At Winchester Bay, the ocean chinook salmon fishing if now competing with the Umpqua River redtail surfperch run for major billing. While the surfperch run is now in its fifth week, and lots of perch are being caught – including some boat limits every day, the fishing has been hard to figure out on a consistent basis and lots of anglers are disappointed with their catch. As for the ocean salmon fishery, it seems that anytime anglers are able to get out for several hours on a few consecutive days, they are able to find and catch their salmon.
The best news for the river perch anglers is that the fishing cannot get any more inconsistent and judging by the size of the unborn baby perch (the perch are born live), it appears that the perch will be present in the river above Winchester Bay spawning for several more weeks – and at least so far this season, the perch are not all being caught in the early morning.
The ocean salmon fishery seems to consist of mostly ten to 13 pound chinooks with a rare larger salmon. Some larger salmon have been caught near the Umpqua River Bar and in the lower river and those are most likely late run spring chinooks – as a couple of weeks ago there was a number of springers caught above Scottsburg including some very large ones. The biggest drawback to catching the ocean chinooks is that they been, in recent days, out farther than most sports anglers want to go. However, the sport anglers fishing in more than 300 feet of water with their lures from 40 to 100 feet below the surface are enjoying some good fishing. Scott Howard, of Strike Zone Charters, and a couple of sports boats caught boat limits for three anglers last Saturday – but the fishing was not good for everyone.
The South Jetty/Triangle area fished a little slower last week than it usually does. But some anglers seem immune to the fishing being a little off – such as Curt and Shannon Burdett of Creswell, who landed several nice-sized greenling as well as a cabezon that they could not keep (until July 1st) off the south side of the Triangle last Sunday.
Since 29 percent of the spring all-depth halibut quota remains uncaught, there will be another three day opener on June 20th – June 22nd (Thursday – Saturday). Unlike most years, the halibut fishing actually improved later in the season than at its start. The catch rate on the latest three day opener was about .8 halibut per angler for sport boats and .9 halibut per angler for those anglers fishing on charterboats. In the unlikely event that a significant portion of the quota remains uncaught, there may be another all-depth spring opener on July 4th through July 6th. If anyone would like to read additional halibut information, including how they figure the estimated poundage caught by sport anglers, they should visit: www.dfw.state.or.us/MRMP/finfish/halibut/index.asp.
While Lake Marie fished well for trout the week before last, the trout fishing definitely slowed down last week and most of the rainbow trout planted prior to Free Fishing Weekend (June 1st and 2nd) have been caught. The area’s best trout fishing continues to be Tenmile Lakes which doesn’t receive large numbers of stocked trout, but does have fair numbers of carryovers, natives (both rainbow and cutthroat) and searuns and some of the trout will weigh as much as two or three pounds. Even larger, but fewer, trout are available at Siltcoos Lake which holds the Oregon state record for coastal cutthroat trout with a six pound four ounce fish – and a near record cutt taken a couple of years later that weighed six pounds three ounces.
Virtually all of the male largemouth bass that were guarding their nests or fry and completed their duties and moved off the shoreline. Smallmouth bass fishing in the Umpqua River downstream as far as milepost 9 on Highway 38 is very good and the water is clear enough to effectively sightfish for the bass using soft plastic baits. Beginning smallmouth anglers might want to try whole nightcrawlers with as little weight as it takes to cast them – until they get their confidence level high enough to use lures. Bluegill fishing has been tough in most area lakes, but is very, very good in Loon Lake.