Central & South Coast Reports – Charters out of Depoe Bay over the past weekend enjoyed friendly seas and ling cod anxious to devour offerings. Not so the rockfish; many were caught but it was mostly short of limits on the latter. Both deep water and nearshore boats did well.
Boats launching out of Newport or Depoe Bay should have no problem getting offshore over the coming weekend and beyond. Mild temperatures will be comfortable while low swells at long periods coupled with light winds should make for an easy ride out on the ocean.
This time of year, temperate coastal lakes are warming to the point that warm water gamefish become active. About two-thirds of boats participating in February’s annual Frostbite Open at Tenmile Lakes were able to weigh in five bass limits. The top team, Burckhardt & McKee entered a limit weighing 20.83 while the largest bass scaled at 4.50 pounds.
Many of the south coast winter steelhead have spawned by now so catches will contain at least some ‘kelts,’ or fish that nave spawned and are heading back down river.
It seems Siuslaw steelheaders have not been doing so well this season, which, according to catch statistics is well into the wind-down stage. March catches have run about a third of those made in February over the years, then trails off to almost nothing in April. The more you know.
Crabbing has improved at Winchester Bay. The Umpqua system which has been flowing not just low but also cold, has slowed dramatically for winter steelhead. The action will return with the next freshet. Rock fishing off the south jetty at Coos Bay has been good recently. Crabbing has been decent with better catches coming to boat crabbers than those trying from the docks. A redtail surf perch was taken from a nearby ocean beach which weighed 5.25 pounds. While three pound redtails aren’t uncommon and a few four pounders are taken occasionally, this is the largest we’ve heard of. The Coos River system has slowed due to low, clear water. Winters are being taken occasionally by anglers fishing tiny offerings in deep stretches.
Fishing for redtail surf perch has been good and is expected to improve off beaches near Gold Beach. Following a flurry of activity early this week on the Rogue from the freshet resultant of rainfall over the past weekend, waters have once again dropped and cleared. It was also hoped that this would be the freshet than produced the first spring Chinook this year, but that did not occur. Fortunately, more rain is on the way, forecast to start on Wednesday in the coming week. That will definitely boost winter steelhead catches on all stretches of the river and hopefully, that first springer will be landed. Despite low, clear, cool weather, winters have continued entering at Coles River Hatchery on the upper Rogue.
The return of Chinook to the Klamath Management Zone is predicted to be nearly 1.3 million fish. This affects the stretch of Oregon coastline south of Humbug Mountain, primarily boats launching out of the Port of Brookings. In short, it looks like a bang-up season, exceeding that of 2014 (which was a dandy) and will include plenty of three and four year old salmon with a sprinkling of five and even hefty six-salt fish. Fishing will commence in May, continuing through June and July. Last weekend’s rain did little for skinny flows at the Chetco, which have only continued to deteriorate during the course of the present week. Expect the mid-march rains to bump up levels and flows and as it recovers, so will steelhead action. ‘Til then, bait ’em with tiny, naturally presented offerings of roe or sand shrimp which has been hooking a few this week.
Thanks to readers who have written requesting reports on the Elk and Sixes rivers. When there’s fishing, there will be a report. Right now those ocean tribs are ‘way low and clear which means they fish not well at all.
Not only is the surface of Diamond Lake free of ice, the banks are free of snow according to a report on Wednesday this week. Fishing is slow to fair with very little pressure.