Monthly Archives: February 2018

Pete Heley Outdoors 2 / 28 / 2018

The State of Oregon has an opportunity to secure the Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) Leaburg Hatchery on the McKenzie River. The Corps has announced that it plans to close the hatchery this summer as it shifts the current Leaburg production (trout and steelhead) to a private contractor. ODFW currently operates the hatchery for the Corps. The Corps has proposed a no-cost lease of the facility to ODFW, which could produce an additional 260,000 spring Chinook smolts and 100,000 trophy trout if ODFW can secure the necessary state funding.

CCA Oregon is working with Senators Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene) and Fred Girod (R-Stayton) to secure an additional $350,000 in supplemental funding for ODFW to operate the facility through next June. This state funding would be combined with $150,000 of Columbia River Basin Endorsement funds paid by sports anglers to enhance recreational fisheries and implement the Columbia River reforms.

This is a great opportunity to secure an additional state fish hatchery (the state hasn’t built a new hatchery in over 40 years) AND increase spring Chinook hatchery production to benefit sport fisheries stretching throughout the Willamette and Columbia Rivers. Meanwhile, the enhanced production of trophy trout would represent a 20 percent increase in the total Willamette Valley releases of trout, a major boost to sportfishing opportunity and local economies.

So, how would this hatchery affect anglers living on the Oregon coast?

By increasing the number of salmon in the ocean along the Oregon coast and increasing Oregon’s total trout-rearing capacity – which should mean more trout available to be stocked in many Oregon waters that receive trout plants or even resuming trout plants in Oregon waters that are no longer stocked. Even if none of the additional trout were stocked along the Oregon coast, additional trout plants elsewhere in Oregon would reduce or dilute fishing pressure directed at the trout actually planted near the Oregon coast.

Speaking of trout plants – several Coos County and Douglas County waters were stocked this week. In Coos County, Bradley Lake, Johnson Mill Pond, Powers Pond and Saunders Lake each received 3,000 legal rainbow trout. In Douglas County, Loon Lake and Cooper Creek Reservoir each received 2,000 legal rainbows and Plat “I” and Ben Irving reservoirs each received 1,000. Galesville Reservoir in southern Douglas County was stocked with 1,667 trophy rainbows of 15-inches in length or more.

Although the Florence-area lakes have not been planted in nearly three weeks, they should still have decent numbers of uncaught trout as they received large numbers of trout when they were stocked.

Cold weather slowed a surprisingly good winter bass bite at Tenmile Lakes and may have been an obstacle to garnering good catches at last Saturday’s “Frostbite Open”. However the tournament has had great catches during cold weather in years past and there were some impressive catches this year, as well.

Chris Carpenter took big bass honors with a 7.47 pound lunker and teamed up with Travis Glass to win the tournament with a five bass limit weighing 22.70 pounds. The team of Jeff Abbott and Ray Hobbs finished second with five bass with a weight of 17.42 pounds. Jay Culver and Aubrey Hollaway teamed up for third with a five fish limit weighing 16.96 pounds. There were lots of bass caught that weighed between 2.5 and 3.5 pounds.

Congratulations to the Lower Umpqua Flycasters for hosting their very interesting and free Flyfishing expo in Reedsport last Saturday. It’s a shame that we have to wait a whole year until the next one. An outdoor sportsmen show that should offer different content than similar shows in the western portion of Oregon is the Central Oregon Sportsmen Show at the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center in Redmond. It runs from March 1st through March 4th.

Winchester Bay’s South Jetty is still offering fair fishing for striped surfperch, greenling and rockfish and the fishing for lincod is definitely improving. Hopefully, the South Jetty will continue to be productive as bottomfishing will close in waters beyond 30 fathoms at the end of March. In the meantime, offshore bottomfishing out of Winchester Bay remains excellent with good numbers of sizable lingcod taken.

Bad news for outdoor sportsmen who oppose license and tag price hikes. License revenue in Alaska rose in 2017 despite the stateselling 20 percent fewer licenses because of hefty fee hikes. This not the sort of “example” that will make other states think twice before increasing the price of their hunting and fishing licenses.

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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WDFW Announces Razor Clam Digs Friday and Saturday at Mocrocks.

Clam diggers can make plans for a two-day razor clam dig on Washington’s coastal beaches starting this Friday.

State shellfish managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the dig after marine toxin tests showed the clams are safe to eat.

“Friday and Saturday digs are very popular,” said Dan Ayres, WDFW’s coastal shellfish manager. “There’s no better way to start your weekend than to get out and enjoy digging a meal of fresh razor clams.”

The best digging typically occurs one to two hours before low tide, said Ayres, noting that digging is not allowed at any beach before noon.

Upcoming digs are scheduled on the following dates, beaches and low tides:

March 2, Friday, 6:54 p.m.; -0.8 feet; Mocrocks
March 3, Saturday, 7:34 p.m.; -0.3 feet; Mocrocks
Mocrocks is located between the Copalis River and the southern boundary of the Quinault Indian Reservation (just south of the Moclips River) and includes Iron Springs, Roosevelt Beach, Seabrook, Pacific Beach, and Moclips.

Under state law, diggers can take 15 razor clams per day and are required to keep the first 15 they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2017-18 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW’s website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from license vendors around the state.

More information on razor clam digging is available on WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html

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Spring Chinook on the Umpqua and Rogue Rivers

As of Sunday morning, there have not been any spring chinook reported caught in the Umpqua River, but there have been three reported taken on the lower Rogue River near Gold Beach with one being a finclipped hatchery fish. The first Rogue River springer was reportedly caught one week ago.

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Frostbite Open – Mini-Results

Despite cold and at times miserable weather, there were some impressive bass catches at the annual “Frostbite Open” at Tenmile Lakes.

Usually one of the most productive bass tournaments in the Pacific Northwest, cold weather last year resulted in 33 boats getting skunked.

Not so this year as many of the 75 boats in this year’s field registered five bass limits. Many of the bass weighed in ran from 2.5 to 3.5 pounds.

For most of the weigh in, a 7.09 pound largemouth that had an eight inch bullhead in it throat led the charge for big bass honors.

That lunker was eventually replaced by a by Chris Carpenter’s 7.47 pounder and that lunker helped propel Chris and his fishing partner, Travis Glass, to the tournament win with their five bass limit weighing 22.70 pounds.

The team of Jeff Abbott and Ray Hobbs finished second with five bass with a weight of 17.42 pounds. Jay Culver and Aubrey teamed up for third with a five fish limit weighing 16.96 pounds.

Tenmile has been fishing well for bass pretty much all winter, but cold weather this week created some doubts as to how cooperative the bass were going to be.

Congratulations to Chris Carpenter and Travis Glass who have won this tournament multiple times.

Travis Glass and Chris Carpenter conquered Tenmile Lakes’ bass with a 7.47# lunker and a 22.70# five bass limit.

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Winchester Bay’s South Jetty Lingcod

While it is a big advantage to fish for lingcod at the Tenmile Reef, if you can reach it, but bankbound anglers are not without lingcod

Reedsport angler Dwayne Schwartz hooked several lingcod, including these two, while casting a black plastic worm off Winchester Bay’s South Jetty on Wednesday (Feb. 20th) afternoon.

options.

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OCA Update (Feb. 20 2018)

Today, a number of us moved the Christmas Trees from the Les Schwab parking lot to Camp Creek. The plan was to have Reedsport High School students help, but school administrators cancelled the trip because of “hazardous road conditions”? We had eight trucks and trailers on site to move trees, so we decided to move them with the volunteers on hand. Many thanks to Bill Dilenge, Bruce Harris, Chris McCart, Mel Palmer, Rick Rockholt, Mark Teeter, Bill Town and Connie Hastings, and Ean Wright for helping with the loading, hauling and unloading the trees. Thanks to Neal Reiser for loaning us two trailers for the job. There were at least two hundred trees and not one was left behind! The trees were unloaded at various locations along Camp Creek, where they will be placed in the water. At the moment we’re looking at next Thursday, March 1st for a student field trip to place the trees.

Next up is the Lower Umpqua Fly Casters Exposition on Saturday, February 24th at the Reedsport Community Center, 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM. OCA will have a table to display information, add signatures to our Halibut petition, and answer questions about our club. Skip Rosenbalm and Bill Hennig will be at our table, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM, Bob and Gloria Free and Melvina Adolf, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM and Rick Rockholt (could use some help here), 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM. I will be supporting the LUFC by tying flies. This is a good event for us, helping another local club and we have gained new members, as a result.

I will be attending the ODFW Ocean Salmon Industry Group meeting in Newport on February 27th. This is the first meeting of the year, where anglers get to see and comment on Salmon fishing regulations for 2018. I will be there representing OCA and southern Oregon angler interests. I will report the results at our March meeting.

Please mark your calendars for March 1st, the first official 2018 meeting of the Oregon Coast Anglers. We have much to discuss and I’m looking forward to some great fishing this year. The meeting will be at the Marina Activity Center, starting at 6:30 PM.

Good Fishing,
Steve

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Pete Heley Outdoors 2 / 21 / 2018

While the ODFW planted trout at many spots around Oregon for last weekend’s “Free Fishing Weekend”, they sure didn’t plant any trout around our area. Hopefully, there were fair numbers of stocked trout left from previous plants in some of the Florence-area lakes. While I’m griping, I might as well mention the “new, improved” trout stocking portion of the ODFW webosite. Hopefully, there will be major improvements in this portion of the site, but as of now it is pretty much useless for planning a fishing trip around anticipated trout plants more than ten days in the future.

Before they “improved” the site, it showed that Loon Lake was slated to be stocked the last week of this month and Lake Marie was to be stocked the second week of March.

Oregon’s crab fishery got a wake-up call this week when the Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced the immediate closure of all recreational crabbing on the southern Oregon coast from Cape Blanco to the California border due to elevated levels of domoic acid. This includes Dungeness and red rock crab harvested from the ocean as well as in bays and estuaries, and on beaches, docks, piers, and jetties.

What is unprecedented, at least in recent years, is a requirement that commercial crabbers crabbing south of Cape Blanco must have the crab viscera (guts) removed by a licensed processor prior to being available for public purchase. There is also a recall on all live or whole-cooked crab caught since Feb. 13.

Crabbing at Winchester Bay, has suffered the least, “closure-wise”, and crabbing is still fair, but getting tougher for the dock crabbers. Most boat crabbers are still getting near-limits if they’re spending much time at it. The most productive crabbing has recently been the lower portion of Coos Bay near Charleston.

Sadly, this year’s commercial crab season may be a harbinger of what will be normal for future crab seasons – one can only hope it isn’t so.

Low, clear water has the steelhead fishing on hold. There seems too be fair numbers of fish in most local streams, but they seldom bite in such conditions and fishing is poor.

Bottomfishing has been fair off of area jetties and boats venturing offshore to deeper reefs are still doing great for lingcod and fair to good for rockfish. Winchester Bay’s South Jetty produced striped surfperch to 14-inches and two pounds last week on Berkley Gulp. It was only about ten years ago that the world record for striped surfperch was one pound and 14 ounces and that fish remained the record for 38 years.

They are still catching some redtail surfperch off area beaches, but last week they were running small, and the occasional walleye surfperch even smaller. The stormy weather seemed to move the fish around and fishing is inconsistent – but improving.

I know I’m repeating myself, but it’s the best time to catch yellow perch at their maximum weights is now. By the first week of March, the spawn will be over and those chunky egg-laden female perch will, once again, have normal girths.

My new fishing-goal for this year is to catch bass from 50 different waters in Oregon. As often as I actually go fishing, this goal is more difficult to achieve than it would first appear. I think I’m going to have to catch bass from multiple small waters in the Hauser and Florence areas on the same day. I also want to make sure that I catch all four species of bass (largemouth, smallmouth, striped and spotted) while I am doing it – all the while not cutting back on the time I spend fishing for other species.

The striper will most likely be an incidentally-taken fish while fishing the Coquille River for smallmouth bass. The spotted bass may be the tough one, since they have been in Lost Creek Reservoir for at least ten years and I’ve never caught one, but Dorena and Cottage Grove reservoirs have small numbers of them and those waters are 100 miles closer than Lost Creek. The main purpose of this goal is to “force” me to go fishing more often and in new places.

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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Winners of Take a Friend Hunting Contest announced.

A deer tag that’s good for three months statewide and a Leupold rifle scope valued at $690 are among the prizes 22 lucky hunters have won for taking part in the 2017 Take a Friend Hunting Contest.

The contest was launched in spring of last year to encourage experienced adult hunters to take out other adult friends and family members who had never hunted before or hadn’t gone in several years. (While ODFW has a variety of programs encouraging hunters to mentor youth in the sport, the contest was a way to incentivize mentoring among adult hunters.)

A total of 1,546 people signed up for the contest (773 entries of two hunters, the mentor and the mentee).

Outdoor businesses Cabela’s, Bi-Mart, David Kurt Handmade Knives, DICK’s Sporting Goods, Leupold, Nosler, SITKA Gear, Sportsman’s Warehouse, and Weatherby all donated prizes. Sportsmen conservation groups Ducks Unlimited, Mule Deer Foundation, National Wild Turkey Federation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Wild Sheep Foundation also donated prizes. (More details on prize donations below.)

“We thank all the hunters who signed up to participate, and all the vendors and groups that donated a prize,” said Chris Williard, ODFW Retention and Recruitment Coordinator.

The contest was part of larger ODFW efforts to raise awareness of the benefits of hunting among Oregonians and encourage more participation in the sport. Through their purchase of hunting licenses and equipment, hunters fund wildlife management, research, habitat restoration and other work that benefits both game species and wildlife species that aren’t hunted

ODFW is planning to host a similar contest in 2018. Look for details to be announced and registration to open sometime this spring at www.MyODFW.com

A list of winners of the 2017 Take a Friend Hunting Contest follows. Winners have already been notified and most prizes delivered.

Statewide deer tag (courtesy of ODFW)
Mark Anderson, Ione

Siberian Sidekick Cooler (donated by Mule Deer Foundation)
Erik Hasselmen, Eugene

Eberlestock Me Team Elk Pack (donated by Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)
Dylan Boyer, Coos Bay

Leupold Rifle Scope (donated by Leupold)
Jason Saucedo, Tualatin

Timberline Jacket, Pants and Cap (donated by SITKA Gear)
Brian Alexander, Oakland

Wild Sheep package (Sitka hat, camo pullover, scope shield, etc.) (donated by Wild Sheep Foundation)
Mark Smith, Oak Grove

DICK’S $50 gift cards (four gift cards donated By DICK’s Sporting Goods)
Alfredo Cruz, Monmouth
Gordon Bristlin, Medford
Josh Rosin, Durkee
Kellen Huddleston, Portland

Bushnell Binoculars (donated by Bi-Mart)
Jeremy Hruska (Philomath)

Alps Grand Slam Turkey Vest (donated by National Wild Turkey Federation)
James Munson, Milwaukie

David Kurt Handmade Knife (donated by David Kurt Handmade Knives)
Ryan Martin, Springfield

Sportsman’s Warehouse $300 gift card (donated by Sportsman’s Warehouse)
William Ham, Bend

TangleFree Deadzone Layout Blind (donated by Ducks Unlimited)
Rafael Friedenfels, Portland

Nosler $100 gift cards (five gift cards donated by Nosler)
Travis Rogers, Molalla
Levi Tickner, Bend
Marcus Starr, Seaside
Bob Perez, Silverton
Jeffery Birkholz, Salem

Cabela’s $500 gift card (donated by Cabela’s)
Robert Stahl, Pendleton

Weatherby Vanguard Rifle (donated by Weatherby)
Jon Blyeth, Keizer

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Bad Crabbing News in Southern Oregon.

Recreational crabbing in Curry County has been closed and the Oregon Department of Agriculture has ordered crab fishermen to eviscerate or destroy any crab caught since Feb. 13 after tests Wednesday showed domoic acid is again at unacceptable levels. There is also a recall on all live or whole-cooked crab caught since Feb. 13, said Troy Buell, fishery manager with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. – and then southern Oregon’s commercial crabbers aren’t catching that many crabs anyway.

The trend in recent years has been alarming – and the ocean is a rather difficult thing to clean up quickly.

For more information look up an interesting article in the Curry Coastal Pilot at – http://www.currypilot.com/newsroomstafflist/6015789-151/a-bad-season-for-crab.

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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Mardon Resort / Potholes Reservoir Recreation Report.

The current water level on the Potholes reservoir is 1043.67 feet, slightly up from last week. The water temperature on the main lake is in the upper 30’s. The Reservoir and Seep Lakes are ice free. The forecast for warmer weather did not materialize – winter weather is hanging on for the next several weeks.
No reports this week on walleye. Anglers continue to do well on trout back in the Seep Lakes and on the Reservoir itself. The top Seep Lakes this past week have been Upper Goose Lake and Long Lake, and Janet. Anglers are using Power Bait, Glitter Marshmallows, and nightcrawlers on the bottom. Trout Magnets have been working on the Reservoir.
We have had several thousand Snow Geese show up on the Potholes Reservoir. It is quite a sight to see – they look like a big sheet of white or a white sand island! If you are into bird watching – this is a great opportunity.
Now is a great time to come visit MarDon Resort and the Reservoir. We are still on our Winter Rate schedule – making your stay very economical. We will also be running a Spring Break Special March 23rd thru April 15th. Stay 2 nights get the 3rd night free! Call 509-346-2651 for reservations.
Call the MarDon Store for the latest fishing info at 509-346-2651.

Tom Pollack with a nice Seep Lakes Rainbow Trout!

Gary Thompson caught this beautiful 24″ Potholes Reservoir Rainbow Trout on a marshmallow and night crawler!

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