Central and South Coast Fishing Reports October 27th, 2017

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

Although ocean crabbing is closed, crabbing is still quite good in the lower tidewater areas of virtually every decent-sized river along the entire Oregon coast. As the amount of freshwater increases in these rivers, the crabs will move closer to the ocean. However, it takes more freshwater to force the crabs in the rivers to return to the ocean than it does to keep ocean crabs from entering the rivers in the first place. Decent crabbing could last into late November depending upon the amount of rain we get.

Ocean salmon fishing will close one hour after sunset on Tuesday, October 31st. Salmon fishing in the rivers is still open, but the catch is increasingly coho and the majority of them are wild, unclipped, unkeepable fish.

There still seems to be a lot of confusion over what constitutes a jack salmon. Simply put, a jack salmon is a sub adult salmon that needs to be at least 15 inches in length, but less than 20-inches in length if a coho and less than 24-inches if a chinook. The daily limit of jack salmon is five and coho jacks must be finclipped. Jack salmon do not have to be marked on an angler’s combined angling (salmon) tag.

The dam on the Siltcoos River is open and coho salmon are showing up. Like Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes, which have yet to receive salmon this fall, the daily salmon limit on Siltcoos is one adult and one jack salmon per day – and they do not have to be finclipped.

Trout fishing is still fairly good in the Coos County lakes that were recently planted as well as some of the larger local lakes. Tenmile is giving up fair trout fishing and the salmon anglers on Siltcoos Lake always seem to incidentally catch fair numbers of good-sized trout.

The upper end of the south arm on Eel Lake has fair numbers of decent-sized rainbows with a few smaller cutthroat trout. Bradley Lake will get the Oregon coast’s last trout plant this year – this week. Some of these fall trout plants provide extended periods of decent fishing as poor weather can reduce fishing pressure and trout harvest. Recently planted Coos County lakes include Bradley, Butterfield, Upper Empire and Saunders as well as Powers Pond.

The crappie have started moving into Streeters Canal on the east side of Silver Lake in southwest Washington. While it will be a few weeks before there are reports of 300+ crappie catches, the average size is up with fair numbers of legal crappie measuring nine or more inches in length. The Silver Lake crappie fishery is best known for huge numbers of five to eight-inch crappies that must be released, but are still fun to catch. The daily limit is ten crappies of at least nine inches in length per person.

The sad news for jetty anglers is that bottomfishing is still closed inside of 40 fathoms and will remain so until 2018 when a new quota takes effect.

Last week the ODFW held a two-hour conference call with the Sport Advisory Council to discuss rockfish limits for 2018. According to their 2018 forecasts, we will exceed quota on Black Rockfish, Cabezon, Yelloweye and the Minor Nearshore Rockfish Complex (Coppers, quillbacks, China’s, etc.). To avoid another end-of-the year shutdown, a bag limit reduction is probably necessary.

The main problem is increased fishing pressure, especially in poor salmon and tuna years.

Most likely the bag limit for rockfish will be 4 or 5 fish for 2018. The lingcod limit will remain at 2 fish per day.

In a series of public meetings beginning on October 25th throughout the state of Washington, the WDFW will explore alternative structures for guide licensing, with the objectives of: (1)-Improving the fishing experience and ensuring equitable opportunity for both guided and non-guided river anglers; (2)- Managing fishing pressure to protect wild steelhead and other species and (3)-Ensuring that recreational fish guiding remains a sustainable economic contributor to rural economies.

Since these will be public meetings with input encouraged, misbehaving guides might want to pay close attention. At the scheduled meetings, WDFW will discuss current management and take suggestions for potential regulatory changes for the fishing guide industry. I would be somewhat surprised if Oregon doesn’t hold similar meetings or possibly adopt some of Washington’s revised guide management options in the future.

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.

Catching fish on the Rogue River has been inconsistent with chinook slowing down and coho not very far up river. Rain is supposed to come this weekend which should help getting the fish up-river. It sounds like hardware is the best choice.

Nightcrawlers, plugs, and imitation salmon eggs may do the trick for steelhead, the better target at this time.

Trout targets could include the recently stocked Lost Creek Reservoir, Applegate Reservoir, or Diamond Lake where fishing has been very productive.

Last week Chinook started to enter the Chetco River tidewater holes with the first rains. Anglers will want to check flows and road closures before going out.

Crab closure extended The crab closure on the southern coast has been extended from north jetty of the Coquille River, which includes the bay in Bandon, to the California border.