CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of May 8th
In the Creel: The first halibut sport fishing opener of the year begins today, Thursday, and runs through Saturday. Rough ocean conditions, however, will probably preclude fishermen from getting out for the first two days. Most of the rivers remain closed to angling for another couple of weeks while young fish work their way to sea. The bays and estuaries are running about normal for this time of year in temperature, clarity and salinity, so crabbing may be worth a shot. Beach and bay clamming will be slow until minus tides return 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 fat lady is singing for the winter steelhead run; it’s basically over. Watch for summer steelhead to return to the Siletz any time over the next few weeks. Good numbers typically start showing up by the first week in June.
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 until May 24th when the cutthroat trout season opens.
Central Coast Lakes: Trout angling remains 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: Charters out of Newport and Depoe Bay are slammin’ rockfish. Lingcod catches have been decent, too, with more than one nice ling per rod. Private vessels are also still doing quite well with bottom fishing.
The ocean outside of the 30-fathom curve is closed to bottom fishing until September 30th.
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 open today through Saturday, May 8th-10th. Most boats did not get out for the first day of the opener due to rough ocean conditions. The next openings for halibut are 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, many diggers bagged near-limits of large razors. The next stretch of minus tides starts Tuesday and runs for eight days. 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 slow, about two keepers per person per day, but should begin to pick up before long. 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: Today, Thursday, May 8th, is a bust for ocean fishing as a storm enters local waters and a Gale Warning is flying. Conditions are expected to get a little better Friday and Saturday. Sunday through the early part of next week, NW winds 10-15 knots, seas down to 5-8 feet and sunny skies should make for some great offshore fishing. The bays and estuaries will be choppy through Saturday before the situation improves much. Lake fishing will be fun-in-the-sun again by Sunday and on through the week. Depoe Bay and Yaquina Bay bars have had various restrictions and closures over the past week, so always check the latest Bar Reports before you shove off.
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