The Crab Bounty Hunt is still in effect – and will be through September. This annual event is a wonderful contest for several reasons.
(1) – It doesn’t require an entry fee.
(2) – I doesn’t even require any sort of pre-registration.
(3) – Each tagged crab has a numbered spinner blade attached and is good for an immediate prize of either a T-shit or a cap when that tagged crab is turned in and recorded at the Sportsman Cannery in Winchester Bay.
(4) – You get to keep the crab.
(5) – You get a chance, at contest’s end, to win the $1000 grand prize
(6) – If no tagged crab matches the grand prize number, you still have to draw a cash prize of $500, $300 or $200.
The first tagged crabs for this year’s contest were turned in at the cannery two weeks ago and one can reasonably expect considerably more taggeg crabs to be caught and turned in before the contest ends.
We should be entering the most productive time of the year for crabbing as the lower river is very low and at it’s saltiest and attracting ocean crabs that are not immediately caught due to decreased crabbing pressure. Ocean crabbing remains legal through October 15th while the the Umpqua River and Coos Bay allow legal crabbing all year.
Ocean salmon fishing pressure has dropped off now that only Chinook salmon of at least 24-inches are legal to keep. There has been a fair amount of fishing pressure directed at salmon in the Umpqua River, but the biggest news has been how successful the bank anglers have been when casting spinners for salmon. Almost every angler that has spent much time casting spinners for salmon has had at least one hookup – and they are hooking salmon anywhere they can get down to the water (Osprey Point, Half Moon Bay, between the boat ramp and old paper mill in Gardiner, near the mouth of Winchester Creek and the entire shoreline adjacent to the Winchester Bay RV Park).
Although the majority of the catch has been coho salmon, a number of very big Chinooks have been hooked as well, but very few have been successfully landed.
Herring is still the bait of choice for anglers fishing for salmon from a boat and some boats, especially the guide boats have been enjoying consistent success. Most of the fishing is taking place between Reedsport and Winchester Bay, but there seems to be an increasing number of boats fishing near the Elk Viewing Area.
On a non-salmon note, Jeremy Fletcher and his young daughter Alyssa were pulling their crab pot at their “secret” location in Winchester Bay’s East Boat Basin when a very large lingcod came near the surface and grabbed one of the crabs hanging onto the outside of their pot. The fish was big enough that Alyssa thought it was a shark and of course neither Jeremy or Alyssa had a fishing rod handy.
Freshwater fishing is improving on many fronts. Many coastal lakes are offering improved fishing for their uncaught trout that were planted last spring and summer. Fishing for yellow perch and largemouth bass is also getting better in these same waters. Smallmouth bass fishing on the Umpqua River remains very good with the cooling water increasing the chances of hooking lunker-sized fish.