Central & South Oregon Coast Fishing Reports for Feb 23rd

Herring are in at Yaquina Bay and they are thick – maybe. Yeah, I know, but that’s the most accurate herring report you’ll get. Over the past weekend, one fellow caught a dozen dozen (yes, 12 dozen herring) and did so from his boat – while it was moored at South Beach. The “maybe” part is really the most honest answer available. The herring’s presence out of Newport yesterday is, unfortunately, no guarantee they’ll be there today.

Anglers wanting to fish offshore but lacking in the boat and gear department will find offshore charter fishing offices open longer hours starting in May. Anxious? No need to wait as charters are mostly limiting out on rockfish and ling cod plus taking good catches of large, hard ocean Dungeness crab.

Avid Blogger and Author of several fishing books, Pete Heley (peteheley.com) reports to us from Reedsport, “On Saturday, Feb. 25th, the 26th annual Flyfishing Expo put on by the Lower Umpqua Flycasters will take place between 9 am and 3 pm at the Reedsport Community Center. Admission is free and 26 fly tiers are expected to reveal their expertise to public scrutiny. This is one of finest free fishing expos held anywhere.

It seems that the ODFW is well aware that they have a “tiger by the tail” – a situation created by a commission vote to allow continued Columbia River gill netting. In fact, there was a meeting held in Salem on Feb. 14th in which the Columbia River Advisory Committee did not allow public testimony. Even more interesting is that an email announcing the Feb. 14th meeting was not sent out until the morning of Feb. 15th. It’s clear that they wanted limited and muted attendance. It’s always a big deal when two states collect millions of dollars for an express purpose and then one of the states decides not to use the monies it has collected for the intended purpose.

It’s a shame that Oregon’s most popular bass tournament, the Frostbite Open held annually on Tenmile Lakes is being held the same day as the Lower Umpqua’s Flyfishing Expo. But an avid angler should be able to attend the expo and still catch the tournament’s weigh-in which will be held near the boat ramp at Osprey Point RV Resort in Lakeside. In the past, this tournament has been tremendously productive and it will surely to be interesting to see what 75 2-man teams of serious bass anglers can pull out of this productive lake. All bass weighed in are quickly returned to the lake. A bass tournament held on Tenmile Lakes last weekend produced bass to 5.87 pounds with only a few teams getting skunked and should serve to ramp up expectations for next Saturday’s Frostbite Open.

I made my second annual trip to Roseburg to purchase my Douglas County Parking Pass. I knew I could send $30 into their office, but since I am a veteran and am entitled to a three-dollar discount and determined to not pay a penny more than necessary, I made the trip. The person I dealt with was quite friendly and very informative. She informed me that someone on active military duty could send a copy of their military ID card with the required $27. Someone with prior military service could send in a copy of their VA card along with the $27. I was also told that Douglas County was looking into making the passes available for purchase at other locations such as Bi-Mart stores. If that included the Florence Bi-Mart (Lane County) it would be most helpful as the only Bi-Marts in Douglas County are in Sutherlin, Winston and Roseburg – all a lengthy drive from the Oregon Coast.

With all the problems Douglas County had during “year-1” of the pass, it is still a better bargain than the Coos County Parking Pass which costs $30, is much more cheaply made, and will not hang from a rear view mirror. With it no longer being required for Powers Pond or Laverne Park, it is only good for parking in the County Park in Lakeside or at Riley’s Ranch in Hauser. The Coos County Parking Pass is not offered at a discount for veterans, but disabled vets can get some free nights at the Riley’s Ranch RV Park after properly registering their disabled status with Coos County.

The Lane County Parking Pass is the standard bearer regarding nearby County Parking Passes. It can be purchased at the Springfield Cabela’s or any Lane County Bi-Mart Store. Although they are usually purchased in the sporting goods department – the pass can also be purchased at the front desk in the Bi-Mart store in Florence. The pass costs $40, but people aged 62 or older that have a Senior Pass only have to pay $20 – plus the pass is adhesive (and easily removed) and takes up a less than a three-inch square on the lower left corner of a vehicle’s windshield.

It is kind of ironic how many of Oregon’s outdoor recreationists complain when purchasing their ODFW-issued licenses and tags, yet are relatively silent while often spending even more money for parking passes for multiple counties.

Idaho’s Department of Fish and Game will be increasing license and tag fees for 2018, but is asking the state legislature to enact a proposal that should greatly reduce the anger normally associated with such increases. The proposal, named “pricelock” will be unique among wildlife management agencies and will lock in fees for licenses and tags as long as anglers, hunters and trappers purchase their licenses and tags every year without interruption. If someone misses a year, their “pricelock options” would still be available, but at the current, and almost certainly higher, fee structure.

The agency believes that revenues would actually increase since sixty percent of the state’s licenses and tags are not renewed each year. If approved, the proposal would initially be for three years and then would be evaluated for possible “tweaking”.

What might keep Oregon from considering such a proposal would be a much higher license and tag renewal rate.

Outrage among anglers fishing the lower Deschutes River regarding increased numbers of smallmouth bass has decreased recently when it was revealed that the photo posted online by the Deschutes River Alliance was not a smallmouth bass, but instead a northern pikeminnow – a fish native to the Deschutes and Columbia rivers. It appears that a slight reduction in water temperatures in the lower Deschutes would go a long way towards slowing down the rate of increase in the river’s smallmouth population.

Trout plants for 2017 will begin next week in Coos and Douglas counties. Loon Lake will receive 2,000 legal rainbows while Bradley Lake, Saunders Lake, Johnson Mill Pond and Powers Pond will receive 3,000 legal rainbows each. Lower and Upper Empire lakes will each receive 2,000 12-inch trout. The approximate surface areas of these waters are: Loon Lake (290 acres); Bradley Lake (30 acres); Saunders Lake (55 acres; Johnson Mill Pond (100 acres) and Powers Pond (30 acres). The Empire Lakes are each just under 30 acre

State fishery managers approved a limited sport fishery for smelt on the Cowlitz River for Saturday, Feb. 25.

Under this year’s rules, a portion of the Cowlitz River will be open to recreational dip netting along the shore from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. for one day only.

The area open to sport dipping stretches from the Highway 432 Bridge upstream to the Al Helenberg Memorial Boat Ramp, located approximately 1,300 feet upstream from the Highway 411/A Street Bridge in Castle Rock.

Each dip-netter may retain 10 pounds of smelt per day, with no more than one day’s limit in possession. Ten pounds is about a quarter of a five-gallon bucket. No fishing license is required to dip for smelt in Washington state.

This marks the fourth year that the state has allowed smelt fishing since 2010, when the species – also known as eulachon – was listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) along the Pacific Coast.

NOAA Fisheries, which oversees ESA-listed stocks, supports limited fisheries that contribute to research, said Cindy Le Fleur, regional fish program manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“We’re expecting a modest return of about 3 million pounds of smelt to the Columbia River this year,” Le Fleur said. “That compares to an estimated 16.6 million pounds in 2014, when the run reached its recent peak.”

The sport fishery was also limited to one day in 2016, when the run was estimated at 5.1 million pounds. Le Fleur said these fisheries have a limited impact on the overall smelt return, while providing biological data on the species’ abundance.

Le Fleur said WDFW announced the decision to open this year’s sport fishery after tracking catch rates in the ongoing commercial test fishery in the mainstem Columbia River. Managers were looking for weekly average landings to reach at least 150 pounds per fisher to feel confident that the run was likely as large as anticipated pre-season she said, noting that last week’s landings averaged 281 pounds per fisher.

Upcoming Fishing Shows.
TIME: FRIDAY – NOON – 9pm; Saturday – 10 am – 8 pm; Sunday – 10 am – 5 pm.
Admission: $7.00 (adults); $1.00 (ages 5-11); FREE (children under 5)

TIME: 9 am – 3 pm

TIME: THURSDAY & FRIDAY: NOON – 8 PM; SATURDAY: 10 am – 8 pm and Sunday 10 am – 4 pm
admission: $10.00 (adults – 2-day pass for $15.00); $5.00 (ages 6 – 16) FREE (children under 5)

The Douglas County Sportsmen’s and Outdoor Recreation Show started yesterday and will run Saturday and Sunday. Sponsored by ServePro of Douglas County – a company dealing with fire and water cleanup and restoration. On Saturday, the show which is being held at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, will run from 10 am until 8 pm and on Sunday the show will run from 10 am until 5 pm. Admission for adults is $7.00 with children under six admitted for free. Children from six to 12 years of age are admitted for only $1.00. As usual, Bi-Mart has coupons good for $2.00 off the admission price.”