Central & South Oregon Coast Fishing Reports for Nov 18th

We’ve waited about a month for this. It appears that on this coming Monday, November 21st we have a decent ocean forecast coming up which will allow folks to get out & catch some large ling cod and rockfish without having to go far offshore.

Climatologists are pretty darned sure that we will experience a La Nina winter this year which means wet weather and plenty of it. This is actually a good thing in the long run. Keep repeating that phrase as you’re looking at the muddy water high on the banks of your favorite river, convinced there’s a 20-pound winter steelhead somewhere in that mess.

Siltcoos and Tahkenitch lakes have special wild coho seasons under permanent regulations, October 1st to Dec31st with, one wild jack and one wild adult the daily limit and a total seasonal limit of five of these coho adults on your tag. There’s just one small ‘catch’, if you will, since anglers are not allowed to fish for jack salmon (or trout) after retaining a limit of adult salmon or steelhead so the jack has to be landed first as the single adult would be the limit for that day. Fishing either of these lakes is a good time to relax as trollers may expect to send a while riding around, hoping for that hookup. While fishing may be slow, it’s one of the few places remaining where one can still catch a decent, bright coho. Hatchery fish may not apply as wild only are allowed!

Pete Heley, author, publisher, writer and blogger out of Reedsport (peetheley.com), reports this week, “Surprisingly, the crabbing at Winchester Bay is still holding up well and should continue to do so barring some major rainstorms. Recently, dock crabbing has been as productive as it has been all year.

“There has been almost nobody fishing the Umpqua River at Winchester Bay, but there are still a few late-arriving salmon present. Last week, a woman casting a spinner from the bank at Osprey Point hooked and fought what was obviously a very large salmon. The battle lasted nearly half an hour without the fish showing itself and she had attracted quite a few spectators by the time her hook finally straightened out. My least favorite thing in fishing is losing an obviously large fish without even getting a glimpse of it.

“Anglers attempting to fish the South Jetty for bottomfish have had to deal with some rough wave action and rough surf conditions have made fishing for red-tailed surfperch more difficult and less fun than it needs to be.

“There are still some bright coho salmon in Tahkenitch and Siltcoos Lake, but fishing is slow to the point where many of the salmon anglers are using lures that garner bass as well as salmon strikes. Almost all the streams along the Oregon coast have a few late-returning salmon in them, but they are in poor condition. The best chance for bright fish remains the Elk and Sixes rivers which are known for their late-run Chinook salmon. Of the two, the Elk is the quickest to recover after a heavy rain.

“Bill Taylor, of Winchester Bay, reported that on a coho trip to Tahkenitch Lake last week, he caught several good-sized crappies that struck the Wee Wart he was trolling. Tenmile Lake is still giving up some good-sized yellow perch, but fishing pressure is light – especially on other area lakes.

“Each winter, a number of local anglers travel to northern California to fish for bass. Specifically, they usually target Shasta Lake for spotted bass and Clear Lake for largemouth bass – but both lakes contain numerous other fish species. Fishing is typically inconsistent, but occasionally very good during the winter months.

“Steve Godin stopped by work last weekend to inform me that in an upcoming ODFW meeting, the subject of making “descenders” mandatory for bottomfishing will be addressed. Descenders allow anglers to release bottomfish at sufficient depth to ensure their safe recovery. Their increased usage has already affected fishing regulations concerning bottomfish in a positive way.

“When descenders become mandatory, at least one device will be required on board all sport bottomfishing boats and it will need to be readily accessible at all times. The odds are that there won’t be a minimum amount of weight legally required to attach to the descender, but two pounds is sufficient to get most bottomfish down to a sufficient depth for safe release. More weight may be required to get a truly large bottomfish down to a sufficient depth for safe release and it would be a shame if a lunker rockfish could not be effectively released because there wasn’t enough attachable weight available. Fish that may be more than 40 years old don’t get replaced in a day.

“Steve also informed me that another subject slated to be addressed at the upcoming ODFW meeting is making canary rockfish part of the seven bottomfish daily limit. Kudos to the ODFW for attempting to
expand fishing opportunities while protecting the resource. It’s not an easy thing to do.”

While there hasn’t been attention on the lower Rogue, the bay has continued to squirt out an occasional late-comer lingering around Indian Creek. These Chinook are being hooked by spinner-flingers fishing from the bank. On the Grants Pass stretch, where flows are 2,300 cfs, steelheading has been slow too spotty although waters are expected to drop to 1,600 cfs through Saturday, then start increasing on Sunday, November 19th. If the middle Rogue is your choice of locations, stick to tributary mouths to find fish. Even the smallest creek could have a fish are two on it. There are a few Chinook redds on the middle river but even in the absence, steelhead on this stretch are still keyed on eggs. Egg flies imitating a single egg or egg and sperm are working well here.
There are still coho in this stretch which have shown a preference for plugs, purple, if you please.

Look for coho holding in slow, deep runs. Fishing remains good on the upper Rogue, with most attention being paid to the river above Shady Cove Boat Ramp where any lure or bait is allowed.

Holding court here are the side drifter who are scoring steelhead on Cured roe. Alternately, some are soaking yarn in eggy juice to take summer. Although plugs are a little less effective than bait, steelhead along with surprisingly bright coho are hitting them. Flows have been about 1,250 cfs out of Lost Creek Reservoir over the past five days this week and should hold that flow through the weekend. Below Shady Cove where bait is not allowed, pressure on the river is much lighter as are catches and fewer numbers of summer steelhead. Most steelheaders here are pulling plugs with some degree of success. Now that Chinook are no longer spawning on the upper Rogue so egg flies aren’t so effective, it’s become more of a challenge to hook up. “Hey, if it were me,”
said Michael, “I’d try a pink worm!”

A picture was posted online following a Chinook fishing trip on the Chetco which took place on Tuesday this week. Four shiny, smiling anglers were posing with four similarly shiny salmon. No
details on how or where but it’s good to see somebody is catching some!

Fishing at Diamond Lake is slow to fair, with bait fishers continuing to beat up trollers and steal their lunch. Fly anglers are doing OK at the south end of the lake with leeches, particularly purple.