Central & South Oregon Coast Fishing Reports for July 15

A charter boat out of Depoe Bay was one short of 100 albacore on a tuna trip for 13 people. On a separate trip, they averaged three coho for every two anglers on board. Crabbing has also been good.

ODFW has announced that as of this Friday and fishing for Rockfish and Ling Cod must be done inside 20 fathoms depth (120 feet). This is being done due to impacts on Yellow Eye Rockfish. See Random Links for one of many expanded stories on this rule change.

In the seven-fish marine daily bag limit, anglers are permitted to also take two lingcod (22 inches or longer). One Cabazon (minimum length 16 inches) may be included in the seven-fish rockfish limit.

Spring All-Depth halibut is closed but the summer fishery opens Aug. 5-6 for a quota of 49,544 pounds Nearshore halibut fishing (limited to 30 fathoms) is open seven days a week with 64% of the quota remaining as of the week ending July 10th.

The ODFW reports that “Tuna fishing has improved off Newport and Depoe Bay” but that fishing improves further out of ports further south. Many of the albacore taken in July have been huge for this time of year with numerous scaling over 30 pounds and one clocked in a 27 pounds. About the latte, the captain of the vessel wondered with tuna this big in July, what size will they be in September?

Author, publisher and Blogger Pete Heley (peteheley.com)

reports from Reedsport, “The Umpqua River pinkfin run is still happening and should last until the first week of August, but as the fishery winds down, the fishing will become increasingly inconsistent. Right now there are plenty of female pinkfins in the river above Winchester Bay. The South Jetty is fishing well for striped surfperch and fishing for pile perch in the Umpqua River and Coos Bay has been better than normal this year.

“Other fish being caught by anglers fishing Winchester Bay’s South Jetty include greenling, black and blue rockfish and a few Cabazon and lingcod. Cabazon have been legal to keep since July 1st and the daily limit is one Cabazon at least 16-inches in length.
“When bar and ocean conditions permit, tuna fishing has been productive with fair numbers of fish less than 40 miles out with a few as close as 20 miles offshore. A recent ODFW report suggested that anglers try to fish water with a surface temperature warmer than 58 degrees with a chlorophyl content of about .25 milligrams per cubic meter.

“Eel Lake has been fishing fair for rainbow trout and a few cutthroat trout. The lake also has a good largemouth population with a few smallmouth bass, brown bullheads and black crappies also present. The coho salmon in the lake are not legal to keep. Area anglers wanting to target freshly stocked trout are going to have to wait until the third week of August when Lake Marie is scheduled to receive 800 trophy rainbows.

“On Saturday, Jamie Standifer and a couple of friends trolled herring near Reedsport for a boat limit of Chinook salmon weighing between 13 and 21 pounds. On Sunday, two anglers casting spinners at Half Moon Bay caught Chinook salmon weighing 15 and 20 pounds and brought their fish in for photos, but were quite evasive as to color pattern of their spinners. Anglers trolling the ocean for fin-clipped coho are usually fishing north of the Umpqua River Bar and catching more native coho than fin clipped ones.

“Tenmile Lake has been fishing well for largemouth bass and the current issue of Bassmaster Magazine has the lake rated as the seventh best bass fishery in the western United States. However, when stating the lake’s surface acreage, the magazine seems to have only included the surface acreage in South Tenmile Lake. The magazine also seems to have cut by half, the surface acreage of Potholes Reservoir which is also on the list of top bass fisheries in the western United States.

“The Coquille and Umpqua rivers are fishing very well for smallmouth bass. Both rivers are receiving fair to heavy amounts of fishing pressure and the numbers of larger bass seem to be greatly reduced in the areas of greatest fishing pressure. Anglers on float trips that cover fair amounts of river mileage are still finding good-sized bass as they float through river sections that have reduced fishing pressure.

“Dwayne Schwartz and I fished the pond formed by the confluence of the North Umpqua and South Umpqua rivers. Our targeted fish species was pumpkinseed sunfish, but we hoped to catch a variety of the pond’s warmwater fish species. However, the pumpkinseeds proved most cooperative.

“Almost immediately, Dwayne caught a pumpkinseed at least eight inches long and decided to release it without weighing it. One of Dwayne’s fishing goals is to catch a state record pumpkinseed and the current Oregon state record from Lake Oswego only weighed 7.688 ounces and that fish should not have been eligible for an Oregon record since Lake Oswego is not open to the angling public.

“The ODFW policy is that large fish caught in Oregon waters not accessible to the angling public are not eligible for state record consideration – and the Lake Oswego pumpkinseed is not the first time the ODFW has ignored its own policy. Oregon’s current state record largemouth bass replaced a state record largemouth that was caught from a private pond in the Butte Falls area.

“Oregon state records for warmwater fish are now being kept by the Oregon Bass and Panfish Club and they should follow ODFW policy and de-certify the Lake Oswego pumpkinseed.

“So, although Dwayne did not actually weigh his jumbo panfish, there are ways and formulas that allow weight estimates of surprising accuracy. My favorite method involves memorizing a few weight / length ratios for different fish species.
“So if you know that a normally shaped 14-inch rainbow trout weighs one pound, then a reasonable level of math skill should allow you to closely estimate the weight of any rainbow trout of similar body shape once you know its length. For example, a 21-inch trout would weigh three pounds and six ounces – an estimate arrived at by first comparing their relative lengths. The 21-inch trout is one and a half times as long as the 14-incher. It’s also 1 1/2 times as deep (top to bottom) and 1 1/2 times as thick (side to side) So take the 3/2 ratio and cube it. 3/2 times 3/2 times 3/2 equals 27/8 which equals 3 and 3/8. Since the weight of the anchor fish – the 14-inch trout is one pound, the estimate of the 21-inch trout is three pounds and six ounces. The same formula would give you an estimate of eight pounds for a 28-inch trout of similar shape.

“Keep in mind that as fish get older and longer, they tend to get chunkier, which can make weight estimates using this formula less accurate and much lower.

“To get an estimate of the weight of Dwayne’s pumpkinseed, let’s assign a weight of one pound for a fat ten inch sunfish and Dwayne did say his fish was very fat.

“Cubing the length of his eight-inch pumpkinseed we get 512. Cubing the length of a ten-inch sunfish gives a figure of 1,000. To arrive at a weight estimate for a fat eight eight inch pumpkinseed , we divide 512 by 1,000 and then multiply by 16 ounces. The estimated weight is 8.192 ounces.

“So if the original premise of a fat ten inch long sunfish is accurate and Dwayne could somehow get his fish to a business with a certified scale without it losing weight and he took the required photo and got signatures to the weighing – he could have had a state record for a fish species not many people worry about.

“But if a fat one pound sunfish was actually ten and one-quarter inches long, rather than ten inches, the estimated weight for Dwayne’s pumpkinseed drops to 7.607 ounces – nothing more than a near miss.”

Bottom fishing has been hot and heavy at times out of Gold Beach. On a great day, charter boats were back before 9 a.m. but the bite wasn’t there the next day. It’s been good most days, though. Now that trollers on Rogue Bay are taking fish, this provides another alternative on those days when the lower Rogue is low, clear and warm or the bar too rough to cross. While it has been a hot or cold fishery, the combination of early fall Chinook and late-run springers has been welcome. Trolling anchovies with the Rogue blade rig is the near exclusive rig for the bay fishery. Chinook are running 18 to 30 pounds. With the lower Rogue running at 2,500 cfs at Agness, and higher than optimum water temps, fishing is slow with bait anglers picking up summer steelhead on occasion. Fly fishers are throwing streamers while gear fishers fling bait on the middle river, encountering and engaging a few summer steelhead, primarily late in the day. The upper Rogue continues to deliver the most reliable results, with anglers taking a combination of winter steelhead in July and spring Chinook. The stretch below Dodge Bridge on the upper Rogue has been getting a good deal of pressure since wild Chinook retention is now allowed below that point with one may be combined with a hatchery fish for a limit. Pulling smaller plugs or backbouncing bait will attract both salmon and summer steelhead with many combining cured eggs and sand shrimp for their bait. While there are probably a greater number of fish above the old deadline at Shady Grove, the majority are wild here and have to be released in this stretch. While returns of summer steelhead are still keeping abreast with the`10-year average, the return consists of just a few hundred fish this early in the season. Still, it’s a positive indication of the run to come. Spring Chinook, on the other hand, are lagging behind average returns, showing numbers which are roughly a quarter of the average over the past 10 years. Anglers are pursuing both and are catching them.

Off the southern coast, boats launching out of Brookings may catch halibut every day with 7.615 pounds remaining to be taken. Catches in water around 200 feet deep and due west of the Thomas Creek bridge have been good for charters and private boaters using big jigs or large sardines bumped off the bottom. Launching out of the Port of Brookings has provided some boats coho but fishing for salmon as well as other offshore species has been hampered by high winds at times. Many ocean fishers made pre-dawn launches when wind was in the forecast. This tactic allowed then to fish safely for an hour or two, then duck back into the safety of the harbor. Chinook and coho were caught about six miles out this week. Boats also returned with limits or near limits of good-sized Dungeness although males are molting now so about half of legal-sized crab are light. Drop pots just outside the harbor in 20 to 60 feet of water.

DIAMOND: Bait fishers have continued to take more trout than trollers at Diamond Lake, with nightcrawlers and Power Bait at the top of the list. Fishing has been good and according to reports this week, mosquitos are not making an appearance. Most of the fish are in the 10-inch range but every so often, some lucky angler catches one like this.