Southwest Oregon Fishing Reports for June 28th, 2019

Southwest Oregon Fishing Reports

From Pete Heley at

The European green crab, an invasive species of concern to biologists has recently been found at several locations along the Oregon coast, including Bandon., Coos Bay and Winchester Bay. It is currently present in Puget Sound where fisheries biologists worry about its impact on oysters, mussels, clams, and small crabs. In Maine, it has been found to compete with juvenile lobsters for food.

Hopefully, its impact locally will be nominal.

A new law has passed both state house and senate requiring a “waterway access permit” for small non-motorized craft over 10 feet. Canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, rowboats, etc will require a $17 annual permit ($30 for 2 years). The permit is transferrable though so it goes with the operator not the vessel. and goes into effect in 2020.

The Dalles is your only choice for oversize sturgeon as Bonneville to Skamania Island is closed to all sturgeon fishing to protect sturgeon during the spawn.

The ocean fin-clipped coho season opened with a whimper this Saturday as rough bar conditions severely limited participation. several nice-sized chinooks were caught last week by anglers casting spinners from the bank at Half Moon Bay. The very few boats that managed to reach the ocean out of Winchester Bay did find some coho salmon – almost all of which were unkeepable unclipped fish.

Some pinkfin anglers have commented on the small size of the unborn perch – which might indicate the spawn is far from over. In the last few weeks, a few fall chinook have found the “pinkfin-intended sand shrimp irresistible.

Possibly Oregon’s most overlooked marine fishery, sand dabs, are a delicious small flatfish that sometimes suspend well above the bottom. In northern and central California sand dab tournaments are becoming increasingly popular with the winners usually catching 200+ fish.

This year’s awesome shad fishing on the Umpqua River is winding down and may be pretty much over in two to three weeks.

An increasingly hot crappie bite is occurring off the fishing dock at Tugman Park on Eel Lake. as the crappie finally finish spawning. Bluegills are also becoming more active. and willing to bite. I hope the ODFW notices that the only time the fishing dock has more than a half-dozen anglers on is when the lake’s warmwater panfish bite is going well.

The improved striped bass fishing this year is a good example of how important even small improvements in habitat can be. This year’s removal of minimum lengths and bag limits on stripers was more than counterbalanced by small temperature increases in the ocean and Smith, Umpqua and Coquille rivers.

If similar beneficial changes would happen regarding the habitat of salmon and steelhead, the amount of improvement might be surprising. Changes I’d like to see would include an improvement in spawning areas; higher and cooler river flows and better ocean conditions.

In fact, an improvement in ocean forage conditions would be my most hoped for improvement as newly-arriving salmonid smolts would quickly outgrow potential predators allowing them to survive to maturity in much greater numbers.

From ODF&W

Selective coho opened on June 22 in all areas of the Oregon Coast. Anglers fishing for salmon and all anglers fishing from boats with salmon on board are limited to no more than 2 single point barbless hooks per line, and no more than one line per angler.

In the Leadbetter Point, WA to Cape Falcon, OR area fishing was very good over the opening weekend with average catch rates of 1.35 salmon per angler with 96 percent of the catch made up of coho. Anglers are reminded that the bag limit is two salmon per day, but no more than one Chinook in this area, and all coho MUST have a healed adipose fin clip.

In the area from Cape Falcon to the OR/CA border the bag limit is two salmon per day and all coho MUST have a healed adipose fin clip. Catch rates ranged from fair to good out of ports from Garibaldi to Winchester Bay. From Charleston to Brookings the weather conditions precluded access to salmon over the weekend. Nearshore surface ocean water temperatures were in the upper 40s F which also tends to put salmon off the bite. Weather forecasts for this week are predicting modest southerly winds, which should allow for surface water temperatures to ease back into the low 50s F, and hopefully put the coho back on the bite.

Some anglers had trouble finding bottomfish last week while others landed some lingcod and black rockfish.

Approximately 230 hatchery adult spring Chinook and 66 hatchery adult summer steelhead from Cole River Hatchery were recycled into the upper Rogue on June 21.

Conditions for crabbing and rockfish and lingcod fishing in Coos Bay should improve as the mud and heavy freshwater runoff from recent storms had subsided. Using a jig with a twister tail has been a great bait for catching rockfish. Anglers have been catching lingcod with a herring floated under a bobber.

Trout fishing in streams and rivers opened on May 22, while lakes in the basin are open year-round. Try cutthroat trout fishing on streams of the Elliott State Forest.

Marine perch species are available around rocks, riprap, pilings, and docks at this time of year.

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.

Eel Lake has been stocked with legal-size rainbow, and the lake usually provides some holdover trout in excess of 15-inches. Trolling flashers and spinners has been producing trout for boat anglers, while bank anglers are using bait under a bobber or floating baits on a 4 foot leader off the bottom.

The crappie bite has been good in recent weeks along the shoreline in Tugman State Park, although many of the fish are small. The fishing dock is a great place for kids to fish. A small crappie jig tipped with a piece of worm, and rigged about two feet under a bobber will entice bluegill and crappie to bite.

Garrison Lake was stocked this spring with legals, trophies, and SUPER-trophies. Anglers slow trolling spinners, flies, or wedding ring spinners tipped with a worm all typically do well hooking up with some feisty rainbow trout. Five trout per day/3 daily limits in possession; 8-inch minimum; only one trout over 20-inches long may be taken per day. Bank anglers can find access at the 12th street or Pinehurst boat ramps and off Paradise Point Road. The lake can be very windy so anglers will want to check the weather before heading out.

Lost Creek was stocked the week of June 17 with 10,000 legal-size trout and 1,500 pounders to complement previous stocking this year. There should still be good populations of holdover fish from last year as well.

Recent reports indicate the fishing continues to be good for trolling and bank angling. Bank anglers have reported success at the spillway access point, the tower and around Takelma Park. Last weekend fishing was reportedly good with large trout caught trolling between the Takelma boat ramp and Stewart State Park. Additional reports indicate trolling under Peyton Bridge continues to be good as well. The lake is 81 percent full and both ramps are usable.

On the Lower Rogue River, as water temperatures increase, some Chinook anglers have begun to change fishing tactics from anchoring to trolling in the bay and upstream from the bridge. Spinners, plugs, anchovies, and sardines have all been used successfully. Hatchery Chinook may be retained year-round. Wild Chinook opened for retention June 1. Two adult salmon or steelhead may be retained per day and 20 per year. Five jack salmon per day may be retained.

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.

Approximately 230 hatchery adult spring Chinook and 66 hatchery adult summer steelhead from Cole River Hatchery were recycled into the upper Rogue on June 21.

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.

As of June 20, a total of 94 summer steelhead have entered Cole Rivers Hatchery with 50 new fish last week. Zero new winter steelhead were collected last week, leaving the season total at 2,835 fish. A total of 1,754 spring Chinook have entered the hatchery this season, including 725 last week.

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.

The Tenmile Lakes have been stocked with legal-size rainbow trout. Trout fishing may slow down as the summer progresses, so try fishing deeper where cooler water is found.

Conditions should be prime for bass, crappie, bluegill, and brown bullhead catfish fishing at this time. Anglers also use small jigs or a worm on a hook fished near the bottom to catch yellow perch. To entice the bass, try frog imitation lures and popping lures around weed lines in the morning/evening, and fish around shaded areas during the day.

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. These lakes can be tough to get to in the spring, but can be productive.

The north Umpqua will close to Chinook fishing after June 30. There have been some reports of summers being caught, but it has been slow.

2019 Stocking schedule and Stocking Maps