Central & South Oregon Coast Fishing Reports for Aug 19th

One angler who traveled from Wyoming took his 40-footer out of Yaquina this week, traveling 65 miles out with only fair results but mentioned that offshore crabbing was good. Crab quality has improved after the recent molt and their shells are starting to firm up.

Nearshore halibut anglers had the best week yet through August 7th, landing nearly 4,000 pounds of fish inside the 40-fathom curve but courteously leaving another 9,000 pounds or 36% of the quota for the rest of us. Over the past weekend, a trio of guys who like big ‘buts all caught fish just under the 50-inch mark out of Newport over the past weekend. Crabbing has been a bonus for boats launching here as two pots yielded 31 good-sized Dungeness.

Anglers targeting deep water for halibut will have another opportunity this weekend as All-Depth Halibut will be open Friday and Saturday, August 18th and 19th with 81% or lots of fish (over 40,00 pounds) remaining in the quota.

Those fishing the seven-day-a-week halibut season open from Humbug Mountain to the California border have, in the past, enjoyed a seemingly never-ending season as this area went over quota but (due to quota juggling) didn’t close. Such mathematical manipulation has been unnecessary with over 80% of this quota remaining as well as of August 7th. Catches in water around 200 feet deep and due west of the Thomas Creek bridge have been good for anglers using big jigs or large sardines bumped off the bottom.

Tuna fishing has been challenging over the past week due to rough seas and high winds. Albacore anglers have been running 30 to 50 miles out of Charleston and coming back with only four to six tuna per angler when they have been able to fish at all. An option here is to troll for Chinook in Coos Bay as word this week is that a slug of ‘em just arrived and catches have been good. Bay crabbing has been decent but results remain even better in the ocean.

There have been a few boats exploring Yaquina Bay and river for Chinook. And while fish have been seen rolling, no reports of any salmon caught or even hooked. Part of the problem may well be the water temperature which has been quite close to 70 degrees with weather conditions unlikely to improve this situation over the coming week.

Anglers have been keeping a close eye on the waters of the lower Siuslaw and Alsea for that first, elusive Chinook but so far, none have been reported. Sure, anglers tend to keep quiet about such things but we have our feelers out & will let you know when we know!

It’s early for Winchester Bay and Umpqua Chinook although a few have been taken by trollers working the water around Reedsport. This fishery should be productive in late August and early September so sharpen those hooks!

Popular Oregon Angler and blogger, Pete Heley (peteheley.com) reports from Reedsport, “The biggest news at Winchester Bay is the improved crabbing success by dock-bound crabbers. Of course, boat crabbers in the lower portion of Half Moon Bay and in the ocean at depths of 50 to 60 feet are doing even better. With the continued decrease in Umpqua River flows, sublegal crabs are a decreasing nuisance as the salinity of the lower river gradually increases. Large, but un-keepable female crabs continue to be a nuisance.

This pot had 22 legal crabs in it. (photo courtesy of (The Umpqua Angler – 541-852-9889)


“Ocean salmon anglers can only keep Chinook salmon of at least 24-inches in length and ocean salmon fishing has been disappointing. Salmon fishing on the Umpqua River between Winchester Bay and Reedsport has generally been slow, but some of the Chinook salmon recently hooked have been hogs. Last Saturday, several salmon were landed that weighed more than 30 pounds. A few of the salmon have had their upriver migration thwarted by warm water near Reedsport and have been in the river long enough to start showing color.

“Anglers casting spinners from the bank at such locations as near the Gardiner Boat Ramp, Half Moon Bay and Osprey Point are hooking a few salmon each day. Some of these salmon, virtually all of which have been Chinooks, have been big and most have escaped, sometimes after a lengthy battle with plenty of witnesses. But not all of them have got away.

“Last Saturday, Mike Yeoman of Eugene used a green one-ounce spinner to hook and land a bright 32-pound Chinook while fishing at Osprey Point. Fishing should continue to improve as coho salmon will begin supplementing the yet to peak Chinook fishery.

“While visiting the ODFW office in Charleston last Friday, I was quickly convinced that there was absolutely no chance of there being a wild coho season on Oregon’s coastal rivers I was also convinced that there would not be a quota adjustment to the upcoming nonselective ocean coho season, despite the fact that ninety four percent of the 26,000 ocean fin clipped coho quota were uncaught. The quota for the upcoming nonselective ocean coho season will remain at 7,500 coho and the season will begin on September 3rd. Good fishing conditions may mean it will be a very short season.

“Quite a few anglers have bought 2-rod fishing licenses now that they are legal on the lower Umpqua River and other rivers on the Oregon coast. I can hardly wait to see how different fishing the “Mud Hole”, where Winchester Creek enters Winchester Bay’s East Boat Basin, will be when most of the people fishing it will be using two rods. Some will be casting spinners or spoons while fishing a bobber and bait rigged second rod and others will be using two bobber and bait rods – perhaps one using salmon roe and one using sand shrimp or anchovies. It should be interesting and crowded when the salmon arrive.

“Tuna have moved farther offshore and will most likely not be a viable option for anglers fishing the upcoming summer halibut opener this Friday and Saturday. Only 9,482 pounds of halibut were landed on the first two-day summer opener and 40,062 pounds, or 81 percent of the summer all-depth quota remains.

“The nearshore halibut season, which opened June 1st has 9,000 pounds or 36 percent of the quota remaining. The nearshore halibut taken this season have averaged 27 pounds in weight – which is quite a bit heavier than the average halibut taken during the all-depth season. However, it is difficult to effectively target nearshore halibut and they are usually an incidental catch by anglers targeting other fish species.

“Steelhead guides on central Oregon’s Deschutes River are complaining that this season they are catching more smallmouth bass than they are summer steelhead. Warmer water temperatures in the lower Deschutes is the likely reason that many Columbia River smallmouths have moved up into the lower Deschutes. Some central Oregon anglers are blaming changes made to the way water now leaves Lake Billy Chinook and Lake Simtustus to aid the new salmon program intended to bring salmon back to the Deschutes River system above Lake Billy Chinook.

“Usually when a state record bass record is broken, it is broken by a few ounces – so it was most unusual that the new record Largemouth bass for Washington State caught last Thursday from Bosworth Lake beat the previous state record from Banks Lake by more than 15 ounces. Even more unusual, the 12.53 pound lunker was an incredibly chunky post-spawn fish that only measured 23-inches in length and bit a Senko-type lure.

“Bosworth Lake is a 103 acre Snohomish County lake that is relatively deep with a seasonal closure. If the seasonal closure was a factor in producing the state record bass, it bodes well for Oregon’s next state record coming from Crane Prairie or Wickiup reservoirs which also have seasonal closures.

“For most of the last six decades, Washington’s state record largemouth has been heavier than Oregon’s. But since 2002, a 12 pound 1.6 ounce largemouth from Ballenger Pond in Springfield, Oregon topped anything Washington has produced. But now, once again, Oregon is trailing Washington when it comes to the size of its state record largemouth bass.

“There is hope. The state record largemouth bass from Massachusetts, considered by most to be a northern state, is 15 pounds eight ounces – and it was caught by an angler fishing through the ice. So it is unlikely that Oregon’s largemouth bass record is maxed out.’

Charters out of Gold Beach experienced great results for ling cod early last week, then the bite died. Rockfish catches have remained good (and colorful), however, so boats have returned with limits of near limits of mostly black and red bottom fish. Ocean crabbing has also been worthwhile. Reports this week indicate the Chinook bite has slowed in Rogue Bay but others say fish are still being caught. While it may be true that those 30 to 50 fish days are a less common occurrence, Jot’s Resort which rewards big fish with a lapel/hat pin commemorating the event, says they’ve given out a lot of pins for as early6 as it is in the season. Trolling a smaller anchovy on a Rogue Spinner rig has been most productive here. Fishing has been best near the mouth and around the bridge. Bank anglers are catching Chinook in the Indian Creek area on pink Rooster Tails or Little Cleo spoons for Chinook. There’s so little action on the middle Rogue that it’s not recommended at this time. In an effort to improve migratory conditions on the Rogue, Army Corps of Engineers is increasing downriver flows. Outflow from Lost Greek Reservoir into the upper Rogue was increased from 1,700 to 1,800 cfs on august 15th, then to 2,100 cfs on August 16th. The report from Cole Rivers Hatchery is of a total so far to 1,251 fish which does not include 779 steelhead recycled downstream to Denman Wildlife Area. That would indicate the cumulative total at the hatchery is 5,000 fish greater than the 10-year average.

Fishing for chinook salmon and fin-clipped coho is closed off Southern Oregon and will reopen for the Labor Day weekend.