Central & South Oregon Coast Fishing Reports for Dec 9th

While rock fishers may have a challenge getting out to the fishing grounds, boats don’t have to travel far to find willing rockfish and ling cod as these fish are often just outside port. There’s still a seven-fish limit with anglers allowed one cabezon a day to fill a rockfish limit but changes are a-comin’ for 2017. As these rules are still in the proposal stage, we’ll keep you abreast as new regulations are confirmed.

Good news for ocean crabbers as the restriction put in place due to high domoic acid levels has been lifted from just north of Port Orford to the California Border as toxin levels have come down. See this week’s report from Pete Heley for details.

The ODFW reminds us harvest of razor clams is CLOSED from the Columbia River to the California border, including beaches and bays while recreational harvesting of mussels and bay clams is OPEN along the entire Oregon Coast from the Columbia River to the California border.

Author, publisher and prolific blogger, Pete Heley (peteheley.com) reports to us from Reedsport, “The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced the opening of the ocean and bay recreational crab fishery along the southern Oregon coast from Floras Creek (just north of Port Orford) to the California border.

“The ocean and bay recreational crab fishery also remains open along the northern coast from Tillamook Head to the mouth of the Columbia River, including the area inside the Columbia River mouth. Tillamook Head is located between Seaside and Cannon Beach.

“The 210-mile area between Tillamook Head and Floras Creek will remain closed to ocean and bay recreational crabbing due to elevated levels of domoic acid recently detected in the viscera of Dungeness crab.

“Commercial crabbing is currently closed along the entire Oregon coast (in the ocean, in bays and in estuaries). Changes in the status of the ocean commercial crab fishery will be considered next week upon consultation with the commercial crab industry and the Washington and California Fish and Wildlife agencies. Additional crab viscera samples from impacted areas are being analyzed on a weekly basis to determine when and where additional fishery openings will occur. Two successive tests with domoic acid levels below the alert level are required to re-open areas for recreational and commercial crabbing.

“It is recommended that crab always be eviscerated prior to cooking. Evisceration includes removing and discarding the internal organs and gills.

“Despite the closure, crab and shellfish products sold in retail markets and restaurants remain safe for consumers because these products were not harvested in areas closed for biotoxins.

“Domoic acid or amnesic shellfish toxin can cause minor to severe illness and even death. Severe poisoning can result in dizziness, headaches, vomiting and diarrhea. More severe cases can result in memory loss and death. Shellfish toxins are produced by algae and originate in the ocean. Toxins cannot be removed by cooking, freezing or any other treatment.

“Despite the closure, crab and shellfish products sold in retail markets and restaurants remain safe for consumers because these products were not harvested in areas closed for biotoxins.

“For more information, call ODA’s shellfish safety information hotline at (800) 448-2474 or visit the ODA Shellfish website.

Despite steelheaders on the lower Rogue pulling some fresh winter steelhead from the chilly waters of the lower Rogue, this portion of the river is forecast to start rising – imminently. Those words were typed at mid-afternoon on Thursday this week and the latest freshet is due to make itself known at any moment. A similar situation exists on the Grants Pass stretch which gauge has yet to show the impact of precipitation which has started falling in the area. Fishing for summer steelhead has been good here when flows have been in the 3,00 to 2,500 cfs range but water in the middle Rogue will rise through tonight and Friday before reaching approximately 6,500 cfs mid-days Saturday, December 10th, around which time it is predicted to start dropping. It will be several days before it’s fishable again. Upper Rogue steelheads continue to enjoy the best of the Rogue as coho are also being landed here. Once again, the stretch above Shady Cove Boat Ramp, where bait is legal along with lures, has experienced the most pressure but has also been most productive. Below Shady Cove is less productive hence, has fewer anglers trying here. Although Chinook are done spawning, drifting egg imitations in deep runs is still catching summer steelhead as are plugs. Where bait is legal, side-drifting has been producing the most fish. Flows out of Lost Creek jumped from 1,530 cfs to 1,700 cfs on December 5th, at which it has held steady since that date. No predictions are available for the future on this flow, however, so it may change tomorrow or moments from now.

Chetco River levels are rapidly rising now as they have been since early in the day on Thursday, December 8th, as the storm from is moving in a northerly direction, sucking wet weather from the south. Winter steelheading was just getting good when the latest round of rainfall hit the Chetco area and will be as the waters recede, perhaps by the weekend to come. Side-drift cured eggs, with or without a corky, to find some fresh winters here when conditions improve.

In addition to fall Chinook, winter steelhead have been caught on the Elk River. While the majority of upstream salmon are turning dark, both species are expected to be available as the level starts to drop. This is one of the rivers which will be the first to fish after the storm front passes.

Diamond Lake Resort is renting more snowmobiles and almost no boats at this time of year. Trout fishing has been slow for the few trying it but hopes are high for ice fishing sometime between January and, oh, say, April. We’ll see.