Remember – FREE FISHING WEEKEND on Saturday and Sunday (April 22nd and 23rd). No License required to fish, crab or clam. No combined angling tag required to catch salmon or steelhead. This a great time for your out-of-state friends or relatives to visit.
Florence-area lakes being planted this week include Cleawox (1,325 12-inchers and 186 15-inchers); Alder (850 legals, 475 12-inchers and 36 15-inchers); Buck (425 12-inchers); Dune (850 legals, 675 12-inchers and 72 15-inchers); Georgia (450 legals and 75 12-inchers); Mercer (2,250 12-inchers); Munsel (3,150 12-inchers and 150 15-inchers); Perkins (325 12-inchers); Siltcoos Lagoon (775 12-inchers and 106 15-inchers); Siltcoos Lake (1,000 12-inchers) and Sutton Lake (1,500 12-inchers).
Despite heavy trout stocking for its size, anglers are catching very few trout out of Siltcoos Lagoon and trying to target recently planted trout in Siltcoos Lake is extremely difficult as the usual plant is 1,000 trout and the lake covers well over 3,000 surface acres.
Also being planted this week are the Newport-area lakes with Big Creek Reservoir #1 getting 1,000 legals and 1,000 12-inchers and Big Creek Reservoir #2 getting 2,000 legals, 1,800 12-inchers and 200 15-inchers. Olalla Reservoir, near Toledo, received 1,000 legals and 1,250 12-inchers.
The ocean salmon seasons are now set and the harshest news is that there will not be any ocean salmon fishing out of Brookings or Gold Beach. There will be river fisheries on the Chetco and Rogue rivers, but they will likely be more restrictive than in past years. The Pacific Fishery Management Council set seasons Tuesday in Sacramento, ordering a season-long salmon closure from Humbug Mountain to Eureka, Calif., to protect Klamath River fall chinook.
The ocean all-salmon seasons start on June 24th from Ledbetter Point in southwest Washington southward to Humbug Mountain near Port Orford.
Fishing out of Columbia River ports under quotas for coho and chinook north of Cape Falcon, (near Manzanita), may last through Labor Day if numbers aren’t caught.
The salmon seasons and quotas are as follows:
Cape Falcon to Leadbetter Point (Columbia River ports) – June 24 through Sept. 4; or until quotas of 21,000 hatchery coho or 13,200 chinook are caught. Note: No early hatchery-only chinook season this year. Bag limit is two fish per day, but only one can be a chinook.
Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain (including Garibaldi, Pacific City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Florence, Winchester Bay, Charleston, Bandon and Port Orford) – Open now through Oct. 31 for chinook, except: All salmon including hatchery coho June 24 through July 31 or a quota of 18,000 coho. Bag limit is two fish per day. Note: A non-clip coho season will be allowed Sept. 2-30 with a quota of 6,000 coho. The regular ocean Chinook fishery will still be in effect after the hatchery coho season ends or the coho quota is met, until its normal closing date of October 31st.
A reminder of just how “fragile” some of the salmon season decision making can be, is just how close the decision was to keep the minimum size for cohos during the September ocean season at 16-inches. It was almost increased to at least 24-inches because two of the undersiz chinooks kept by anglers last year, thinking they were legal cohos of more than 16-inches, happened to be Chinook salmon from the Klamath River – currently a very depressed run.
Fishing for spring Chinook salmon on the Umpqua River above Scottsburg has been very good, but the fishery has been complicated by a truck severely damaging the Scottsburg bridge. Anglers running jet-powered sleds are the least inconvenienced and anglers launching at Scottsburg Park with props can motor up to the bridge or slightly above it, but the heavy current and submerged boulders makes this strategy quite risky. Anglers traveling from Interstate 5 can access the river east of Scottsburg but pretty much need to take out where they launch. The most-inconvienced salmon anglers are the anglers in our local area that want to fish upriver of the Scottsburg Bridge. Other anglers much-inconvienced would be Eugene-area anglers wanting to travel Highway 38 to fish the larger coastal lakes or Loon Lake. As of Monday, the bridge was open to one lane traffic with reasonable time delays.
As of last weekend, spawning crappies have not yet showed up at the old “Duckett’s Dock” at the upper end of Loon Lake.
Additional depressing news is that Horsfall Lake continues to have enough surface acreage to widely scatter any largemouth bass, yellow perch, or brown bullheads present in the lake and also block easy access to Horsfall Beach, a popular surf fishing spot for redtailed surfperch.
Anglers wanting to fish any of the shallow lakes that are common in the sand dunes would do well to concentrate their efforts on waters that have well-defined shorelines that fluctuate more depthwise rather than surface area-wise.
Pete Heley works weekends at the Stockade Market & Tackle in Winchester Bay where he is more than happy to swap fishing info with anyone.