Pete Heley Outdoors 7 / 11 / 2018

Ocean salmon fishing has been slow, but seems to be slowly improving. Most of the salmon reported caught seem to be chinooks and less than one-tenth of one percent of the ocean coho quota was caught during the opening weekend (34 cohos kept). 446 chinook salmon were caught and kept on the opening weekend with 57 percent of them caught out of Brookings. The ocean salmon catch report usually appears on the ODFW web site on Tuesdays with catch data through the previous weekend. At present, legal ocean salmon are chinooks at least 24-inches in length and finclipped coho salmon at least 16-inches in length. All ocean salmon that are kept must be tagged.

Anglers fishing for salmon off the south side of the “Triangle” must abide by ocean salmon regulations – barbless hooks and a 16-inch minimum size on finclipped cohos which must be marked on an angler’s combined angling or salmon tag and a 24-inch minimum size on chinooks which must be “tagged”.

Salmon anglers fishing in the Umpqua River off the South Jetty or other river locations can use barbed hooks and can keep finclipped cohos between 15 and 20-inches without tagging them and can keep five chinook salmon per day measuring between 15 and 24-inches rather than the daily ocean salmon limit of two fish.

An increasing number of chinook salmon are being caught in the Umpqua River by both boat and bank anglers.

It’s already been a good tuna year as tuna have been caught by anglers launching at Winchester Bay – which hasn’t always been the case – and a few salmon have been caught on the return trips. Wind is a major consideration for tuna anglers and a lot of trips are aborted.

Draw results for fall big game hunts are now available at the Hunter Information page, Hunters will need their Hunter/Angler ID#, which is printed on all licenses and tags and stays the same from year to year. Hunters who can’t find their Hunter/Angler ID# or don’t have internet access can call 1-800-708-1782 or (503) 947-6000.

The Umpqua River pinkfin run is far from over, but on most days the fishing has been tough. It seems that the intense fishing pressure directed at this run has resulted in surfperch behavior that makes them more difficult to catch. The majority of the redtail surfperch that haven’t “adjusted” have already been caught and kept. There has been just enough “hot fishing days” to keep the surfperch anglers trying, but on most days they earn their fish.

The Umpqua River shad run is essentially over – except at Sawyer’s Rapids, which is still giving up a few good catches. Smallmouth bass are biting well and much of the river above tidewater can easily be fished from the bank.

Striped bass angling on both the Smith and Umpqua rivers improved last week. Even when the stripers seem active, the bite has been tough and bait has been working better than artificial lures – and the stripers are far more active at night than they are in the daytime.

Crabbing is gradually improving at Winchester Bay, but at least half the crabs are less than full. Boat crabbers can usually catch enough crabs to end up with several relatively full legal crabs.

There are no upcoming trout plants for our area. The next scheduled trout plant will be Lake Marie during the last week in August when it gets its annual pre-Labor Day plant of trophy trout.

Tenmile Lakes is producing fair fishing for rainbow trout, largemouth bass, brown bullhead catfish and yellow perch. The hoped for improvement in the lakes’ bluegill and crappie fishing still hasn’t happened. Eel Lake is being heavily used for all types of water-based recreation, but currently has heavier fishing pressure than it ever had when it was strictly a trout lake.

Two of the lakes I would most like to fish an night close the access routes at dusk due to vandalism. Olalla Creek Reservoir, a very clear reservoir located between Newport and Toledo seems to be a natural for nighttime bass fishing – but the access gate is locked at dusk. The same holds true for Ben Irving Reservoir as the park host , because of repeated vandalism, decided to start locking the gate at dusk – when the reservoir’s prolific crappie population is biting best.

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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