Ocean salmon fishing was surprisingly good last week with quite a few two fish limits caught. The fishing did slow down somewhat over the weekend as the fish apparently moved north, but while they were biting fish were taken from the Umpqua River Bar all the way out to water at least 200 feet deep. But even in the deeper water, anglers were fishing within 50 feet of the surface. However, some of the salmon caught weighed more than 20 pounds and were most likely spring chinook that would have entered the Umpqua River. and the hope of tangling with some of Oregon largest spring chinook keeps many anglers fishing fair close to the Umpqua River Bar. Anglers fishing the South Jetty for bottomfish have hooked a few more incidental springers and another chinook was reported hooked inside the Triangle – once again near the first culvert.
Upriver on the Umpqua, the springer fishing can only be described as erratic, but occasionally very good. One person hooked four fish in one day and most other springer anglers are going fishless. Some large salmon have been caught recently and Joe Hudson weighed in a 39.9 pound springer at the Wells Creek Inn and became the new leader in the Inn’s Annual Spring Chinook Contest – replace Rick Hoile’s 38 pound fish.
By the time you read this, a few shad should be entering the catch on the Umpqua River at such spots as Elkton, Sawyers Rapids, Tyee, near the community of Umpqua and at Yellow Creek. Warmer water will really perk up the bite. Within the next couple of weeks, striped bass should be dropping down into the mid-tidewater areas from spots upstream. After that happens, we should have a better idea regarding what kind of striped bass year we are going to have – but so far, it doesn’t look that good.
A few anglers have been fishing the slower-moving sections of the Umpqua between Elkton and Scottsburg for smallmouth bass and some larger smallmouth to more than three pounds have been recently taken. Although the numbers of smallmouth caught during the spring pales when compared to the numbers taken during the summer months – this is the best time of the year to catch a hefty pre-spawn smallmouth and one of the rare times when fishing a crankbait has a chance to be more productive that soft plastic baits.
The somewhat warmer and more consistent weather scheduled for the next couple weeks should usher in good largemouth bass catches throughout Oregon – with some of the bass in the Willamette Valley and eastern Oregon being on the verge of actually spawning. Coastal largemouth most likely will not be spawning until mid-May or later. With the exception of crappie and yellow perch, good panfishing appears to be at least a month off.
Some of Oregon’s best trout lakes will be opening this Saturday (April 27th). They include: Crane Prairie, East, Howard Prairie, Hyatt, Krumbo Reservoir, Odell, Paulina, Lake Simtustus, South Twin Lake and Wickiup Reservoir. Some of southeast Oregon’s finest trout streams will also open this coming Saturday.
Locally, almost all of the Florence-area lakes were stocked this week and they include: Alder, Buck and Dune (each with 850 legal, 200 foot long and 36 trophy trout); Elbow (600 foot long); Erhart (200 legal, 350 foot long and 36 trophy); Georgia and North Georgia (150 legal trout each); Lost Lake (500 foot long rainbows); Mercer Lake (2,250 foot long rainbows); Munsel (3,150 legal and 150 trophy rainbows); Perkins Lake (250 legal and 200 foot long rainbows); Siltcoos Lagoon (850 legal, 350 foot long and 106 trophy rainbows); Siltcoos Lake (1,000 foot long rainbows) and Sutton Lake (1,500 foot long rainbows). Loon Lake received 1,000 legal rainbows last week and the Empire Lakes are slated to receive a total of 8,550 legal rainbows this week