Central & South Oregon Coast Fishing Reports for Sept 16th

All-depth groundfish fishery to reopen October 1st. Fish managers are crediting the “increased use of descending devices by halibut anglers was a key factor in contributing to the decision by fish managers to reopen the all-depth groundfish fishery.” Read the complete story in Random Links.

It was a 35-mile trip out of Newport on Wednesday this week for one boater who reported that fishing was OK, the got good when they hit water over 61 degrees. All they could carry on board were 25 Albacore and that’s just what they returned to port with. One commercial captain said it was slow for him on Wednesday this week because there’s a “full moon in effect.”

Limits or near-limits of rockfish, good numbers of decent-sized ling cod and ocean crabbing described as “good to epic” is the word from charters out of Depoe Bay. The ODFW reports, “Now is the best time of the year to go crabbing on the Oregon Coast.” While we (one of us in particular) don’t always agree with the ODFW, in this case, I couldn’t not disagree more. You got that, right? If not, Email TGFMichael@gmail.com

Ocean salmon fishing improved with several reports of good catches on Tuesday this week. Although no boat limits were reported, there’s still time remaining in which that could occur … at least occasionally. That sort of thing does make for more exciting fishing reports.

Trollers working Yaquina Bay and upriver have been hooking salmon but by all reports, not very many in any one day. They are above Sawyers has given up a few as have the4 oyster beds. Crabbing was good inside the bay over Labor Day weekend with boats reporting 30, 40 or more in a gay (albeit often with multiple traps and consecutive soaks. This week, however, crabbing has slowed, leaving one (this one, anyway) to wonder if the holiday crowd temporarily cleaned out keeper-sized Dungeness. I guess next week’s reports will tell.

Salmon trollers on the Alsea are reportedly catching three or four fish per day – total for all trying – according to fish checkers. There have been scattered catches from the bay jaws clear up the river above the Highway 34 Bridge. The consensus is that it hasn’t really started yet.

Crabbers launching out of Winchester Nay to ply the ocean for Dungeness are pulling limits of large crab. It’s been fair in the bay, requiring more time and pulls for something short of a limit. Be certain to check bar conditions just before crossing and pay attention to warnings and restrictions. Also, watch for derelict crabbing fear in the channel and near the South Jetty!

Author of several fishing books, blogger and Reedsport icon, Pete Heley, (peteheley.com) reports, “James Thresher landed a 41-inch, 32-pound Chinook last week while bankfishing at Winchester Bay. He was casting a chartreuse spinner while fishing with 20-pound braid with a fluorocarbon leader of 40-pound test. Most Chinooks weighing more than 30 pounds are not landed – especially by bank anglers.

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“Ocean cohos have been caught in decent numbers for the last week and some of them have easily topped ten pounds in weight. However, as this is being written, the cohos haven’t entered the Umpqua River in significant numbers and only finclipped cohos are legal to Keep in the river and, of course any Chinooks.

“According to the ODFW website, only 12.7 percent of the 7,500 ocean coho quota had been caught through Sept. 4th, but when one realizes that only includes two days (Sept. 3rd and 4th), the quota may be met in a hurry – like this week.

“The next all-depth halibut opener is Friday and Saturday, September 16th and 17th. Columbia River Subarea All-Depth and Nearshore [is] closed for the remainder of 2016. The entire subarea quota has been caught. The rest of the Sept. 4th halibut update from the ODFW is as follows:

“Central Oregon Coast Subarea – Summer All-Depth Season—was open September 2-3. Weather on Saturday the 3rd enticed many anglers to try offshore for halibut (or tuna). Angler success rate for halibut was approximately 50%, with anglers out of Depoe Bay and Bandon having over a 90% success rate. The total catch last opening was 16,569 pounds with the average weight of landed fish approximately 32 pounds round weight – the highest average weight for any all-depth opening this year. To keep the Central Oregon Coast Subarea Nearshore season, open a little bit longer, 5,000 pounds has been transferred from the summer all-depth to the nearshore. This leaves approximately 12,000 pounds remaining for the summer all-depth fishery, with the next opening September 16-17.

“Saturday, September 17 is the Annual Depoe Bay Salmon Bake. There will be a lot of activity around the harbor and parking areas. To avoid congestion, anglers who normally fish out of Depoe Bay may wish to consider fishing out of another port on that day.

“Nearshore Season— opened June 1, seven days per week. To keep the nearshore fishery, open a little bit longer ODFW, NMFS, and IPHC have agreed to transfer 6,000 pounds into the nearshore fishery (5,000 pounds from the summer all-depth and 1,000 pounds from the Southern Oregon Subarea). With that transfer and after landings last week, there is just under 2,000 pounds of quota remaining for the nearshore season.

“Southern Oregon Subarea—there was 384 pounds landed last week, bringing the total to 3,651 pounds landed. To aid in keeping the Central Oregon Coast Subarea nearshore fishery open a little bit longer, 1,000 pounds has been transferred from the Southern Oregon Subarea to that fishery. This still leaves just under 4,000 pounds of quota remaining, which should still allow the Southern Oregon Subarea to remain open until the regulatory closure date of October 31.

“Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officials announced that the online license sales system for buying fishing and hunting licenses and tags is operational again. ODFW license sales by retail businesses were never interrupted. Active Network, the application owner and operator of the system, on September 9th told ODFW that they completed their final security testing of the system and that online sales were ready to be reactivated

“We greatly appreciate our customers’ patience while we worked to ensure that the system was secure,” said Doug Juergensen, Information System Division administrator for the agency.

“Last week, network security specialists identified and patched all vulnerabilities after unauthorized access of the system was discovered on Aug. 23, 2016. Investigations by Active Network and the state of Oregon’s Enterprise Security Office (ESO) found that social security numbers and credit card information were not exposed, but that driver license numbers were accessed as well as name, gender, date-of-birth, address, telephone and email.

“Active Network has informed ODFW that it will soon be notifying individuals whose data may have been compromised as a result of the unauthorized access. Notices will be sent by mail and other details will be announced soon.

“ODFW has contacted law enforcement to determine whether criminal activity has occurred and will keep the public and media informed as new information becomes available.

“In some good news, Steve Godin informed me that the ODFW intends to lift the ban on bottomfishing in ocean waters deeper than 120 feet on October 1st. Previously, the restriction was intended to last through this year, but a growing number of bottomfish anglers are properly releasing their canary rockfish and the impact of incidentally taken canaries hasn’t been as great as feared.”

Coos Bay and the river system has Chinook scattered from the jaws up to forks. High wind has caused the early termination of fishing trips and has prevented some from even trying at times. Hopefully, the worst of that is over. Chinook are being taken in the bay and sloughs and upriver by both boat and bank anglers. Spinners are used most frequently upriver while bay trollers are dragging herring.

I heard it a few times last week. Anglers, many of whom prefer to use a fly rod, hoping the Army Corps of Engineers would moderate flows out of Lost Creek Reservoir to lower the Rogue Rover. Hey, all you guys, you got your wish! Outflow, at 1,730 cfs on Monday and Tuesday this week, was dropped on Wednesday, September 11th to about 1,500, then each day following to put it at the current (September 15th) 1,180 cfs. This has resulted in a drop river-wide; flows at Agness were 2,275 on the 8th to about 1,700 this afternoon. As a result of this return to a low water situation, trollers in Rogue Bay are starting to see a little fall Chinook action once again. With spinner/anchovy combos ubiquitous, perhaps most important is to troll during the last two or three hours of incoming tide. Upriver near Agness, with river conditions now excellent for fly anglers (who prefer it on the skinny side) and half-pounders are the target. Good news: there are plenty of ‘em scattered throughout the lower river. Spinners will catch these fish as well as bait but be aware there are full-sized adults in this stretch, too. Pressure on the on the middle Rogue is greatest from Hog Creek to Fishers Ferry where anglers may keep wild as well as hatchery Chinook through the end of the month and they are catching a few. Summer steelhead fishing is are responding equally well to lures or bait with fishing fair. No Chinook fishing is allowed above Fishers Ferry Boat Ramp to Cole Rivers Hatchery. Upper Rogue fishing is now a fly-fishing only zone although spinning tackle may be used to cast flies with a bubble. No weights or swivels are allowed. Steelhead have been responding well to swung flies which makes summer steelheading a good bet on the upper Rogue.

Sea-Run cutthroat trout are entering the majority of coastal tributaries and the run has a reputation on the lower Chetco. Fly anglers love these fish which hang in slower “frog water,” in dark, boiling roils or along banks in the shade under overhanging brush. They’ll chase brightly-colored attractor flies which makes the Spruce Fly a popular choice. Lower Chetco anglers may see a few Chinook in the lower Chetco as well.

Fishing in the ocean for Chinook salmon in the Oregon Klamath Management Zone, which includes the ports of Brookings Harbor and Gold Beach is now officially closed. The next and final ocean fishing season will be happening this coming October during a split season which will occur, October 1-3 and October 8-9. This is what’s known as the 2016 Chetco River Fall Chinook State Waters Terminal Area Season, a state-run fishery occurring in state waters from zero to three miles from shore. But we know it as Chetco Hawg Season!