CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of May 22nd
In the Creel: Cutthroat trout season opens on our local rivers this Saturday, May 24th. The rivers are in good shape with levels, current and turbidity running at normal levels for this time of year. Summer steelhead fishing is also picking up in the Siletz. Ocean conditions have improved over the past week with a spring pattern of early morning calms and late afternoon nor’westers. The next halibut opener begins today, May 22nd, and runs through Saturday, May 24th. Most of the quota remains, so there are plenty of flatfish around. And, Chinook salmon catches have seen some improvement recently with your chances up to about 30% for landing a nice blackmouth.
Salmon River: The river will be open to fishing starting Saturday, May 24th, for the cutthroat trout season. The first couple weeks during the spring fishery can offer anglers good opportunities to catch some resident trout. Use of bait is not allowed above the head of tide but small spinners, spoons or fly fishing can be very productive.
Siletz River: Fishing is starting to see improvement as summer steelhead are now returning. Recent rain events and large tides will help move some of these bright new fish into the upper river shortly. Good numbers typically start showing up in the fishery and trapping sites around the first of June. The best bank access is from Moonshine Park up to the deadline. Meanwhile, the spring cutthroat trout season opens this Saturday, May 24th. The Siletz has a good population of resident cutthroat trout and they can be found throughout the main-stem and in many of the large tributaries. Using small presentations such as spinners, jigs under a bobber, or fly fishing can produce well. This is also a great way to introduce kids to fishing.
Yaquina River: The Yaquina River, Big Elk Creek and many tributaries will reopen to fishing starting this Saturday, May 24th, with the cutthroat trout opener. This can be a great fishery and a good start to the summer with nice days along the river banks. Cutthroat trout can be found throughout the basin and can offer anglers of all levels good fishing. Using small lures or fly fishing can be very productive. Use of bait is not allowed until September 1st above the head of tide.
Alsea River: The Alsea River will be open to fishing starting Saturday, May 24th, for the cutthroat trout season. The spring opener can be a great way to get back out onto the river with the family. The Alsea has many opportunities for bank fishing along Highway 34, and cutthroat trout can be found throughout the river. In addition, most tributaries are open and can offer good fishing, too. Use of bait is not allowed above the head of tide until September 1st. However, using small lures such as spinners, spoons, jigs or crank baits can be very effective. Fly fishing dry flies, nymphs, or streamers can also produce well.
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: Lingcod fishing is still good with an average catch of more than one ling per angler coastwide. Rockfish catches from local charters were also good last week with most anglers catching between five and seven fish. Private boats averaged three or four rockfish, but often these anglers only catch enough for a meal and release the rest.
The ocean outside of the 30-fathom curve is closed to bottom fishing until September 30th.
Sport Chinook fishing from Cape Falcon south to Humbug Mountain (including the Central Coast) is open through October 31st. Fishermen out of Newport caught an average of three fish for every ten anglers. For the past few days, commercial fishermen report there has been decent fishing for good grade (10-15 pound) Chinook all around Stonewall Bank. And that includes the areas that are open for sportfishing. The fish are mostly near the bottom. For the 2014 Salmon Fishing Forecast and Ocean Seasons, click here.
Fishing for Pacific halibut in Oregon is open today through Saturday, May 22nd-24th. Hopefully, better weather will allow more boats to get out for this opener. Stormy seas resulted in few catches during the first opener two weeks ago, so there are lots of ‘buts available. 93% of the all-depth quota remains for the Central Coast Subarea.
The entire Oregon Coast is open for razor clamming. During the last series of minus tides, diggers bagged lots of large razors. Some of these weighed-in at three-quarters of a pound. But, smaller clams are now also starting to show in the mix. The average dig for those who know how to do it was 7-9 razors. The next stretch of minus tides starts Sunday, May 25th, and runs for several days. May Tide Tables here.
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 shortly. The best months are August through November, but we usually start seeing good catches by early 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: Even though a couple of small weather systems are expected to transit the Central Coast over the weekend, there doesn’t appear to be any serious wind associated with them. Look for about 10-15 knots with gusts to 20 or so on the ocean. Seas are running anywhere from 5 to 8 feet, but afternoons have had wind waves up to five feet making conditions pretty lumpy. The same issue is affecting the bays and estuaries with choppy conditions late in the day. If you’re headed out to the rivers for cutthroat Saturday and over the holiday weekend, the weather looks a little unstable with a chance of showers, so throw in a light rain jacket when you pack up.
Always check the latest Bar Reports before you set a course offshore.
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