Central & South Oregon Coast Fishing Reports for Aug 5th

*New Two-Rod Fishing (Temporary) Regulation – Due to the confusion around this thing and the fact that, following the first round of confusion, a second update was posted by the ODFW today, August 4, here it is, plain and simple. The temporary rule is effective Aug. 4 – Oct. 31 in all coastal streams that are open to angling for Chinook salmon, hatchery coho, and hatchery steelhead. Only a single rod can be used for any other species. For $21.50, licensed anglers can purchase the right to use a second rod in certain locations of the state, including most ponds and lakes, and now, coastal streams. Those who have already paid for a two rod endorsement are good to go. Exceptions are as follows:

• Umpqua River upstream to Scottsburg Bridge (Hwy. 38).
• Rogue River upstream to the upstream deadline at the Ferry Hole Boat Ramp.
• Chetco River upstream to the Harbor Water Intake

While the Willamette system had a similar rule earlier this year, it expired on the last day of July.

The ocean and bays are open to crabbing coast wide. Crab quality has improved after the recent molt and their shells are starting to firm up.

Apparently, a heat low hanging over much of the south coast has been responsible for the high offshore winds which have plagued anglers and stopped many outdoor activities.

Offshore conditions in the week to come look much more appealing with nothing more than moderate breezes kissing the shore in the coming week from Sunday forward. At least for now. There are plenty of albacore fishing trips being planned for Sunday, as well. High winds have kept tuna anglers frustrated during the middle of the season.

To keep track of wind is a good idea and one made easier with online data sites. Pick your favorite (if you don’t already have one) from the trio of fine websites, all serving that one critical need in Random Links in the stern section of the Good Ship TGF.

Coho seasons is scheduled to have a quota of 26,000 fin-clipped coho in the selective season from June 25 through August 7, or until the quota is reached whichever comes first. The September non-selective season that will open on September 3 and continue through the earlier of September 30 or the quota 7,500 coho. At least, that’s the way it’s written.

Commercial Chinook efforts, which hook wild coho around this time of year, have said there’s an alarming absence of this fish this year. This, along with the extremely poor showing for hatchery silvers (Pete Heley covers this in his weekly report, below) has anglers as well as biologists concerned over the upcoming non-clip season. According to the ODFW, only the Rogue and South Umpqua have any hatchery coho returns.

Salmon fishing will close entirely from Humbug Mountain to the California Border on August 7, to reopen for Chinook over the three day Labor Day weekend September 3rd through 5th.

Summer all-depth halibut fishing will open for the first time on 2016 this coming Friday and Saturday, August 5th and 6th off the central Oregon coast. This is expected to be a productive fishery which will continue every other Friday and Saturday until the quota of 31,603 pounds is caught. Central coast nearshore halibut will continue with over 50% remaining in quota and halibut fishers launching south of Humbug Mountain (primarily out of Brookings) have taken only 16% of the 7,200-pound quota for that area.

Although still early to seriously consider trying the sea-run cutthroat trout fishery on the Siletz there seen to be plenty of summer steelhead available. Anglers say that when the blackberries ripen in early fall, it’s time although there are undoubtedly a few around now. Spinners work well for these fish which are seldom lure or line shy. They will take various baits but are fairly easy to hook on lures ad are a favorite of fly fishers who through brightly colored wet flies or streamers to hook them.

Winchester Bay has been slow for salmon trollers. Over the past week, one angler fished for nearly six hours, during which time he managed to land two Chinook below the bridge, both of which were about 20 pounds. Only two other fish were observed being landed over that period of time. Another sports angler, unable to cross the bar due to wind (and a wife with a preference for inshore fishing), trolled the jaws for a little over four hours on Tuesday this week before running upriver a bit to hook and land a nice Chinook, the only one brought in that day according to the checker at the dock.

And on the subject of Winchester Bay and elsewhere, Oregon author and fishing authority, Pete Heley (peteheley.com) reports from Reedsport hit week, “First, the good news – the city of Sutherlin is now the owner of Ford’s Pond and while parking space will remain a problem in the near future, the 100 acre pond is, once again legal to fish. Before being drained and closed by a private developer, the pond was a very popular fishery for largemouth bass and several species of panfish. In fact, the first time I visited the pond, there were about 30 people fishing it. During the years that it was closed, it developed a reputation for harboring some very large crappies. If another community would do likewise with Dixonville Pond, I would be a very “happy camper”.

“Multiple agencies are studying a former log pond in Yoncalla that now supports a small fraction of the fish population it had when it was under private ownership. They can study the pond “til the cows come home”, but I am convinced that what the pond’s fish most need is one or more aerators. I was first introduced to large aerators while in the Marine Corps in Southern California and fishing lake Henshaw. During the hottest part of the summer, virtually every fish in the lake would be in the vicinity of the large aerator located near the dam and while the aerator was operating, the fish, mostly crappies, were active and bit well. Over the years, I’ve come across many Oregon lakes and ponds that could benefit from a large aerator

“One of the most achievable things on my fishing bucket list is to catch a tiger trout in Diamond Lake. Of course they have also been planted in Fish Lake near Medford and in Phillips Reservoir in Eastern Oregon, but very few tiger trout have been caught in those waters. Tiger trout in Oregon are strictly catch and release anyway. The tiger trout plant in Diamond Lake was modest as well – Less than two six to seven-inch trout per acre. According to an ODFW biologist stationed in Roseburg, the monitoring station located at the lake’s Lake Creek outlet has not yet counted any tiger trout attempting to leave the lake.

“Because tiger trout are a sterile hybrid and easily controlled, population-wise and fish eaters, they appear to be a useful tool in the fish-stocking future of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“Oregon also started a minimal tiger musky program in Phillips Reservoir. Regarding both tiger trout and tiger muskies, the ODFW could learn much from the biologists working for the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). While I do not agree with every decision the WDFW makes, they have their tiger trout and tiger musky programs nailed down to near perfection.

“While Oregon’s tiger musky program began with a plant of 25,000 four to five inch fish, consecutive low water years due to drought almost certainly had a negative impact on survival rates by making the fish more prone to predation by birds.

“Washington stocks tiger muskies in seven lakes or reservoirs and they are strictly catch and release – until they reach 50-inches in length. Tiger muskies live about ten years and seldom reach 50-inches, but a few in Curlew Lake have. Consequently, Washington is among the leading states when it comes to tiger muskies caught and released.

“Washington’s successful tiger trout program is an even bigger success. At least four tiger trout have been caught from different Washington lakes that weighed more than 13 pounds and the current state record of 18.49 pounds is the heaviest tiger trout landed anywhere except for the current world record taken from Lake Michigan back in 1978.

“The ocean salmon season for fin-clipped coho will end on August 7th and through July 24th, less than six percent of the quota has been caught. Hopefully, there will be an adjustment made when the nonselective ocean coho season arrives. The quota is 7,500 fish and the season will run from September 3rd until September 30th or when the quota is reached – if earlier.

“The summer all-depth halibut season for the central Oregon coast will be Friday and Saturday, August 5th and 6th. The quota is 51,603 pounds and if the quota is not met, back-up dates will be Friday and Saturday of every other week.

“The season limit for Pacific halibut is six fish, but the daily limit is one halibut of any length and while the possession limit on the water (at sea) is one halibut, the possession limit on land is three.

“Wickiup Reservoir is fishing very well for largemouth bass and fly anglers are enjoying similar success at Davis Lake which is flyfishing only with barbless flies. Rainbow trout and whitefish are also available at Davis and Wickiup and Wickiup also has some brook trout and brown bullheads. Wickiup also likely contains bluegills and black crappies, since both species are well established in Crane Prairie Reservoir, another Deschutes River Reservoir located just upstream from Wickiup.

“An angler recently caught an eight pound seven-ounce largemouth bass during a bass tournament on Tahkenitch Lake. The post-spawn fish most likely weighed close to ten pounds just before it actually spawned – most likely in May.

“On Sunday afternoon, a very poor week of fishing at Winchester Bay was capped off by the “Dunefest” evacuation – and it wasn’t just at Winchester Bay, where the wind blew so hard that tuna fishing, ocean salmon fishing and ocean crabbing were not options. People and vehicles created major congestion and traffic hazards at the Elk Viewing Area where the adult bull elk were huddled in a tight group near Highway 38 and a surprising number of jet skis were churning the upper several miles of Umpqua River tidewater to a froth – thank God for next week.”

High winds in the Gold Beach area over the past week and early part of August forced even guide boats to troll Rogue Bay rather than fish offshore. While windy conditions hampered effort, catches have been worthwhile and the bay continues to produce early fall chinook for bank and boat anglers. Trolling smaller anchovies with the Rogue River Spinner rig has been most productive with the most hookups coming from the areas near the mouth and around the bridge. While it’s obvious that a good number of jacks are in the bay, there are adult Chinook to 30 pounds as well. Low flows trickle downstream, so-to-speak, and with flows predicted to be in the 2,000 cfs range at Agness, anglers can expect progressively lower flows at various upstream locations as the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is reserving water for the upcoming fall Chinook run which will crank up in just a few weeks. A few late springers and some early summer steelhead are being caught by middle Rogue anglers but this stretch has been the ‘third choice’ on the Rogue for a while now. Despite scorching afternoon heat, spring Chinook and summer steelhead are showing up regularly in catches on the upper river. Cole Rivers Hatchery Facility reports the best early summer steelhead return since 2013 and well above the 10-year average. Mornings are more productive, but fishing has been decent all day on cloudy days.

Boats launching out of Brookings have faced the same problems as those in other Oregon locations this week: too much wind. As offshore conditions return to a manageable state, however, ocean anglers will find plenty of willing rockfish as well as ling cod just outside the harbor. Most tuna fishers toe their boats up to Coos Bay to chase forked tail.

Diamond Lake trout fishers enjoyed another week of fair to good trout fishing. Limits aren’t difficult to come by; just put in your time with Power Bait or worms from the garden and just add patience.