Central & South Oregon Coast Fishing Reports for April 15th

When central Oregon coastal conditions have allowed boats to launch out of Depoe Bay, bottom fishing has continued to reward with rockfish limits for ‘most everybody as well as decent catches of ling cod.

The All-Depth Halibut Spring season starts May 12th with opportunities following on Thursday, Friday, Saturday until the 4th of June, barring the quota filling prior to that date. We have been granted a 15% greater quota this year than last which means more fish to catch and potentially a little longer season.

There has been a paucity of reports regarding offshore Chinook fishing, despite the season being open for nearly a month. One report today offered a glimmer of hope, indicating commercial efforts out of Newport have been hitting Chinook four to five miles out.

Crabbing has been slow in Winchester Bay as it has in most bays and estuaries. Fishing for pinkfin surf perch has been good from area beaches but these fish have yet to start their spawning run at which time they’ll enter the bay by the hundreds.

Pete Heley, a regular TGF contributor, writer, blogger and self-publisher of books on fishing in Oregon and Washington, shares this with us, “It was the only strike I had in an entire night of casting a black buzzbait on southern Oregon’s Lake Selmac, but it ended with me landing my personal best buzzbait bass – a fish of about seven pounds – and proved a fitting test for a new type of fishing line I was using.

“The line is Gliss, a line that handles somewhat like monofilament, but is slicker and thinner for its breaking strength than the super braids. Like the super braids, Gliss has minimal stretch – making it a good choice for fishing soft plastic baits and for fishing at night. In fact, the 24# Gliss I was using appeared to be thinner than my 20# Power Pro super braid.

“Dwayne Schwartz, a very experienced bass angler, was fishing Cleawox Lake for trout last week when a bass that he estimated to weigh at least eight pounds blasted the trout he was reeling in. Unfortunately, Dwayne was fishing with Berkley Nanofil that only tested one pound. At least he’ll have the “visuals” for a very long time.

“South coast angler advocate and a genuinely hard worker, Steve Godin, resigned last week as president of the South Coast Chapter of the CCA of Oregon. (Coastal Conservation Association). Steve felt, as I and many others do I, that the organization was underserving this state chapter and every state chapter outside the Portland area or the Columbia River drainage. Steve is going to attempt to start a more locally-centered fishing club or organization – and when he does, I will most certainly join it.

“A question recently posted on a major northwest fishing website asked where a veteran could get his free fishing license? I was surprised that none of the responders informed the veteran that in order to qualify for a free “anything”, he would have to be certified as a disabled vet – and be able to show documentation to prove it. He would then have to get “the ball rolling” at a regional ODFW office.
The best “outdoorsy benefit a non-disabled veteran can get is to be able to pay resident rates for his fishing and hunting licenses and tags for the state in which he is stationed.

“There is a new website on Facebook titled “Mingus Park Bassmasters”. Chad Arnold set up the Facebook page and reports that he and some of his friends have landed largemouth bass to eight pounds from the tiny pond. In years past. The pond has also supported populations of bluegills, brown bullheads and goldfish. It now seems a certainty that this secret micro-fishery won’t be a secret much longer.

“Both Loon Lake and Lake Marie were stocked with a thousand legal rainbows this week. Coos County waters that were stocked this week include: Bradley Lake (200 16-inchers); Mingus Park Pond (2,000 legal rainbows); Upper and Lower Empire Lakes (3,000 legals and 250 16-inchers each); Powers Pond (3,000 legals and 150 16-inchers) and both North and South Tenmile Lakes (3,000 legals each).

“Smallmouth bass should be biting in the Umpqua and Coquille rivers as well Woahink and Eel lakes. The coastal bass lakes are clear except for Siltcoos which has an algae bloom and, because of it, is several degrees warmer than surrounding lakes – and fishing better. Roseburg-area lakes such as Cooper Creek and Ben Irving reservoirs are somewhat murky and warmer than Galesville Reservoir which is very clear.

“The water levels in the sand dunes lakes between North Bend and Hauser are higher than last year and while that is good for fish survival, it can also increase a lake’s surface area – making the fish more scattered and more difficult for anglers to find.”

While the rocks and jetties have been producing good catches of ling cod and rockfish in Coos Bay, crabbing has been slow recently. Steelheading remains open in the Coos River system through April 30h but anglers are reminded to pick up a permit from Weyerhaeuser to fish the South Fork Coos River above Dellwood. In the Coos Basin, one additional hatchery steelhead may be retained per day for a total aggregate of three adult fish harvested daily.

As winter steelheading is winding down on the Rogue and only a few summers have been showing their shiny faces, spring Chinook are dominating the thoughts of anglers now. Plunkers on the Lower Rogue have taken some springers fishing from Indian Creek to Huntley Park. Boat fishers are using anchovies or Kwikfish and are also getting their share by anchoring in migration routes below Canfield Riffle. Winter steelheading has picked up on the Grants Pass stretch recently with steelhead being hooked near the Applegate mouth downstream to Galice with plugs and bait equally effective this week. On the upper Rogue, outflows from Lost Creek dam were increased Thursday from 2,000 cubic feet per second to 2,600 cfs to slow the rate at which Lost Creek Lake is filling. That boosted river flows to good conditions for winter fish. While bait is taking a fish, plugs are accounting for most of the hookups here with pink and blue and gold popular colors. With the number of steelhead approaching 1,000 at Cole Rivers Hatchery, this is slightly fewer than an average year but still pretty good. Rogue River steelheaders are allowed to keep one wild winter steelhead 24 inches or longer per day and five per year through April. With most of the wild fish getting dark or are spawned out they should be released unharmed.

Anglers are reminded that the Chetco and Elk rivers are closed for the season.

According to mid-week reports from the resort at Diamond Lake, with only half or so of the lakes surface still showing signs of ice, the prediction is for complete ice-out by the coming weekend.