Central & South Oregon Coast Fishing Reports for Feb 12th

From an Email announcement received February 10, 2016: ODFW staff have met and discussed input received from the public meetings, webinar, e-mails, phone calls, and online survey on the Central Oregon Coast Spring All-Depth fixed and back-up dates. Staff is recommending twelve fixed dates: May 12-14; May 19-21; May 26-28; and June 2-4. Back-up dates: June 16-18; June 30-July 2; July 14-16; and July 28-30. The June 2-4 opening does have a significant negative tide early in the morning, and there was input requesting that weekend be skipped. However, if that weekend was skipped the back-up dates would then fall immediately after (the day after) the directed commercial fishery openings (commercial open on Wednesday, sport on Thursday-Saturday). ODFW heard from many that it was preferable to have the one bad time weekend open (the tides are before 7 am, so anglers could delay departure until later in the morning) in order to avoid having the back-up openings the same weeks as the commercial openings. Therefore, by being open the weekend of June 2-4, the back-up openings will be on opposite weekends from the commercial fishery.

The summer all-depth season will open August 5-6, every other Friday until October 31 or the quota is attained.

The Central Oregon Coast nearshore fishery will open June 1, 7 days per week until October 31, or the quota is attained.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will finalize the sport halibut seasons at their meeting on April 22.

The map with the staff recommended season dates, etc can be found here.

The ODFW sport halibut webpage can be found here.

Charter boats out of Depoe Bay have been able to get out on the water a few times this week, reporting that fishing has been good, crabbing not so good. For sport boats who cared more about fishing than sitting in front of a television on Super Bowl Sunday, the weather cooperated with an absolutely beautiful day. Limits of rockfish were quickly take followed by limits of ling cod. With only a few boats out, the one report received was of 31 legal Dungeness taken.

Ocean and bay crabbing is open coast-wide with catches have improved in the bays as freshwater impact lessened. Another round of rain will move Dungeness to the lower ends of bigger bays and out of smaller bays and estuaries, making Winchester and Coos bays prime crabbing destinations.

PeteHeley.com reports, “One lucky team won approximately $900 lasts Saturday by weighing in three bass with a total weight of 12.44 pounds in a bass tournament intended to raise money for the University of Oregon Bass Club. The team of Jeremy McKay and Wendy Bernard, in addition to winning the tournament, also weighed in the tournament’s heaviest bass at 4.96 pounds. Most of the 24 boats entered weighed in bass with several of them weighing at least four pounds. With some very good bass catches made last week it looks like Tenmile Lake is primed to produce some exceptional catches for the upcoming “Frostbite Open” which starts on February 20th. Last year 68 boats entered and a full field of 75 boats is expected this year.”

Winter steelheading on the Umpqua mainstem has been reported as good, particularly at Cleveland Rapids and around Stanton Park in Canyonville. Side-drifters on the South Umpqua are having their way with winter steelhead this week. There are some wild fish in there but the major component here is hatchery fish so if you’re hooked up and manage to land one, offs are it’s a hatchery keeper. Some are adding a float to their rig and bobber doggin’ with success.

Conditions on the lower Rogue with low, clear water is still productive for winter steelhead fishing particularly for those wielding fly rods. While today might be a bit off, look for improved fishing daily through the weekend and deep into next week. The best bet will be the middle Rogue, where winter steelhead are scattered. The greatest concentration of winters will be from the mouth of the Applegate River on downriver with steelhead on the Rogue averaging eight to 12 pounds. On the Applegate itself, water conditions are high, but there’s good color and winter steelhead are already above Murphy Dam. Better fishing will be in the lower river sections, however. Tip: Watermelon corkies with worms are historical early-season favorites for winter steelhead. On the upper Rogue, steelheaders will find a mix of early winter steelhead and late summer steelhead. Spawned-out summer steelhead can look bright but they are no good for the table and should all be released. Anglers river-wide can keep one wild winter steelhead 24 inches or longer per day and five per year. Outflows from Lost Creek Lake are currently 1,600 cfs.

Chetco winter steelheaders are taking a mix of hatchery and wild fish. One thing to watch here is the ocean offshore. If the swells are high, fishing on the Chetco will slow down. A favored technique here is to anchor along a current seam and run plugs such as Wee Warts or Wiggle Warts. All that remains is for steelhead to come along and inhale the plug.