Central & South Oregon Coast Fishing Reports for May 13th

Offshore conditions have allowed boats to launch out of Depoe Bay this week where bottom fishing is great and even crabbing has picked up. While most charters are limiting clients on both rockfish and ling cod, even the pros get stumped sometimes, as evidenced by the two boats sent out by a single charter company. One boat limited on rockfish, then tried without success to limit everyone on board for ling cod. The other craft filled out lings but fell short on rockfish limits. Clients averaged three or four crab apiece which is much better than sports crabbers are doing in any of the bays at this time.

The popular Central Oregon Coast (Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain) spring all-depth Pacific halibut season opens this week, Thursday-Saturday (May 12-14). Additional scheduled openings are May 19-21, May 26-28, and June 2-4. After June 4, back-up dates may be available if quota remains. The Central Oregon Coast Nearshore season opens June 1 this year, seven days per week.

As writers and reporters working for the fishing community, we try to keep emotions in check but it’s a challenge to keep from getting a little excited over offshore forecasts like the ones from this coming Saturday and Sunday *If these predictions remain accurate*, everyone will be able to head out to the ocean this coming weekend. Yeah, it looks that good, but, offshore forecasts can and will change in a heartbeat. be certain to check it before you drag your boat over there.

Limits of lings and rockfish are still coming in daily from Coos Bay, Brookings and Gold Beach when anglers can get out. It’s shaping into another banner lingcod year, with spring always best because lingcod are spawning and aggressive.

With pinkfin (also called ‘redtail’) surfperch one of the larger of such species, it comes as no surprise that this writer, a fan of beach casting, has landed one in the three-pound range and four pounders not unheard of, it was surprising to learn that the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) world record redtail surfperch is chronicled at one pound, four ounces caught by Steve Wozniak on August 3, 2013 on a beach near Orick, California. C’mon, we can do better than this. Here’s a dandy (and easy) chance to get your name (or mine) in the record book. Surfperch fishing is good right now – get casting!

Recreational seasons on the central Oregon Coast from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. opened for Chinook on March 15 and will continue through October 31 without interruption. Coho seasons will have reduced quotas of 26,000 fin-clipped coho in the hatchery mark selective season from June 25 through August 7, and in the September non-selective season that will open on September 3 and continue through the earlier of September 30 or the quota 7,500 coho.

May 28th is opening day for all-salmon-except-coho ocean season from Humbug Mountain south to the Oregon/California border with the season continuing through August 7th.

Blogger, author and self-publisher of numerous Oregon fishing books, Pete Heley (peteheley.com) reports from Reedsport, “Salmon fishing at Winchester Bay was slow last week. There was a temporary lull in spring Chinook salmon entering the Umpqua River and the fishing for salmon already upriver was also slow. The heaviest spring Chinook weighed in to the Wells Creek Inn’s springer contest continues to be a 37.9 pound fish caught at least two weeks ago.

“Springer fishing continues to be fair at Sawyers Rapids with most of the fish hooked at dawn or shortly thereafter. Most anglers have started targeting shad and the fishing has been good. Most of the shad anglers have been fishing near Yellow Creek. As usual, chartreuse and pink are the most popular colors of jigs, shad darts or flies used to catch the shad. The shad run is still peaking and fishing should last through June.

“The first spring halibut opener will be May 12th through May 14th and every Thursday through Saturday thereafter through June 4th. Backup dates, should the spring season quota of 130,038 pounds not be met, will be Thursdays through Saturdays beginning June 16th. The near shore halibut season for the central Coast subarea in waters less than 40 fathoms or 240 feet deep will run seven days a week beginning June 1st with a quota of 24,769 pounds. There is no length limit on Pacific halibut, but fishing for them is only allowed on the days it is open. The daily limit is one fish and the annual limit is six fish.

“The ocean regulations for finclipped coho salmon are set and the season runs from June 25th through August 7th – unless the quota of 26,000 is reached earlier. The non-selective ocean coho salmon seas will run from September 3rd through September 30th unless the quota of 7,500 coho is met earlier.

“Fishing with light tackle on our local lakes and ponds is about as good as it gets. Warmwater fish are active and in the shallows and most waters have plenty of trout left from previous plants.

“Coastal streams open to fishing on Saturday, May 22nd and anglers wanting to try an easy float trip would do well to consider the Siltcoos River or Tenmile Creek. Both streams hold plenty of trout, yellow perch and largemouth bass as well as some brown bullheads, bluegills and black crappies.

“The best place in our area to introduce someone to fly fishing is to take them to the upper end of Loon Lake and fly fish for bluegills. While catching the bluegills, they have a chance to hook black or white crappies, largemouth bass or planted trout.

“Avid fly anglers should consider traveling to the Deschutes River which has its famed salmon fly hatch going on right now. The hatch is occurring from just above where the river enter the Columbia River all the way upstream to above Lake Billy Chinook.

“A few striped bass are being caught in Smith River and one boater saw a school of smallish stripers last week – which is a strong indication that some successful spawning has taken place in the last few years. Stripers are starting to be caught on the Coquille River, which has finally cleared up after being muddy all winter.

“The Coquille River has had several successful striper spawns in recent years and many of the bass weigh less than six pounds – which means that they should strike the same lure choices used by the river’s smallmouth bass anglers.

“Fishing for springers in the lower Rogue River also picked up slightly last week in the Elephant Rock area. Boaters are anchoring up between four and nine feet of water and are either setting out spinners, like CV-7’s, or they are spinning an anchovy close to the bottom.

“Boats have been getting between two to three bites a day,” said John Anderson from Memory Makers Rogue River Guide Service in Gold Beach. This is a finesse fishery at its finest, and the hatchery-to-wild ratio has been averaging approximately 50:50. You can only keep hatchery fish in this particular fishery.

Diamond Lake is warming, and fishing is improving almost daily, with Power Bait and worms out-fishing trollers. The rainbows are spread out, with the shrimp beds producing in the morning, and the lake’s south end is also good. Forest service has put the docks in at the south boat ramp. There is a single narrow lane open to drive in. The Princess Creek ramp is also open now.