WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY

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Fishin’ with Chris

Chris Burns - Fishing

CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of May 29th

In the Creel: The rivers are in great shape right now, though cutthroat trout fishing has been only fair to middling. Many smaller ones are being caught. Rainbows are still available in large numbers in the reservoirs. Offshore, it looks like bottom fishing is becoming a little slower, while salmon catches are increasing. NOTE: There’s a new depth tabulation image for Chart 18581 – Yaquina Bay and River. Click here to view or download the newly-surveyed depths. Also, you should be aware that the dredge Yaquina will be working the entrance to Yaquina Bay from June 2nd through the 11th.

Salmon River: The river is now open for cutthroat trout. The spring fishery can be very productive and a great way to enjoy the long spring days. Use of bait is not allowed above the head of tide but small spinners, spoons or fly-fishing can be very fruitful.

Siletz River: Steelhead fishing is just starting to see improvement as the summer run is kicking in. Decent numbers typically start showing up in the fishery by mid-June and the peak is usually in late-July. The best bank access is from Moonshine Park up to the deadline, and drift boat options are good (when the flow allows) from Twin Bridges to Morgan Park. The cutthroat trout season is now open. 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. Sea-run cutthroat trout typically don’t start returning until July. Using small presentations such as spinners, jigs under a bobber, or fly-fishing can produce well.

Yaquina River: The Yaquina River, Big Elk Creek and many tributaries are now open to cutthroat trout fishing. The springtime fishery can be a great way to start off the summer with long warm days along the river banks. Cutthroat 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 is open for cutthroat trout with many opportunities for bank fishing along Highway 34. Cutthroat can be landed throughout the river. 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 is also a good bet.

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 respectable with an average catch of more than one ling per angler coastwide. Rockfish catches have been down a smidge with most anglers catching just under a limit. Commercial boats have seen a slowdown, too, at the Rockpile this week.

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 and Depoe Bay are now starting to hit salmon in better numbers, so it might be worth a trip out. For the 2014 Salmon Fishing Forecast and Ocean Seasons, click here.

Fishing for Pacific halibut in Oregon is currently closed but will be open again June 5th to 7th. Limits of ‘but were common during the last opener a week ago.

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 were over 6-inches and weighed-in at three-quarters of a pound. But, smaller clams are now also starting to show in the mix. With the larger clams beginning to spawn, they will soon go into a ‘post-spawn dormancy’ and will not show as actively as they have been recently. There is now a larger and wide-spread population of 1-2 inch clams. This has already created problems as harvesters dig the smaller clams and put them back, which is contrary to permanent harvest regulations. These smaller clams are very thin-shelled and even the slightest damage, visible or not, is almost always fatal. Studies show that a full 80-percent of clams replanted die due to some form of injury.

As encouraging as it is to see this robust population of fresh set clams, it can also lead to increased discard issues. ODFW staff observed discard rates (clams replanted) of over 25-percent this past tide series. This is nearly a 60-percent increase from the past cycle of low tides. Harvesters are reminded to only dig dimples that are larger than a dime. Diggers must keep accurate count of the clams they’ve retained, and have to keep the first 15 clams dug regardless of size or condition. The next stretch of minus tides is underway now through Monday, June 2nd. 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 some charter boats have been pulling some nice pots on the way back in from bottom fishing. The best months for crabbing are August through November, but we should start seeing better catches shortly. 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, lake and reservoir fishermen will find Spring weather for this week’s outings with sunshine after morning clouds. Clammers and surf-casters will face windy conditions on the beaches, especially later in the day. Bay anglers will have to deal with gusty nor’westers and chop in the afternoons and evenings through the week ahead. For ocean fishing, your best bet is to head out at daylight and be back inside the jaws by noonish. Northwest winds 20-25 knots are expected from noon to midnight over the next several days. Wind-driven, i.e. lumpy, seas of 5-6 feet will be common, too, by early afternoon. 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

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