Southwest Oregon Fishing Reports
From Pete Heley at PeteHeley.com
As for hot local fisheries, the redtail surfperch spawning in the Umpqua River above Winchester Bay went on a torrid bite. last week. Last weekend was Washington’s Free Fishing Weekend. Oregon’s next Free Fishing Weekend is on August 17th and 18th. An additional Free Fishing Weekend will occur on November 29th and 30th.
The last two times I drove into Tugman Park, there were at least six anglers fishing off the fishing dock. The only time I’ve seen that many people fishing off that dock is when the lake’s warmwater fish were active. So I naturally assumed that the panfishing was heating up. a fishing buddy fished the lake two consecutive days and found the black crappies to be very cooperative, the small largemouths less so and the bluegills not quite active enough to actually bite. Unfortunately, the crappies averaged small and appeared quite thin as did the smaller largemouths The crappies were just finishing the spawn and were quite dark Despite their small average size, a few 10-11-inch fish were present. the larger bass in Eel Lake seemed to have totally disappeared. – at least as far as anglers are concerned.
Western Oregon trout plants are pretty much over until fall. Lakes still holding fair numbers of planted trout include Cleawox., Saunders and Eel.
Striped bass were observed chasing baitfish near the Gardiner boat ramp last week. If you really want to catch a striper during daylight hours. try the Coquille River near Riverton about ten miles east of Bandon.
The run of female redtail surfperch into the lower Umpqua River above Winchester Bay is still going on. and the bite has become much more consistent and there have been temporary shortages of sand shrimp – usually followed rather quickly by shortages of Berkley Gulp sandworms.
Although it is still early in the run, there have been a number of boat limits were caught last weekend and the run should last through July. Fishing success has been spotty. Most surfperch anglers limit their fishing success by avoiding all logic when it comes to their fishing strategies. I’m convinced the most consistent strategy is to start early. Many surfperch anglers plan their start around certain mid-tides and that is wonderful if that certain mid-tide is the one with the best bite. The “hot bite” may vary “tide-wise”. The perch may be in different locations in the three miles above Winchester Bay and may intersect with anglers at varying spots and tidal stages. Early morning arrivals also do not have to worry about boat traffic making the perch less aggressive. They also are less affected by the strong winds that usually start by mid-morning. This year’s, early arrivals are less affected by the weekend traffic congestion in Reedsport.
This avoidance of logic is not restricted to boaters targeting the pinkfin spawning run into the lower Umpqua River.
Anglers fishing the beach for surfperch would be well-advised to trade in their monofilament line for s super braid. The advantages are numerous. The no-stretch feature of the braid helps detect light bites and in hook-setting. At less than one-third the diameter a superbraid allows longer more effortless casting – and the thinner diameter is less affected by tidal currents to the point of allowing the use of lighter weights.
The hottest local fishery continues to be Umpqua River shad fishing. The Yellow Creek area is still producing well as of last weekend., but most of the fishing pressure has shifted to Sawyers Rapids. Most of the shad are just below the chute on the opposite side of the river from Sawyers Rapids RV Park.
Bank anglers can catch some shad on the Highway 38 side of the river by fishing the chute entering the large shallow pool about 500 feet below the rapids.
Because of rough ocean conditions, it appears that the spring all-depth halibut season will not meet its quota of 171,103 pounds. June 6-8 is the last fixed opener for the spring season and back-up dates will every other Thursday through Saturday until the spring quota is met or approached.
The summer all-depth halibut season is set to start on Friday, August 2nd with back-up dates every other Friday and Saturday until the summer quota is met or approached.
Ocean salmon fishing at least for cohos should be much better this season. The selective or fin-clipped ocean coho season will run from June 22nd through August 25th or until the 90,000 fin-clipped coho quota is met.
Chinook salmon fishing in the ocean is ongoing and slated to run through October. Recently, there have been a few decent chinook catches in the ocean out of Winchester Bay.
Cleawox Lake received nearly 4,000 trophy rainbows in the last few weeks.
It seems that there is a growing amount of fishing pressure directed at walleyes in Lookout Point Reservoir including some guides. Almost all the fishing pressure occurs after dark and it seems that most of the walleyes are being caught on the north side of the reservoir.
One can reasonably expect ODFW trout plants into coastal waters to be slowing down as many waters become less suitable for receiving trout plants.
Loon Lake is western Oregon’s best bluegill fishery – and it’s not even close.
Loon Lake is also our area’s best spot to catch a footlong crappie.
If I were targeting big crappies, I would fish the docks on the summer home side of the lake and I wouldn’t use normal-sized crappie lures..
Last year, I discovered that Loon’s largest crappie were not interested in anything smaller than a 3-inch swimbait.
Some informational tidbits from the latest issue of the Columbia Basin Bulletin include After 6-Year Ban, Barbed Hooks Return For Columbia River Salmon, Steelhead Fishing, Harvest Managers Say Catch/Release Mortality Rates Unchanged With Barbless; Dismal Returns Make Summer Chinook Season Unlikely
The Pike Danger: Will Economic Impact Report Light A Fire On Suppression Efforts?
Some Eugene-area TV stations recently ran some videos regarding the severe drawdown of Fall Creek Reservoir.
While the initial headline extolling the extermination of invasive species in the reservoir had me thinking they were talking about zebra and quagga mussels I was shocked when they were talking about black crappies and largemouth bass.
It seems that salmon and steelhead smolts had a difficult time passing through the dam on their downstream migration. Fall Creek Reservoir. The reservoir has undergone severe annual drawdowns for more than a decade and the crappie and largemouth bass fisheries suffered major declines. But more than a decade ago, Fall Creek Reservoir had a highly regarded largemouth fishery and it also had an overlooked black crappie fishery for fish up to and even exceeding three pounds.
So it was difficult to listen to these TV news announcers both of whom appeared to be in their 30’s gleefully announcing the extinction of the crappies and largemouth bass in Fall Creek Reservoir
The newscasters were obviously unaware that both black crappies and largemouth bass had been swimming around Lane County waters for more than 40 years before they were born.
A biologist from the ODFW office in Springfield assured me that the extermination of the crappies and bass was a byproduct of trying to help the reservoir’s out-migrating smolt find passage through the dam and the shape and bottom contours of the reservoir did not offer any havens for the reservoir’s warmwater fish. at much lower water levels.
Pete Heley works parttime at the Stockade Market & Tackle, across from A’ Dock, in Winchester Bay where he is more than happy to swap fishing info with anyone.
Bottomfishing has been good when the ocean lays down and anglers have been able to make it out.
Beginning May 1, bottomfishing is restricted to inside the 40-fathom regulatory line. 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 is closed until July 2019.
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. Chinook must be a minimum of 24-inches long. The ocean opens to fin-clipped coho salmon on June 22.
With the current blast of warm summer temperatures, this would be a good weekend to head to the higher (and cooler) elevation lakes in the Umpqua district for trout fishing.
Recent reports have indicated some great fishing at some of the 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. These lakes can be tough to get to in the spring but can be productive.
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.
Diamond Lake has picked back up as the large swarms of midges have receded. Recent reports indicate most successful anglers are using flies and using a quick retrieve or trolling.
Galesville has been stocked with a lot of “trophy-size” trout this year and fishing has been good. In addition to trout, the reservoir was stocked with coho smolts until 2015.
In Galesville Reservoir, all landlocked salmon are considered trout and are part of the five-per-day trout limit, with only one trout over 20-inches long allowed for harvest.
Fishing for bass and other panfish has been good. Good areas are near dead snags and the boat ramp. Try a slow retrieve with a diving crank bait.
Bass fishing has been good throughout the South Umpqua River. Some stretches of the South are closed to fishing still. Please consult the fishing regulations for more info. Trout fishing in the entire basin is catch-and-release only.
Anglers have been catching the spring Chinook and juvenile coho put into Cooper Creek Reservoir. The lake was last stocked the last week of June.
Several anglers have reported good fishing, with a couple of juvenile salmon being caught.
In the last two years, Cooper has been stocked with coho and Chinook salmon juveniles. These are often mistaken for kokanee. Anglers may retain up to 5 salmon juveniles in the reservoir as part of their daily trout bag limit. Please remember to release salmon and trout less than 8-inches.
Warmwater is definitely picking up with multiple reports of bass and bluegill. Try fishing for bass around aquatic vegetation in the mid-morning and late afternoon hours.
Butterfield Lake was stocked this week with 140 surplus trophy trout, many of which were five pounds or more. The lake was stocked earlier this spring with rainbow trout pounders and legal-size trout.
Butterfield Lake has warmouth, a species of small warmwater fish. They are typically about Bluegill size, looking like a small crappie with a bass-type head.
Anglers are still catching shad out of the mainstem Umpqua, especially near Cleveland Rapids. Look for striped bass in the lower stretches of the river below Spencer Creek in the mainstem. Recent reports indicate some great fishing.
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. 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.