Southwest Oregon Fishing Reports
From Pete Heley at PeteHeley.com
The run of female redtail surf perch into the lower Umpqua River above Winchester Bay is still going on.
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 other boaters 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 super braid 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.
If you enjoyed the “Free Fishing Weekend” on June 1st and 2nd – The state of Washington has their version of “Free Fishing Weekend this coming weekend of June 7th and 8th.
The hottest local fishery continues to be Umpqua River shad fishing. The Yellow Creek area is still producing well, 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 of the 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 foot-long 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.
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 is closed to coho salmon.
Many SW area lakes and ponds were stocked recently for Free Fishing last weekend, so trout should still be available in those waters.
The Rogue River above Lost Creek Reservoir will be stocked this week.
Anglers are catching American shad in the river near Coquille. The general folklore says to fish for them from Mother’s Day to Father’s Day.
Striped bass and smallmouth bass are active now, and there are no size limits or bag limits for these species in the Coquille Basin. Striped bass should be congregating to spawn in upper tidewater of the Coquille River, and their feeding/catchability may decline during spawning.
Diamond Lake has slowed. Recent reports indicate most successful anglers are using flies and using a quick retrieve or trolling. A big hatch was coming off the lake this past week and the fish seem to be pretty full.
On the lower Rogue Anglers are catching a few steelhead and the early portion of the summer run should start showing by the end of this month. Beginning May 1, only hatchery steelhead may be retained.
We had a good push of spring Chinook in April. And with recent rainfall, we may see another push of fish over the next week or so. Spinners, plugs, anchovies, and sardines have all been used successfully. Hatchery Chinook may be retained year-round. Wild Chinook opens for retention June 1.
Hatchery rainbow trout season opened May 22. Five hatchery trout may be retained daily. Wild rainbow and cutthroat trout must be released. Rainbow trout over 16-inches are considered steelhead.
Fishing has been slow on the middle Rogue.
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 and this is the very beginning of the run. A few winter steelhead are still around as well as a few more summer steelhead — enough of them to try your luck over the weekend. A few salmonflies have hatched in the upper river around Casey Park so expect topwater action for trout and steelhead to ramp up.
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 May 29, a total of 11 summer steelhead have entered Cole Rivers Hatchery. Forty new winter steelhead were collected last week, bringing the total to 2,827 fish for the season. A total of 791 spring Chinook have entered the hatchery this season, including 249 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. Tenmile Lakes provide some nice holdover trout this time of year, and some can measure over 17-inches long. Try trolling slowly with a spinner or spoon, tipped with a worm, to catch these larger trout.
Conditions should be prime for bass, crappie, bluegill, and brown bullhead catfish angling at this time. Anglers also use small jigs or a worm on a hook fished near the bottom to catch yellow perch.
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.
On the Umpqua mainstem Spring Chinook should be in the river; however, reports have been mixed. Most anglers fish for spring Chinook from a boat using plugs or bait.
Shad anglers are at the usual spots between Scottsburg and Roseburg, and some folks are having great success. The typical season is from Mother’s Day to Father’s Day.
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.