CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of April 10th
In the Creel: Rapids and pools; slow water and fast water. If these are your ideal fishing conditions, Central Coast rivers are now coming into shape. With very little rain in the past week, river levels have dropped significantly and are clearing nicely. The bays and estuaries are also closer to normal with less murk and more salt. Ocean fishing is on again and off again due to weather conditions, but should be more in the ‘on again’ category as we progress into Spring.
Salmon River: The river is closed to fishing 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: Winter steelhead fishing has been 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 fishery as they are nearing or are already spawning. Good bank access is from Moonshine Park up to the deadline. NOTE: The Siletz River Clean-up is this Saturday, April 12th. Free food, prizes and good times. Bring your neighbors, gloves, appropriate clothing and waterproof boots. Trash bags will be provided. Meet at Hee Hee Illahee Park at 9:00am.
Yaquina River: The Yaquina and Big Elk are closed to angling 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 has been really slow with the upper river producing an occasional steelhead. 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 improved recently as water temperatures have warmed and a lot of fish have been stocked. Be sure to check out the 2014 stocking schedule for the most up to date information. Recently there have been some blue-green algae blooms in Devils Lake. However, eating fish from this water body is safe. When there are elevated levels of algae, anglers are advised to remove all internal organs and skin. For the latest water quality monitoring data, please visit the Devils Lake Water Improvement District website. Surplus hatchery winter steelhead adults are available in Olalla and Big Creek Reservoirs. By the way, these fish are considered ‘trout’ in those reservoirs so only one trout over 20 inches is allowed per day.
Saltwater fishing and shellfish harvesting…
Bays and Ocean: Bottom fishing is hot! Charters out of Yaquina and Depoe Bays report limits or near limits of rockfish this week. Rockfish catches from private vessels were fewer – between three and five fish – but often they only catch what they can eat in the next day or two. Lingcod catches were about one fish for every two anglers. The cabezon season is closed until July 1st. The ocean outside of the 30-fathom curve is 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). 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 any rockfish, lingcod, flatfish or other species in the groundfish group.
The early recreational ocean salmon season along the Central Coast is open through April 30th for all salmon except Coho. Charter boats are mainly targeting bottom fish right now; the few salmon trips they’ve made apparently haven’t produced much. They expect salmon fishing to start picking up next week. Smaller private vessels haven’t had very many days of sea conditions stable enough for mooching or trolling, so salmon catches have been limited.
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 is getting much better with the improved water conditions. Crabbers are getting two to three keepers per person. 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 lake fishing should be a lot of fun over the weekend and into early next week with lots of sunshine predicted. Make a day of it. The bays and estuaries will be nice in the mornings, but expect chop in the afternoons when the northwest winds come up. The ocean is still giving anglers fits. While the latest weather regime is mostly sunny, a Summer-like pattern of northwesters is also well established. Afternoon and evening northwest winds of 20-30 knots are not out of the question, and seas quickly become exceedingly lumpy at 6 feet with 6 foot wind waves. The best chance for a trip over the bar is daybreak, but you’ll probably want to head in by noon. Yaquina Bay and Depoe Bay bars have generally been unrestricted at first light this week. Check the latest Bar Reports before you shove off.
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