Central & South Coast Fishing Reports for Sept 18th

Depoe Bay bottom fishing continues to be good with some days better than others but overall pretty darned good. Rockfish are biting well and a few ling cod are being caught every trip. Crabbing continues good and the grade has improved.

Some commercial fishers are hoping for another couple of tuna trips in September while others have given it up for the year. Sport tuna anglers on the other hand are looking at decent forecasts for Friday and Saturday this week and plotting expeditions out of Newport or Charleston. Go get ’em, guys, but be sure to share a report!

Despite improving conditions and better water temperatures offshore, salmon fishing has mostly been in the doldrums out of central Oregon ports.

In light of slow salmon fishing reports, the Ocean Salmon Management Program Preliminary 2015 Oregon Ocean Recreational Salmon Season Update of the Salmon Fishery Estimates for the Area from Cape Falcon to the Oregon/California Border indicates that, as of the latest update on September 13th, only 2,486 fish (12% of the quota) had been caught. For the latest data and a port-by-port catch breakdown, click here: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/salmon/docs/2015_SOF_Sport_Update.pdf

The summer central coast all-depth halibut fishery will be open September 18 and 19 (Friday and Saturday) with 11,978 pounds (26%) of the quota remaining. Whether or not additional days will be open depends on how much quota remains after Sept. 19. The nearshore halibut fishery is open 7 days a week.

There has been some interest in fishing for sea-run cutthroat trout this year but now the fall fishing is in progress and catches are improving. Fish dark, slow, boiling water for cutties with spinners or brightly-colored flies. It’s worth noting that these fish will often linger in the shade of overhanging brush along the banks as well.

A few Chinook have been taken in Yaquina Bay and upriver but overall it has been slow. Without regard to precipitation, try this one around the weekend of September 26th when bigger tides should get some action going.

Last week, we addressed the topic of wild coho (open in selected rivers now) and the lake fishery (Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile, opening October 1). Regarding the latter, be aware that once an unmarked coho is tagged, that angler is done for the day; no more fishing on that lake, even for other species. Also, even with a two-rod permit, only one rod is allowed in these fisheries. While on this topic, it’s worth a mention that at roughly four feet on the depth gauge, Tenmile Lake is the lowest in memory. Detailed regulations here.

The limit on lake-caught wild Coho is one per day (plus one wild jack) and five for the season (from all lakes, not each). While TGF does not condone circumventing the law regarding fish limits, it has become a fairly common practice that, once an anglers seasonal limit of five wild coho is filled, that angler may purchase a one-day license for another fish. It’s a rather expensive way to gamble on the outcome, but many will do so.

While fishing is far less than “lights out” at Waldport, a few are being caught from the jaws to Drift Creek and occasionally it would qualify as crowded for that entire length.

Trollers working Siuslaw tidewater are picking up good numbers of Chinook and in many cases, limits. The area around the Highway 101 Bridge is popular and productive but fish are available above that area and boaters will find it less crowded.

Chinook trollers have done well at times on the lower Umpqua and Winchester Bay with the best fishing seems to be above or below Reedsport. Bay crabbing has been slow this week. The wild coho fishery that started Tuesday this week on the Umpqua River does not have a quota this year is scheduled to continue through October 15th, the ODFW has the power to enact an “emergency closure” at any time. Wild coho may be taken only up to the Scottsdale Bridge. Above that point, a Chinook fishery is developing at Sawyers Rapids and coho will gather in the pool below the Chute but this is above the deadline for wild silvers.

The Coquille River has been producing Chinook to anglers trolling plug-cut herring behind flashers with the best results occurring from the Rocky Point Boat Ramp down into tidewater.

Coos Bay trollers had another good week dragging herring in the area between the Highway 101 Bridge and the airport. With the river warm, this fishery will endure until rain cools water temperatures. Bay crabbing has been good with limits coming to crabbers working pots near the jetties.

Gold beach has been excellent for boats launching offshore for ling cod and fair to good for rockfish. Trolling for salmon in Rogue Bay has been good at times but is expected to improve as these fish are holding rather than running upstream. Without rain and with low water in Lost Creek Reservoir, there isn’t an option for the Army Corps of Engineers to release water into the Rogue to relieve current conditions. According to NOAA prediction charts for water flow in the coming week, it’s a flat-line. This means salmon entering Rogue Bay won’t be tempted by low, warm water in the river and will instead hang out in the bay which is great news for trollers. As a matter of fact, this condition has been reflected in results for bay anglers over the past week and it should only get better. on a brighter note, catches of jacks and half-pounders are good at Agness with fly fishers getting in on the low-water action. Unfortunately, you’d have to go clear back to 1973 to find a point at which the Rogue was an lower than it is right now. There has been a little action on the middle river for Chinook and an occasional summer steelhead has been caught and while it isn’t as dead as it has been most of the season, it’s still pretty slow. The upper Rogue flow out of Lost Creek is stable at 1,200 cfs. In the flies only section of the upper river, fishing for summer steelhead has picked up for those swinging streamers through the riffles. All chinook fishing is now closed upstream of Fishers Ferry.

Warm water nearshore has produced a few exotic species to anglers this year but the large thresher shark taken recently was somewhat of a surprise to all. This fish came prior to the ocean salmon fishing closure to an angler trolling offshore. He fought the fish for two hours. Ocean salmon fishing out of Brookings closed September 7th so anglers since that date have been anticipating the opening of the Chetco Ocean Terminal Fishery, more commonly referred to as the Chetco Bubble October 1st through the 11th. Fishing is predicted to be good in the ocean when October rolls around and also in the Chetco bay prior to that. Owing to a fairly dismal salmon season this year, the October fishery will shine in numbers and commonly produces the largest Chinook of the year.

Trout fishing is fair at Diamond Lake but generally improves as the weather cools around this time of year. In the mornings the Spinners can produce but once the sun is on the water, fish bait.

Not an Oregon catch but a jaw dropper regardless. This 165-pound opah was taken by an H&M Landing charter boat out of San Diego the first week of September. A gift from El Niño, no doubt!