Central & South Oregon Coast Fishing Reports for June 10th

According to NOAA forecasts, the surf next few days will be measurable in single-digits with gentle, onshore breezes only breaking into double digits briefly during afternoons over the next several days.

Bottom fishing out of central Oregon ports has been excellent, with plenty of rockfish (mostly blacks) and ling cod being brought back to dock. As usual, some boats have been doing better than others but those who have gotten into the fish have quickly limited.

Reports came in this week regarding an uptick in ocean crabbing with an average catch of six or seven Dungeness for each person on charter boats out of Depoe Bay, and this after weeding out the soft ones. One recreational boater pulled his two crab post just outside the Yaquina Bay south jetty for his limit on the afternoon of June 8th, then pulled up a nice halibut.

Good surf for pinkfins will be waiting for those seeking out steeper beaches this weekend. Surfperch bite best on an incoming tide but often not at all on the outgoing tide.

According to catch data released today (Thursday) the last central coast, in the all-depth halibut fishery, 18,683 pounds were landed leaving nearly 22,000 pounds to be taken. Two more days, Friday, June17th and Saturday, June 18th (but not Thursday, June 16th) will be open for fishing. After those dates, the total catch will again be estimated to determine if any further days will be allowed and as announcement will be made one way or the other by noon on Friday, June 24th.

Nearshore Halibut Season which is seven days per week, began June 1st but reverts to all-depth regulations on any day when all-depth fishing is allowed. as of today. 92% of the nearshore quota remains to be taken.

The Summer All-Depth Halibut Season opens August 5th & 6th and every other Friday and Saturday following or a quota of 51,603 pounds.

We’ve discussed herring availability in Yaquina Bay in this space several times in that it is the worst report to chase because they are there, then gone in a flash. That said, they’ve been in for a while with one jigger taking over 300 by himself on the incoming tide over the past Sunday. Good luck out there!

Recreational shellfish harvesting status
The recreational harvest of razor clams is closed from Heceta Head (north of Florence) to the California border for elevated levels of domoic acid. This includes all beaches and all bays. The recreational harvest of bay clams is open along the entire Oregon Coast from the Columbia River to the California border. Scallops are not affected by closures when only the adductor muscle is eaten. The consumption of whole recreationally caught scallops is not recommended. Recreational crab harvesting from the ocean, and in bays and estuaries, is open from the Columbia River to the California border. It is always recommended you eviscerate crab and discard the “butter” (viscera or guts) prior to cooking. When whole crab are cooked in liquid, domoic acid may leach into the cooking liquid. For those who regularly pursue bivalves or crustaceans on the Oregon Coast, check for an updated map of closures in Random Links.

While Coos Bay offers a good opportunity for clamming on minus tides, crabbing has been slow here. Boats launching out of Charleston have been slaying decent numbers of ling cod and rockfish, however.

Regular contributor, author and blogger Pete Heley (peteheley.com) reports from Reedsport, “Fishing for redtailed surfperch, locally called “pinkfins” was much improved this weekend in their spawning area on the Umpqua River between Winchester Bay and Gardiner. What seems to be different this year is that some of the best catches were made at Half Moon Bay and Osprey Point – areas that normally do not offer good fishing for spawning perch – but offer bank fishing possibilities during the perch run, which in the past has been pretty much a “boat show.

”Also very unusual is the fact that during the last two weeks perch anglers have caught more pile perch than pinkfins and the pinkfins have been very aggressive with many of those taken at Half Moon Bay and Osprey Point hitting spinners intended for salmon. Some flounder have been caught by perch anglers above Winchester Bay, but as usual, most of them have been caught near the main RV park.

”A few Chinook salmon are still being caught by anglers casting spinners from shore at Half Moon Bay and Osprey Point. These fish are most likely fall Chinooks chasing forage in the river, but until July 1st, if kept, they must be marked as spring Chinooks on an angler’s combined angling tag.

”A few striped bass are quietly being caught by night anglers on Smith River. There has been virtually no striper anglers fishing the Umpqua, but a spring Chinook was landed last week by a shad angler using a shad dart below Sawyers Rapids. Suspended weeds and moss are still a major problem for anglers making long casts – no matter what fish species are being targeted.

”Striper anglers wanting to fish the Coquille River at night will have to deal with some mud-filled boat ramps that could drastically complicate hauling a boat out after dark. However, because of recent spawning success, the Coquille River between Bandon and Myrtle Point currently offers the area’s best striper fishing, but most of the fish will fall short of the 24-inch minimum length required for legal retention.

”With very little help from Oregon, there were enough halibut landed in Washington waters to reach the quota for the Columbia River Subarea and it closed June 3rd. Through May 29th, there was 31 percent of the quota remaining (40,597 pounds) of the all-depth spring fishery for our subarea [Central Oregon – Ed.). Weather conditions were somewhat improved for the 4th fixed opener (June 2nd – June 4th) and it remains to be decided if there will be any “provisional openers” in the future.

”Warm and windy afternoons have turned bass and panfishing into a dusk through dawn pastime on most of our local waters. Fishing for smallmouth bass is improving on both the Umpqua and Coquille rivers. The more clear waters of the Umpqua favor the use of soft plastics, while medium-sized crank baits seem to work best on the Coquille. Both rivers have no size or number limitations on smallmouth bass.

”Recently, Eel Lake has been fishing well for largemouth bass and a few small mouths. Crank baits have been producing best. Some trout are also being caught, but no reports on crappies or brown bullheads.

”Umpqua River shad fishing is still going strong and as the river continues to drop, an increasing number of anglers are catching their shad at Sawyers Rapids, which fishes best at low river levels.

”Crabbing at Winchester Bay is fair, but much improved over that of the last several months. Recently, active large female crabs have replaced active sublegal-sized crabs as the #1 complaint of area crabbers.

”Trout plants are being phased out for this summer. Cleawox, which received 2,250 foot-long rainbows last week, was the last Florence-area lake to be planted and no more trout plants are scheduled until the spring of 2017.

”North and South Tenmile Lakes and Upper and Lower Empire Lakes were stocked last week, but the next trout plant in Coos County won’t occur until the second week of October when 14-inch trout will be stocked in Bradley Lake (800); Butterfield Lake (600); Lower Empire Lake (2,000); Upper Empire Lake (2,000); Powers Pond (1,300) and Saunders Lake (1,300).

”Both Loon Lake and Lake Marie were stocked last week and the next trout plant won’t occur until the 4th week of August when Lake Marie is slated to receive 800 trophy rainbows.

”Quite a few people took advantage of Oregon’s “Free Fishing Weekend” and for those who would like to sample the fishing, crabbing or clamming in the state of Washington before actually purchasing a license, Washington’s “Free Fishing Weekend” will be next Saturday and Sunday (June 11th & 12th).

Umpqua River Pinkfin Update.

”The best and most consistent fishing for redtail surfperch at Winchester Bay occurred last weekend. The surfperch, referred to locally as “pinkfins” first showed up in the Umpqua River upriver of Winchester Bay more than six weeks ago, but the run didn’t build up enough to provide consistently good fishing – until last week.

”The normal spawning area where the female pinkfins birth their live young runs from where Winchester Bay’s East Basin enters the Umpqua River upriver as far as Gardiner and the run’s duration usually runs from early May through July.

”But a lot of things about this year’s run are very unusual.

(1) – This year’s run took far longer to build up after the first perch arrived than did previous runs.

(2) – Some of the best catches have been made at Half Moon Bay and Osprey Point – areas well downriver of the pinkfins’ normal spawning area.

(3) – Some of the best catches have been made by anglers casting spinners while salmon fishing from shore.

(4) – Almost as many pile perch have been caught by pinkfin anglers fishing above Winchester Bay as they have pinkfins

”The Umpqua River’s pinkfin run is a unique and special fishery – but more than ever, a transforming fishery where current information trumps past experience.”

In the picture below, Jim Purcell holds up an Umpqua River pinkfin double. Jamie Stanifer photo.


Charters out of Gold Beach reported good catches of halibut when the ocean laid down late last week. Most fish were in the 30-pound class, a decent size for the table. Bottom fishing has produced fairly consistent limits of rockfish and ling cod. Free Fishing Weekend brought out plenty of anglers which were accompanied by extra-hot weather. Warm water in the lower Rogue slowed results over the past weekend and early this week. Light showers in the forecast are unlikely to turn this situation around, but at least the break in high air temps wont exacerbate the situation. Forecasts for water conditions on the Rogue River are flat with little to no change over the coming week. A few springers are being landed daily in the lower river, with emphasis on few. The Rogue hasn’t seen big salmon numbers yet this year so that situation combined with warm water is making it tough for spring Chinook hopefuls to find satisfaction. There are a mix of hatchery and wild fish in the river now. There aren’t enough summer steelhead anywhere in the river to consider targeting them in earnest. Fishing has been poor to slow on the middle river. Be aware that the deadline for retaining wild Chinook is at Fisher’s Ferry near Gold Heill, below which they may be kept. Fewer than half the average number of springers for this time of year have returned to Cole Rivers hatchery. Despite this statistic, the upper Rogue has been producing better catches than elsewhere on the river. Back-bouncing bait or pulling plugs has resulted in the greatest number of hookups.

While the ocean off Southern Oregon is now open to Chinook salmon fishing, not much is happening. Salmon are supposed to be northward bound out of California, so hopefully catches will pick up soon. The fin-clipped coho season will open June 25.

Charters out of Brookings have been catching good-sized rockfish although limiting the boat on ling cod has been a challenge despite a recent improvement in catches. When offshore conditions allow, deep-water forays for halibut have been successful. Trout fishers are hooking up with sea-run cuts in tidewater on the Chetco River.

Bait continues to produce best at Diamond Lake where warming water temperatures are credited for the marked improvement in catches here. Arm yourself (and your kids) with plenty of Power Bait (or just night crawlers) to catch fish here. Mornings are definitely more productive but you’ll catch a few throughout the course of the day. The morning bite will be extended and the lake will fish better overall when it’s cloudy.