year average. Of course there was no support for that in Newport. In fact the attendees supported Alternative 1c, which would give the South Coast Central Area a 7% quota. Many of them were in favor of not splitting the Central Area at all.
So, we have one more chance to support the alternative proposal. ODF&W is taking input on these proposals until October 2nd. They have an on line survey, that doesn’t include this proposal. We can show support for the alternative with a write in campaign. This is very easy to do. First, don’t go on line and take the survey. Select REPLY and COPY this address su.ro.etatsnull@remmoseiggam into To. Add your name under Sincerely. Please, add any additional thoughts you feel pertinent. Next and most important, delete all the information I’ve typed above and below to and including my name. SEND.
We can get even more support, if you forward this request to all your friends. If you have questions, reply to me, or call 541 255 3383.
I did not take the on line survey regarding 2018 Recreational Halibut Regulations. I’m contacting you directly, because I support the alternative proposal made at the North Bend meeting to use the ten year average Catch Estimate Data to establish the Halibut Quota for the South Coast Central Area. I also support adjusting the South Coast Central quota based on the previous year’s Halibut catch results. I feel this alternative will result in a fair Halibut quota for South Coast anglers.
Recreational fishing for bottomfish for some species will reopen Oct. 1 outside the 40 fathom line for anglers with “long-leader” gear.
Several species of rockfish found outside of 40 fathoms are abundant and catches are well under quota, including yellowtail and canary rockfish. Long-leader gear has proven effective at catching these plentiful rockfish that are found off the bottom, such as yellowtail (“greenies”), widow (“brownies”), and canary rockfish, among others.
“Earlier this month, we had to close groundfish early when the quotas for black rockfish and several other species were reached after a very busy summer bottomfishing season,” said Maggie Sommer, Fisheries Management Section Leader for ODFW. “We understand this has been difficult for coastal communities, visitors wanting to fish, and the businesses that depend on them.”
“By opening outside 40 fathoms, where black rockfish and other nearshore rockfish are rarely caught, and requiring the long-leader gear, we can provide some additional opportunity while still protecting black rockfish and other species and keeping this fishery sustainable,” continued Sommer.
Long-leader gear was first developed and tested in Oregon waters to avoid yelloweye rockfish. The gear requires a minimum of 30’ of distance in the line between the terminal weight and the lowest hook, as well as a non-compressible float above the hook. The unusually long leader and the float work together to ensure that the gear fishes well above the bottom. A diagram and specifications for the gear are available at ODFW offices or at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/finfish/groundfish_sport/index.asp.
In addition to re-opening for certain bottomfish species fished with longleader gear, ODFW continues to allow flatfish fishing at all-depths. While fishing for flatfish is not new (and has a 25-fish bag limit), the opportunity to do so at all-depths was only recently allowed. While both long-leader and flatfish fishing are great opportunities to get out on the ocean, anglers will have to choose one or the other per trip, as it will not be legal to retain both flatfish and other bottomfish on the same trip. This will ensure that fishing on the bottom occurs only in soft-bottom habitat preferred by flatfish, keeping anglers away from rocks and further avoiding bycatch of rockfish and other groundfish species.
“It’s important that we avoid any more bycatch of yelloweye rockfish and other species whose annual quotas have already been met,” said Sommer.
The daily bag limit for the long-leader fishery remains 7 marine fish (see page 81 of the 2017 Sportfishing Regulations), no more than 4 of which may be blue, deacon, China, copper, or quillback rockfishes in aggregate. (Blues and deacons are less likely to be caught outside 40 fathoms, but are still sometimes encountered there with long-leader gear. Anglers are asked to avoid them as much as possible for the remainder of the year.) Retention of black rockfish (aka “black sea bass”), cabezon, and lingcod (except by spear) is not allowed at any depth for the remainder of 2017, in addition to the longstanding prohibition on yelloweye rockfish. Descending devices must be used when releasing all rockfish caught in waters deeper than 30 fathoms.
The 40 fathom regulatory line generally closely follows the 40 fathom (240 foot) depth contour and varies from within about two miles of shore to almost 10 miles of shore. It is defined by waypoints, which can be found on ODFW’s Sport Groundfish webpage at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/regulations/sport_fishing/waypoints.asp.
Find regulation updates on the Marine Zone Regulation Update page.
Razor clamming on Clatsop County beaches will reopen on Sunday, Oct. 1 after a 16-month closure.
Razor clamming in this area has been closed since July 2016 due to high levels of biotoxins found in the clams and an annual closure to protect newly set young clams that runs from July 15-Sept. 30 each year. While other parts of the state’s coast have been open to razor clamming, Clatsop County beaches are the most popular spot and account for 90 percent of Oregon’s harvest.
Oregon Dept. of Agriculture tests shellfish toxins twice per month, as tides permit, to determine if razor clams and other shellfish are safe to eat. Results from ODA’s two most recent tests (on Sept. 22 and Sept. 8) show clams are safe.
The last time Clatsop County’s season was open in summer 2016, razor clammers experienced a record year, with most reaching their daily bag limit of 15 in a short time. Clammers will find different conditions when they return on Oct. 1 as ODFW’s annual survey found significantly lower abundance of razor clams since surveys began in 2004.
“In 2016, abundance peaked and surveys estimated 16 million razor clams in the 18-mile stretch between the Columbia River south jetty and Tillamook Head,” says Matt Hunter, ODFW’s Shellfish Project Leader. “This year, the estimate is just 3 million clams in that area.”
“These low numbers are troubling, as they mean Clatsop beaches haven’t seen a significant recruitment event for two years,” continued Hunter. “But this recruitment issue is not isolated to just Clatsop beaches. It’s being seen on the entire Oregon coast and for Washington beaches, too.”
Razor clam populations are very cyclical and the population appears to be in a low abundance period, following a very high abundance period in 2015-16. However, current clams are larger, averaging about 4 ½ inches, with only a few clams smaller than 4-inches found. Surveys showed clams distributed sporadically along the entire stretch of the beach.
“While razor clam numbers are lower this year, clams are quite large,” Hunter said. “To be successful, clammers should be diligent, choose the best low tides and actively ‘pound’ to get razors to show.”
As always, the bag limit for razor clams is the first 15 dug, with no sorting or releasing allowed.
ODA tests for shellfish toxins twice per month, as tides permit, and closes seasons with ODFW when toxins reach an unsafe level. Clammers should always call the shellfish hotline (800-448-2474) or check the ODA website before harvesting clams.
BLUEGILL – 1st – Shane Grieb (.56 lbs); 2nd – Jordan Gregory (.40 lbs)
BROWN BULLHEAD – 1st – Andrew Knowlton (2.04 lbs; 2nd – Keith Gordon (1.79 lbs)
CARP – 1st – Jordan Gregory (15.92 lbs); 2nd Seann Deeds (15.35 lbs)
CHANNEL CATFISH – 1st – Aaron Knowlton (11.03 lbs); 2nd – Dan Payne (10.24 lbs
CRAPPIE 1st – Jeff Eckhardt (.87 lbs); 2nd – Shawn McCarrel (.86 lbs)
LARGEMOUTH BASS – 1st – Ron McCarrel (3.63 lbs); 2nd -Shane McCarrel (3.58 lbs)
RAINBOW TROUT – 1st – Dave McSherry (2.95 lbs); 2nd – Derrick Deeds (2.76 lbs)
SMALLMOUTH BASS – 1st – Ron McCarrel (4.04 lbs); 2nd – Jeff Eckhardt (2.18 lbs)
WALLEYE – 1st – James Gilliam (3.00 lbs); 2nd – Amos Trent
YELLOW PERCH – 1st – Dick Southwick (.32 lbs); 2nd – Kevin Jones/ R.J. Hill (.30 lbs)
Pete Heley works parttime at the Stockade Market & Tackle, across from ‘A’ Dock, in Winchester Bay where he is more than happy to swap fishing info with anyone.
The big news is that bottomfish angling is slated to reopen. A much-repeated rumor is that the reopening date will be October 1st, but as this column is being written, that is not a certainty. The actual reopening date will depend on the final tally of August landings and may be at a later date, but quite likely before the end of October.
The bottomfish reopening, when it happens, will not be a complete reopening. Nearshore waters will remain closed until at least January 1st, when a new year’s quota goes into effect and the offshore waters that do reopen will allow retention of lingcod and some rockfish species, but other rockfish species will remain off limits. Ocean salmon anglers need to know that as of October 1st anglers fishing for salmon or having salmon on board are restricted to waters less than 40 fathoms (240 feet) deep.
Salmon fishing remains fair, but inconsistent for boat anglers fishing the Umpqua River. Fishing success is improving for anglers casting spinners from shore at Half Moon Bay, Osprey Point and near the Gardiner Boat Ramp. The salmon ganged up below the bridge at the mouth of Winchester Creek are starting to bite bobber and bait rigs. Fishing for salmon above that bridge is still illegal. Ocean salmon fishing will remain open for chinook salmon 24-inches in length or longer through October.
Aaron Abraham, while fishing with sand shrimp for salmon in Winchester Bay’s East Boat Basin, landed pile perch weighing 2.70 and 2.69 pounds.
The retention of coho salmon in Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes becomes legal on October 1st. The only stream fishing that will be legal to fish for salmon on the three lakes is the portion of the Siltcoos River from the lake down to the Highway 101 Bridge. Siltcoos is the only lake that has any chance of having salmon in it when the season begins on Oct. 1st.
Anglers fishing these three lakes need to realize that their 2-rod fishing licenses become invalid when their salmon seasons start, even if there are not yet salmon in the lakes and the 2-rod licenses will remain invalid on these lakes through December 31st when their salmon seasons end.
Salmon fishing success is gradually improving on the Coos, Coquille and Siuslaw rivers and the Rogue has been very good with a number of chinooks weighing between 37 and 45 pounds taken in the last ten days.
Crabbing remains very good pretty much anywhere along the Oregon coast and it seems like all but the very largest crabs are full of meat.
Central Coast summer all-depth halibut season is closed and public input is invited on the 2018 seasons. One idea of merit that is being considered is having separate quotas for the Newport area and the south coast – which should benefit our area’s halibut anglers. The status of other Oregon coast halibut fisheries is:
Summer All-Depth: A combination of good weather for the last opening, and halibut on the bite especially on Friday allowed anglers to land 16,047 pounds. This leaves only 2,734 pounds on the summer all-depth quota, which is not enough for any additional all-depth days. The remaining pounds will be moved into the nearshore fishery.
Over the course of the summer season, the average weight of landed fish was approximately 30 pounds round weight, up from last year’s average of approximately 28 pounds.
Nearshore: There were 780 pounds landed last week. With the rollover from the summer all-depth season, there are 4,363 pounds remaining on the adjusted nearshore allocation. The average size for this year’s nearshore season is just a little bit bigger than the summer all-depth season (approximately 30.5 pounds round weight). The nearshore season is open seven days per week until October 31, or the adjusted quota is caught.
Southern Oregon Subarea: This area remains open seven days per week until October 31 or the quota is caught. 3,436 pounds remain.
Reminder: with the recent recreational bottomfish closure, no species of bottomfish (rockfish, lingcod, cabezon, etc) except for other flatfish species, may now be retained.
During an exploratory trip to the south last Saturday, I discovered that the County Park on South Tenmile Lake is once again producing good numbers of yellow perch and that Bradley Lake, south of Bandon, now has blugills as well as crappies to go with the lake’s largemouth bass and planted trout. Fat Elk Slough produced largemouth bass, crappies and bluegills within the first 15 minutes of fishing while a nearby angler landed a couple of nice-sized brown bullheads. Smallmouth bass and yellow perch were landed off the fishing dock on Eel Lake. Darlings Resort on Siltcoos Lake reports that bluegills and crappies are once again being caught in the lake and while the fish are smallish, the lake has produced lunkers of both species in years past.
Crappies and bluegills, while still rare catches at Tenmile Lakes, they are being caught with increasing frequency.
Crustacean-loving redear sunfish are now being stocked in the Colorado River as a limiting factor against quagga and zebra mussels.
Oregon State Police with assistance from officers of the WDFW nabbed a man and woman from Celilo Village that were gillnetting salmon at night from a darkened boat inside the mouth of the Deschutes River. On board were 85 steelhead and chinook salmon with a market value of more than $3,500.
On a more positive note, the digging of razor clams on Oregon beaches north of Tillamook is expected to reopen this week as recent tests have found toxin levels to be on the safe side of the levels requiring closure.
Pete Heley works parttime at the Stockade Market & Tackle, across from ‘A’ Dock, in Winchester Bay where he is more than happy to swap fishing info with anyone.
The 13th Annual MarDon Resort Dock Tournament was held this past week. We had 158 entrants and paid out $5,060 in cash prizes! A very good turn out! All species on the board were weighed in within the first 12 hours for both first and second place standings. It was then a matter of catching a bigger fish than the current leader during the 41-hour long event. It was a lot of fun and we would like to thank all who participated and helped to make this such a fun and successful event. The raffles raised $2,450 for the CWFAC Habitat Project. The money raised will be used to purchase the materials required to build more of the habitat boxes to be used in the Potholes Reservoir. Be sure to mark your calendar for the same weekend next year!
Fall-like fishing has begun on the Potholes Reservoir! The fishing has been very good all species – especially bass and walleye. The Potholes Reservoir water level is currently at 1029.50 and rising. The Reservoir level will continue to rise at different rates as the weather changes through the first part of fall. As the water rises, the rock piles around Goose Island become less visible – be careful navigating around the dunes and Goose Island. The water temps on the main lake and back in the dunes are in the mid-60’s.
The walleye fishing has been very good this past week. Several limits are being reported. Troll the face of the dunes in 4-20 feet of water. Most fish are being caught trolling #5 or #7 Flicker Shads and Jointed Rapalas in perch, chartreuse, and Rainbow Trout patterns. Crawler Harnesses with both blades and Smile Blades have been doing well as has the Slow Death/Smile Blade Combo. Use a 1 ½ -2 oz. bottom walker.
Crappie, perch and bluegill fishing remains good. Find the habitat boxes and drop a crappie jig, Gulp Alive Minnow, or a Trout Magnet down 4-12 feet. Jumbo perch have been showing around Goose Island. The MarDon Dock is fishing very good for keeper crappie. Dock fishing is only available to registered guests staying at MarDon Resort.
No change in the largemouth bass fishing – it continues to be outstanding! The fish have stacked up on the face of the dunes and are feeding on the tremendous amount of baitfish in the area. Fish the face of the dunes with Zara Spooks, hula grubs on a football head and wacky rigged Senkos and crankbaits. The face of the dam has been producing quality largemouth and smallmouth bass. Fish crankbaits and hula grubs rigged on a football head and tubes.