We have frequently reported that offshore bottom fishing is excellent at this time of year and just as frequently lamented the few number of days which allow boats to launch in wintertime. Looking over the predictions for the coming week, with which shows Primary Swell numbers predominately in double digits, this would seem a good time for inshore or even inland activities.
There has been some misinformation and unnecessary alarm regarding the current status of coastal shellfish harvesting due to recent reports of high-than-normal levels of the naturally-occurring, organic toxin domoic acid. So, here it is from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. The Oregon Department of Agriculture tests and reports on such things so here’s the latest as of November 12, 2015:
Recreational shellfish harvesting status
The recreational harvest of razor clams is closed along the entire Oregon Coast from the Columbia River to the California border for elevated levels of domoic acid. This includes all beaches and all bays.
The recreational harvest of mussels is closed from the Yachats River to the California border for elevated levels of domoic acid. This includes all beaches and all bays.
The recreational harvest of mussels is open from the Columbia River to the Yachats River.
The recreational harvest of bay clams is open along the entire Oregon Coast from the Columbia River to the California border.
A recreational crab advisory is in effect from Cape Arago to the California border for elevated levels of domoic acid in crab viscera (guts/butter). Crab harvested from this area should have all internal organs and gills removed prior to eating.
Scallops are not affected by this closure when only the adductor muscle is eaten. The consumption of whole recreationally caught scallops is not recommended.
Commercial shellfish products remain safe for consumers. Samples show no biotoxins at this time.
The Shellfish Safety Hotline is 800-448-2474.
Coastal bays and estuaries remain open year ’round for crabbing. The ocean is closed and offshore crabbing is forbidden. A report in one of the local coastal newspapers has been touting the good ocean crabbing. Don’t do it. It’s closed until December 1st.
There doesn’t seem to be a bad place on the coast lately to fish for Chinook and the Siletz is no exception. Plug-pullers and bobber fishers are catching some with the occasional steelhead hookup on spinners.
Heavy traffic by trollers on the Yaquina River above Toledo would indicate some action but TGF couldn’t buy a report. That’s just an expression, of course. Fisher folks are kind enough to donate reports; we don’t pay for ’em.
Unlike the Yaquina, there were a couple of reports from the Alsea which indicated the upper river was fishing best for bobber and egg flingers. Some in the 30 to 35 pound range have been landed this week.
The Siltcoos Lake wild coho fishery which had been a virtual non-event up to our report last week, is now underway and pressure from trollers is fairly high. The fish ladder at the dam was open at our report in last week’s newsletter but is now once again closed. Some coho slipped into the lake while the ladder was in operation although catching has been slow. Once the water level at Siltcoos Lake is high enough for the dam to remain open, fishing is then expected to improve. While there are a few jacks being caught (with emphasis on few) in the Siltcoos River, many are showing some color. Lightly-colored bucks will still make good table fare and there are some bright ones in the mix. The most disheartening sight is that o literally countless sea lions in the surf just off the mouth of the river. That may be an indication of coho but running that gauntlet successfully would be highly unlikely. It will be encouraging to many and dismissed by a few but bass fishing has been and continues to be pretty good here. Slow-rolling spinnerbaits has been the most productive technique for November largemouth.
Tahkenitch Lake is at as high a level as locals have ever seen it and locating the guy in charge of opening the dam seems to be a problem. The upshot is that in spite of optimum water conditions, coho and sea run cutthroat staged to enter and sea lions forming a buffet line to take advantage of the situation, there aren’t any coho in the lake.
With the coastal fall Chinook fishery wide open now, there were reports of chrome bright Chinook being caught Tuesday this week on the Siuslaw River.
Waters of the lower Rogue River swelled with the passage of a storm front on November 8th. Prior to that date, trollers in Rogue Bay enjoyed excellent results for both coho and Chinook. Each rain event will draw greater numbers of salmon upstream which means a lull in the action and as incoming fish numbers dwindle, so will action for trollers. At this writing on November 12th, lower river flows are back to nearly previous volumes and are forecast to drop further into the coming weekend. This should man some action in the Agness area for adult and half-pounder steelhead. The impact of passing precipitation is far less on the middle river where levels remain below the seasonal norm and steelheading is fair with best results below spawning Chinook. With bait allowed on the upper Rogue above Shady Cove, that’s where most of the pressure has been and with pretty fair results for summer steelhead. Below the deadline at Shady Cove, anglers are using primarily egg imitations, often scented, and are also taking fish by doing so.
Whenever boats have had an opportunity to cross the Chetco bar, fishing in the ocean for rockfish and ling cod just outside has been excellent. Jigs are used primarily and as effective as they are, it’s a good bet. Last weekend’s freshet raised the Chetco from 188 cfs to 3,600 cfs and sent the most of the estuary Chinook upriver by the hundreds to spawning grounds upriver. This bodes well for Chinook stocks in three or four years but put the kibosh on the troll fishery although bobber and egg anglers should find some in holes well above tidewater..
Following rain over the past weekend, the Sixes River produced Chinook on Monday this week but no reports of catches from the Elk River. There hasn’t been much activity by recreational boats in the ocean fishery which is now open off the Elk River although there has been some commercial effort in this area. This fishery will remain open through November.