CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of April 3rd
In the Creel: While our rivers are dropping and clearing, some are now closed to fishing (to protect smolts migrating out) so you’re reminded to check the regs prior to fishing any particular river. The bays and estuaries are coming into better shape with lower turbidity and increasing salinity, and they’ll become more productive before long. The ocean still has a running dispute with sport fishermen, and the weather hasn’t been all that cooperative. Conditions are expected to improve in the week ahead, though. A lot of boats got out on Wednesday, but we weren’t able to get a good handle on salmon catch-rates before filing this report. However, bottom fishing was reported to be excellent.
Salmon River: The river is closed to fishing April 1st through May 23rd to protect out-migrating salmon and trout smolts. The river will re-open on May 24th with the start of the trout season.
Siletz River: The winter steelhead fishery is slow to fair with some hatchery fish still around and the potential for an early returning summer steelhead. This time of year is when native steelhead tend to be more prevalent in the river as they start spawning. Good bank access is from Moonshine Park up to the deadline.
Yaquina River: The Yaquina and Big Elk are closed to angling April 1st through May 23rd and will re-open with the trout season on May 24th. Tide water remains open year round, but for marine species only.
Alsea River: Fishing is slow with the upper stretch being the most productive now as the river continues to drop and clear through the week. Wild fish tend to make up most of the catch this time of year.
Central Coast Lakes: Nearly all water bodies have been stocked multiple times this season with rainbow trout. Trout fishing has really picked up recently as water temperatures have warmed and a lot of fish have been stocked. This fishery can offer anglers of all experience levels some really good fishing. Prime stocking occurs March, April and May in Central Coast lakes. Be sure to check out the 2014 stocking schedule for the most up to date information. Surplus hatchery winter steelhead adults have been released into Olalla and Big Creek Reservoirs. By the way, these fish are considered ‘trout’ in a lake or reservoir so only one trout over 20 inches is allowed per day.
Saltwater fishing and shellfish harvesting…
Bays and Ocean: The herring left Yaquina Bay last week after an epic spawning. Biologists report it was the largest spawning event in the last 15 years. If you didn’t get your bait supply, you’re out of luck.
Charters out of Yaquina and Depoe Bays report that angling has been excellent for bottom fish when the boats are able to get out. There have been limits of lingcod and rockfish. The ocean outside of the 30-fathom curve is now closed to bottom fishing until September 30th. The marine fish daily bag limit is seven fish. There are separate daily limits for lingcod (two) and flatfish other than Pacific halibut (25).
The cabezon season is closed until July 1.
Remember: yelloweye rockfish and canary rockfish may not be retained.
The Stonewall Bank Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation Area, approximately 15 miles west of Newport, is closed to the take of rockfish, lingcod, flatfish and other species in the groundfish group.
You wanna go fishing on ODFW’s nickel? Here’s a chance to help the agency gather some baseline data on Oregon Marine Reserves, and you get to enjoy a free eight-hour deep-sea fishing trip in the bargain. It’s a catch-and-release ocean bottom fishery, and everything you need to sign up is here.
The early recreational ocean salmon season along the Central Coast is open through April 30th for all salmon except Coho. Due to weather conditions, not enough sport fishermen have gotten out recently for any real idea of what catch-rates might be. Charter boats are mainly targeting bottom fish right now; the few salmon trips they’ve made apparently haven’t produced many big hits.
Fishing for Pacific halibut in Oregon is closed.
The entire Oregon Coast is open for razor clamming, and the next stretch of minus tides begin at 7:12am on April 15th. April Tide Tables here.
All other 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. The Oregon Department of Agriculture’s shellfish safety hotline is toll free and provides the most current information regarding shellfish safety closures. Please call the hotline before harvesting at 1-800-448-2474. Press 1 for biotoxin closures and 2 for general safety recommendations.
Bay crabbing has started to pick up with improving water conditions. But, it’ll be later in the spring or early summer before harvest rates get noticeably better. If you’re new to crabbing, click here for everything you ever wanted to know about Dungeness crab harvesting, including a graph depicting the best months to drop your pots.
Fore-Cast: River and bay fisherman will need foul weather gear through the weekend ahead, but by Monday you can swap that out for your Polaroid sunglasses and a light jacket. Ocean weather looks snotty for most of the weekend with southerlies up to 25 knots and seas running 8-10 feet, though Sunday could offer light enough conditions to head out for salmon or bottom fish. Monday through Wednesday now looks like good weather with sunshine, light to moderate north winds and falling seas.
This report does not come with a warranty but, fortunately, the worst day fishing is still better than the best day working. Information is supplied by the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, NOAA, and local fishermen. So… don’t blame me!
– Chris Burns