From Pete Heley’s Weekly Outdoors Report, (peteheley.com)
The catch statistics for the first 3-day all-depth opener for spring halibut for the central Oregon coast sub-area. Through the first opener (May 12-14) the total landings are 50,838 pounds – or 39 percent. That left 79,200 pounds (61%) of the spring all-depth quota remaining. The remaining fixed open dates are: May 26-28; and June 2-4. The catch for second 3-day opener (May 19-21 was much lower due to poor weather and much lower fishing pressure – but as I write this still not counted.
The first opening had great weather which lead to very high effort, over 2,100 boat trips for the entire subarea. This was the largest effort for any spring open period in the last 4 years. Angler success rates varied by port with Garibaldi around 30% and Winchester Bay around 80%, with all other ports around 50%. The average size of fish landed was 17.4 pounds. There were at least 2 fish landed into Newport that were over 50 inches in length.
The nearshore halibut season for our sub-area will run seven days a week beginning on June 1st and the quota is 24,769 pounds. By nearshore, the ODFW means waters less than 40 fathoms or 240 feet deep.
Some good catches of dungeness crabs were finally made last weekend at Half Moon Bay.
Suspended moss has pretty much stopped spring chinook fishing above Scottsburg and even made fishing more difficult for anglers fishing for shad and smallmouth bass. Using a small bobber should help shad anglers deal with the moss and bass anglers will have less problems if they make shorter casts rather than long ones.
A few salmon are still being caught at Half Moon Bay by shorebound spinner flingers and Osprey Point, located behind Winchester Bay’s main RV park, has started producing salmon on spinners as well.
There were finally some boat limits of redtailed surfperch or “pinkfins” taken last week on the Umpqua River above Winchester Bay. Sand shrimp, when available, and Berkley Gulp sandworms have been the most productive baits. Many of the perch have been caught straight across the river from the entrance to the East Basin, but Markers 12, 15, 17 and 19 have all produced fish and one boat even reported catching a few pinkfins upriver as far as Gardiner.
Moe Dubois, owner of the Stockade Market in Winchester Bay will be holding his second annual “pinkfin” contest over Memorial Day Weekend. As I am writing this, the final details of the contest rules and prizes are being decided. But the contest will definitely be bigger than last year – and the prizes more impressive.
Lake Marie was stocked with 1,500 12-inch rainbow trout this week Florence-area lakes that also received trout this week include: Alder Lake (425 legals and 36 trophy rainbows); Cleawox Lake (2,225 legals and 36 trophies); Dune Lake (425 legals and 36 trophies); Georgia and North Georgia (75 12-inchers each); Perkins Lake (100 12-inchers and Siltcoos Lagoon (36 trophy rainbows.
If anyone is wondering why I started referring to the large rainbows being planted as trophy rainbows (as the ODFW refers to them) rather than the 16-inchers I was previously referring to them as, is because the ODFW recently changed the length designation of their trophy trout on the stocking schedule of their website from 16-inches to 15-inches.
For anglers willing to travel to catch planted trout, the Big Creek reservoirs in Newport are being very heavily stocked next week. Lower Big Creek Reservoir or Big Creek #, will receive 500 legals, 1,500 12-inchers, 1,500 14-inchers and 50 trophies. Big Creek Reservoir #2, located just upstream of #1, will receive 4,750 12-inchers, 1,500 14-inchers and 200 trophies.
Also being heavily planted next week are upper and lower Empire Lakes, which will each receive 3,000 legals and 150 trophies. Also being stocked next week are North and South Tenmile Lakes which will each receive 3,000 legal rainbows.
Winchester Bay Surfperch Derby Update by Pete Heley
As a thank you to our customers we are again hosting our annual Pink Fin Derby over Memorial weekend. Last year’s winner walked away with a new fishing pole for being the person who caught the largest pink fin perch over the Memorial Day weekend.
As we grow so did our derby… This year every day of the Memorial Day Weekend is a separate derby with its own daily big fish prize. There is also a separate prize for the overall derby champion… the person with the heaviest 3 fish caught during the 3-day event!!!
All participants must register at the Stockade Market and Tackle before participating in the derby. Once registered you are in for the whole 3-day event. Registration begins at 6:00am on Saturday May 28th.
Entry into derby is $2.00 per person. Any customer who makes a minimum $5 purchase will earn a free entry for the derby. (Alcohol and tobacco products excluded)
Participants must then return to the Stockade Market on each day during the scheduled weigh in times with their largest fish to submit it for weighing.
Only one fish may be submitted per person on each day of the event.
Weigh in times are as follows-
Saturday May 28th 11:00am – 6:00pm
Sunday May 29th 11:00am – 6:00pm
Striped Bass Nice Bonus To Coquille River Smallmouth Trip by Pete Heley
A Tuesday afternoon trip to the Coquille River provided inconsistent smallmouth action. The first highlight was when my fishing partner, Dwayne Schwartz, hooked a sizable smallmouth on his crankbait – only to have another good-sized smallmouth grab the lure near the boat. Both bass lay on the water’s surface next to the boat while Dwayne how to proceed.
Unfortunately, the slightly smaller bass came off as I readied the net. The smallmouth that Dwayne landed weighed two pounds and six ounces while the bass that escaped appeared to weigh slightly over two pounds. Moments later, Dwayne lost an even larger smallmouth when it leaped and threw his crankbait near the boat. Dwayne estimated that the lucky lunker would have weighed between three and four pounds.
The smallmouth action tapered off about 5 pm, but by 7 pm, the striped bass had become more active. Dwayne lost two stripers and I landed an 18 or 19-incher that gave a good account of itself.
All fish were released, including the striper, since it was well under the 24-inch length required to be a legal catch.
We quit fishing before it became too dark to complicate the boat haulout. Perhaps on our next Coquille River trip we’ll fish a section where we can target largemouth bass and crappies. On this trip we fished near Myrtle Point, but a huge striper of more than 60 pounds was reportedly caught recently near Riverton and shown to at least one area business.