Central and South Coast Fishing Reports July 31st – August 6th, 2015

Central & South Coast ReportsODFW is asking anglers and other members of the public for their input on the 2016 sport halibut seasons and regulations at two public meetings to be held in August.

Both meetings will be hosted by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and start at 6:30 p.m. The locations are:

  • North Bend on Monday, Aug. 3 at the North Bend Public Library, 1800 Sherman Ave.
  • Newport on Tuesday, Aug. 4 at the ODFW Marine Resources Conference Room, 2040 SE Marine Science Dr.


In addition, participants can join the Newport meeting on-line at https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/655449853 (see directions below).

“This is when halibut anglers can propose their ideas for changes to the 2016 season,” said Lynn Mattes, ODFW project leader for halibut.

Those who cannot attend a meeting can send their comments to Lynn Mattes at 541-867-4741 ext. 237, Lynn.Mattes@state.or.us or Maggie Sommer 541-867-4741 ext. 227 Maggie.sommer@state.or.us

To join to the Newport meeting webcast:

  • Meeting ID: 655-449-853


Those attending the webcast can use the “chat” box to type in questions.

Ocean coho fishing has been good out of Newport and Depoe Bay this week with bottom fish catches continuing to yeild limits or mostly limits. Several halibut have been taken as a pleasant but incidental surprise catch. The selective or hatchery coho season will remain open until August 9th. After that closure, offshore boaters will be anticipating the non-selective (fin-clipped or not) coho season which will take place September 4th through 30th or a quota of 55,000 fish.

Tuna have been within the reach of charters and well-equipped sport boats this week, most all which have been connecting with albacore and bringing home some fish. With all the reports of crazy good ocean crabbing, there has been a dearth of bay crabbing reports. That said, small boaters and bank-bound crabbers should be aware that crabbing in Yaquina Bay has been pretty darned good with boat crabbers taking limits this week.

Shellfish harvest restrictions and closures have been volatile this summer. Now softshell clams contain arsenic and mussels are off limits from Coos Bay south the California. While we’d usually drop a helpful link in this space, the Oregon Department of Agriculture which makes the calls and tracks the data on coastal crustaceans has recently updated their website and considered intuitive navigation passé (apparently). Please call the shellfish hotline (1-800-448-2474) before harvesting any shellfish. Ocean salmon have been holding over deep water recently; over 300 feet in many cases. So it is that trollers launching out of Winchester Bay this week have been seeking such depths, then deploying gear to run at 20- to 50-foot depths. Trolling speeds of two miles an hour or a little better have been getting the greater number of chances. Inside the bay where high water temperatures in the Umpqua River are preventing Chinook from running upstream, trollers are experiencing a fair bite early mornings below Reedsport. While high water temperatures are injurious to salmonids, warmwater fish don’t mind so much. Smallmouth bass fishing on the Umpqua is excellent right now. Anglers are reminded that fishing is  prohibited within 200 feet of all tributaries including no angling in the tributaries themselves from the mouth to 200 feet upstream.
Boats out of Charleston have been finding blue water and tuna at 20 to 25 miles from port. Fish are running to 20 pounds or better.


One charter captain out of Gold Beach remarked that with flat ocean conditions earlier this week, the run out to the fishing grounds took longer than it did to limit the boat on bottom fish. Offshore conditions have been highly variable through the week but one thing has been consistent: the fishing is great whenever boats have been able to get out. In addition to rockfish and lingcod limits almost every day, ocean crabbing has remained excellent.

Trolling in Rogue Bay has been an on again, off again affair with fair catches one day and little or nothing the next. There have been no ‘hot’ days for Chinook in the estuary this week. Use large anchovies on a spinner rig to connect with Rogue Bay Chinook. Fishing has not been worthwhile on the lower or middle Rogue, so the upper river is once again the place to be. ‘When’ to be there plays an important role with weather and water conditions as they have been.

Summer steelhead are being taken in the evening although there aren’t as many around this season as in seasons past. They don’t seem to be selective, however, so use whatever you’re most comfortable with. Target Chinook in the stretch above Shady Cove early in the morning. Backbounced roe has been taking fish as has pulling plugs. Trout fishing will be worthwhile on the Rogue above Lost Creek Reservoir as it is being stocked weekly. This would also be a good place to seek respite from the heat.

Ocean salmon fishing is reported as red hot … out of northern California ports. What this means to Brookings anglers is that the offshore bite which has been “starting any time” for several weeks now should actually materialize. Any time now. Tuna fishing is not always an option for boaters launching out of the Port of Brookings Harbor. Fact is, it has been a few years since that has been a viable option. Anglers have not only had the opportunity this week but have returned with decent catches. Tuna have been fewer than 25 miles out recently although schools are scattered which results in spotty catches although boats have collectively returned to port with as many as 100 tuna.. It happens nearly every year as warm waters approach ever closer to the Pacific shoreline. Someone, invariably in the pursuit of albacore, will hook one of the species referred to as ‘exotics.’ That story could have been written for Steve Wallace from Escalon, California who recently landed the colorful specimen in the photo below. While occasionally referred to as a ‘moonfish,’ most tuna fishers know them by their proper name, Opah. You can bet this 65-pounder came as a surprise but a pleasant one as these beautiful creatures are also excellent on the table.


Photo by Larry Ellis of Curry Coastal Pilot