Central and South Coast Fishing Reports June 30th, 2017

From our friend Pete Heley at PeteHeley.com.

After a terrible week of Umpqua River pinkfin angling, the fishery rebounded bigtime over last weekend. On Saturday, a number of anglers had their boat limits already skinned and fileted by 7 am.

Bass and panfish angling continues to be very good with the best fishing in the mornings – although not many large bass have been caught recently.

Umpqua River Shad fishing was very good last week including a few good catches made between Family Camp and Sawyers Rapids. Smallmouth bass fishing has been very good on the Umpqua, but moss and suspended weeds are starting to make fishing more difficult and can definitely influence lure choices and fishing methods.

Brownlee Reservoir and the Snake River in eastern Oregon have been fishing very well for channel catfish. Because of the heat almost all the fishing is being done at night.

A possible lake record mackinaw was pulled out of Cultus Lake last week. The 36-pound fish was reportedly weighed on an accurate scale and is likely a lake record. Several years ago, the people operating Cultus Lake Lodge told me that the heaviest mackinaw caught in the lake weighed 36 pounds, but was not officially weighed on a certified scale. I find it most impressive that Cultus Lake has produced multiple 35+ pound mackinaws without a kokanee forage base. But the lake’s macs seem to be doing just fine eating smaller lake trout, rainbows and whitefish.

Beginning August 1st, Washington’s Franklin D. Roosevelt Reservoir will have a white sturgeon retention season. Daily limit 1 sturgeon. Annual limit 2 sturgeon. It is legal to retain sturgeon between 38 inches and 63 inches fork length. Fork length is measured from the tip of the snout to middle of the fork in the caudal fin (tail). All harvested sturgeon must be recorded on a Catch Record Card . Closed to night fishing, but 2-pole fishing is allowed. All other statewide rules for white sturgeon must be observed, including the use of barbless hooks. Anglers are asked to use heavy gear (50 lb. test mainline and leader, at minimum) and use 14/0 hooks or smaller (approximately 2 inches or less from point to shank) to help ensure anglers hook and land sturgeon effectively. WDFW recommends that any fish that will not be legally retained should not be removed from the water prior to release.

Fishery managers in Washington state and British Columbia began sturgeon hatchery programs in the early 2000s in response to a decades-long decline in the white sturgeon population in Lake Roosevelt. Survival rates for those hatchery-produced juvenile sturgeon is much higher than was anticipated. As a result, there is a surplus of these fish available for harvest from Lake Roosevelt.

The Lake Roosevelt co-managers (WDFW, Spokane Tribe and the Colville Confederated Tribes) will all be conducting sturgeon fisheries. The co-managers have a harvest plan that allows each entity a portion of the sturgeon harvest. Non-tribal licensed anglers will have the opportunity to harvest up to 10,250 sturgeon over the next 10 years.

Anglers are reminded that fishery dates, times, slot limits, daily limits and annual limits may be adjusted over the next decade to ensure a sustainable population of sturgeon is maintained in Lake Roosevelt and that equitable access to the negotiated catch share amongst the three co-managers is achieved.

I was surprised to learn that the oldest animal ever recorded was the “Ming clam” which was aged at 507 years. It was dredged off the coast of Iceland in 2006 and its age was calculated by researchers counting annual growth lines in its shell Ming was unfortunately killed by researchers when they opened its shell. Following analysis, experts from Bangor University determined Ming was born in 1499, making it 507 when it was found. It was named after the Chinese Ming dynasty, which was still in power while it was alive.

A lot of Oregonians are less than happy with the re-introduction of gray wolves into Oregon, but some states have it worse. Wisconsin. which allows bear hunting with dogs, paid out more than $120,000 in 2016 in livestock losses due to wolf predation – and approximately $100,000 for hunting dogs killed by wolves at $2,500 per dog. Contributing to the problem is the fact that Wisconsin currently has about three times the wolf population of its management goal of 350. One can only wonder when a hound-using heartless hunter figures out a way to make a substantial profit by running hounds through Wisconsin’s wolf country.

Legislation has been introduced to Congress and is awaiting a vote on whether to return management of wolves to the states – specifically in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan – and remove the federal protection barrier.

The ODFW decided to use the first backup dates for all-depth halibut for the central Oregon coast subarea. 35,663 pounds or 23 percent of the quota remains and all-depth halibut fishing will continue on June 29th and 30th and July 1st. The first opener for the summer all depth season will be August 4th and 5th (Friday and Saturday).

The ocean fin-clipped coho season opened slowly and most of the fishing pressure was directed toward chinooks.

A few commercial tuna boats have reported good catches, but the fish seem to be too far offshore for sport anglers to reach.

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.

Webinar Driftboating and bank fishing the Wilson River with Pro Guide Bob Rees January 20th