Pete Heley Outdoors 1/08/2014

The area’s hottest fishing is for winter steehead on the Umpqua River. The most productive stretches on the mainstem Umpqua are from around Sawyers Rapids upriver.  – and the hottest technique seems to be backtrollimg with diving plugs like Hotshots and Wee warts.Some of the best areas in the lower ends of pools where the water starts picking up speed (tailouts), although other areas where water flow is the right speed will also produce – but the steelhead are usually more concentrated in the tailout areas – especially those that have long stretches of poor holding water on each side of them.

Virtuaaly every other potential steelhead fishery has been held back by near-drought conditions that have resulted in very low stream flows and clearer than normal water. A good rain, or two, and that heavy fishing pressure currently directed at the Umpqua River will quickly be redirected to a number of smaller streams.

Tenmile Creek has been slow, but a few steelhead have been caught on the bottom end of Spin Reel Park and while Eel Creek is now open for steelhead fishing – don’t expect many steelhead to enter it until we get some major rainfall.

There has been a surprising amount of crabbing activity recently at Winchester Bay and although crabbing success has been better than it was all summer, it has been very inconsistent with boat crabbers doing much better than dock crabbers. A few weeks ago, a few people commented that some boat crabbers decided to crab quite close to the Coast Guard Pier. I cannot think of a poorer way to use a boat to catch crabs. In addition to crowding dockbound crabbers that have nowhere else to go, they are dropping their rings and traps in the water that receives the heaviest crabbing pressure in the Winchester Bay area.

I take great pleasure in being able to write that the 2014 trout stocking schedule for the Florence-area lakes is now out and available to read on the ODFW website. The first plant will take place during the week beginning February 10th – and it’s a big one with a total plant of about 10,000 trout – with more than 5,000 slated for Cleawox Lake. I will write more as the actual date of the trout plant nears.

The trout stocking scedules for the Coos and Umpqua districts are not yet out – but hopefully will be shortly.

As of January 1st, retaining cabezon became illegal. Bottomfishing at all ocean depths is only legal through March when the deeper, more productive spots close for six months.

Icefishing is now possible ay a number of central and eastern Oregon spots as well as Diamond Lake. However, Oregon doesn’t have anything that compares to the fishing currently available at Potholes Reservoir in southeast Washington. The Lind Coulee area of the 28,000 acre reservoir now is covered with ice of a safe thickness and fishing has been good for yellow perch, crappies, rainbow trout and walleyes with a chance at smallmouth and largemouth bass, bluegills and even channel catfish – and every fish species present in Potholes is capable of reaching truly lunker sizes.

About Pete Heley

Writes and self-publishes Oregon and Washington fishing books.

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