Pete Heley - 6/14/2012
Another all-depth halibut opener will run beginning this Thursday (June14-16). Since only 52 percent of the central Oregon coast quota has been landed, there should be more openers coming up.
The few Umpqua River spring chinook anglers still trying for them caught some fish last week - including a 41 pounder. The amount of suspended moss floating down the river allows only a few minutes of fishing before becoming weeded. A couple of anglers rig two rods and when they pull in their usual load of moss, they cast out the other rig and then go about cleaning off their terminal gear. They finish just in time to do it all over again - and once in a great while, during those few moments when a lure is working properly, a chinook will strike.
I would like to point out that the annual spring chinook contest sponsored by the Wells Creek Inn will continue through June. Last year, the person who won second place caught their fish near mid-June. This year’s leading fish is only 34 pounds but the contest does require pre-registration. The $17.00 fee includes a very nice T-shirt and the prizes go as follows: third place gets $50.00, while two-thirds of the remaining prize money goes to the first place winner and one-third goes to the second place winner and for the last several years that has meant an average of around $200 to the contest winner. While $200 is nothing to sneeze at, this writer thinks that the “bragging rights” associated with winning such a contest would be worth even more.
There were some catches of legal crabs off the docks at Winchester Bay last week, but they are still very much earned. Boats crabbing between the entrance to the East Boat Basin and the lower end of Half Moon Bay have made some half limit to near limit catches. There have been few opportunites for boat crabbers to crab in the ocean, but when they can, it is the most productive spot.
The Umpqua’s pinkfin run has been a little spotty, but every day some anglers are catching limits. While many anglers try to fish according to the tides, it would seem that the most important thing is to be where the perch are. Often when anglers say the fish just quit biting, they have simply moved off and have to be relocated unless an angler thinks that he/she is lucky enough that they are going to return. It appears that the very early morning bite is becoming ever more important. As usual, the much preferred bait is sand shrimp.
There are quite a few anglers itching to go tuna fishing, but so far there have been no reports of tuna within fishing range for sport anglers although some reports dealing with water temperature have been encouraging.
Bassfishing in almost all of our local lakes and ponds is very good. While it is becoming more difficult to catch the larger bass, medium and smaller bass have been very active. With the nicer weather, early morning and late evening have been the best times to fish. Smallmouth bass fishing on the Umpqua is good, but not as good as it would be if the river would just drop a couple of feet.
Trout anglers need to realize that the trout plants along the Oregon coast are pretty much over for the summer and they should concentrate their trout-fishing efforts on the larger local lakes which contain native and carryover trout. Even planted trout adjust their active periods to early mornings and late evenings during the summer months.
With the opening of the coastal streams on the last Saturday in May, both Siltcoos River and Tenmile Creek offer wonderful floats for bass and trout.The nearly five mile long float on Tenmile Creek from Lakeside down to the bridge on Old Highway 101 is very productive for both bass and trout and if you are fishing with a partner so you do not have to hide your gear, a less than a mile walk along the railroad tracks can get you back to your vehicle.
While Siltcoos River does not have the fish numbers that Tenmile Creek does, the fish can be quite large with bass weighing upwards of four pounds and trout measuring more than 20-inches in length. Despite the heavy traffic from small boats like kayaks and canoes, the river actually gets very little fishing pressure. Almost everyone using the river doesn’t bother to bring along fishing equipment choosing instead to watch the scenery, the birds or just concentrate on getting some exercise. This river is best fished with fishing partners, one of who parked their car at the picnic area on the Siltcoos Beach Access Road which is located several hundred feet below the small dam (which has a slide suitable for getting around the dam’s right side when facing downstream). Physically fit kayakers would have no problem paddling the nearly three miles upstream from the dam to the lake since the stream flows slowly.
Some new fish arrivals have given this writer cause for concern. So far, the reports of spotted bass in Lost Creek and Cottage Grove reservoirs have not had much of an impact. At some future point, it is almost certain that a low-water year or some other condition will allow them to have a very successful spawn compared to the other bass and panfish species they compete with. A legitimate cause for even more concern is the introduction of smallmouth bass into the Coquille River system. At some point, the smallmouths will colonize most of the river system (the Middle Fork Coquille appears to be ideal smallmouth habitat) and will undoubtedly target salmonids during periods of warmer water since they won’t have pikeminnows (formerly called squawfish) as a main forage base.
Pete Heley lives in Reedsport, Oregon and works at the Stockade Market in Winchester Bay. He is also an outdoor writer and his favorite pasttimes are: fishing, playing pool, doing trivia quizes and crossword puzzles. His three most impressive catches of Oregon fish include a 22 pound coho salmon from Tenmile Lakes, a brown trout of more than 15 pounds from the Crooked River Ranch area of the Deschutes River and a nine and a half pound largemouth bass from Loon Lake.