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Southwest Oregon Fishing Reports for July 19th, 2019

Southwest Oregon Fishing Reports

From Pete Heley at

Data regarding the current ocean selective (fin-clipped) coho season has been updated through July 3rd and 16.3 percent of the quota has been caught and kept with fishing success running at .85 retained salmon per angler/trip. The most successful port so far has been Depoe Bay with 1.22 kept salmon per angler trip.

By far the busiest port has been Newport with 6,400 angler/trips. Garibaldi has been the second busiest salmon fishing port with 3,373 angler trips and Winchester Bay has been the third busiest with 3,073 angler/trips.

The updated(through July 3rd) resuls for all ten ports in our zone are: Garibaldi(3,373 angler trips – ..53 retained salmon per angler); Pacific City(1,985 angler/trips -.92 retained salmon per angler); Depoe Bay(2,449 angler trips – 1.22 retained salmon per angler); Newpor(6,400 angler trips – .97 retained salmon per angler); Florence(0 angler/trips); Brookings(869 angler/trips – .30 retained salmon per angler); Gold Beach(32 angler/trips – .00 retained salmon per angler); Bandon(24 angler/trips – .63 retained salmon per angler): Charleston(315 angler/trips – .76 retained salmon per angler);Winchester Bay 3,073 angler trips – .90 retained salmon per angler.

As for chinook salmon catches, Newport leads with 905, followed by Depoe Bay with 440. Pacific City with 152 and Winchester Bay with 130.

Brookings continues to produce more keeper coho salmon than chinook.

Fall chinook salmon usually start entering the lower Umpqua River around the first of July. and several good-sized chinooks to 34 pounds were landed last week by bank anglers casting spinners at various spots in Winchester Bay, such as Half Moon Bay and Osprey Point.

Almost all of the commercial crabbers have quit for the year and as a consequence, recreational ocean crabbing has shown some improvement.

Fishing local beaches for surfperch continues to be slow. Fishing has also been slow for spawning pinkfins in the Umpqua River above Winchester Bay. The live baby surfperch inside the adult females appear small and undeveloped and there were brief hot bites in the latter part of July in each of the last few years.

It appears that there hasn’t been any improvement in salmonid returns in the decades-long severe drawdown “experiment” on Fall Creek Reservoir.

It seems that the Corps of Engineers managed to trade a decent to good warmwater fishery for essentially nothing. – and it seems they are more than willing to make similar trades on Lookout Point Reservoir and other Lane County reservoirs on the Willamette River system.

Umpqua River smallmouth fishing continues to be very good and should remain so through September. Fishing the Smith river at night for striped bass have also been good, but most of the recent catches have weighed less than three pounds. At least one striper weighing at least 20 pounds is caught each week, but seem to be caught from areas farther upstream than the more numerous smaller stripers are being caught in.

Smaller stripers are also dominating recent Coquille River striper catches – but they seem to average a couple of inches longer than recent Smith River striper catches.

Umpqua Bait in Winchester Bay is still selling live sardines for striper bait and fair numbers of sardines are present in the lower five miles of the Smith River.

Fishing for bullhead catfish and yellow perch is only fair on Tenmile lakes, but several largemouth bass weighing at least six pounds were caught in the last two weeks.

It appears that the ODFW has not followed through on looking into installing aerators to prevent another die-off of big bass in Lake Selmac.

It seems that with the ODFW’s aversion to spending any effort or money on warmwater fisheries, private parties willing to fund the purchase price and maintenance costs of aeration systems will be necessary to protect some of Oregon’s shallow weedy warmwater fisheries that are most at risk.

From ODF&W

Ocean salmon fishing has been very good compared to recent years.

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. As of July 14, ocean salmon anglers have caught 26.3 percent of the fin-clipped coho quota.

The Nearshore Halibut season is open seven days a week in the Central Coast Subarea. As of July 7, there is 83 percent of the Nearshore quota remaining. As of July 6, there is still 48 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.

Howard 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 worm fished behind a dodger or lake troll). Wind drifting, trolling, still fishing and fly-fishing are all producing trout in the 12- to 16-inch range at Howard.

Most of Pistol River is private and anglers should ask permission before fishing. Trout fishing can be good during the summer months for anglers willing to get out and do some walking. Two fish may be retained daily. Rainbow trout over 16-inches are considered steelhead. Please see the exceptions to the southwest zone regulations for more information.

Warmer water and lower flows have slowed trout fishing in the mainstem, but anglers willing to do a little walking can find some great cutthroat trout fishing in some of the tributaries to the Chetco.

Bass fishing also continues to be great in several ponds and reservoirs.

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.

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

The Rogue bay has been slow for Chinook. Most of the fish are being caught downstream of Highway 101. Chinook numbers should continue climb through July.

Reportedly last weekend, 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.

Summer steelhead numbers are building through this section so might be a good time to try catching one.

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 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 the “Galice area”.

The upper Rogue is in good shape and 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 and reports indicate good catch rates in the Tou Velle area for the summers.

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 have not sorted the collection pond as of this writing but they estimate a couple 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.

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.

Recent reports have indicated some great fishing at some of the Umpqua high lakes. A small spinner or fly can be great choices. Contact the Forest Service at 541-496-3532 for road conditions as lakes may still be difficult to access.

Lakes typically accessible from hiking trails and that were stocked in the last couple years are: Calamut, Connie, Bullpup, Fuller, Cliff, Buckeye, Maidu, Pitt and Skookum lakes.

Red Top Pond offers excellent bank fishing opportunities and was stocked at the end of May. In addition, there should be plenty of holdover legal-size trout from previous stockings in these waterbodies.

Bass fishing has been good in most of the main Umpqua River.

Most of the summer steelhead and spring Chinook should be upstream by now. Some fall Chinook have been caught in the bay, and it should continue to improve as we get closer to August.

Fish Lake and the Rogue River above Lost Creek Reservoir are scheduled to be stocked this week.

2019 Stocking schedule and Stocking Maps

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