From our friend Pete Heley at PeteHeley.com
Every two years the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife goes to the air to release more than 350,000 juvenile trout into more than 500 lakes throughout the Oregon Cascades mountain range. The trout stocked by helicopter are three-inch long fingerlings, 95 percent of which survive the 100 foot drop into the lake. A few lakes receive larger trout hauled in by volunteers on horses or mules. The trout stocked via horseback must be stocked within two hours of being placed into plastic bags filled with oxygen-enriched water and ice. The high lakes trout stocking program occurs during the summer of every odd-numbered year.
Anticipated summer steelhead returns for the Columbia Basin are so low that the ODFW is encouraging anglers to target other fish species and upon hooking a steelhead, know the best fish-handling practices listed on page 13 of the 2017 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations.
Warm water on two major western Montana streams has forced Montana’s fish managers to impose “hoot owl” restrictions on the Smith and Sun rivers – which means no fishing between 2 pm and midnight.
At the same time that our country is pulling out of a major climate agreement, twelve million volunteers in India planted 66 million trees in a single day – July 2nd. I remain very impressed.
On a Tenmile Creek float last week, we caught dozens of yellow perch, but none over eight inches in length. The fishing for largemouth bass was disappointing with no bass landed weighing more than a pound – but within a few minutes we were targeting the perch and trout. The best fishing was for rainbow trout to 13-inches. We also caught and released one cutthroat trout.
Tenmile Creek is free of logjams this year, but is quite narrow in a number of spots – to the point where passage via a pontoon boat is very difficult. A float tube or a kayak is a much better choice. The stream is flowing much more water this year, but seems every bit as weedy as last year. The most efficient float is from the Hilltop Drive Bridge just below South Tenmile Lake down to the bridge on Old Highway 101 just above where Eel Creek enters Tenmile Creek. A float that covers about five stream-miles and takes about six hours. Most anglers leave a second car near the lower bridge or walk the slightly more than one mile back to their car in Lakeside via the railroad tracks.
As for fishing at Winchester Bay, the South Jetty is fishing well for assorted bottomfish, the Triangle is fishing well for the same marine species with a smaller average size. Sand shrimp, Berkley Gulp and smaller curlytail grubs on jigheads all seem to work. Half Moon Bay and Osprey Point are giving up a few chinook salmon to anglers casting spinners from the bank with chartreuse and dark green being the best-producing colors. Boat anglers trolling herring between Winchester Bay and Reedsport are also catching a few chinooks. Don’t expect warm water temperatures to form a thermal barrier holding salmon below Reedsport to the degree it has during the last few seasons.
The latest stats on the ocean fin-clipped coho fishery run through July 9th and 1077 finclipped quota, or six percent of the 18,000 quota of finclipped cohos have caught and kept. The ocean finclipped coho season will end July 31st unless the quota is reached earlier.
Winchester Bay has been the busiest port and has produced the most keeper coho. Garibaldi is the second busiest port and has produced the most kept chinooks – but has recently fished very poorly with only .18 kept salmon per angler for the season. Winchester Bay is averaging .34 kept salmon per angler trip. The most successful ports based on average catch of keepable salmon are Depoe Bay, Charlston and Bandon with .50,.47 and .44 kept salmon per angler trip respectively. The other ports in our zone have fished poorly, but are improving with Pacific City, Newport and Florence averaging .28, .27 and .26 kept salmon per angler trip.
Starting on September 2nd there will be an ocean coho season where both clipped and unclipped coho salmon may be kept with a quota of 6,000 cohos. If the quota is not reached the nonselective season will end on September 30th. In the meantime, the ocean fishery for chinook salmon will continue uninterrupted through October 31st.
There have been catches of 25+ tuna taken this last week out of both Charlston and Winchester Bay.
The pinkfin run on the lower Umpqua River above Winchester Bay continues with the fishing getting ever more inconsistent. Fishing the surf along area beaches seems to offer more consistent surfperch fishing – especially during the last half of the incoming tide.
A recent tidewater trip for Umpqua River smallmouth revealed a surprising amount of fishing pressure, but a much smaller weed and moss problem than anglers fishing the river above tidewater are having to deal with. Most of the tidewater smallies are ten-inchers with about every fourth fish being noticeably larger. A very few shad are still being caught on the Umpqua River, but the run is pretty much over.
Fishing Guide Jaimie Standifer reported good fishing for chinook salmon last week on the Umpqua River near Reedsport, but has enjoyed consistent early morning chinook fishing between the Umpqua River Bar and Reedsport.
Pete Heley works part-time at the Stockade Market & Tackle, across from ‘A’ Dock, in Winchester Bay where he is more than happy to swap fishing info with anyone.