A reminder to readers that ocean crabbing is closed until December 1 but bays and estuaries, where crabbing generally improves at this time of year, are always open.
A dearth of fishing reports and an aversion to speculating equals no fishing report this week from the Siletz (sorry, Jim), but, we would advise all who enjoy this lovely coastal river about the gate that’s now installed on the boat ramp at Coyote Rock. To avoid free use of the ramp early or late in the day (we assume), the gate is locked daily at dusk. The lady with the key is said to be a bit arbitrary about what time “dusk” occurs so don’t be late returning to trailer your bat.
Siltcoos Lake was productive for at least one troller on Wednesday this week (as he mentioned no other boats were seen hooking up. He landed three nice jacks and after releasing two, landed a coho over 30 inches, all on spinners.
Crabbing has been fair to good in Winchester Bay. With the coho run winding down state-wide, catches are4 insignificant on the Umpqua although Fall Chinook will continue to enter.
Outdoor writer, publisher and Reedsport local, Pete Heley (peteheley.com) reports this week, “I asked Cathy Reiss, of Lakeside Marina, about a report of a 15-inch yellow perch that had been caught recently in South Tenmile Lake. Cathy said the report was true and over the last month they had several jumbo perch measuring at least 14-inches turned in. Almost all of them had come from coves or major bank indentions in South Tenmile Lake. There are certainly similar-sized perch in North Tenmile Lake, but most of the recent fishing pressure has been on the south lake.
“Reiss also noted that while fishing for largemouth bass has slowed somewhat, it hasn’t stopped and some of the lake’s bass anglers have encountered some bright coho salmon while fishing near Templeton Arm. Of course these salmon have to be released and should not be targeted since Tenmile does not have a coho season this year. A few decent-sized rainbow trout as well as some searun cutthroat trout are also biting.
“Before moving on regarding yellow perch, I would like to point out that Oregon’s state record yellow perch is woefully undersized when compared to the state record perch of other western states. While I still believe that Siltcoos Lake is the best bet to topple the existing state record of two pounds and two ounces, those 15-inchers from Tenmile could topple Oregon’s 45-year-old perch record if they were caught in February or March in immediate pre-spawn condition and then weighed on a certified scale.
“Approximately 20 years ago, a Tenmile Lakes angler, who referred to himself as “Mr. Catfish”, caught lots of the lakes’ brown bullheads. He targeted water at least 15 feet deep with half a nightcrawler for bait. He fished at night and enjoyed his best success between Thanksgiving and March. Reviewing his technique, in the middle of the winter, a lake’s warmest water is usually the deepest and this is especially true of the shallower coastal lakes with considerable surface acreage and limited water deeper than 15 feet.
“As of last weekend, Butterfield was still producing good fishing for the 13 to 16-inch rainbows that were planted during the second week of October. The trout seem to hangout within five feet of the surface until the sun comes out when they will move somewhat deeper.
“While most of Saunders Lake’s October trout plant have been caught and kept, there has been almost no fishing pressure directed at the much larger portion of the lake on the west side of the railroad trestle. Shallow water beneath the trestle kept the trout confined in the smaller portion of the lake between the railroad trestle and Highway 101, the trout that ventured out into the main part of the lake are most likely still waiting to be caught.
“There are plenty of bright Chinook salmon in the Elk and Sixes rivers and anglers paying close attention to river levels and water clarity are enjoying fair success. Other smaller streams along Oregon’s southern coast also have some bright salmon and several years ago on Thanksgiving weekend, diminutive Hunter Creek gave up a 59-pound Chinook salmon.
“Some good news – especially for anglers not wanting to buy a fishing license, is the ODFW decision to add more free fishing days. The state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife is expected to announce an expansion of Free Fishing Weekend to Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve while keeping the current “Free Fishing Weekend in early June.
“Under a little-known state law passed by the last Legislature, Free Fishing (no licenses or tags are required to fish, clam or crab) was expanded from its traditional June weekend to an additional eight days every biennium. The new law allows four days more per year and requires they be taken two at a time.
“The department settled on Nov. 25-26, the Friday and Saturday following Thanksgiving, and Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, 2017.
“Curt Melcher, department director, said part of the decision was to “give folks an option for Black Friday shopping.
““Thanksgiving is also the traditional opening of winter steelhead season,” he said.
“Agency officials said they’re working to increase trout stocking for the two events.””
Troller have continued to ply Rogue Bay with limited success. There have been some late coho by bay anglers and a few Chinook are still being caught near the mouth of Indian Creek. Trolling anchovies with Rogue Bait Rig is most popular. Expect to see the lower Rogue drop significantly over the next three days (Friday through Sunday) from the current (November 10) level of 4.8 feet to3.2 feet at Agness. That will mean a drop in flows from 5,600 cfs to 2,800 cfs. Half-pounder fishing has been good, particularly for fly fishers, when water levels are low. This has been a fabulous year for half-pounders. Anglers on the middle Rogue are taking summer steelhead but not many as they move upstream. Despite approaching the end of Chinook spawning season, steelhead remained keyed on eggs drifting downstream, so give them to ‘em. An egg fly has seemed to work best although a nightcrawler buoyed by a bright-colored corky has been effective at times. Improve odds by concentrating efforts at the mouths of creeks. It’s not difficult to guess where mo0st of the pressure is on the upper Rogue. That’s right – in the bait-fishing section above Shady Cove. Formerly, the entire upper Rogue was restricted to flies only but that changed on November 1. The first week when bait was allowed, boats were reporting double0digit catches. Below Shady Cove where any lures may be used but not bait, plug-pullers are taking fish. Out flow from Lost Creek Reservoir controls the flow in the upper Rogue. This week, the Army Corp of Engineers has been stepping it down daily starting Monday this week. At 1,810 over the past weekend, by Wednesday, November 9th, outflow measured 1,560 which is the last day for which data was available.
After the last freshet on the Chetco River, water levels peaked on November 5th and have been falling since that date. It’s dropping now (Thursday) and will continue to do so through Friday and Saturday per forecasts, then start rising again late in the Day on Saturday, November 12th, then blow out with waters high and off color for the remainder of the week. Being that these predictions are weather-based and given that it’s Oregon, long-term forecasts (more than three or four days) are subject to change. All that said, given halfway decent conditions, Chinook fishing is expected to be good here.
Chinook fishing has been good on the Elk and Sixes rivers, but only when the water is decent. A couple things to keep in mind about these systems is that both are short rivers and conditions change quickly. In addition, the Sixes will fish on the rise but the Elk seems to fish much better on the drop. Tight Lines!