CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of May 1st
In the Creel: Not much going on in local rivers this week as most are closed in advance of trout season, opening May 24th. So, it won’t be long before those tasty rainbows and feisty cutthroats are just a cast or two away. If you simply can’t wait for a trout dinner, the reservoirs are open now and nicely stocked. On the beaches, razor clamming has been quite good lately, and the clams are big this year. The focus on the ocean has been rockfish and lingcod (there’s still a very hot bite on), but it’s also time to get your stronger rods and reels ready for the first halibut opener next week.
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: The winter steelhead run is all over but the shouting, with very few quality fish around. But, watch for summer steelhead to return to the Siletz any time over the next month. Good numbers typically start showing up by the first week in June. The Lincoln County Parks Department has announced the closure of Jack Morgan Boat Ramp. This ramp and adjacent parking lot are scheduled for construction and will be closed starting June 15th and reopened upon completion by August 31st. This project will include replacement of the boat ramp with a concrete surface, improvements to the parking lot, and a restroom facilities upgrade.
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, but for marine species only.
Alsea River: The Alsea River is closed to fishing starting today, May 1st, but is set to reopen May 24th for the cutthroat trout season.
Central Coast Lakes: Trout angling remains quite good with lots of stocked fish available. Be sure to check out the 2014 stocking schedule for the most up to date information.
Saltwater fishing and shellfish harvesting…
Bays and Ocean: Big waves kept fishermen off the ocean for most of the last week but (as reported by ODFW observers) at least 19 hearty souls ventured out and 18 caught limits of rockfish. The unlucky one only caught 6 rockfish. Charters out of Newport and Depoe Bay have been picking up quick limits of rockfish when sea conditions allow the boats to get out. Lingcod catches have been decent, too, with more than one nice one per rod.
The ocean outside of the 30-fathom curve is closed to bottom fishing until September 30th.
Salmon fishing hasn’t been anything to write home about. Sport anglers report only a handful of Chinook catches off the Central Coast this past week. Nevertheless, looking ahead, sport 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 next week. 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. During the last series of minus tides, diggers averaged almost seven clams per person. And, the clams were mainly large – over 5 inches. Razor clams are currently feeding heavily and nearing the peak of their body condition. Some are weighing-in at better than half a pound. The next stretch of minus tides is underway now through Saturday. May Tide Tables here.
Mussel harvesting remains closed from Tillamook Head in Clatsop County to the north jetty of Yaquina Bay in Newport.
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 slower than normal, but should begin to pick up as the season advances. The best months are August through November, but we usually start seeing good catches by June. 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: The weather won’t matter much along local rivers due to the current closures, but lake and reservoir fishermen can expect cooling temperatures and rain by the weekend into next week. The bays will have excellent conditions Thursday, okay on Friday, but choppy by late Saturday into Sunday. Cool and damp weather is forecast for Monday to Wednesday. On the ocean, mild winds and seas are forecast through Friday, but a weather system is predicted to arrive on Saturday and Sunday bringing Small Craft Advisory level winds and seas building to 10-12 feet. Rough conditions should subside early in the week. Depoe Bay and Yaquina Bay bars have had various restrictions and closures over the past week, so check always the latest Bar Reports before you shove off.
Special Notes for Mariners:
* Oregon State University deployed a subsurface to surface research buoy in position 44-39-30.540N, 124-39-30.540W in 82 feet of water on April 21st. The buoy is yellow and displays a flashing yellow four seconds (Fl Y 4s) light when on the surface. This buoy is designed to submerge for the collection of data and then surface to transmit its data. When the buoy is not on the surface it will be near the seafloor. Vessels are asked to not pass closer than 500 yards to the buoy’s position.
* OSU has deployed its Nye Beach Research Lighted Buoy in position 44-39-30.168N, 124-05-44.592W. It also has a flashing yellow four seconds (Fl Y 4s) light.
* The US Coast Guard, US Army Corp of Engineers and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are co-sponsoring “The Future of Navigation – 21st Century Waterways” public listening sessions. These sessions, which will be held in several locations across the country, are designed to provide a venue for open communications between various Federal agencies, US Marine Transportation System (MTS) stakeholders (including commercial fishermen) and the general boating public to discuss the joint Federal agency initiative to use modern technology to support a safer, more efficient, more secure, and environmentally sound MTS. These listening sessions will provide MTS users and stakeholders an opportunity, beyond traditional venues, to express their emerging needs for navigational information and service delivery systems necessary to improve safety and efficiency of transits on the nation’s waterways. In the Northwest, the first listening session is scheduled to be held on, Tuesday, June 3rd, at 6:00 pm at the Seattle Public Library.
Fishin’ with Chris 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