Central and South Coast Fishing Reports April 14th, 2017

No report from writer Michael Teague this week, but this from Pete Heley:

HELEY –

The Pacific Fishery Management Council set ocean salmon fishing seasons Tuesday in Sacramento, ordering a season-long salmon closure from Humbug Mountain to Eureka, Calif., to protect Klamath River fall Chinook. There will be no salmon fishing allowed in 2017 out of Gold Beach or Brookings.

Major trout plants are occurring this week in almost all the coastal waters that receive trout plants. In western Douglas and Lane counties, Carter Lake received 750 12-inch rainbow trout; Cleawox Lake received 1,325 12-inch trout and 150 15-inch trout and Woahink Lake received 1,000 12-inch trout.

Coos County waters that received trout plants this week include North and South Tenmile Lakes which received 3,000 legal rainbows each; Saunders Lake and Powers Pond also received 3,000 legal rainbows. Mingus Park Pond received 2,000 legal rainbows while Bradley Lake received 200 15-inch trout. If it is not a misprint, Upper and Lower Empire Lakes each received 250 15-inch trout and 1,000 slightly smaller 14-inchers.

In the Reedsport area, Loon Lake and Lake Marie each received 1,000 legal rainbows.

Some anglers that get their trout stocking information from the ODFW website have wondered about the North Lake and South Lake included in the north coast trout stocking schedule. Not to be confused with North and South Tenmile Lakes in Coos County, these small, heavily planted lakes are in southwest Tillamook County.

North Lake is a half-acre lake located within the Siuslaw National Forest. South Lake is a 5-acre lake also located within the Siuslaw National Forest. This lake is located on the ridgeline above Hebo Lake. Next to the lake is a U.S. Forest Service campground that is open year around. The last several miles of road to the lake are unimproved and rough. Use caution on this road. It is not advisable to take trailers to either lake.

The ODFW enacted two new regulation changes on Wickiup Reservoir that is sure to be upsetting to many of Oregon’s fishing enthusiasts – especially those in central Oregon. The first rule change eliminates the kokanee “bonus bag” that allowed anglers to keep up to 25 kokanee in addition to the regular 5 fish trout limit. Effective opening day, April 22, 2017, anglers must include kokanee within the 5 fish trout limit. The second rule change will close fishing in the Deschutes River arm of the reservoir one month earlier – from Sept. 30 to Aug. 31 and move the boundary from the West South Twin boat ramp to Gull Point. The remainder of the reservoir will continue to be open for fishing until Oct. 31.

According to Brett Hodgson, ODFW fish biologist in Bend, the Deschutes River arm is an important spawning area for kokanee and trout. “We don’t stock Wickiup Reservoir – the entire fishery depends on the natural production of kokanee, brown trout and redband trout,” Hodgson said. “We need to take management action to ensure this natural production sustains a fishery.”

Under a new water management regime, water in the reservoir is drawn down earlier in the summer. This will concentrate fish in a smaller area near the unscreened outlet and make them more vulnerable to both fishing pressure on the spawning grounds and escaping from the reservoir downstream into the Deschutes River. This will limit the annual production of kokanee and trout. Kokanee begin their spawning migration in late August.

“These fish are vulnerable to anglers who target the spawning kokanee and the trout that follow the kokanee upstream to feed on their eggs,” Hodgson states.

The storage and release of water from the Reservoir has been altered to help protect listed spotted frogs downstream, and to improve the ecological function of the Deschutes River, he said.

“It may be a while before we know what impact the change in water management will have on the spotted frog,” Hodgson said. “But in the meantime we need to be proactive in protecting spawning fish to conserve redband trout populations and to maintain the robust and diverse recreational fishery.”

Area beaches are still producing excellent catches of redtail surfperch when they are fishable. Effective baits include sand shrimp, sand worms, or clams among natural baits and Berkley Gulp Sandworms for an artificial bait. Jetty anglers have had to deal with strong winds and heavy waves, but are doing well on striped surfperch when they are able to fish. The road to Horsfall Beach remains blocked by high water from Horsfall Lake.

A few Chinook salmon to 26 pounds were caught last week in the ocean near Bassendorf Beach south of Charlston. An angler casting from the beach for surfperch hooked and landed a striped bass of about five pounds. As the Coquille River drops and clears, an increasing number of striped bass are being caught in the Arago area.

A few more spring Chinook have been landed by anglers casting spinners from the bank at Half Moon Bay at Winchester Bay. Springer fishing has been very good on the Umpqua River above Scottsburg and a few of the salmon anglers have caught smallmouth bass to at least four pounds on their salmon gear.

Rainy, windy weather has reduced recent fishing pressure on bass and panfish and also had a negative effect on fishing success.

When a client canceled a trip at the last minute because he thought conditions were not right for catching an Umpqua River springer, Bryan Gill. of “The Umpqua Angler” went fishing anyway. The result was this beautiful 27 pounder that he caught near Elkton. Bryan noted that it felt good to actually get to reel in a springer himself. Spring Chinook fishing on the Umpqua River has recently been very good.