Trout plants have finally started for the northern Oregon Coast. For our area, this means that virtually all of the lakes and ponds between Elbow Lake and Alder, Buck and Dune lakes (seven miles north of Florence) will all be stocked this week. Here are the fish numbers scheduled to be dumped into each lake: Alder, Buck and Dune lakes are each slated to receive 850 barely legal and 36 trophy (16-inch) rainbow trout; Carter Lake (1,500 barely legal rainbows); Cleawox Lake (3,000 barely legal rainbows and 150 trophy trout); Elbow Lake (600 12-inch rainbows); Erhart Lake (200 barely legal and 250 12-inch rainbows); Georgia and North Georgia (150 barely legal rainbows each); Lost Lake (150 foot long rainbows); Munsel Lake (1,500 foot long and 150 trophy rainbows); Perkins Lake (200 barely legal and 36 trophy rainbows) and Siltcoos Lagoon (850 barely legal and 70 trophy rainbows).
The trout stocking schedules for the Umpqua system and the south coast have not yet been added to the ODFW website, but trout plants should start in the near future.
At Winchester Bay, the South Jetty and Triangle area has been fishing well for assorted bottomfish and I had the pleasure to weigh in a striped surfperch caught last Sunday by Ruth Ankema of Junction City that weighed two pounds two ounces. To give some perspective, the official state record striped surfperch for Washington, which does keep records on them, weighed two pounds one ounce – and it was caught 33 years ago.
The current issue of Science had a somewhat encouraging article, by Susan Millus, regarding the effect of fishing pressure on the more aggressive largemouth bass during the spawn. I have always felt that fishing pressure tends to crop the most aggressive male largemouth bass as they guard their nest or newly hatched fry – resulting in an ever more diffcult-to-catch bass population. But according to Millus’ article, even though that does tend to happen, the effect of angling, even coupled with a greater tendency to be killed by fish, birds or other animals, does not completely counterbalance the greater effectiveness of the more aggressive male bass at guarding the newly hatched bass – so that is undoubtedly a major reason that many heavily fished lakes have more catchable bass than one would think. By the way, Ringo, who owns Lakeside Marina, reported that some very nice bass were caught at Tenmile Lakes this last week.
The Boat Inspection Station for aquatic invasive species located at the Ashland Point of Entry opened on February 11th. Other stations will open in the upcoming months. Lakeview (Highway 395 south of Lakeview), Ontario (located at the rest area near the junction of I-84 and Highway 20) and at Klamath Falls (near the Midland Rest Area) will each open on May 1st. The Gold Beach Station, off Highway 101, will open on July 8th.
While many anglers regard this program as something of a nuisance, of the 4,675 watercraft inspected in Oregon last year, 51 were found to have aquatic invasive species attached to them. Thirty two of the infected craft were found to have non-native plants, such as Eurasian watermilfoil or such other non-native organisms as snails or saltwater mussels. Eighteen craft were found to be carrying quagga or zebra mussels. I don’t quite understand why the total does not add up to the 51 reported cases, but keeping the quagga and zebra mussels out of Oregon is definitely worth considerable expense and inconvenience.
A recent report on icefishing at Dog Lake, in southeast Oregon, reported that some redear sunfish were caught along with crappies, bluegills, yellow perch and largemouth bass. This is exciting to me, because Dog Lake is known for producing good-sized warmwater fish. Last year, it produced largemouth bass to nine pounds, crappies to at least two pounds, perch to well over a pound and bluegills to at least a pound. Although the redears were small, it is most likely due to their age rather than their available food. Reynolds Pond, a shallow pond near Alfalfa, currently holds the Oregon record of one-half ounce under two pounds and I am reasonably certain that, give time, Dog Lake will top that.
A new Washington state record lake trout (mackinaw) was landed on February 4th at Lake Chelan and the official weight was 35 pounds ten ounces. A Lake Chelan mackinaw angler recently reported taking a mackinaw while fishing at a depth of 348 feet, which made me wonder just how deep of water the mackinaw in Lake Chelan may inhabit – after all, the lake is more than 1,500 feet deep.