Monthly Archives: October 2017

Umpqua River Finclipped Cohos Still Being Caught

Bryan Gill, of “The Umpqua Angler” got his clients into 13 cohos to end up with these four fincipped cohos.

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WDFW News – Quillayute River And Most Tributaries To Close Oct. 16 Due To Low River Flows.

Action: Closes the Quillayute, Sol Duc, and Dickey rivers to all fishing.

Closes sections of the Bogachiel and Calawah rivers to salmon fishing and other sections of those rivers to all fishing.

Effective date: Oct. 16, 2017 until further notice.

Locations and affected species:

Quillayute River: Closed to all fishing.
Sol Duc River: Closed to all fishing.
Dickey River: Closed to all fishing.
Bogachiel River, downstream of Wilson’s boat launch and upstream of the Highway 101 bridge: Closed to all fishing.
Bogachiel River, between Highway 101 and Wilson’s boat ramp: Closed to salmon retention but remains open to fishing for trout and hatchery summer steelhead.
Calawah River, upstream of the Highway 101 bridge: Closed to all fishing.
Calawah River, downstream of the Highway 101 bridge: Closed to salmon retention but remains open to fishing for trout and hatchery summer steelhead.
Reason for action: Unusually low river flows in recent weeks have created difficult migrating conditions for returning salmon, impeding their movement upstream. The closure is intended to protect these fish until flow conditions change sufficiently to enable normal salmon migration and the attainment of escapement goals.

These rivers will re-open when flows have normalized sufficiently to allow consistent, unimpeded migration.

Further Information: The Quileute Tribe is closing fisheries in the Quillayute River until flows improve and Olympic National Park is closing waters within the park boundaries.

Information contact: Region 6 Office, (360) 249-4628.

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Invasive New Zealand Mudsnails Found In Carmel River – Residents And Visitors Urged To Help Prevent Further Spread.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has confirmed the presence of New Zealand mudsnails in Monterey County’s Carmel River.

The highly invasive, nonnative snails have been detected by the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District at multiple locations in the lower river, including near the Highway 1 crossing, the Valley Greens Drive bridge, and Mid Valley nearly 8 miles upstream from the mouth of the river at the Carmel River State Beach along the Pacific Ocean. No mudsnails were found in locations upriver from Red Rock to the base of Los Padres Dam.

CDFW urges visitors and those in the community to “clean, drain and dry” all recreational and fishing gear in order to prevent the further spread of the snails. It is illegal to import, possess or transport the mudsnails without a permit and offenders can be cited.

Despite their small size, New Zealand mudsnails are a problematic aquatic species. Only 4 to 6 millimeters long on average, dense populations of New Zealand mudsnails can displace and out-compete native species, sometimes by consuming up to half the food resources in a waterway. The snails have been linked to reduced populations of aquatic insects, including mayflies, stoneflies, caddisflies, chironomids and other insect groups upon which trout and steelhead populations depend.

The Carmel River is home to a fragile population of threatened steelhead listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. Boaters, anglers and others who may visit the Carmel River, within or outside infested areas, are asked to decontaminate their equipment and follow the “clean, drain and dry” best practices with all equipment used in the river:

If you wade, freeze waders and other gear overnight (at least six hours).
After leaving the water, inspect waders, boots, float tubes, paddleboards, kayaks or any gear used in the water. Remove any visible snails with a stiff brush and follow with rinsing. If possible, freeze or completely dry out any wet gear.
Never transport live fish or other aquatic plants or animals from one body of water to another.
An informational flier on the “clean, drain and dry” directive is available for download at

To date, low numbers of New Zealand mudsnails have been identified in two other locations in Monterey County (the Salinas and San Antonio rivers).

In the coming weeks, CDFW will launch a public outreach and education effort, including distribution of information cards, brochures and signage posted at the Carmel River State Beach and at other access points along the Carmel River.

For more information on the New Zealand mudsnail, please visit CDFW’s Invasive Species website at

The current distribution of mudsnails in California and throughout the United States can be viewed at the U.S. Geological Survey’s interactive map,

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Oregon, Washington Open Two Days Of Columbia River Sturgeon Fishing Below Bonneville Dam.

Fishery managers from Oregon and Washington scheduled two days of recreational white sturgeon fishing on the Columbia River below Bonneville Dam during the month of October.

Approved sturgeon retention days are Saturday, Oct. 21 and Thursday, Oct. 26. The open area is the mainstem Columbia from the Wauna power lines, located 40 miles from the river mouth, upstream to the fishing deadline near Bonneville Dam. This fishery is subject to a harvest guideline of 1,245 legal-sized white sturgeon.

Legal retention size is 44- to 50-inch fork length. The bag limit is one legal-sized white sturgeon per day, and no more than two for the year. If anglers have already retained two white sturgeon in 2017 they may not retain any in these openers. By permanent regulation, all sturgeon fishing is restricted to one single-point, barbless hook.

This is the first sturgeon retention season between Wauna and Bonneville since 2013. From 2014-2016 the lower Columbia and Willamette rivers were closed to retention due to concerns about legal-size sturgeon abundance. The number of legal-sized sturgeon has improved since then. Based on this improvement, anglers asked the fish and wildlife commissions from both states to look into the possibility of reopening a limited white sturgeon fishery.

The Willamette River from the falls to the river mouth, including Multnomah Channel, remains closed to sturgeon retention. The Gilbert River remains closed to all angling.

For more information, visit ODFW’s Columbia River Regulation Update page on-line.

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Mardon Resort / Potholes Reservoir Fishing Resort

Fall fishing has arrived on the Potholes Reservoir! The cooler water temps have had a dramatically positive affect on all species – especially the walleye, crappie and bluegill! With the water temps in the upper 50’s, the fish are active and eating. Now is a great time to get out and fish for any species in the lake! The Potholes Reservoir water level is currently at 1030.70 feet and should remain near this level until the last week in October.
The walleye fishing has been steady this past week with fish up to 13.70 pounds being reported. The face of the dunes, mid lake humps and Lind Coulee have been the most productive spots. The walleye are at varying depths form 6 to 30 feet. Troll either a Slow Death hook, with or without a Smile Blade and half a crawler or a #7 Flicker Shad or a Rapala Shad Rap. Now is the time to start blade baiting for walleye as well.
Crappie, perch and bluegill fishing is going strong on the Reservoir. Find the mid-lake humps and fish the tops and sides of them in 10-30 feet of water. The mouth of Crab Creek, Goose Island, and Lind Coulee are producing panfish as well. Fish a 1-1/2”-2.0” Gulp Minnow on a 1/32nd or 1/16th oz. jig head. The MarDon Dock is fishing very good for keeper crappie with several fishermen limiting yesterday. Dock fishing is only available to registered guests staying at MarDon Resort.
Bass fishing for both Largemouth and Smallmouth has been extremely good across the Reservoir. Top spots have been the face of the dam, Goose Island, Lind Coulee and the face of the dunes. Fish football heads and hula grubs, crankbaits, Senkos, tubes and 3-5” grubs on a 3/8 oz. jig head. Topwater baits – Zara Spooks and Whopper Ploppers – are working early morning and in the evening.
The trout fishing is starting to pick up both on the Reservoir and in the Seep Lakes. Troll the Reservoir with Flicker Shads for both trout and walleye. Fish the seep lake with Rooster Tails and Power Bait floated off the bottom. Top lakes for trout have been Lower Hampton, Upper Goose, and Long Lake.

Orville Jutte of Tenino, WA having a blast catching a nice stringer of crappie off the MarDon dock!

Orville Jutte of Tenino, WA having a blast catching a nice stringer of crappie off the MarDon dock!
Mike and Roz Reichner of Sequim, WA show a beautiful Fall Potholes Reservoir walleye.

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More Umpqua River Chinooks

A jumbo Umpqua River Chinook. Only the Rogue River is giving up comparable numbers of big chinooks.

An Umpqua River boat limit made up of both chinooks and finclipped cohos. All photos courtesy of Bryan Gill of “The Umpqua Angler”.

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Still Some Umpqua River Chinooks Left.

Although the focus has definitely shifted to coho salmon, anglers targeting chinooks are still catching fish.

Stan Crosby, of Winchester Bay, caught this bright chinook salmon while fishing the Umpqua River with Bryan Gill of “The Umpqua Angler”.

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Last Minute Changes To Coos County Trout Plants.

This week, ODFW is stocking “pounders,” rainbow trout averaging just over a pound each, into Coos Bay area lakes for a great fall trout fishing opportunity. The weather is cooling, but the trout are still biting.

Within the city limits of Coos Bay, Upper Empire Lake is getting 3,500 trout. Lower Empire is choked with weeds and has a low water level with water temperatures too high to safely stock rainbows. Those fish instead will be split between Saunders and Butterfield lakes which will each receive 1,200 trout.

Saunders Lake is about five miles north of North Bend and is an easily accessed, pleasant place to take the family fishing. Next to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, Butterfield Lake is accessed through Riley Ranch County Park. Anglers at Butterfield Lake might also hook into a warmouth, an unusual fish that looks like a crappie with a bass head

Bradley Lake, just three miles south of Bandon and Powers Pond are also being stocked this week with these pounders.

The rainbow trout harvest limit in most lakes is five fish per day, two daily limits in possession.

Check for fishing tips and the latest Recreation Report.

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Pete Heley Outdoors 10 / 11 / 2017

Coos County lakes that received trout plants this week include Bradley Lake with 800 14-inch rainbows and Butterfield Lake with 600 14-inchers. Powers Pond and Saunders Lake each received 1,300 14-inch rainbows and Upper and Lower Empire lakes each received 2,000 14-inchers. With the exception of Bradley Lake, which is scheduled to receive 800 additional 14-inch or one pound rainbows the last week of October, this week’s trout plants will be the last trout plants along the Oregon coast this year.

Avid trout anglers with the means and ability to travel might consider Nevada’s Pyramid Lake which opened on October 1st. Located in western Nevada about 40 miles northeast of Reno, the 120,000 acre lake has offered sensational fishing for Lahontan cutthroat trout ever since the stocking program was changed due to Robert Behnke discovering pure Lahontan cutts in a small Pyramid Lake tributary. Presently, many anglers consider Pyramid to be the world’s best trophy trout lake with several dozen 20 to 25 pound cutthroat trout taken each season. In fact, a 22 1/2 pound cutt was caught on opening weekend this year.

As this column is being written, there have been no coho salmon yet reported in Siltcoos, Tahkenitch or Tenmile lakes. Siltcoos offers returning coho salmon the easiest lake access. Once the salmon actually get into the river they can reach the dam and accompanying fish ladder fairly easily, but many of the salmon may not ascend the fish ladder if there isn’t much water flowing through it. Once a salmon reaches the portion of the Siltcoos River above the fish ladder, it can easily swim through the fairly deep slow-moving water between the dam and the lake. The portion of the Siltcoos River between the Highway 101 Bridge and the lake is open to coho fishing and is the only legal stream fishing for coho salmon in the three coastal salmon lakes except for a short section of Tenmile Creek between South Tenmile Lake and the Hilltop Drive Bridge.

Once rainfall allows the dam gates on Siltcoos River to be opened, coho salmon enter the upper Siltcoos River in earnest – as well as a few sturgeon, striped bass and unfortunately a few seals.

Closed areas include Maple Creek as well as the portion of the Fiddle Creek Arm above the bridge on Canary Road on Siltcoos. As for Tahkenitch, the outlet arm is closed below the Highway 101 Bridge. The channel connecting North and South Tenmile lakes is closed to salmon fishing.

This Saturday there is a bassfishing tournament scheduled on Siltcoos Lake and if there is any rainfall preceding the tournament, it could be crowded. But most salmon anglers will most likely wait and see if any salmon are incidentally caught during the tournament by by bass anglers.

There are decent numbers of salmon in all of the larger streams in our area and Chinook salmon weighing more than 40 pounds have been pulled from the Umpqua and Rogue rivers within the last two weeks.

Good numbers of salmon are being caught by bank anglers at Winchester Bay. Dwayne Schwartz, who I fish with often, finally landed a limit of finclipped cohos last Saturday after catching nine consecutive wild cohos. Some salmon anglers with sore elbows and not wanting to release wild coho after wild coho are fishing Winchester Bay’s East Boat Basin with bobber and bait for chinook salmon.

Smallmouth bass fishing on the Umpqua River is still very good with an increased chance at larger bass. The bassfishing starts about nine miles above Reedsport and actually improves as one moves farther upstream. The river is still clear enough that smaller soft plastic lures work best, but some anglers do quite well with nightcrawlers. The best bassfishing is currently in the late afternoons.

As for the Coquille River, the same techniques fool the smallies, but the slightly murkier water allows crankbaits to be effective. A few anglers opt for larger cranbaits in the hope of incidentally hooking a striped bass. Two years ago, during October , a number of adult striped bass were hooked and landed above Arago by anglers fishing for chinook salmon with salmon roe.

The fishing dock in Tugman Park on Eel Lake continues to produce good crappie fishing, but very few decent-sized fish. In an attempt
to find some larger crappies last weekend, I fished the upper lake for about three hours with Dwayne Schwartz in his bass boat. We used the same three-inch Berkley Powerbait worms I had used to catch and release 200 crappies from the fishing dock over the last few weeks.

Although we landed a number of small largemouth and smallmouth bass and more than a dozen rainbow and cutthroat trout to nearly 17-inches, we couldn’t hook a crappie or bluegill until we got within 100 yards of the fishing dock – and then we got bit on virtually every cast for more than 20 minutes with the largest fish being Dwayne’s very plump 11-inch crappie that missed weighing a pound by only an ounce or two.

I am still puzzled by the crappie population in the lower or west end of the lake – and their scarcity in the rest of the lake. The only explanation I can come up with is that the crappie fishing was so poor over the last dozen years that people stopped fishing for them. The crappies stayed in the upper portion of the lake and had several good spawns and then started migrating toward the bottom end of the lake- arriving in early June.

The crappie density in lower Eel Lake reminds me of a similar occurence about a dozen years ago on the channel connecting the Tenmile lakes. Within about three weeks, only the smaller crappie were left as they were released while the larger ones were kept. Shortly after, the crappie disappeared in what some anglers believe was a disease-related die off. I hope the same thing doesn’t happen to Eel Lake, but extremely dense fish populations are always vulnerable to disease-related dieoffs.

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.

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Winchester Bay Salmon Photo

Dwayne Schwartz landed these 23 and 28-inch finclipped cohos on a homemade spinner after landing nine consecutive unclipped, unkeepable wild cohos.

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