Although the halibut fishing was somewhat disappointing, the last week’s tuna fishing more than made up for it – and a few anglers were able to successfully catch both species on the same trip. Out of Winchester Bay, the tuna were from 20 to 45 miles out and most anglers were fishing for them around 30 miles east of Winchester Bay. All-dept halibut summer openers are on Friday and Saturday every other week and the next opener is scheduled for August 31st and September 1st. The first summer opener yielded 13,008 pounds leaving 34,361 pounds left of the summer quota (47,369 lbs). Regardless of whether the summer quota is reached, or not, the summer halibut season is slated to close October 27th.
Salmon fishing has been relatively productive, but it seems like anglers can’t count on any lengthy patterns to produce consistent action. Last Friday, there was an intense bit for about 45 minutes below Reedsport that produced a lot of fish, but there were few catches the rest of the day. Fishing near the Umpqua River Bar, along the South Jetty and out in the ocean have occasionally good, but usually inconsistent action. Most anglers are fishing in fairly close where most of their catch has been chinooks.
The nonselective ocean coho salmon season will begin September 1st and run three days each week (Thursday through Saturday) until September 22nd or the quota is reached – whichever occurs earliest. Anglers need to remember that chinook salmon are legal to fish for in the ocean seven days a week until the season closes on October 31st.
The annual GRWB S.T.E.P. salmon derby will be held this coming Labor Day Weekend. Tickets still only cost $10 per angler and $25 per boat. The tickets are on sale at the Stockade Market in Winchester Bay and at Ace Hardware and Turman Tackle in Reedsport. Tickets are also available from members of the GRWB S.T.E.P. members. As usual, the contest will run from the entire day on Saturday and Sunday and until noon on Monday (Labor Day). The largest salmon weighed in each day by a ticket purchasor wins $150, while the overall heaviest salmon wins an additional $500 – so one fish can win an angler $650. There will also be three $100 “Blue Ticket” winners and an additional $100 ticket stub winner. Ticket sales for the derby will cease at 9 am Monday morning.
The overall payout for one of the best-run salmon derbies on the Pacific Coast is $1,350 and the monies collected go towards the operation of our local S.T.E.P. program which includes the very popular Winchester Bay shore fishery for hatchery chinooks. The weigh stations for the derby will be the Landing Boat Ramp in Reedsport and the East Basin Boat Ramp near the Coast Guard Station in Winchester Bay.
Anglers fishing inland waters and not intending to keep the fish they catch should release the fish they catch quickly and make every attempt to land them as quickly as possible. Some anglers even postpone their fishing trips during periods of high water temperatures until cooler temperatures arrive. The main reason anglers practice catch and release fishing is so the fish they catch can remain alive in the waters they are released in to – possibly rewarding other anglers that hook them, or even spawning after being caught and released. During periods of high water temperatures, it is much more difficult to safely and successfully release the fish one catches.