Central and South Coast Fishing Reports November 17th, 2017


Anglers may no longer catch and retain lingcod (except by spear), any species of rockfish, cabezon, greenling, or other bottomfish (aka groundfish) species, except flatfish species (other than Pacific halibut) inside of the 40 fathom regulatory line. Lingcod may be taken by spear only (with no change to the bag limit or minimum length). This closure is through Dec. 31, 2017 for all Oregon waters, including bays, estuaries, banks, and fishing off of jetties. Retention of flatfish and spear caught lingcod is not allowed on the same fishing trip

Sport Ocean Salmon

The Elk River Terminal Area Chinook Salmon season will be open from Nov. 1-30 within the described boundaries with a limit of 2 Chinook per day but no more than 1 non fin-clipped Chinook per day and 10 non fin-clipped seasonal aggregate limit combined with the Elk River, Sixes River, New River, and Floras Creek.

#OptOutside on black Friday, Nov. 24 with the help of FREE FISHING. On Friday and Saturday (Nov.25) you won’t need a license, tag or endorsement to fish, crab or clam anywhere in Oregon that is open to fishing.

Look for recent rains to bring Chinook into the Chetco, Elk and Winchuck rivers.

Trout anglers in the Rogue should be very excited with releases of excess rainbow trout recently. Most Rogue lakes have been freshly stocked for the fall months. Waterbodies offering fresh opportunity include Lake Selmac, Applegate Reservoir, Lost Creek Reservoir, Agate Lake, Willow Lake and Medco Pond.


Rains late this week are expected to increase river flows significantly. Anglers need to pay extra attention to water levels and floating debris this year due to impacts from the Chetco Bar fire. Anglers will want to check flows and USFS road closures before fishing the river.

COOPER CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill

Cooper Creek received over 10,000 trout in 2017. Fishing is has slowed a little, but there should still be plenty of fish available. Fishing for bass and bluegill should continue to slow into the fall.

COOS RIVER BASIN: Dungeness crab, bay clams, rockfish, salmon

Streams and rivers are now closed to trout fishing until next spring.

Chinook salmon fishing is still open in the Coos Basin although majority of the fish have move up river to spawn. There is not a wild coho season inside Coos Bay this year so all wild coho must be released but anglers may keep any adipose fin-clipped hatchery coho.

ELK RIVER: Chinook

Low and clear. Most anglers are fishing the estuary. Rains late in the week should improve fishing conditions in the river.

Rogue River, lower: Chinook, summer steelhead, half-pounder steelhead, coho

Anglers plunking off gravel bars in the lower river have been doing well for steelhead and coho. Rains late in the week will raise flows and probably make for some tough fishing conditions. Anglers will want to check flows prior to heading out and try to fish when river levels are dropping and clearing.

Rogue River, middle: Chinook, steelhead, trout

Steelhead fishing has continued to be good in Grants Pass at Griffin Park, Schroeder Park and near the footbridge area by Reinhardt Park. Steelhead anglers should be aware of spawning Chinook, and  avoid spooking fish off their redds. The best bet for summer steelhead is drift fishing small roe, yarn balls or cocktail shrimp. They can also still be caught on small k-9 or k-11 plugs. Fly-fishers are doing well swinging copper johns or egg imitations. Hatchery coho salmon numbers should be peaking now in the Middle Rogue as well.


Chinook fishing in the estuary has slowed. Bank anglers in Half Moon Bay and the boat basin have also seen a decline in catch rates. There have been reports of folks catching fish throughout the main. From July 1– Dec. 31, anglers can harvest two wild Chinook per day, and in combination with the other salmon/ steelhead recorded on your salmon tag, up to 20 fish total. Fin-clipped hatchery fish can be recorded on a separate hatchery harvest tag that is available. There is no limit on the number of hatchery tags that can be purchased. Daily limits still apply. Trout fishing on the mainstem Umpqua tributaries closed Sept. 15.

From TGF’s friend Pete Heley (PeteHeley.com)

As of 11/16
Ocean waters are closed to Dungeness crab Oct. 16 – Nov. 30.
Areas closed to crab harvest, including bays and estuaries:
Tahkenitch Creek (north of Winchester Bay and Reedsport) north to Cape Foulweather (north of Newport).
North jetty of Coos Bay south to the California border.

Areas open to crab harvest:
North jetty of Coos Bay north to Tahkenitch Creek.
North of Cape Foulweather to the Columbia River.

Call the Shellfish Safety Hotline before harvesting​


The Oregon Department of Agriculture’s (ODA) shellfish biotoxin hotline is toll free and is updated immediately when shellfish toxins reach the alert level. The hotline is your best source for up-to-date clam, crab, and mussel closure information. ​

As of last weekend, crabbing is still closed from the California border northward to the North Jetty at Charleston – meaning that Oregon’s largest bay and most popular winter crab fishery is still closed. The entire Oregon coast north of Coos Bay remains open for crabbing, but as we get more rain, the crabs will gradually move closer to the ocean and in some cases be downstream of any crabbing docks. However last weekend, decent crab catches were made off the Coast Guard Pier, Dock 9 and Dock A in Winchester Bay. The Triangle, adjacent to the South Jetty should hold crabs all winter long.

Chinook salmon fishing is pretty much over except for the late-run fish in the smaller to mid-size streams along the southern Oregon coast. Streams such as the Elk and Sixes rivers are capable of giving up fairly bright chinooks in mid-December and several years ago, tiny Hunter Creek gave up a 59 pound chinook over Thanksgiving Weekend.

Additional goood news for Winchester Bay crabbers is that the Coast Guard Pier is slated for major renovation which should be completed by mid-March. When completed and the actual cost of the renovation is revealed, those unhappy with the Douglas County Parking Pass will have much less reason to gripe.

The coastal salmon lakes should have fresh salmon entering them after last weekend’s rains. All three lakes were producing a few fish each day last week, but salmon numbers should be much better with additional rainfall. Hopefully, the proportion of adult salmon among the newly arriving salmon will be larger as early salmon catches so far have been dominated by jack salmon. Salmon anglers on Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes need to realize that their second rod endorsement is invalid on these three lakes and have been invalid since October 1st.

A few winter steelhead should be entering the Umpqua River which always seems to receive its winter steelhead a month earlier than other area streams. The earliest catches seem to occur between Family Camp and Elkton.

Bill Taylor, of Winchester Bay, reported very good yellow perch angling at Tahkenitch Lake last week. The 25 perch he kept ranged from nine to 11.5-inches and were full of bass and bluegill fry. Perch fishing has also been fair at Tenmile Lakes with fewer, but even larger fish. Kathy Riess landed a chunky female perch of more than 15-inches last week while fishing near Lakeside Marina.

I enjoyed a very rare sight last week while perch fishing off the Fishing Dock at the County Park in Lakeside’ I had just walked down the ramp and was barely ten feet onto the dock when a lunker largemouth bass of between four and five pounds leaped clear of the water by at least a foot. I just happened to be looking at the spot where the leap occurred. Nothing was chasing the bass and it didn’t appear to be feeding on anything. Infrequently, female bass will jump prior to spawning to loosen their eggs, but the season was wrong. It didn’t seem to be trying to get rid of a lure or hook on a broken line or a parasite. I’ll always wonder why that bass jumped and wonder how it gained the required energy during November. Although I cast my panfish lure to the spot within seconds, the bass wasn’t the least bit interested.

Crappie fishing at Tugman Park on Eel Lake has come to a screeching halt. The fish were becoming fewer and the bites even more tentative, but I think the main reason for the bite stoppage is that the crappie moved. A few bass and trout are still being caught and a scuba diver reported seeing good numbers of brown bullheads near the boat ramp – but no anglers are targeting them. Eel Lake’s bluegills also seem to have disappeared, but most likely have become inactive with a drop in water temperatures

Anglers targeting surfperch, because inshore bottomfishing is off limits, need to be cautious as stormy weather has created hazardous beach conditions. However when conditions allow fishing, the catch rate for pinkfin on the beaches and striped surfperch off the jetties has been fair. Jetty bottomfish anglers, as of Thanksgiving Day will have to wait 38 more days before 2017 arrives with fresh bottomfish quotas that will allow inshore angling.

As for other outdoor news from around the northwest – a proposed wilderness area near Lewiston, Idaho will ban the use of snowmbiles; an Idaho Falls man who was found guilty of starting a wildfire while using illegal fireworks was ordered to pay restitution of 1.7 million dollars and and outdoor activities at Seaside Heights Elementary School were moved inside because of a nearby cougar sighting.

Pete Heley works parttime at the Stockade Market & Tackle, across from ‘A’ Dock, in Winchester Bay where he is more than happy to swap fishing info with anyone.


  1. Wow, I’ve been waiting a long time for this kind of report. So much more complete regarding the Rogue (I live in Grants Pass)where a lot of past reports were pretty shy of much of anything but off shore bottom fish and further north. Thank you!!!!

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