This last weekend provided some phenomenal ocean conditions allowing many anglers to get out for some bottomfish fishing. Lingcod limits were easy to come by, with reports of some larger males being caught relatively shallow. Rockfish limits have been taking a little more work, with many anglers reporting success. Other species showing up on bottomfish trips include kelp greenling, with some petrale sole mixed in.
In the flatfish fishery, creels typically include sanddabs, sand sole, and Petrale sole. Creels from the Offshore longleader trips often consist of a nice grade of yellowtail, widow, and canary rockfishes.
Pete Heley from PeteHeley.com writes “As Winchester Bay’s offshore bottomfish season approaches its seasonal closure (the last day is March 31st), the fishing continues to be almost unbelievable.”
Galesville Reservoir should have good numbers of trout from previous stockings. The reservoir has been stocked with 2,000 trout this year and is scheduled to receive another 2,000 trout this week. Also, 50 lunkers between 7 and 15 pounds were stocked this week. 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 less than 8-inches long.
Recent rains have brought the river levels back to around normal for the mainstem of the Umpqua River, anglers were catching a lot of fish in the Main, and it should still be good whenever conditions allow.
Chinook fishing has reopened on the Main, however, fishing usually doesn’t pick up until March. There have not been any reports of a springer being caught through the first week of March.
There have been reports of large groups of juvenile steelhead moving through the basin. Please remember to release these fish quickly and unharmed. Trout fishing in the mainstem Umpqua tributaries will reopen May 22, 2018, and is catch-and-release only.
Recent rains should make for some good fishing throughout the North Umpqua. Chinook fishing opened on the North up to Deadline Falls. Springer fishing doesn’t usually pick up until April. The first confirmed springer was harvested this last weekend.
Check with the US Forest Service regarding potential trail closures on the North Umpqua. Most access points are open, but some trails remain closed after this summer’s fire. The North Umpqua is closed to Chinook fishing till February. Trout fishing in North Umpqua and its tributaries is closed until May 22, 2018.
Note that from Oct. 1 through June 30 fishing in the fly water area is restricted to the use of a single, barbless artificial fly.
On the south Umpqua, fishing has been good recently with good numbers of hatchery fish being harvested and, with recent rains, fishing should be good throughout the South.
On the Chetco River, steelhead fishing was good last week with anglers picking up a mix of fresh and spawned-out steelhead. This is a great time of year to run plugs or fly fish the river as boat traffic has dropped. Anglers can expect fishing to remain good through the month of March.
On the Elk River, with just enough rain to keep the river in perfect condition, anglers have been doing well on steelhead. Drift fishing is still the best method, but running plugs can be very effective this time of year. To check river current conditions, call 541-332-0405. The best river height to drift the river is 5.2 feet and dropping.
The Illinois will likely become unfishable for a few days with the rain this week but should be in great shape by the weekend. Fishing has been good for those putting in the effort. Only hatchery trout may be retained. Wild steelhead over 24-inches may be harvested, 1 per day and 5 per year. See 2018 fishing regulations for more information.