From Pete Heley and his website, PeteHeley.com
“As of the last halibut opener for our central coast subarea (June 1st – 3rd) 80,382 pounds of the 151,712 pound spring quota had been caught and 71,330 pounds, or 47 percent of the quota still remains. The last two openers for our area produced 42,418 and 37,164 pounds respectively. If the initial spring opener had occurred when weather, bar and ocean conditions were good the season’s quota would now be threatened. Only 801 pounds were caught during the first spring halibut opener on May 11 – 13th – and over 80 percent of that was landed out of Newport. In fact, Charleston (156 pounds) was the only other port in our subarea that reported any halibut catches in our subarea during the initial opener.
With much better weather during the last two openers, Bandon has accounted for 7,806 pounds and compares favorably with Newport on a per angler basis. The next all-depth spring halibut opener for our area is scheduled for June 15th – 17th and may not be a full three-day opener dependent upon the poundage caught during the June 8th through 10th opener.
Trout plants along the Oregon coast have been discontinued and will resume on a very limited basis in October. A few central and eastern Oregon waters will receive trout plants in the meantime. Because of the heavy trout plants preceding Memorial Day Weekend and Free Fishing Weekend, trout fishing is still surprisingly productive.
The redtailed surfperch or “pinkfin” fishery on the lower Umpqua River above Winchester Bay is becoming more consistent. One angler landed a near-limit last Saturday while fishing from the bank at Osprey Point. Sand shrimp and Berkley Gulp sand worms remain the most popular baits.
Pat Jones, one of our South Jetty’s most successful lingcod anglers reported consistent lingcod limits over the last few weeks. Last week, Pat landed ten lingcod in a single trip with, most of them being 18 to 20-inch sublegal fish, but the area he caught them in was surprising. He hooked every one of the lingcod along a short section of the South Jetty between the Coast Guard Tower and Half Moon Bay.
While Pat definitely works harder at his jetty fishing than most, he thinks the single biggest reason most jetty anglers fail to catch many lingcod is that they fail to stick with using bigger lures – instead switching to the smaller lures that result in more bites from smaller fish species.
The most surprising thing Pat had to say was that he has bankfished all the jetties along the Oregon coast between Newport and Gold Beach and he has his most consistent lingcod success on Winchester Bay’s South Jetty.
The few anglers fishing the ocean for salmon are enjoying limited success and fall Chinook salmon will start entering the Umpqua River around the first of July. July 1st is when anglers are required to mark their Umpqua River Chinooks as fall run fish instead of spring run fish. A few spring chinook are still in the Umpqua above Scottsburg but due to suspended weeds and algae there is almost no fishing pressure directed at them. A few smaller springers have been hooked, but seldom landed, by shad anglers in the Yellow Creek area.
The North Umpqua has been fair for spring Chinook recently, but that fishery will close on June 30th.
As for our local bass and panfish waters, high water on the road to Horsfall Beach continues to make access to Horsfall Lake difficult. A few 4WD vehicles with good clearance have managed to drive around the barricade and drive through the water to reach the Old Bark Staging Area or Horsfall Beach – but a few had to backtrack when they realized their estimates of water depth were optimistic. Most Horsfall Beach anglers have reached it by traveling the Trans Pacific Parkway past the North Spit Boat Ramp and then driving across the dunes to reach the beach.
The water level at Beale Lake, which normally covers 130 acres when full, is higher than normal and it is still easy to move back and forth between the lake’s three sections. Recently, there has been a surprising amount of fishing pressure on this hard to reach lake – most of it directed at largemouth bass, but the lake’s best fishing might be for fair-sized yellow perch. Bluegills, black crappie, brown bullheads and warmouth also inhabit the lake in low numbers.
The Loon Lake bluegill bite continues to be red hot. One angler who regularly fishes Fords Pond in Sutherlin stated that largemouth bass anglers fishing with Senkos were enjoying the best success and a few of the incidentally caught crappies measured all of 12-inches.
The smallmouth bass in Woahink Lake completed their spawn and quickly moved back into much deeper water, but a few of the largemouth bass are still shallow. Another bluegill was spotted in Eel Lake. Whether this may develop into a viable fishery remains to be seen. Eel Lake’s crappie population seems to have almost disappeared and the number of smallmouth bass hooked this year in no way approaches the numbers hooked in recent seasons.
Tenmile Lake bassfishing has been good, but panfishing has been terrible. Part of the “lack of panfish” problem might be the tournament-based bass regulations which ensures that the lake has an artificially high population of larger bass.
Pete Heley works weekends at the Stockade Market & Tackle, across from ‘A’ Dock, in Winchester Bay where he is more than happy to swap fishing info with anyone.”