Pete Heley Outdoors 4 / 10 / 2019.

The Charleston ODFW office showed me how to access the trout stocking schedule. I had been going to the home page, selecting “FISH DIVISION and then selecting “FISHING RESOURCES” and then clicking on the “TROUT STOCKING” ICON. This method no longer redirects you to the trout stocking schedule.

After a chat with the Charleston ODFW office, I now select “FISHING” at the top of the ODFW home page and then scroll down to “STOCKING SCHEDULE”.

A special thanks to the Charleston ODFW for the easier access – especially since the ODFW stocked the heck out of western Oregon waters last week.

Waters being planted include: Upper and Lower Empire lakes with 1,000 trophies each;  Johnson Mill Pond (3,000 legals); Powers Pond (3,000 legals); Bradley Lake (3,000 legals) Saunders Lake (3,000 legals) and Butterfield Lake (3,000 legals). Eel Lake received 2,500 legals.
Farther south, Garrison Lake received 200 trophies and in the Roseburg area, Cooper Creek (1,500 legals) and Plat “I” (1,000 legals) were stocked. Upper and Lower Empire lakes were stocked last week. Lake Marie at Winchester Bay received 1,000 legal trout last week.

The ODFW stocking schedule seems to be alternating between Lower Empire Lake and Upper Empire Lake receiving 250 trophy trout this week.. The last time this happened, both lakes received trout. Also slated to be stocked this week are Garrison Lake with 450 trophy trout and Cleawox Lake with 1,475 trophy trout.

Many streams along the Oregon coast closed to the retention of hatchery steelhead on April 1st.  Some streams such as Coos River, the Millicomas, the South Fork of the Coquille River, the Umpqua River and Tenmile Creek remain open all year for hatchery steelhead. Other streams such as the Siuslaw and North Fork Siuslaw, the East, Middle and North forks of the Coquille and Eel Creek are open for hatchery steelhead through April. Keep your regulations booklet handy.

Spring chinook are finally being landed on the Umpqua River with most of the catch occurring between the Scottsburg Bridge and Elkton – although there should be springers all the way to Roseburg at this point in the season. It’s a pretty sure bet that it isn’t going to be a good season, “springerwise”.

Although there hasn’t been much talk or bragging, the number of anglers starting to fish for striped bass in the upper reaches of tidewater on the Smith River says plenty. Subject to water clarity, the Coquille River near Arago (Myrtle Point) should also start producing stripers.

Lingcod fishing off Winchester Bay’s South Jetty was very good before the Umpqua River muddied up. By the time the river clears up almost all the lings that moved in to spawn will have finished guarding their nests and moved to deeper water – leaving only resident lingcod to fish for. Anglers fishing during high tide or or in the ocean on the south side of the Triangle will find somewhat cleaner water. Offshore spots will be relatively unaffected and they will remain open through April this year.

The latest issue of the Columbia Basin Bulletin quoted research that stated that there will be a surge in invasive species over the next 30 years due the expected increase in marine shipping.

The targeted killing of California sealions below Willamette Falls seems to be working as more winter steelhead have made it above the falls so far this year than in any of the past three years.

Anglers wanting to keep a sturgeon and have the ability to travel might consider the white sturgeon fishery in Washington’s Lake Roosevelt. The fishery begins on June 15th and will end when the quota is reached. The daily and yearly bag limits are one and two respectively. 

Anglers are asked to use heavy gear (50 lb. test mainline and leader at a minimum) and use14/0 hooks or smaller to avoid catching and/or injuring large wild adult sturgeon.  The request to use heavier gear will ensure anglers hook and land sturgeon effectively, but also is protective of large wild adult brood sturgeon that, if hooked, should be played to hand quickly and released without being removed from the water. WDFW recommends that any fish that will not be legally retained should not be removed from the water prior to release.

By the time that warmer, more stable weather finally arrives some bass and crappie should be entering their immediate pre-spawn mode and should react quickly by moving to shallow water and becoming more aggressive.

By the time the Umpqua River clears up, some smallmouth bass should actually be on their nests with the rest at the imminent pre-spawn stage. Loon Lake should be a couple of weeks ahead of the coastal lakes when it comes to the bass spawn, but the upper end of the lake is at least two weeks ahead of the bottom end of the lake.

Steve Godin, the president of Oregon Coast Anglers, stopped by on Sunday to give me an update on some of the OCA’s projects. The planting of discarded Christmas trees in Camp Creek is pretty much done and the Fishing instruction classes at the Reedsport Charter School is also almost completely done. If you have an idea for a potential “fishing-related” project for our area, speak up – Steve has proven himself to be a very good listener and the OCA has done many worthwhile projects in our area.

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.

About Pete Heley

Writes and self-publishes Oregon and Washington fishing books.

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