Central and South Coast Fishing Reports Sept 15, 2017

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

As of 9/13/17 Oregon’s recreational bottomfish season will close to all species but flatfish as of Sunday, Sept. 17 at 11:59 p.m. because the quotas for several species have been reached.

As of Monday morning (Sept. 18), anglers may no longer catch or retain lingcod, any species of rockfish, cabezon, greenling, or other bottomfish. There is a new opportunity for anglers to fish for flatfish (except Pacific halibut) at all depths, also starting Monday.

“Recreational bottomfishing was excellent this year, with effort and catch rates higher than anticipated,” said Maggie Sommer, ODFW marine fisheries manager. “Because the annual quotas for several species have been met, fishery managers need to close the season.”

Good weather in spring and summer, as well as fewer opportunities for other fisheries, have led to more boats and anglers fishing for bottomfish this year. “It’s been a poor salmon season and tuna haven’t really made a strong showing within range of most recreational anglers,” said Sommer. “This increased fishing pressure on bottomfish, and anglers had a lot of success pursuing these species.”

Additionally, Oregon’s black rockfish harvest quota was reduced 10 percent this year after a 2015 federal stock assessment. While the stock was determined to be healthy, the assessors also determined that in order to keep the population healthy in the long term, lower harvest levels were necessary. ODFW’s marine researchers are developing additional methods to provide data for future assessments of black rockfish and other nearshore species that will help the assessments accurately reflect Oregon’s stocks.

Several ocean fishing opportunities remain available, including:

Flatfish, such as sanddabs and petrale sole (not including halibut, which are considered separately).
Crabbing in oceans and bays, which has been excellent lately.

Nearshore halibut between Cape Falcon and Humbug Mt. (until Oct. 31 or until the quota is reached).
Halibut south of Humbug Mt. (until Oct. 31 or until the quota is reached).

Tuna, which are starting to come closer to shore in southern Oregon now.

Ocean salmon, which is open from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. through Oct. 31 for all salmon except coho (beginning Oct. 1, all anglers fishing for salmon or with salmon on board are restricted to inside the 40-fathom line).

For more information on Oregon’s marine resources and fisheries, please see: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/

The nonselective ocean coho season closed last Thursday evening due to the quota being met. The 7,900 coho quota went quickly despite two of the six days being virtually unfishable.

The first two days of the nonselective ocean coho catch was included in the data for the week of August 28th through Sept. 3rd and the most productive ports were Pacific City with 1.20 salmon per angler trip and Newport with with 1.17 salmon per angler trip. The least productive port was Charleston with 0.15 salmon per angler trip. Winchester Bay averaged .32 salmon per angler trip.

On a somewhat brighter note, the bank salmon fishery at Winchester Bay is becoming more productive with several fish or more landed each day by bank anglers using spinners. The most popular spots are Half Moon Bay, Osprey Point and near the Gardiner Boat Ramp. Salmon are also starting to show up at the “Mud Hole” on the west side of the bridge at the mouth of Winchester Creek.

Crabbing continues to be very good in the ocean near the Umpqua River Bar when reachable and in the lower Umpqua River near Half Moon Bay. However there has recently been several days when unkeepable female Dungeness crabs have dominated the catch. There have been a number of disappointed crabbers who have pulled their pots to discover them empty of both bait and crabs and others who have had their gear taken. It would be much appreciated if some of the money derived from the sale of shellfish licenses would go toward more aggressive law enforcement directed at misbehaving crabbers.

There latest halibut update, which includes catch data through Sept. 3rd, goes as follows: During the last opening for the Central Oregon Coast Summer All-Depth Season there was 6,186 pounds landed. This leaves 18,871 pounds (28%) of the allocation remaining. Therefore, September 15-16 will be open. After that opening, the next potential open dates would be September 29-30, if enough quota remains.

As for the Central Oregon Coast Nearshore Season, the season was able to reopen on July 3, due to shifting of some quota around. There have been 970 pounds landed, leaving 3,960 pounds remaining on the adjusted quota. This fishery remains open seven days per week until the quota is met or October 31, whichever is earlier.

As for the Southern Oregon Subarea, there have been a total of 2,441 pounds of halibut landed through September 3. There is 3,598 pounds remaining on the adjusted quota. This fishery remains open seven days per week until the quota is met, or October 31, whichever is earlier.

California’s Pacific Halibut season ended on Sepember 10th when the state’s entire quota of 34,580 pounds was met.

Eel Lake continues to produce good crappie fishing, but the best catches are now being made by boat anglers fishing areas of the lake away from the fishing dock at Tugman Park. The most productive areas, especially in the evening, are the outside edges of weed beds. To target the lake’s burgeoning bluegill population, look for relatively shallow water with a hard or gravel bottom.

Please remember that Eel Lake’s panfishing is a recent, still developing fishery dominated by young and smaller fish. Our area’s best fishery for bluegills and crappies of larger average size is Loon Lake.

Tenmile Lake continues to offer the area’s most consistent fishing for largemouth bass. The Coquille and Umpqua rivers are offering the best smallmouth bass fishing. While several area lakes are offering decent fishing for yellow perch, the largest and the fattest are coming out of Siltcoos Lake.

There has been no reports of striper fishing success on the Smith and Umpqua rivers, but that is to be expected as striper anglers tend to be a very close-mouthed group. I did see a smart phone photo of a large Coquille River striped bass which appeared to weigh about 40 pounds.

Lake Marie’s pre-Labor Day plant of trophy rainbow trout are starting to bite. When they were first planted, they most likely went deep due to warm surface water temperatures and some disappointed anglers were questioning whether the scheduled plant was actually made.

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.