Surfperch fishing has been excellent up and down the coast. To get yours, find a steep beach and throw baits of shrimp, mussels, kelp worms or even night crawlers.
Charters out of Depoe Bay have been taking limits of rockfish and lingcod this week. Recreational boats should be aware that fishing deeper than 30 fathoms is disallowed as of April 1st. this restriction is scheduled to remain in effect through September. See Random Links, below, for a list of 30-fathom waypoints.
Offshore crabbing had slowed out of central Oregon ports but a good report on Wednesday this week may be an indication of an uptick. Well know more in the coming week. One tip we received was with regard to depth. Evidently, 40 or 50 feet of water isn’t producing but pots in 70 to 120 are producing fair to good catches north out of Newport.
The Siuslaw, which has nothing to offer in the way of a spring Chinook fishery, closed at the end of March.
Spring Chinook are continuing to enter the Umpqua River system with a few taken a Scottsburg this week and more on the come. There aren’t great numbers but anglers are expecting to see fresh fish in the next couple of weeks.
Author of several books on fishing, Pete Heley (PeteHeley.com) reports from Reedsport this week, “While it is currently only an experiment, the ODFW’s evolving view on the legal usage of 2-rod license is encouraging. Currently the new rule only effects the Willamette River and its tributaries, but it would seem that, in the future, their expanded use on other river systems would be more likely.
“What this angler would like to eventually see, is an end to the ruling that 2-rod licenses become invalid on October 1st on Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes when their coho salmon seasons kick in. Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes seldom have any salmon in them until mid-November. In the meantime, some of those lake’s best yellow perch angling isn’t legal for 2-rod usage. Essentially, what the ODFW is doing to the anglers on these lakes that have purchased 2-rod licenses, is collect the full price of these licenses and then take back 25 percent of their usage period – and without adjustment or compensation.
“Last year, the run of red-tailed surfperch that spawn in the Umpqua River just above Winchester Bay, showed up the last week of April. There have been a few optimistic exploratory trips for them this year with no reports on fishing success. However, last week a number of red-tail surfperch carcasses were discovered in the dumpster near the fish-cleaning station at Winchester Bay’s East Boat Basin. Whether the perch were caught upstream on the Umpqua or from one of the area’s nearby beaches is open to conjecture.
“The first spring Chinook was turned into the annual contest put on by the Wells Creek Inn – ‘and at twenty-nine and a half pounds, it was an impressive fish. However, there are persistent, but unverified reports of a 47 pounder taken recently. Springer fishing has been good the last few weeks with most of the salmon taken being small to medium-sized fish.
“Anglers wanting to target pre-spawn smallmouth on the Umpqua River are running out of time. Some of the bass in the warmer slack water areas have already spawned. Once spawning is complete, the fishing will actually improve numbers-wise, but big smallmouth will definitely be harder to come by.
“A very few lingcod have been recently landed by anglers fishing large baits off Winchester Bay’s South Jetty, but most of the fishing pressure has been directed at striped surfperch – and fishing for them with sand shrimp has been very good.
“It wasn’t well publicized, but bottom fishing in the ocean at depths greater than 180 feet closed at the end of March – and won’t reopen until October.
“All the waters that have received trout plants this year should have fair numbers of stocked trout in them. Anglers wanting to fish somewhere shortly after it receives a trout plant would do well to target Carter and Cleawox lakes which were planted this week with 2,000 and 2,500 legal rainbows respectively and Cleawox also received 150 16-inchers, as well. Virtually all the waters along the Oregon coast north of Waldport that receive trout plants were also stocked this week.
“Crappie fishing should perk up any day as they enter their immediate pre-spawn period in Cooper Creek and Ben Irving reservoirs and Loon Lake. Some big largemouth are also being caught in most western Oregon bass fisheries.”
They say there’s something special about a Rogue springer. Who’s they? Certainly those who fish and live in the area and definitely anyone who has hooked one will attest to their brute strength and adversarial ability in the water. ‘They’ also say that these salmon are the best of any on the table. Better than those caught elsewhere? We won’t say a word to tarnish that mystique. Despite the first spring Chinook of 2016 arriving at Cole Rivers Hatchery facility on the last day of March, catches do not reflect a river full of salmon. Springers are being taken on the lower Rogue but mot a lot of ’em and not too often. Guide boats and anglers familiar with this fishery and considered pretty good at it are getting perhaps a single Chinook to their respective boats for a day’s effort and if it’s a wild fish, back it goes. The lower river, which has been dropping since the last week in March, is certainly the right place to try for a Rogue springer. Don’t get too comfortable with the water conditions, though, as the river at Agness is forecast to start rising tomorrow, April 8th, and continue through the weekend. If the color stays good, it will still fish although a switch form plugs to Spin ‘n’ Glos and bait may be in order for a few days. Springers don’t seem to be in evidence on the Grants Pass stretch despite that single fish entering the hatchery last week. Winter steelhead are still being taken although the action slowed of the past week or ten days. Not so on the upper Rogue, however, where winter steelheading has been good with fresh fish moving through and entering the hatchery in good number. Steelheaders are still allowed one wild winter up to five for the year.
Boats launching out of Brookings have been reporting good catches of ling cod although few large fish. The average ling taken here recently is 10 pounds but that’s a great fish for the table. It has been mostly limits for offshore anglers although ling cod have been so thick that hooking rockfish has been challenging for some. One sport boat dropped lines just outside the harbor, limited out for rockfish, then hit deeper haunts to fill out with lings on Wednesday, April 6th. The Chetco is closed to fishing as of April 1st.
Fishing on the Elk River closed on April 1st.
Warm temperatures in the area of Diamond Lake this week have softened the ice with the surface showing open water in areas around the banks. The resort here has called this latest thawing event “the beginning of the end of the ice.” While it will be several weeks until the lake is free of ice, trout will be cruising for food – mostly insects – in any open water, creating an opportunity for anglers. Try bait under a bobber or Power Bait on a leader long enough to suspend it above the weeds.