While we have discussed in the past that forecasting weather and water -related events in Oregon is challenging and doing so more than a couple of days in advance with any hope of accuracy is a pipe dream. That said, for those able to do an offshore launch during the weekdays, it would be worth checking offshore conditions forecast during the week to come. At this time, it looks do-able but it’s Oregon, so subject to change.
Crabbing is open along the entire Oregon Coast and estuaries. Oregon ADA recommends you eviscerate the crab and discard the “butter” (viscera or guts) prior to cooking. When whole crab are cooked in liquid, it is advised not to use it in any other food or recipes as it may contain toxins.
Reports this week indicate herring are still available to jiggers in Yaquina Bay. Anglers might note that availability will vary, but should continue here through March and April.
Author, publisher and prolific blogger, Pete Heley (peteheley.com) reports to us from Reedsport, “It takes an epic failure to stand out in a year of widespread angling disappointment, but the five hour long, one day smelt fishery on the lower Cowlitz River managed to do just that. With a ten-pound limit, most reporting stations had zero poundage turned in.
This Friday and Saturday, the Northwest Fly Tyers and Fly-fishing Expo will be held at the Linn County Expo Center in Albany. Calling itself the “largest fly tying event west of the Mississippi”, the show will run from 9 am until 5 pm each day and will feature 200 fly tyers, 50 exhibitors and numerous seminars on fly tying, fly casting and fly fishing. Adult admission is $10.00 and admission is free for veterans, Fly Fishing Federation (FFF) members or persons 18 years of age or under. Their website features a printable (PDF) coupon good for one free adult admission when accompanied with a child. [See Random Links for more info – Ed.]
There are no scheduled trout plants this week in our area but Lake Marie is slated to receive 2,000 legal rainbow trout next week.
Even more disappointing than a week without trout plants is the fact that 11 libraries in Douglas County are facing financial difficulty including possible closures. Over the years, libraries have been a major source of information for me – including much of my fishing information and my mindset is that a city isn’t a real city, or a town isn’t a real town if it doesn’t have a real, functioning library. My “Plan B” took a major hit when I received a letter from the North Bend Library last week that my formerly free library card would expire during the first week in April and would, in the future, cost $100.00 per year for nonresidents of Coos County.
The first Umpqua River spring chinook was caught last week, but while the source was solid, the fish wasn’t entered in the springer contest at the Wells Creek Inn and further details were lacking. At least this solitary fish indicates that the run has started and if river conditions allow it, fishing should improve. The season limit on the mainstem Umpqua River is five unclipped springers while the season limit on the North Umpqua is ten unclipped springers.
Die hard bass and panfish anglers should find a few very shallow ponds with warmwater fish populations. It appears that our cool weather will extend well beyond what is normal, but extremely shallow ponds are capable of having active fish in a single warm afternoon.
While I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, I have made a number of fishing-related resolutions this year. They include the following dozen:
1 – A vow to spend more time actually fishing and less money buying fishing gear this year.
2 – Catch my first bass on a “Whopper Plopper” – a lure I’ve already paid for.
3 – Curing long-term insomnia that has kept me awake through countless late night fishing infomercials – many of which I’ve fallen for. Although I am convinced that most of these lures will catch fish, many are special situation lures that require special rigging or strategies that do not fit in well with my regular fishing routines.
4 – Catch at least four fish species out of Ford’s Pond near Sutherlin which is, once again, open to public fishing.
5 – Find out, once and for all, if the Yoncalla Log Pond is worth fishing now that it has public access.
6 – Catch a one pound bluegill anywhere and a bluegill of any size out of Tenmile Lakes.
7 – Catch a crappie of any size out of Siltcoos and Tenmile Lakes.
8 – Catch a warmwater fish species out of at least three of the unnamed lakes and ponds adjacent to the Trans Pacific Parkway just north of North Bend.
9 – Catch a bass weighing at least 4.5 pounds out of Horsefall Lake.
10 – Find at least two new fishing spots.
11 – Catch my first trout out of Mingus Park pond – and my first Mingus Park bass weighing at least two pounds.
12 – Finding and catching at least one crappie in Eel Lake.
Every angler should adopt a few difficult, but achievable goals. They serve to expand your fishing experiences and are wonderfully satisfying when met and almost always set you up for new fishing-related goals.”
Pete Heley works weekends at the Stockade Market & Tackle in Winchester Bay where he is more than happy to swap fishing info with anyone.
With the Rogue River on the rise, there’s not much happening winter-steelhead-wise but thankfully, that’s about to change. According to forecasts, Rogue level and flow at Agness is due to start dropping on Friday, March 10th, and continue over much of the week to come. Prior to that drop, however, the Rogue must crest which is happening now at about 18 feet and 22,000 cfs. The lower Rogue may be suitable for plunking perhaps as early as Tuesday of the coming week with the water starting to rise again later in the week. Flows at Grants Pass, the stretch mostly productive at this time of year, are heading for 8,800 cfs which target should be acquired by mid-day Friday, March 10th, after which it will be dropping and eventually producing bright steelhead. The latest water temp was 45 degrees and rising so as long as clearing accompanies the moderation in flow, anglers should be in business but it’ll be a while. Try Side-Drifting as it has been the most productive technique here. As the water drops, fly fishers should look for river levels of 2,000 cfs or less at Dodge Bridge. When flows look good, head for the river with some Egg Flies and Egg Sucking Leeches. keeping them near the bottom. With over 300 winter steelhead counted at the Cole Rivers hatchery facility, it’s still on pace to top the 10-year average. Upper Rogue water conditions will generally be best on the river and certainly fist to be fishable following a freshet but winter steelhead action here pales in comparison with most anywhere downstream.
Chetco water level and flow have been on the rise for the past five days and is currently flowing over 12,000 cfs at Brookings. Plunk Spin ‘n’ Glos once flows drop to 7,700 cfs and stay the course until it drops further. At 3,500 cfs, drift lures and bait will catch ‘em. Fortunately, the Chetco is fairly quick to clear and drop, usually in that order, but it’ll be four or five days for this freshet to let up.