CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of March 6th
In the Creel: Just as local rivers and bays were becoming fishable, heavy rain returned causing murky conditions and water levels to rise. Not much hope in the near term, either, as additional heavy rain events are possible over the next few days. While some rivers are more productive during high water events, generally fishing (catching) will be harder over the week ahead. In the estuaries, more silt and less salt will make decent crabbing and clamming a long shot. *This report does not come with a warranty but, fortunately, the worst day fishing is still better than the best day working.
Salmon River: Winter steelhead fishing will probably be tough again as the river rises with the current heavy rains. The fishery is mainly catch-and-release but some hatchery steelhead are occasionally caught.
Siletz River: The winter steelhead fishery is fair to good but has been spotty depending on the conditions, pressure and the area fished. Fish are well distributed through the river and offer both bank and boat anglers fair opportunity. Good bank access is from Moonshine Park up to the deadline. During high flows, like now, plunking can be very effective.
Yaquina River: The winter steelhead fishery on the Big Elk is tailing off; it typically slows down by March. Fish should be well distributed in the system and look for better results during a falling river level after a rain event, so maybe by late next week. Right now, with higher flows, plunking or fishing the upper river can produce good results.
Alsea River: Winter steelhead fishing has picked up lately especially during good river conditions. Anglers are catching fish throughout the main stem river with the upper reaches being the most productive during higher flows. During lower water, which we may attain next week, the mid reaches can produce decent results. Drifting the upper sections from Mill Park to Five Rivers should be productive this time of year. Plunking can be especially good during higher murky conditions throughout the river.
Central Coast Lakes: Trout stocking is underway. Be sure to check out the 2014 stocking schedule on the ODFW website here for the most up to date information.
Fishing for warm water species is typically slow during the winter months, but can still provide good catches on nice Winter days. Largemouth bass, perch, bluegill and brown bullhead are the most common warm water fish available. But, you’ll have to head south for these fish, as the Florence area offers the most opportunity at Siltcoos, Tahkenitch, Woahink, Sutton, and Mercer Lakes.
Saltwater fishing and shellfish harvesting…
The 2014 Saltwater Sportsman’s Show is March 8th and 9th in Salem. Registration opens at 8:00am both days. The show will be at the Oregon State Fairgrounds. Two-day adult admission to the tradeshow and all seminars is $20. Admission to just the tradeshow is $10. Youth 17 years and younger are free. More information is here.
Bays and Ocean: Fishing is good for bottom fish when sea conditions allow, which they haven’t lately. Many anglers reported limits of lingcod before the recent storms. Rockfish seemed to be back on the bite as well. Lingcod are in shallow water guarding nests this time of year. Fishing for groundfish is open at all depths through March 31st. The cabezon season is closed until July 1st. The marine fish daily bag limit is seven fish. There are separate daily limits for lingcod (two) and flatfish other than Pacific halibut (25). Remember, yelloweye rockfish and canary rockfish may not be retained. And, the Stonewall Bank Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation Area, approximately 15 miles west of Newport, is closed to the taking of rockfish, lingcod, flatfish and other species in the groundfish group.
The early recreational ocean salmon season along the Central Coast opens March 15th and runs through April 30th for all salmon except Coho. All other regulations including length limits, bag limits, gear restrictions and area restrictions from the 2013 ocean salmon regulations are in effect.
Fishing for Pacific halibut in Oregon is closed.
The entire Oregon Coast is open for razor clamming, and the next minus tides begin on March 25th. Clammers should pay close attention to surf forecasts and be on the beach one to two hours before low tide. During the last round of minus tides, conditions kept most clammers to between 0 and 4 clams per outing.
All shellfish harvesting is open along the Central Coast. Due to potential biotoxins, consuming whole scallops is not recommended. However, a scallop’s adductor muscle does not accumulate biotoxins and may be safe for consumption. Scallops are not being sampled for biotoxins at this time.
Bay crabbing has been extremely slow because of lowered salinity, turbidity and the time of year. With more heavy rain this week and more forecast for the upcoming weekend, prospects are pretty low right now. Look for bay crabbing to pick up again when the rain stops, or at least moderates. Ocean crabbing might be a better bet when conditions permit.
Fore-Cast: There may be a chance on Friday for some decent weather to get a line wet, a clam shovel out or a crab pot dropped, but another storm system is predicted for the weekend. The long-term outlook is for the weather to break sometime early next week. Ocean conditions are still rough, and probably will be until Tuesday or Wednesday when the weather settles down. Yaquina Bay and Depoe Bay bars have either been restricted or closed for recreational craft over the past couple of days, and may remain so over the weekend as seas are predicted to remain fairly high.
Information supplied by the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, NOAA, and local fishermen. So… don’t blame me!
– Chris Burns