Central and South Coast Reports June 19th – June 25th, 2015

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Central & South Coast Reports – High winds have hampered all manner of angling efforts along the south coast for the past 10 days or so. As this writer has said since he was a teen (and that’s been a while), “Wind blows.”

With offshore breezes easing up, fishing this week has been good out of Depoe Bay. Limits of lingcod were common with limits or near limits of rockfish taken as well with plenty of ocean crab harvested to round out the ocean bounty.

Of course, high winds can, on occasion, create fishing opportunities. Such is the case as indicated by this  announcement from the ODFW, “There was 3,652 pounds landed during the last week’s opening. That leaves 13,760 pounds remaining on the spring all-depth quota. The last set of fixed spring all-depth days (June 25-27) will be open. There will be an update by the end of the day on Thursday, July 2, if there is any quota remaining for any “back-up” dates, which will be highly dependent on the weather next weekend. Nearshore [halibut season] opens July 1, seven days per week.” And here we thought they’d all get caught in the last fishery. But for the wind ….

Ocean coho season opens off the central Oregon coast on Saturday, June 27th. Only finclipped, hatchery fish may be kept.

Psssst … it’s almost tuna time!

*opah.jpg

No, that’s not an albacore, it’s an opah. A few of these creatures are taken every year off the Oregon coast by tuna anglers as warming ocean temperatures draw exotics close to shore. See Random Links, below, for a recent opah revelation.

South coast beaches continue to reward long-rodders with good catches of striped and pinkfin surf perch.

An important reminder from the 2015 angling synopsis: “Angling in streams above tidewater for all species during May 23 – August 31 is restricted  to artificial flies and lures. See exceptions for use of bait in Rogue, Applegate and Umpqua river basins.” And yes, the there are some exceptions listed but these do not necessarily (and usually not at all) apply to the tributaries on those excepted rivers. It’s up to each of us to check the regs before fishing. Ignorance is no excuse and all that jazzy legal stuff.

The only thing that’s better than crabbing Yaquina Bay, where four hours with as many nets or pots will yield 20 or more keepers is crabbing just outside in the ocean where one crabber reported polling a pot with 22 keepers. While there are a few softshells showing up now, the ODFW is encouraging that crabbers keep them rather then culling them out due to a high rate of mortality.

Wind even put the hurt on pinkfin perch fishers in upper Winchester Bay and those on the lower Umpqua below Gardiner. Bay crabbing here remains fair but has been good just outside in the ocean when those pesky winds allow crossing. Even smallmouth anglers on the Umpqua had to change to hard baits or spinnerbaits with the wind kicking. It’s challenging to fish any sort of finesse lure with the wind catching the line, putting a big bow in it and making it impossible to feel the light pickup ot tap-tap-tap of a fish. Shad fishing has remined good, particularly below Sawyers Rapids.

When boats have been able to get out to the ocean from Charleston, bottomfishing has been excellent. Bay crabbing remains only fair.

Recent reports indicate a specie seldom mentioned, either in virtual print and certainly not by those closed-mouthed anglers who pursue them. Striped bass fishing is good above the town of Coquille on the Coquille River. We hope to bring readers more information on the striper fishery in Oregon as reports become available.

Crabbing has yet to pick up any steam at Coos Bay although rockfish catches remain good between the jetties.

Only the wind prevented boats from launching out of Gold Beach over the past week but when they were able to get out, catches of lingcod and rockfish remained hot. During that time, with the lower Rogue’s 70-degree water temperatures well above Chinook’s comfort level, springers kegged in the bay, allowing trollers to have their way with them. This situation was short-lived, however, for as soon as the water temps dropped a few degrees, the salmon beat caudals upstream, putting an end to the Rogue Bay troll fishery, at least for now. Chinook catches are spotty on the lower Rogue as the run winds down. Middle river salmon fishers haven’t been able to catch a break this season and they ain’t gettin’ one this weekend. It has been poor on the Grants Pass stretch with salmon rushing through giving nary a glance at bait or lure and with the water level and flow stable and summer steelhead a no-show in this section, there’s nothing to indicate this situation might change. The upper Rogue has continued to shine, at least by comparison with other options on the river. Outflow from Lost Creek Reservoir was dropped to 2,600 cfs a week ago today (Thursday) and it has remained there since. Still, the upper river offers the most appealing water temperatures, hence Chinook catches have remained fair but steady. Baits of sand shrimp and cured eggs are taking fish with the weeds getting too thick for plug pullers to fish effectively. Summer steelhead are being taken occasionally although mid-June is quite early for them to show.

With halibut fishing open seven days a week on the coast south of Humbug Mountain, ocean anglers out of Brookings have been picking up some fair-sized fish in about 180 feet of water, mostly on baits of large herring. Boats fishing just outside the harbor entrance are doing well for rockfish and lingcod on jigs. Chinook have yet to make an appearance in any manner but the occasional hookup here and there. In a remarkable demonstration of the abundance of baitfish this year. Herring, sardines, smelt  shad (the latter anywhere from four to six inches long) are being taken by anglers using small jigs, catching these diminutive baitfish almost as fast as they can get their line in the water and out again. Not evident in baitfish catches are krill, a favorite of Chinook and other salty critters which are nonetheless just as abundant in the ocean outside Brookings Harbor. The combination of a strong baitfish showing and good krill populations is a Chinook magnet, lending even greater credence to the ‘any day now’ prediction regarding offshore salmon fishing that we keep hearing from south coast sporting goods retailers and hard-core anglers.

Trout fishing has been slow to fair for larger fish at Diamond Lake. There are still the occasional rainbow taken here which qualify for measurement in pounds rather than inches with the Cheese Hole and shrimp beds providing best results. Nightcrawlers and Power Bait remain the most productive baits.