CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of April 24th
In the Creel: River levels have risen dramatically again as a result of above normal rainfall this week. Clarity suffers when the rains come, too. Bays and estuaries will see increased fresh water and more turbidity over the next week, which will make them less productive. The ocean, well, it hasn’t been very friendly. Seas from 15 to 25 feet and gales have kept most anglers ashore. It appears changes are coming, but the early ocean salmon season, ending on Wednesday, has pretty much been a bust.
Salmon River: The river is closed to fishing through May 23rd to protect out-migrating salmon and trout smolts. The river will re-opened on May 24th with the start of the trout season.
Siletz River: The winter steelhead fishery is slow and very few quality hatchery fish remain. This time of year is when native steelhead tend to be more prevalent. The good news is that any time over the next month, summer steelhead will begin appearing in the river. Large numbers of fish typically arrive by June. Decent bank access is from Moonshine Park up to the deadline.
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: Steelhead fishing is very slow and not expected to produce much catch this late in the season. The river will be closed to fishing above the head of tide water starting May 1st and will reopen May 24th with the cutthroat trout season.
Central Coast Lakes: Trout angling has been quite good recently with lots of stocked fish available. Be sure to check out the 2014 stocking schedule for the most up to date information. The Olalla Lake Fishing Derby is this Saturday, April 26th, 8:30am-3:00pm. There’s no entry fee, all ODFW laws are in effect, the event is drug and alcohol free, and boat-only parking is allowed at Olalla; everyone else must park at Toledo High School and ride the free shuttle every 20 minutes to reservoir.
Saltwater fishing and shellfish harvesting…
Bays and Ocean: Charter anglers out of Depoe Bay and Newport caught an average of between three and four rockfish this past week. Rockfish catches from private vessels were fewer but often private fishers only catch what they can eat in the next day or two.
The early recreational ocean salmon season along the Central Coast closes on Wednesday, April 30th. Sport anglers report only a few catches of Chinook off the Oregon Coast this week from Newport south to Bandon. However, recreational Chinook salmon fishing later this year should be good to great based on forecast adult returns destined for key river basins. For the 2014 Salmon Fishing Forecast and Ocean Seasons, click here.
Fishing for Pacific halibut in Oregon is closed, but will open before long. Spring all-depth halibut fishing fixed-date openers are: May 8th-10th; May 22nd-24th, June 5th-7th, and June 19th-21st. Back-up dates are also planned depending on the take of the quota.
The entire Oregon Coast is open for razor clamming. Reports indicate that clamming was slow to moderate during the last minus tide series, mostly due to high surf conditions. The next stretch of morning minus tides begins this Sunday, April 27th. April Tide Tables here. This is a moderate low-tide series in both strength and duration. Harvesters who have been successful have focused efforts at the water’s edge where the accretion of sand has not created noticeable bars. Harvesters are reminded to keep accurate count of the clams they’ve retained and must keep the first 15 clams they dig, regardless of size or condition.
Mussel harvesting is closed from Tillamook Head in Clatsop County to the north jetty of the Yaquina River in Newport on 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. For shellfish regs and identification, go here.
Bay crabbing has been slow, and will get slower this week as lots of fresh water is entering the estuaries from strong river flows caused by the recent heavy rainfall. 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: Inland weather along the rivers will be sloppy over the next few days, but by early next week, look for sunshine and warmer temperatures. Bays will be wind-chopped at times through this weekend, but boating conditions should begin improving by Monday or Tuesday. The ocean has been extremely rough with waves over 20-feet high last week. The coming weekend looks marginal, too, with another weather front expected. Things may finally settle down by early next week. Depoe Bay and Yaquina Bay bars have had various restrictions and closures over the past week, so check the 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