Central & South Coast Reports – Charters fishing out of Depoe Bay this week have been scoring limits of ling cod to 35 pounds for their clients. While rockfish are also being taken, it’s has been a little slow recently. These boats will be out to take advantage of good winter bottom fishing whenever conditions allow. Kidding about “fresh crab” in last week’s newsletter confused some readers. The crab from fish mongers or from the seafood case at the local grocer in the past three months wasn’t. Fresh that is. There had been no fresh Dungeness harvested during that time so only frozen was available. Commercial harvest, which ended August 31st, began once again on the 1st of December (although they dropped pots on Friday, November 28th).
Sport crabbers are also plying the ocean for Dungeness with best results coming from just off the mouths of bays and estuaries. Catches will decline in a week or so as commercial efforts score thousands of crab, thinning the available numbers.
Bay crabbing will hold up as well unless a very heavy rain falls. As it is now, just keep in mind that crab will move to the lower areas of bays with moderate precipitation.
With wild coho fishing open through December, there are still some good chances to take bright fish at Tenmile. Trolling spinners between the county boat ramp and Rocky Point has been productive as well as in the area of South Tenmile.
Chinook fishing is well into the wind-down phase on the Alsea but there will be stragglers which will provide scratch fishing over the next few weeks. Unmarked coho may no longer be kept. The first winter steelhead showed up in the hatchery trap this week. To get involved in the broodstock program here, contact the Alsea Hatchery at 541-487-7740.
Crabbing has been good on the Umpqua River bar where anglers have dropped posts, pursued bottom fish, and then returned to good catches of hard Dungeness. There are a few hatchery coho amongst the predominantly wild steelhead on the Umpqua River mainstem. Although closed to trout fishing, there are steelhead available on the North Umpqua though fishing has been slow. The South Umpqua opened again on December 1st although there have not yet been any fishing reports.
Coos Bay has continued to crab well and the jetty is producing decent catches of black rockfish. Winter steelhead fishing will start any time now on the Coos River system. The wild coho fishery is closed.
Rogue Bay is done for the season with Chinook moving upstream. Rogue River water levels are expected to rise starting Saturday, December 6th with the long-range forecast calling for a blowout mid-month. Winter steelhead are entering and have been providing fair fishing on the middle and lower river, stretches that will soon be subject to the aforementioned freshet. Those able to fish above the Shady Cove boat ramp, however, will find better water conditions and less leafy debris. In addition, this stretch of the Rogue has no bait restrictions and roe has often been the best option. In the middle and lower Rogue, plunking Spin ‘n’ Glos will take fish whenever the water drops and clears. Try flame/chartreuse or Tequila Sunrise. If trout fishing is your forte, Lost Creek Reservoir above the Rogue is producing good catches.
Chetco Chinook fishing is slowing just as winter steelhead catches are improving. The river is forecast to rise this weekend but should be in condition to plunk providing the visibility isn’t compromised. A mix of salmon and steelhead will be available for a while but winter steelheading will dominate in a couple of weeks.
At this writing, the Elk and Sixes are low and clear with too little precipitation falling in the southwest corner of the state to improve water conditions here. When there’s water in these rivers, late-running Chinook will follow.
Rivers will surely be blown out at times in the coming weeks. Fill in time catching trout in area lakes. Garrison has been fishing well and has some big ones available.