Although the depth restriction of 30 fathoms for bottom fishers was lifted on October 1st and all depths may now be explored, boats may not fish for bottom fish and halibut at the same time. A statement to the contrary was recently reversed by the ODFW (see below). As it stands right now, the nearshore halibut fishery remains open (despite going over quota recently) and the all-depth season will be open October 2nd and 3rd. Ironic, isn’t it, that with all the early-season complaints from anglers, we’re fishing halibut in October. The next tentative all-depth dates are October 16th and 17th. Read on for clarification on the regs.
From the ODFW: “The occurrence of the upcoming October 2-3 Central Coast Subarea all-depth halibut days after bottom-fish fishing opens to all depths starting October 1 has led to some confusion and questions about whether rockfish and lingcod can be retained with halibut on those all-depth halibut days. The answer is no. Federal and state regulations state: “During days open to all-depth halibut fishing, no ground-fish may be taken and retained, possessed or landed, except sablefish, Pacific cod and flatfish species, if halibut are on board the vessel.” This rule was put in place to avoid impacts on yelloweye rockfish that could potentially occur if there was additional fishing for lingcod and rockfish on all-depth halibut trips. The regulation does not include any exceptions for when the bottom-fish fishery is open to all depths. Note that flatfish, sablefish, and Pacific cod are allowed with halibut on all-depth days in the Central Coast Subarea.”
The nonselective coho season off the central Oregon coast which closed on the last day of September was a slow one. As a result of poor catches this year, quota of 20,700 unclipped coho came nowhere close to filling.
Offshore tuna fishers are an optimistic lot, but that full figured woman may have started crooning for albacore hunters. A sport boat with an experienced crew made a rough trip out on Tuesday this week and fished for 12 hours with only a single albacore for their efforts. It was a nice one, over 30 pounds as is common at this time of year, but expectations were somewhat higher. Of course, additional trips are in planning stages.
Mostly limits of rockfish are being reported for bottom fishers launching out of Depoe Bay and Newport, amongst which are invariably a few ling cod as the bite for the latter has been slower. Expect the ling fishery to improve now that depth restrictions are lifted and offshore boats can access deep water.
Speaking of rockfish, there have been some whopper Vermillion Rockfish landed recently out of Depoe Bay and Charleston. One angler started cleaning a big one before he thought about weighing it. Another offshore fisher at Depoe Bay had his fish scale to 14 pounds. The Oregon record out of that port is 12 pounds.
Crossing Oregon coastal bars this weekend will be a crap shoot but for those able to get out early in the coming week, conditions are predicted to be quite boater friendly. Low ocean swells at long intervals are forecast to be accompanied by light breezes and smiles.
Don’t forget this one, it’s kind of a Big Deal!
Bobber fishers using cured eggs have been catching Chinook on the Siletz River. That’s the total intel other than this fishing occurs in tidewater but on this river, that information narrows it down to a 17-mile stretch. As with most coastal streams boasting fall fish, expect some company here.
Fishing must be pretty good in the lower Alsea from the number of boats that are bumping gunwales at every location.
The Siuslaw River is producing well for some while others report marking fish but not hooking up. That sounds like fall Chinook fishing, doesn’t it? Upriver around the railroad bridge has been more productive (and most crowded; the area is obvious from the aluminum hatch) while bank-bound spinner-flingers are hooking up on occasion near Rhododendron.
The wild coho fishery the Umpqua River continues through October 15th since there is no river quota this year. Only one unclipped coho salmon may be kept per day and two for the season. There are many anglers have already filled their limit.
Crabbing has been quite good in Coos Bay recently with mostly males which are mostly hard along with large red rock crab. When tides cooperated over the past weekend, clamming produced many limits. Salmon fishing has been getting more consistent in Coos Bay. While the fall Chinook run usually peaks in mid-September, this season shows no sign of slowing.
While we have reported some anglers ‘extending’ their seasons with a one-day license (which includes an additional harvest card), the ODFW says it isn’t legal to do so after purchasing the regular combined angling tag.
Chinook and coho are continuing to move into Rogue Bay, but not upriver as the water level remains at near-record low levels. Many of these are Indian Creek Hatchery Chinook which are vulnerable to bank anglers fishing near the mouth of the creek. Steelhead and half-pounder fishing has been fair to good in the Agness stretch. Fall Chinook fishing is fair in the middle Rogue on back-bounced roe, spoons and sardine-wrapped Kwikfish. Summer steelhead are also available but there aren’t a large number of them around this area. Fishing for summer steelhead is good on the upper Rogue with fish well distributed now. The flies-only season is in force on the Rogue upstream of Fishers Ferry Boat Ramp. Drifting streamers and nymphing has been effective for steelheaders.
Thursday, October 1st, marked the opening of the highly-anticipated “2015 Chetco River Fall Chinook Ocean Terminal Area Season,” often referred to by locals as the “Chetco Hawg Season.” This fishery, which runs through October 11th, often produces the biggest Chinook of the year. With Chetco Bay producing Chinook between 20 and 35 pounds, a 50 pounder from just outside wouldn’t be beyond possibility. Boats must stay within three nautical miles of shore and between Twin Rocks and the Oregon/California border. This week in the bay fishery, the majority of anglers are catching Chinook trolling traditional spinner/anchovy rigs although, some have taken fish by trolling plugs or with plug-cut herring. Fishing from the jetties has been effective lately for those throwing spoons. To methods are used primarily and in either case, anglers cast and let the lure sink until it hits bottom. At this point, either reel the spoon in slowly or rip it and let it flutter back to the bottom again. Chinook will most frequently hit it on the drop but be alert; this take can be surprisingly gentle. Only one wild Chinook may be kept per day and anglers can retain no more than five wild Chinook for the 11-day season with a minimum size is 24 inches. Anglers may also keep hatchery Chinook in this fishery but because of this new regulation, the daily bag limit is now two Chinook per angler. So according to the rules, you can keep two hatchery Chinook a day, or one wild Chinook plus one hatchery fish a day. But if you’ve caught your five-wild Chinook for the season, then you are only allowed to retain hatchery Chinook, and you would be required to release all wild Chinook. No coho of hatchery origin or otherwise may be retained.
Diamond, Lemolo, Mirror, Clear and Lost lakes will all provide rewarding fall fishing for trout this coming weekend and, depending on the weather and freezing level, beyond.