Central & South Oregon Coast Fishing Reports – Although salmon fishing has been fairly slow for charters out of Depoe Bay – fewer than a fish per rod – Chinook landed recently have been nice-sized fish. Salmon fishing has been spotty out of Newport as well with most of the coho coming from 100 to 120 foot depths. Mixed catches of silvers and Chinook are being brought back to port, usually along with plenty of large ocean crab.
Boats launching out of central Oregon ports made good catches of lingcod and rockfish early this week while ocean crabbing was producing mostly limits of Dungeness although soft-shelled crabs are being sorted from hard-shelled keepers. A late report indicates that as good as bottom fishing was on Monday and Tuesday this week, it slowed on Wednesday, September 9th, but that crabbing remained good.
Tuna fishing has been on hiatus this week as offshore conditions have not been conducive to longer ocean trips. As opportunities occur, albacore should remain available through September.
As of the most recent opening of the Summer All-Depth Halibut fishery, about 6,100 pounds of fish flesh was landed leaving 26% of the quota and insuring at least one more chance at ‘buts beyond the 40 fathom line on September 18th and 19th. Nearshore halibut generally are not as numerous not as large as their deep-water relatives but fun to catch nonetheless. In the central Oregon fishery, 19,521 of the 21,076-pound quota had been caught as of the latest update through September 6th, leaving just 7% or 1,555 pounds remaining to be taken.
A sharp-eyed reader caught a date gaff in last week’s TGF. While several rivers will open for wild coho on September 15th, Tenmile, Siltcoos and Tahkenitch lakes wild coho seasons start October 1st.
For those thinking about a trip to the Siuslaw, think harder – and faster. Plan that trip for the coming week or two if fishing and crabbing the bay is in order. The upriver bobber fishery will start up around Mapleton later in the year (assuming fall rains start on schedule).
Back bouncers on the lower Umpqua have been hooking up with Chinook regularly. One angler reported limiting the boat by 10 AM on September 7th using this method. A recent report indicates that with cooler water temperatures, Chinook salmon have moved up above Reedsport with fish starting to hold below Sawyers Rapids and there has been some fishing success on the Umpqua near the Elk Viewing Area. While there have been no reports as yet, the lower Umpqua should be heating up for sea-run cutthroat trout at this time of year.
Tuna boats out of Charleston showed mixed results over the holiday weekend with some blanking, many taking anywhere from a half-dozen to four times that many and crab pots loaded with Dungeness. One boat landed a 48-pound Opah on a Wilson Point dart jig. Coos Bay trollers dragging plug-cut herring between the Highway 101 Bridge and the airport have been taking decent numbers of Chinook. Crabbing is good in the lower bay. For a different approach to rock fishing along the jetties, see Random Links.
The 16th Annual Coos Basin Salmon Derby will take place on September 12th & 13th. This event benefits the local STEP program. With tickets for the two-day event only $20 per person and the money going to a good cause, it’s a fun and worthwhile event. Over $1,000 in Cash & Prizes will be awarded including $100 for the Kids’ Biggest Fish award. And kids 13 and under fish for free (With a paying adult fisherman). Advance tickets may be purchased at The Bite’s On Bait and Tackle, Coos Bay Marine, Y Marina, Englund Marine, TnT Market and at the kickoff BBQ. Day-of tickets will be available at California Street, Eastside, Dora’s Place ramps & Mill Casino Hotel.
The latest report from the Coquille River tidewater is of slow but steady action for Chinook. Trolled herring is the weapon of choice here.
Offshore fishing out of Gold Beach has been mostly good for rockfish and lingcod when, that is, the ocean allows boats to fish. As of the latest information available from the ODFW, as of August 30th, 41% of the quota remained to be caught. Dropping crab pots in 100-foot depths has continued yielding good catches of ocean crab which are still full and hard which is unusual this late in the season. Since rain fell, fishing Rogue Bay has been slow to spotty but there are more salmon – both coho and Chinook – on the way. The remainder of September is actually a pretty good time to target coho in the bay. Troll a little faster than when you would fishing Chinook, using the same spinner/anchovy combo but with bright-colored spinner blades in orange, red or the coho favorite: pink. Only fin-clipped silvers may be retained in this fishery. In the stretch of the Rogue River below Agness, fishing is fair to good for half-pounder and adult summer steelhead. Plug-pullers on the middle Rogue have been catching Chinook bound for the Applegate River. Although catches are only fair, it’s an improvement on this stretch of the Rogue where fishing has been poor much of the time. There are even a few summer steelhead in the Grants Pass stretch but darned few. Water releases from Lost Creek Lake were supposed to be reduced to 1,200 cubic feet per second on Tuesday this week but ended up at 1,300 cfs which should still have a positive effect on summer steelhead fishing on the upper river while allowing fish a little extra current in which to resist and entertain anglers. Results have been fair in the flies-only section between Fishers Ferry boat ramp and Cole Rivers Hatchery but is expected to pick up as the upper Rogue stabilizes.
Brookings resident Richard Laskey had fished every one of the Slam’n Salmon Fishing Derbies since the inception 12 years ago. With that kind of experience, he didn’t think the sub-30-pound Chinook he landed on Saturday, September 5th, stood any kind of chance for a finish in the prize money. A telephone call to a buddy of his in Brookings, urging him to have the fish weighed, changed his mind. That phone call turned out to be fortuitous. It seems that high winds and hot weather had salmon off the bite for most anglers during the derby this year; only 34 fish were turned in for 336 participants which made Laskey’s 28.9-pound a first-place winner worth $6,000. It turns out that the Chinook season off the southern Oregon coast, which ended September 7th, was one of the poorest in memory due to warm offshore water temperatures attributed to the ongoing El Niño. Only the 2008-2009 season following the Sacramento River catastrophe could compare with how bad 2015 was. On a brighter note, jack salmon are showing up on the lower Chetco. These fish are traditionally followed by adults. Casting spoons from the jetties might be an option for intercepting some of these early fish. Despite dismal results in the offshore Chinook fishery thus far this season, hopes remain high for the Chetco Bubble opener – also known as the Hawg Fishery – which will run October 1st through the 11th. See Random Links, for a map of the area. Halibut fishing has been worthwhile in the seven-day-a week southern Oregon subarea fishery in 180 to 220 feet of water with fish over 60 pounds landed recently.