SW Oregon Fishing Reports for January 12th, 2018

From ODF&W, Weekend fishing opportunities:

  • With steelhead rivers vacillating between low and clear, and high and muddy, anglers may want hit Garrison Lake for some trout fishing.
  • Winter steelhead should pick up on the Coos and Coquille rivers once we get some significant rain.
  • Winter steelhead fishing has been good on the Umpqua.
  • Anglers have been catching trout up to 19-inches while trolling in Tenmile Lakes.
  • Anglers have been catching some surfperch when ocean swells have been small.
  • Ocean fishing for bottomfish has been great when conditions allow.

CHETCO RIVER: winter steelhead

Low and clear. Anglers are picking up a few fish, but continued low water has been making for some tough fishing conditions. Rain is expected by the weekend which should improve fishing conditions.

The ODFW angler caught winter steelhead broodstock program started last week. This is an annual program to collect adult steelhead to be spawned for the hatchery program on the river. Anglers interested in participating or would like more information can call the ODFW Gold Beach office at 541-247-7605.

COOS RIVER BASIN: Dungeness crab, bay clams, rockfish, steelhead

Streams and rivers are now closed to trout fishing until May 22, 2018.

Steelhead are slowly moving their way upriver from the head of tide on the Coos Basin rivers. With many of the rivers running low and clear anglers may need to use smaller baits and lures. Some anglers are still having good luck catching winter steelhead near the head of tide on the Millicoma and South Fork Coos rivers. Anglers fishing the South Fork Coos River above Dellwood will need a permit from Weyerhaeuser, which allows the angler to access up to the Seven Mile Bridge. Permits can be obtained at Weyerhaeuser’s Coos Bay office. In the Coos Basin, 1 additional hatchery steelhead may be retained per day for a total aggregate of 3 adult fish harvested daily.

Recreational fishing for bottomfish is opened on Jan. 1 in the ocean along with bays and estuaries. The daily bag limit will be 5 marine fish plus 2 lingcod. There will be no retention of cabezon until July 1.  Anglers have reported catching rockfish near the north jetty of Coos Bay.

Crabbing and clamming updates can now be found in the Crabbing and Clamming section of the Recreation Report.

COQUILLE RIVER BASIN: crab, trout, steelhead

Streams and rivers are now closed to trout fishing until next spring.

The steelhead rivers in the Coquille Basin continue to run low and clear. Steelhead anglers have been plunking in the tidewater sections of the Coquille River near the town of Coquille in hopes of the first returning winter steelhead.  Anglers fishing the South Fork Coquille have reported catching winter steelhead.  In the Coquille Basin 1 additional hatchery steelhead may be retained per day for a total aggregate of 3 adult fish harvested daily.

Beginning Jan. 1, anglers will have the opportunity to harvest 1 wild steelhead per day, 3 for the season from the East Fork Coquille River. The open area for steelhead fishing in the East Fork remains the same as in past years. These regulations are listed in the 2018 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations booklet.

Crabbing and clamming updates can now be found in the Crabbing and Clamming section of the Recreation Report.


The latest reports indicate the lake is not safe to walk on and a lot of ice has melted. Make sure to contact Diamond Lake Lodge for up-to-date conditions. Anglers can check fishing and water conditions at Diamond Lake on the Diamond Lake Resort website, or call their toll free number at 1-800-733-7593, ext. 5 for updates. Diamond Lake is open year-round. Anglers should also check with the Umpqua National Forest (541-498-2531) for information on seasonal camp and ramp closures.

Diamond Lake has been stocked with tiger trout. These fish are intended to assist in controlling illegally introduced tui chub. Tiger trout are catch-and-release only and need to be released immediately and unharmed if caught.

As part of the 2016 regulation simplification process, Diamond Lake is now back to the Southwest Zone regulation of 5 rainbow trout per day.

ELK RIVER: winter steelhead

Low and clear.  Rain this weekend should improve fishing  conditions. To check river conditions, call 541-332-0405. The best river height to drift the river is 5.2 feet and dropping.

From our friend Pete Heley:

Commercial crabbing officially begins on January 15th. In the meantime, recreational crabbing in the ocean remains red-hot and the rivers and bays that are open to recreational crabbing are producing very good catches.

Dockbound crabbers need to be aware that the Old Coast Guard Pier in Winchester Bay will be off limits while they are working on it. The project is scheduled to be finished in March, but the pier may be closed for several months thereafter while inspections and evaluations are completed. In the meantime, the alternatives are Dock 9 and Dock “A”.

It seems that there was some pent-up demand or perhaps withdrawal pangs regarding bottomfishing and when inshore bottomfishing reopened on January 1st, it seemed like every jetty angler that was tired of targeting striped surfperch went after greenling, lingcod and rockfish – and fishing was generally quite good. Bar and ocean conditions have limited fishing pressure on the offshore reefs, but they have been producing well when they are reachable and fishable.

Fishing the surf for redtail surfperch has generally been good, if somewhat inconsistent. Most anglers are using Berkley Gulp sandworms for bait.

In general, steelhead fishing has been slow. The fair numbers of fish in most streams are not biting well and it will probably take a decent amount of rainfall to improve the bite. Anglers fishing the Umpqua River should find conditions suitable for backtrolling with plugs in the tailout areas from Family Camp all the way upriver to at least Roseburg.

Anglers fishing Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes need to be aware that their coho salmon seasons are over – and if they purchased a 2-rod license for 2018, it will be valid on these lakes through September, and be valid on other lakes through December.

Tenmile Lakes has recently been providing fair fishing for rainbow trout averaging 14-inches. Stillfishing with bait near the bottom seems to be more productive than trolling and will likely continue to be more productive until water temperatures warm.

Cold water temperatures has slowed the yellow perch bite and reduced fishing pressure. Some anglers were wondering where the perch near the County Park on South Tenmile Lake go when they leave the park area around Thanksgiving every year. If an angler could find them, they would likely be on a major spawning area. Siltcoos Lake remains the area’s best bet to catch a yellow perch weighing more than a pound.

Several anglers per day visit Tenmile Lakes in the hopes of getting one or two subtle bites from largemouth bass over a several hour period. Although winter is not a prime time for bass numbers, it is when some of the year’s heaviest bass are caught.

The ODFW has postponed the 2018 recreational abalone season that was set to open on Jan. 1 until further review and Commission consideration in March. The decision follows California’s closure of its 2018 abalone season due to concerns over the health of the population.

If you have a flexible schedule, are at least 18 years of age, can provide your own transportation, love to fish and chat with other anglers, the ODFW has a volunteer opportunity for you.

“We need volunteers to informally interview winter steelhead anglers on the North and South Umpqua rivers. Volunteers can work a very flexible schedule and will be stationed at boat ramps in Canyonville and between Glide and Winchester,” said Evan Leonetti, Roseburg District STEP Biologist (541-464-2175).

This citizen science project, which ends in mid-April, collects information on the winter steelhead fishery including number of fish harvested, whether they are wild or hatchery, and fishing effort. Information will help ODFW prepare for a new tagging and recovery monitoring project in 2019, and also helps inform management of the fishery.

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.

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