There were several reports in the last couple of weeks of rockfish “boiling on the surface,” however they were hard to catch. There appears to be plenty of feed in the water, mainly crab larvae, which makes the rockfish a bit tougher to catch as they currently have plenty of food available. Reports indicate that lingcod are on the bite, with some good size fish still being caught. Several reports of lingcod with full stomachs of squid. Reminder that as of Sunday, April 1, the bottomfish fishery is restricted to inside of the 30 fathom regulatory line.
The longleader gear fishery outside of the 40 fathom regulatory line has been authorized to continue in April through September. Recent catches from the 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.
Central Oregon Coast Subarea (Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain)
Spring all-depth season: Remaining fixed open dates are: May 24-26, Jun 7-9, and June 21-23. If enough quota remains after the fixed dates, available back-up dates are: Jul 5-7 and July 19-21. Quota = 135,742 lbs.
Summer all-depth season: opens Aug. 3-4, every other Friday and Saturday, until Oct. 31 or quota attainment, whichever is earlier. Quota = 53,866 lbs.
Nearshore season: Opens June 1, seven days per week inside of the 40 fathom regulatory line, until Oct. 31 or quota attainment, whichever is earlier. Quota = 25,856 lbs.
Southern Oregon Subarea: opened May 1, seven days per week until Oct. 31 or quota attainment, whichever is earlier. Quota = 8,982 lbs.
Sport salmon fishing for Chinook opens this Saturday, May 19 in ocean waters from Humbug Mt. to the OR/CA border. The bag limit is two salmon per day (all salmon except coho). Minimum sizes are 24-inches for Chinook and 20-inches for steelhead.
Weekend fishing opportunities:
Fishing continues to be hot at Diamond Lake.
Anglers are reporting good fishing at recently-stocked Lemolo Reservoir.
Both shad and smallmouth bass fishing are picking up in the mainstem Umpqua.
Many waterways open reopen to trout fishing on May 22.
Fishing continues to be incredible at Diamond Lake. Most anglers were taking home limits of fishing averaging 15-inches. Trolling seems to be the most effective technique. Camping is limited currently at some of the campgrounds.
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 Facebook page, or call 541-793-3333 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.
Lemolo was stocked last week and anglers report good fishing. Kokanee in Lemolo are considered trout and therefore fall under the daily limit for trout of five per day with only one of those measuring over 20-inches. Contact Lemolo Lake Resort at 541-957-8354 for weather/road conditions and additional information.
The Rogue lower river is low and clearing up. Bank anglers plunking and anchored boats have had some success in the lower Rogue. The river is open to hatchery steelhead harvest year-round. There should be great fishing opportunities over the next few weeks.
On the middle Rogue fishing has been fair for a spring Chinook salmon, and a mix of late winter and a few early summer steelhead. Back-bouncing bait and back-trolling plugs have been effective for boat anglers. Bank anglers can do well by drifting bait. Anglers are reminded that wild steelhead and salmon must be immediately released.
And one the upper, fishing for spring Chinook is improving as more fish move into the upper Rogue River. Fishing for steelhead has been fair for a mix of late winter steelhead and a few early summer steelhead. Anglers are reminded that wild steelhead and salmon must be immediately released.
On the north Umpqua River, the river is looking really good for steelhead fishing and should be good for a little while longer. Chinook fishing opened on the North up to Deadline Falls, and a few are being caught.
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.
Anglers are reporting good shad fishing on the mainstem and smallmouth bass fishing should continue to improve into the summer.
No other updates from last week.
From Pete Heley at PeteHeley.com
Some boat crabbers are making fair catches of Dungeness crabs near Charleston in Coos Bay and in Half Moon Bay in Winchester Bay. Dock crabbers are catching a few crabs at Charleston and at high tide in Winchester Bay. On an ominous note, the state of Washington recently announced that crabbing will not reopen this summer in Marine Areas 11 and 13. This closure is not because of toxins, but primarily because the crab harvest in those areas has shrunk by more than 85 percent in both areas since 2014.
Spring chinook fishing on the Umpqua remains very slow with just enough salmon being landed to keep some anglers fishing A few salmon have been hooked by bank anglers casting green or chartreuse spinners at Half Moon Bay and Osprey Point in Winchester Bay. Moss and suspended algae are starting to become a problem – especially above Scottsburg. Ocean fishing for chinook salmon was starting to produce a few fish, but rough ocean and bar conditions have limited recent fishing pressure. The heaviest spring chinook turned in, as of last weekend, to the annual contest at the Wells Creek Inn weighed 29 pounds and nine ounces.
There are boat anglers trying every day, but so far only three redtail surfperch have been reported caught above Winchester Bay. The run is definitely late and could start at any time. When this run is well underway, there are sometimes more than 50 boats and well over 100 anglers fishing the three miles of Umpqua River above Winchester Bay – and with a 15 fish daily limit – it is amazing that this fishery has sustained itself as well as it has. My preference would be an eight perch daily limit, but two years ago the state of Washington raised their daily limit on surfperch from nine fish to 12.
Despite windy conditions, Winchester Bay’s South Jetty is still producing decent fishing. Unlike the catch restrictions on anglers using the long leader technique in water deeper than 40 fathoms (240 feet), jetty anglers and fishermen fishing water less than 30 fathoms or 180 feet deep can use conventional bottomfishing gear and techniques and keep lingcod, greenling and black and blue rockfish.
Although they are seldom reported, a few striped bass are being caught on the Smith River. The Coquille River still has fair numbers of mostly younger and smaller stripers, but many of them are now larger than the 24-inch minimum length limit. Many of the Coquille’s stripers, especially in the Myrtle Point area, are taken incidentally by anglers fishing larger crankbaits for smallmouth bass.
The hottest fishery in our area is for shad – and excluding a few short term lulls, for the last two weeks it has been redhot. The most popular spot has been the Yellow Creek area, nearly midway between Elkton and Sutherlin. Most of the shad fishing at Yellow Creek is done by bank anglers, but the fishing has been so good that some boats are showing up as well. Continued good weather will most likely allow the Umpqua River to drop enough to make Sawyer’s Rapids, nine miles west and downriver of Elkton, the most productive shad fishing spot. The excellent shad fishing has tended to over shadow the increasingly-good smallmouth bass fishing on the Umpqua River.
As usual, most of the bassfishing pressure in our area is occuring on Tenmile Lakes. Black crappies are starting to show up at the fishing dock at Tugman Park on Eel Lake – with a few bluegills and smaller bass as well. Loon Lake is fishing fair for crappies, bass and trout and very good for bluegills.