Southwest Oregon Fishing Reports
From Pete Heley at PeteHeley.com
Some striper anglers fishing shallow-running swimbaits averaged at least 15 stripers per night last week. It seems that most of the larger stripers landed recently have been caught on live bait with live sardines from Umpqua Bait, “pogies and pike minnows all working.
It’s kind of ironic that the most successful striper anglers eight to ten years ago are having the toughest time catching stripers now.
The run of redtail surfperch in the lower Umpqua River is still going strong but seems to become increasingly inconsistent.
Fishing local beaches for “pinkfins” has been surprisingly tough the last two weeks.
The Coquille River is still producing striped bass and usually has a decent bite the last three hours of daylight. Striper fishing on the Smith River continues to be a night fishery.
Recently. some of the best striper fishing on the Coquille river has been occurring between Riverton and Bullards Bar State Park. Striper fishing has dominated fishing activity to the point where every other fish species is underfished.
Fishing pressure directed towards smallmouth bass increased last week. Most of the recent smallmouth catches have occurred in the Myrtle Point- Arago area as well as the lower reaches of the South Fork Coquille.
A few anglers fishing out of float tubes have made good batches of crappies, bluegills and largemouth bass from Fat Elk Slough just below Highway 42.
Because of the BLM Campground closure, fishing pressure on Loon Lake is way down and fishing for largemouth bass and bluegills has been good. Fishing for brown bullhead catfish and black crappies has been fair.
The Fishing Dock in Tugman Park is producing black crappie – but most anglers aren’t fishing deep enough.
The halibut update for the Central Oregon Coast Subarea is out and is as follows.
Spring All-Depth season— through the June 20-22 opener, the total landings are 67,207 pounds (near 7,000 pounds landed during the last opening). This leaves 103,896 pounds or 61% of the spring all-depth quota remaining. Given that amount of quota remaining, the back-up dates of July 4-6 and July 18-20 will be open for all-depth halibut.
The average size for the Central Coast all-depth fishery remains around 22-23 pounds round weight per fish, with last week’s average marking a new high for this season at around 26 pounds round weight.
Summer All-Depth Season—opens August 2-3, if quota remaining, can be open every other Friday and Saturday. Quota = 67,898 lbs.
Nearshore Season— opened June 1, seven days per week. There have been 2,023 pounds landed so far, leaving 30,568 pounds (94%) of the quota remaining. Average weight last week was approximately 23 pounds round weight.
A reminder that on days when the all-depth fishery is also open, such as July 4-6 & July 18-20, the all-depth fishery regulations apply, regardless of what depth is fished. This means that most bottomfish species may not be retained when halibut are onboard the vessel.
South of Humbug Mountain subarea—there has been a total of 669 pounds landed. This leaves 10,737 pounds (94.8 %) of the quota remaining.
Guides fishing the ocean out of Winchester Bay have generally been pleased with their catch results. A few chinook salmon have been caught northward of the Umpqua River Bar.
Bottom fishing is restricted to inside the 40-fathom regulatory line through September. Fishing for lingcod and rockfish has been good when the ocean is calm enough to fish. The daily bag limit for marine fish is 5 plus 2 lingcod. The retention of cabezon opened on July 1.
Anglers may also choose to fish the offshore longleader fishery outside of the 40-fathom regulatory line, which is open year-round. The longleader fishery has a daily bag limit of 10 fish made of yellowtail, widow, canary, blue, deacon, redstripe, greenstripe, silvergray, and bocaccio rockfish. No other groundfish are allowed and offshore longleader fishing trips cannot be combined with traditional bottomfish, flatfish or halibut trips. Find information about a longleader setup here.
Ocean salmon fishing for Chinook salmon from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt is open. The ocean opened to fin-clipped coho salmon on June 22. Chinook must be a minimum of 24-inches long and coho must be at least 16 inches. Fishing for salmon has been okay with Winchester being the most productive ports on the coast. Anglers have been averaging one fish per person.
The Nearshore Halibut season is open seven days a week in the Central Coast Subarea. There is 86 percent of the Nearshore quota remaining. There is still 61 percent of the Spring All-Depth quota remaining for the Central Coast. The next open All-Depth halibut days will be on July 18-20. The Southern Oregon Subarea is open seven days a week for halibut. There is still 90 percent of the quota remaining for the Southern Oregon Coast halibut season.
Warmer water and lower flows have slowed trout fishing in the mainstem of the Chetco, but anglers willing to do a little walking can find some great cutthroat trout fishing in some of the tributaries to the Chetco.
Howard Prairie Reservoir has been stocked twice this spring with 7,500 legals and fishing has been good. Recently, anglers still-fishing from boats caught fish throughout the lake. Specific hot spots were the shoreline opposite the marina and in the channel between Fawn Island (red wedding ring with a worm fished behind a dodger or lake troll). Wind drifting, trolling, still fishing and fly fishing are all producing trout at Howard.
All facilities are now open. The standard day-use fee applies.
The access road to the dam remains locked. Anglers can still walk the shoreline and fish the point to the south of the dam. No open water was spotted here earlier in the week. There is good bank access via BLM property on the NW side of the lake via the Keno Access Road.
The Rogue bay has been slow for Chinook. Most of the fish are being caught downstream of Highway 101. Chinook numbers should continue the climb through July.
Reportedly last weekend, on the middle Rouge, a large group of Chinook came out of the canyon and some were caught around Galice. Expect these fish to move quickly through this section of river so focus on migration lanes or holding pools early in the morning. There are also summer steelhead hanging around in decent numbers.
Popular floats include Gold Hill to Rogue River, Baker to Lathrop or Ferry Hole, or Griffin Park to Robertson Bridge.
Boaters floating from Hog Creek to Graves Creek should be familiar with the rapids in this section of the river, and know their takeouts. Experienced oarsmen/woman are recommended here. There are many BLM public access points to bank fish from Hog Creek to Graves Creek. This is often referred to as the “Galice area”.
The upper Rogue is in good shape and you can expect flows to hold around this level for the foreseeable feature. Spring Chinook continue to be caught in the upper river as the run progresses. More summer steelhead are around as well.
Approximately 148 hatchery adult spring Chinook and 95 hatchery adult summer steelhead from Cole River Hatchery were recycled into the upper Rogue on July 3. The summer steelhead have red tags (spaghetti like) extending from the top of the fish near the dorsal fin. ODFW encourages anglers that catch these fish to call the upper Rogue office at 541-826-8774. More fish may be recycled this week but that is not known at the time of this writing.
There is good public access for bank fishing and boat access at Cole Rivers Hatchery, McGregor Park, Casey Park, Rogue Elk, Shady Cove, Takelma, Dodge Bridge, Modoc, Denman Wildlife Area, Touvelle State Park, Gold Ray, and Fishers Ferry. Most floats in the upper Rogue have been from the hatchery or Rogue Elk downstream to Shady Cove. Dodge Bridge to Touvelle is an excellent float but anglers should be aware that they will encounter Rattlesnake Rapids. If you are not ready for Rattlesnake, many floats will start at the ODFW Modoc Access Site and float to Touvelle or Fishers Ferry.
Fly anglers that nymph will want to use prince nymphs or copperswans, steelhead brassies, stone flies, ugly bugs, or will want to fish large dark flies if swinging. Don’t be afraid of color such as black and chartreuse, black and blue, black and purple, black and pink, or black and red. If tying your own flies, don’t be afraid to add a little bit of flash dubbing or tinsel in the body of your fly. Also, covering lots of water when working through a run is a good technique when swinging flies. Trying moving 4-5 feet down every cast or two.
Hatchery staff has not sorted the collection pond as of this writing but they estimate a couple of hundred new spring Chinook have arrived for the week. As of July 3, a total of 94 summer steelhead have entered Cole Rivers Hatchery with 50 new fish two weeks ago. Winter steelhead are finished for the year with a total of 2,835 fish collected. A total of 2,204 spring Chinook have entered the hatchery this season, including 202 two weeks ago.
The Rogue above Lost Creek Reservoir will be stocked this week and this will occur weekly through the summer. Reports indicate fishing has been good from Prospect upstream and that includes one lucky angler who caught a 7-pound brown trout. With cold water, you’ll want to swing your lure right in front of fish, so work through a hole a bit more slowly.
Anglers can cast flies or smaller lures like a Panther Martin or rooster tail. Often tipping the lure with bait helps to produce. In slower holes, fishing straight bait such as night crawler or Pautzke eggs, even PowerBait will produce.
Diamond Lake has been good. Recent reports indicate most successful anglers are using flies with a quick retrieve or trolling. Others are having good success with floating bait off the bottom. If one technique isn’t working switch to something else
Most of the summer steelhead and spring Chinook should be upstream on the mainstem of the Umpqua by now. Some fall Chinook have been caught in the bay, and it should continue to improve as we get closer to August.
Bass fishing should be good in most of the main as well as the South Umpqua.
Trout fishing reopened on May 22, 2019. The mainstem is catch-and-release only, but in tributaries 2 per day may be kept as long as they meet the 8-inch minimum length.
Fishing for rockfish inside the Coos Bay has been good near the submerged rock piles. Best fishing is usually near slack tide.
Striped bass fishing continues to be very good in the Coquille River from Riverton to Bullards, with most anglers using cut bait or nightcrawlers fished with sliding sinkers on the river bottom.
The smallmouth bass bite is also good at this time in the mainstem and South Fork Coquille rivers. Smallmouth bass will bite on worms, jigs with a twister tail, crankbaits, and small spinners.
Trout fishing in streams and rivers opened last week on May 22, while lakes in the basin are open year-round.
Marine perch species are available around rocks, riprap, pilings, and docks at this time of year.
Bass fishing has been good on Tenmile Lakes. Most of the bass are being caught along the deeper weedlines and submerged trees. Yellow perch fishing has been spotty so far with most anglers striking out, but a few anglers have found schools of yellow perch in the 10- to 15-inch range.
Trout fishing has slowed down on Tenmile Lakes but a few anglers are still trolling deep with wedding ring spinners.