Central and South Coast Fishing Reports –
From Pet Heley at PeteHeley.com
As of 11/23
The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announce the reopening of recreational and commercial bay crabbing from the north jetty of the Coquille River to the north jetty of Coos Bay. The reopening includes crab harvested in bays and estuaries, and on beaches, docks, piers, and jetties. Crab samples taken from the area indicate levels of domoic acid have dropped and remain below the alert level.
The recreational crabbing season in the ocean closed coast-wide on Oct. 16.
Crab harvesting remains closed from the California border to the north jetty of the Coquille River (including the Coquille estuary), and from Tahkenitch Creek (north of Winchester Bay) to Cape Foulweather (north of Newport). Crabbing north of Cape Foulweather to the Columbia River remains open in bays and estuaries, and on beaches, docks, piers, and jetties.
Today’s test results and health advisory come at a complicated time of year for Oregon’s crab fisheries. By rule, Dec. 1 is Oregon’s earliest annual start for ocean crabbing, for both commercial and recreational fisheries. However, this year, due to low crab meat yield and elevated levels of biotoxins in some areas, much of Oregon’s ocean area remains closed to crabbing after Dec. 1. Additional testing for meat yield and biotoxin levels will continue at least through the end of December.
For both recreational and commercial crab fishermen, below is a simple guide for what is currently open and closed. Before you go crabbing, please confirm the status of ODFW/ODA harvest areas relative to concerns about elevated biotoxins at the website below.
Recreational crabbing – Currently open in all bays and estuaries that are not under the health advisory; opens after Dec. 1 in ocean areas where biotoxins are below the alert level.
Crabs picked for testing at Coos Bay last week tested safe for Dioxin levels, which should mean good news regarding the current closure – however unsafe crabs were found near Brookings and Yachats. The Department of Agriculture, which is in charge of shellfish testing may increase the size of the closed area regarding crab harvest. Their decision-making is based on caution and the coastal areas they close almost always end at either the California or Washington borders.
So while the Oregon coast north of Yachats, Waldport or Newport may remain open to the Washington border there is a very good chance that the closure starting at the California border may be extended northward to include Winchester Bay, Florence and Yachats.
While hoping for the best, the high, muddy water in Oregon’s larger coastal rivers and even bays should lessen the “pain” of an extended crabbing closure.
A last-minute update from the ODFW and ODA announced that the area between the North Jetty at Charleston and Tahkenitch Creek will remain open to crabbing while the coastal stretch from Tahkenitch Creek to Cape Foulweather (south of Depoe Bay) is now closed to crabbing.
For the most up-to-date crabbing information visit: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/shellfish/commercial/crab/season_weekly_updates.asp
Gary Wolfer sent me a series of photos of beach erosion near the second parking lot south of Winchester Bay. The photos showed that the drop-off went from barely noticeable to six feet in less than two weeks.
The heavy rains got fresh salmon into the coastal coho lakes and south coast rivers. While anglers may have to wait a few days to fish for the jumbo chinooks the south coast rivers are famous for, the coho salmon lakes should remain clear enough to fish. The folks at Darlings Resort reported that the largest coho checked in so far, measured 32-inches, but they expect a much larger portion of adult coho among the later-arriving fish.
Don’t count on Oregon to follow suit, but Washington has a new way to determine if a steelhead is of hatchery origin. It seems that warm water curtailed steelhead-marking operations of the Makah Tribe’s hatchery on the Hoko River. When these fish started returning to the Hoko River unmarked, steelhead having dorsal fins of less than 2 and 1/8-inches were deemed to be of hatchery origin. The standard of 2 1/8 -inches has been used elsewhere to identify unclipped hatchery steelhead. The new method of determining hatchery origin will most likely continue until the unmarked hatchery steelhead are no longer entering the Hoko River.
Bradley Lake, stocked during the last week in October, is the last lake to receive planted trout along the Oregon coast, but Butterfield and Saunders both have fishable numbers of uncaught stocked trout. Walter Wirth Lake and Walling Pond in Salem as well as the Alten Baker Canal in Eugene will receive trout plants through December. Junction City Pond will be stocked with larger trout in mid-December.
A few skilled and determined bass anglers are still catching a few bass, but the catch of anglers using lures designed to appeal to both bass and salmon on Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes has consisted almost entirely of salmon and larger trout.
And from ODF&W
#OptOutside on black Friday, Nov. 24 with the help of FREE FISHING. On Friday and Saturday (Nov.25) you won’t need a license, tag or endorsement to fish, crab or clam anywhere in Oregon that is open to fishing. Follow us on social media to learn more about upcoming opportunities.
Expo Pond at the Jackson County Fairgrounds and Reinhart Park Pond in Grants Pass will be freshly stocked in time for Thanksgiving weekend.
Around 400 summer steelhead excess to broodstock needs at Cole Rivers Hatchery will be released back into the fishery in the vicinity of Touvelle State Park by Thanksgiving as well.
Look for recent rains to bring Chinook into the Chetco, Elk and Winchuck rivers.
Middle Rogue River – Hatchery coho salmon and summer steelhead are available. One report listed red-colored plugs as producing the best success for boat anglers between Grants Pass and Grave Creek. Spinners, spoons and nightcrawlers caught fish for bank anglers.
The river is also open for trout fishing. Five hatchery trout may be harvested per day. Wild trout must be released unharmed.
The Umpqua River Mainstem – Chinook fishing is about over in the Umpqua. Most fish have moved onto the spawning grounds. From July 1– Dec. 31, anglers can harvest two wild Chinook per day, and in combination with the other salmon/ steelhead recorded on your salmon tag, up to 20 fish total. Fin-clipped hatchery fish can be recorded on a separate hatchery harvest tag that is available. There is no limit on the number of hatchery tags that can be purchased. Daily limits still apply.
Steelhead should be starting to migrate into the lower basin. Typically folks start fishing near Thanksgiving.
Trout fishing on the mainstem Umpqua tributaries closed Sept. 15.