SW Oregon Fishing Report for September 14th, 2018

From ODF&W

The rockfish bite is back on. Anglers were catching limits or near-limits of rockfish over the weekend. However, lingcod catches remain spotty during the month of September. Reminder that through Sept. 30, the general marine bottomfish fishery is restricted to inside of the 30-fathom regulatory line.

The longleader gear fishery outside of the 40-fathom regulatory line continues through September. Catches from offshore longleader trips often consist of a nice grade of yellowtail, widow and canary rockfishes. Reminder that the Stonewall Bank Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation Area is closed to all bottomfish trips, including longleader trips.

The Stonewall Bank Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation area, approximately 15 miles west of Newport, is closed to bottomfish (groundfish) and halibut fishing year round.

Salmon fishing is open from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain with a limit of two salmon per day. The non-selective coho season for Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain will start on Sept 7-8 and will be open every Friday and Saturday through Sept. 29 or until the quota is met.

From Humbug Mountain to the OR/CA border, salmon fishing closed on Aug. 26. The Chetco River Fall Chinook State Waters Terminal Fishery will open on Oct. 6-7 and Oct. 13-14 with a daily bag limit of 1 Chinook per angler.

If enough quota is remaining, the next all-depth halibut days for the Central Coast will be Sept. 14-15. The Nearshore halibut season is open seven days a week and as of Aug. 26 there is 16 percent of the quota remaining.

For the southern Oregon Subarea, halibut is open 7 days a week through Oct. 31 or attaining the quota of 8,982 lbs. As of Aug. 30 there is 61 percent of the quota remaining.

Anglers had limited success on albacore tuna during this past week. Access to albacore was most limited by weather conditions and most fish were found well offshore (40 miles or more). Albacore are most likely to be found in waters with temperatures of 58oF or higher, and with low chlorophyll concentrations (<0.25mg chlorophyll/m3). Best way to identify that the chlorophyll level is in the correct range is when the water is a brilliant clear blue color as observed in the wake behind the boat. The Oregon Coastal Ocean Observing System (OrCOOS) provides a website with synthesized summaries of sea surface temperatures and chlorophyll A and can be accessed at http://agate.coas.oregonstate.edu/data/ocs_tuna_nowcast.html High ocean productivity this season has resulted in higher chlorophyll concentrations further offshore that have severely limited access to albacore for recreational boats for much of the season. On the lower Rogue, water levels continue to drop as we enter the driest part of the year. With cooler than average water temperatures, Chinook have begun to move up river. People trolling bait are still reporting catch in the bay, but anglers may want to also consider side drifting with eggs farther up river. There have also been reports of Coho Salmon being caught in the bay and lower sections of the Rogue. Hatchery oho may be kept as part of an angler’s adult and jack salmon daily bag limit. The Huntley seining project started July 16. Find updates on Huntley counts here. Those interested in getting out of the wind or fog may want to head up river to fish for half-pounders and adult summer steelhead. Both have been moving up river in descent numbers. Lower flows are ideal fishing conditions for anglers swinging flies or tossing spinners. Anglers interested in traveling up river are advised to contact the Forest Service for updates on road closures during fire season. September is a good time to fish fall Chinook in the middle Rogue area. Anglers are picking up Chinook in the Gold Hill and Grants Pass area and from Robertson Bridge to Graves Creek by back-bouncing roe or Kwikfish, or fishing wobblers in deep holes. Look for Chinook rolling in deep holes. If you don’t see anything, best bet is to move on after a few drifts. Anglers are catching summer steelhead on plugs fished from a drift boat, or side planner and plug from shore, or drifting night crawlers or roe/yarn imitations. If anglers are side-drifting, Steelhead can often be leader shy and with the clearing water and dropping flows, fluorocarbon leaders, or smaller test monofilament leaders are suggested (8-10 lb). Wild steelhead must be released unharmed. The Rogue River is also open for trout fishing. Only hatchery rainbow trout may be retained. All wild rainbow and cutthroat trout must be released. With the start of September, the artificial fly season is underway between Fishers Ferry boat ramp and Cole Rivers Hatchery. Between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31, anglers may only fish artificial flies on any type rod and reel: no added weights or attachments except a bubble. This reach of the Rogue is open to fishing for hatchery summer steelhead and trout. Fishing for Chinook is now closed. As of Sept. 5, 1,419 Summer Steelhead had entered Cole Rivers Hatchery, with 42 new for the week. Fishing for bass and other warmwater species should be good at Willow Lake. It has more water than most reservoirs in SW Oregon, and launching a boat here should be easy. There were blue skies and no smoke here this past weekend! Where water levels are too low for boats, like at Hyatt, Emigrant, Fish and Agate, bank anglers will continue to find terrific fall fishing. Many of the streams and rivers are open to trout fishing. Trout fishing in streams and rivers is slow to due to low water conditions. When fishing for trout, anglers can now use bait in all streams that are open to fishing. The daily limit for trout in streams is 2 fish per day and they must be 8-inches or longer. Fishing continues to be good at Diamond Lake. Most anglers are taking home fish averaging 15-inches and we are starting to see more 17-inch or larger fish in creel surveys. Trolling seems to be the most effective technique, but using bait or flies has also been showing positive results. Anglers are continuing to catch largemouth bass, crappie and bluegills from the fishing dock and along the weedlines in Eel Lake. Fishing is typically the best in the mornings before the wind starts blowing in the afternoons. Fishing for bluegills on Lower Empire Lake has been good but most of the fish are small. Use a small jig tipped with a piece of worm to catch the bluegills. Largemouth bass anglers are having success fishing with topwater lures and swimbaits early in the morning or late in the evening. Large rainbow trout will be stocked at Fish Lake by the end of this week, a bit early than scheduled because water levels at Fish Lake are dropping fast. The USFS boat ramp is no longer available, and only very small boats can launch at the resort ramp. Even this rock ramp will be dewatered soon. Anglers fishing from shore, or from inflatables or personal watercraft should have very good fishing at Fish Lake this fall. Water clarity is poor due to a bloom at this time, however. Galesville has been stocked several times this year and should have lots of trout from previous stockings. In addition to trout, the reservoir was stocked with coho smolts until 2015. Anglers have reported recent catches of coho measuring up to 14-inches. Many people mistakenly think these fish are kokanee. The coho smolts should be adipose fin-clipped, and please remember to release the ones smaller than 8-inches long. 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 should be decent. Good areas are near dead snags and the boat ramp. Trout fishing continues to be good at Garrison Lake. Anglers slow trolling spinners, flies, or wedding ring spinners tipped with a worm all did well. Bank anglers can access the fishery from the 12th street or Pinehurst boat ramps and off Paradise Point Road. Anglers can check the stocking schedule for the weeks the lake is expected to be stocked. The lake can be very windy. Anglers will want to check the weather before heading out. Trout fishing on Tenmile Lakes has slowed down with the best fishing is in the early mornings. Anglers should focus on fishing in deeper water. Fishing for largemouth bass has been good with the best fishing in the early mornings or late evenings. Bass are hitting topwater lures in the low light conditions and anglers are switching to plastics and deeper water once the sun hits the water. The annual closure of the South Umpqua and Cow Creek will begin Sept. 15 and continue through Nov. 30. The South Umpqua and Cow Creek are open until then for catch-and-release trout fishing. Bass fishing is good throughout the South Umpqua with particularly high catch rates from Canyonville to the mouth at River Forks/Singleton parks. Chinook fishing closed on July 1. Summer steelhead fishing has been slow throughout the North Umpqua, it should pick back up again with cooler weather in the forecast. Please be aware that through Sept. 30, 2018 all fishing is closed within a radius of 200 feet from the mouths of all tributaries (including 200 feet into the tributary) of the Umpqua River mainstem between the Scottsburg Bridge (Hwy 38) and the River Forks Park Boat Ramp. These areas are critical for juvenile steelhead that seek refuge in the cooler tributaries as mainstem water temperatures reach 70+ degrees. Fall Chinook fishing is slow, but hopefully will get better as we move into late summer. 2018 STOCKING SCHEDULE and STOCKING MAP

From Pete Heley at PeteHeley.com

9/13 – The good news is the ODFW did the right thing and increased the 3,500 coho quota to 7,600 – an increase of 117 percent. The bad news is that if they had not done that, the 2,739 coho salmon caught and kept in the ocean would have represented more than 78 percent of the original quota.

The additional 4,100 cohos added to the original nonselective quota was derived through a complex ODFW formula on the 23,370 cohos that were left of the 35,000 finclipped coho quota for the ocean coho season that ended September 3rd. It seems that each finclipped coho left from that quota translated to .175 salmon in the current season.

But even a little bit helps and the added cohos allow the season to extend through September 14th and 15th and possibly the following Friday and Saturday.

Charleston was the “hottest” port during the first two-day opener of the nonselective coho season with .87 retained salmon per angler-trip.

Lake Marie, which received two recent trout plants, should be fishing well for trout. Trout fishing should be improving for native, carryover and searun trout in larger coastal lakes like Siltcoos, Tahkenitch, and Tenmile lakes.

There should be plenty of planted trout left in the north arm of Cleawox Lake, which is essentially disconnected from the main body of the lake and therefore receives very little fishing pressure – even though many trout planted in the spring end up in the north arm.

Bluegills should still be biting well in Eel and Loon lakes, but they won’t be near the shoreline or in shallow water like they were in the spring and summer.

Striped bass should be biting better in slightly cooler water on the Smith and Coquille rivers. Most of the recent striper catches on the Coquille River have been in the lower river within ten miles of Bandon.

Ocean crabbing out of Winchester Bay has been very good, although some crabbers were griping about the recent dredging. Commercial crabbing in the ocean has been closed since mid-August and recreational ocean crabbing will close on October 15th. Crabbing on the lower Umpqua River has been good with good catches being made as far upriver as a mile above Winchester Bay.

Most serious bottomfish anglers have found they like the long leader technique that allows them to retain ten mid-depth bottomfish per day in marine waters at least 240 feet deep. Marine anglers fishing water less than 180 feet deep can use convention gear and can keep lingcod – but must deal with a daily limit of four bottomfish and two lingcod. Cabezon are still under an emergency closure due to overharvest.