Central & South Coast Reports Fishing Reports for April 22nd

Chinook fishing is already open and salmon are reported by commercial boats from Newport north. Much of the early fishery is for Klamath and Sacramento river Chinook. Both rivers are expecting fewer fish this year because of the drought and El Nino.

Sportfishing for Chinook on the central coast will last through Oct. 31.

A coho quota of 26,000 hatchery fish (55,000 in 2015) was set for Cape Falcon south to the California border, with dates of June 25 through Aug. 7 (or quota) for Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain, near Port Orford.

Managers also allowed a un-marked (wild) coho season Sept. 3-30, or a quota of 7,500 fish (12,500 in 2015).

The Oregon commission will be asked to approve an Elk/Sixes River ocean bubble fishery the same as last year, but reduce the Chetco bubble fishery to two weekends, Oct. 1-3 and 8-9.

Rockfish and lingcod catches excellent out of Depoe Bay this week and ocean crabbing has improved so be certain to take some pots to drop offshore.

Author and self-publisher of Oregon fishing books, Pete Heley (peteheley.com) reports from Reedsport, “Bryan Gill, of the Umpqua Angler, reported very good springer fishing last Thursday when his clients boated four springers while fishing near Elkton. They were using spinner and anchovy rigs. For three of his four clients, their salmon were their first springers ever [Story and photo follows, Ed.].

“It’s somewhat of a secret, but there has been more springers caught in the lower Umpqua River this year than any recent year – and a good percentage of them have been finclipped fish. Most of the salmon have been taken by spinner flingers at Half Moon Bay, but a few have been caught by anglers trolling herring near Reedsport. The big fish in this year’s Wells Creek Inn spring Chinook contest is now over 32 pounds.

“While no shad catches were reported last week at Sawyers Rapids, the early morning springer fishing has been good and several shad were caught near Yellow Creek.

“The Fish Haven/Duckett’s dock at the upper end of Loon Lake has been fishing very good for crappie and surprisingly, at least this early in the season, for bluegills. Another lake ripe for excellent panfishing is Ben Irving Reservoir where the small coves on both sides of the boat launch are absolutely loaded with crappies and bluegills. Cooper Creek Reservoir should also be hot for panfish, but last week it seemed that every angler was targeting planted rainbow trout.

“The sand dunes lakes between North Bend and Hauser are full and their future fishing looks promising, but their fish populations, reduced by last year’s late season low water, may be tough to find this year. Always somewhat inconsistent, the beach angling for redtailed surfperch, also called “pinkfins”, has occasionally been very, very good – and a few pinkfins are starting to be caught above Winchester Bay.

“The Triangle/South Jetty Area has had little fishing pressure directed at lingcod, but the fishing for greenling and rockfish is much improved. The excellent fishing for striped surfperch has dropped off, most likely due to their spawning season winding down.

“Most of the area lakes are starting to produce good fishing for largemouth and while the fishing should hold up for the next several weeks, numbers-wise, the numbers of big bass caught will drop way off after early May.

“Umpqua River smallmouth fishing is getting better and the river is clear enough to fish soft plastics effectively. Fishing for smallmouth with crank baits might be better on the Coquille River, which is less clear than the Umpqua. Both rivers have no limits on the number of bass that may be kept.

“Idaho’s Snake River produced yet another state record sturgeon for their new “catch and release division. This fish, caught on April 8th, measured 111-inches and replaces a 98.5-inch sturgeon caught less than a month earlier. Idaho catch and release records that will almost certainly be broken this spring are bluegill (9.5-inches) and white crappie (9.375-inches.

“Virtually all of the Florence-area lakes were stocked this week as follows: Alder Lake (850 legals, 225 12-inchers and 36 16-inchers); Buck Lake (850 legals, 200 12-inchers and 36 16-inchers); Cleawox Lake (350 legals and 36 16-inchers); Dune Lake (850 legals, 225 12-inchers and 36 16-inchers); Elbow Lake (600 12-inchers); Erhart Lake (200 legals); Georgia Lake (150 legals); Lost Lake (500 12-inchers); Mercer Lake (2,250 12-inchers); Munsel Lake (3,150 12-inchers and 150 16-inchers); North Georgia Lake (150 legals); Perkins Lake (250 legals and 200 12-inchers); Siltcoos Lagoon (850 legals, 350 12-inchers and 106 16-inchers); Siltcoos Lake (1,000 12-inchers) and Sutton Lake (1,500 12-inchers).”

Umpqua Spring Chinook Report From Bryan Gill.

”Yesterday was a very exciting day on the Umpqua for springer fishing near the Elkton area, 3 out of the four clients had never caught a springer before so it’s always fun being there on somebody’s first catch. We were using anchovies with a spinner blade in front of and it seemed to work real well. Two out of the four fish had sea lice on them. Thank you Darla and Paul from Silo and Keith and Sonja from Medford. The couples had not seen each other since high school. What a reunion! These Umpqua River Springers were caught near Elkton.”

Photo courtesy of Bryan Gill (“The Umpqua Angler”).

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Crabbing is reported as poor in Winchester Bay, producing only a few per trap and those have been far short of legal sized.

Limits of lings and rockfish are coming in daily from Coos Bay and Brookings when anglers are getting out. Lingcod are spawning and aggressive. There also appears to be no shortage of them. The ling limit is two fish, and jigging just off kelp beds is very good.

Anglers with spring Chinook in their sights should be rewarded this week if they stay alert and remain versatile. There are fish in the river as the angler who took a chrome 30-pounder this week would attest. Rain starting Friday will encourage fresh salmon to enter but the water level and flow will be fluctuating well into the coming week so fish to the water conditions to increase the odds of a hookup. Flows in the Agness stretch are forecast to increase from around 5,800 cfs tomorrow, April 22nd, to 7,000 cfs by mid-day Saturday. It’s then predicted to drop through Sunday. Early spring Chinook salmon continue to trickle into Cole Rivers Hatchery, while the upper Rogue’s winter steelhead run is starting to heat up but is still underwhelming. The upper Rogue winter steelhead are biting a mix of worms, pink plastic worms, yarn balls and plugs. The outflow from Lost Creek Reservoir was reduced to 2700 CFS on Monday, April 18th. Anglers river-wide can keep one wild winter steelhead 24 inches or longer per day and five per year through April. However, most of the wild fish are getting dark or already have spawned, so they should be released unharmed.

PFMC last week set ocean salmon seasons for 2016 at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday. The Oregon area spanning Humbug Mountain south to the Oregon/California border and which also encompasses the Port of Brookings Harbor will have two separate seasons — a slightly delayed first season and a second season that specifically covers the Labor Day Weekend. In the Oregon Klamath Management Zone (commonly referred to as the KMZ, the minimum size for Chinook is 24 inches. The coho season will run June 25-Aug. 7 with a 26,000 hatchery coho quota. Typically out of Brookings the best ocean salmon fishing during the summer occurs in June and July.

Lingcod and rockfish are biting well out of the Port of Brookings and now the crabbing is starting to pick up as well. Often, rockfish are feeding near the water’s surface at this time of year so a couple of lightweight rod that’ll throw Rapala-type lures are likely to see some action. Plugs that dive three to six feet will do well now. Keep an eye out; if rockfish are feeding on the surface, you’ll see ’em.

A reminder to anglers that the Chetco and Elk rivers are closed for the year. The Applegate is closed but will reopen late in May.

As predicted in this space last week, Diamond Lake is nearly ice-free. There has been a couple boats out every day for the last 4 days. No report on how they are doing but when the water is this cold the fish bite soft. Use small amounts of bait and make sure the hook points are exposed. The north boat ramp is the only ramp the is available at this time.

Poor Umpqua Hot Springs
By Jamie Hale | The Oregonian/OregonLive, updated April 20, 2016 at 7:54 PM

The natural hot springs, about 70 miles east of Roseburg in the Umpqua National Forest, has been dealt another blow by the U.S. Forest Service, which on Wednesday announced it will be ending overnight camping at the popular spot.

The springs originally closed last September after water tests found dangerously high levels of the bacterium E. coli. Two weeks later, the water tested for unusually low levels of bacteria, but extremely high levels of bleach – the result of visitors allegedly trying to combat the closure by cleaning the water, according to forest officials.

Read two stories about the Hot Springs in Random Links.