CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of July 3rd
In the Creel: If your 4th of July weekend includes wetting a line or dropping a pot, you’re in luck. Decent weather and improving catches for most species translates into a great time. Cutthroat trout and summer steelhead are still being a smidge bashful but seemed to be bumping more lures in the rivers this past week. Bay crabbing success continues building with more pots coming up with nice keepers. Offshore, rockfish has slowed some, but on good days limits are still arriving at the dock. The Chinook bite has been sluggish, but lots of bright hatchery-Coho have found their way into local ice chests. Inshore halibut fishing season opened this week and though it started off slow, catch rates are quickly improving.
Salmon River: The river is open for cutthroat trout, and fishermen report fair to good success over the past week. Use of bait is not allowed above the head of tide but small spinners, spoons or fly fishing can be very fruitful. The river is also open for spring Chinook and summer steelhead, although this time of year typically would only yield an occasional stray springer or summer steelhead from a nearby river basin.
Siletz River: Steelhead fishing has been slow but should improve shortly as the summer run builds, peaking late this month. The best bank access is from Moonshine Park up to the deadline, and drift boat options are good from Twin Bridges to Morgan Park. The cutthroat trout season is open, too, and catches have been fair to good. Sea-run cutthroat probably won’t start appearing in the lower river until next month. Using small presentations such as spinners, jigs under a bobber, or fly fishing can produce well.
Yaquina River: Cutthroat trout fishing in the Yaquina, Big Elk Creek and tributaries is open and angling has been good. Cutthroat can be found throughout the river system. Using small lures or fly fishing can attract some nice ones. But 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 are being landed just about everywhere in the river and recent catches have been fair to good. Use of bait is not allowed above the head of tide until September 1st.
Central Coast Lakes: Rainbow trout fishing is slowing down and ODFW’s stocking program is finished for the year. There are still a few adult hatchery steelhead left in Big Creek Reservoir.
Saltwater fishing and shellfish harvesting…
Bays and Ocean: Rockfish catches have been hot and cold. On a hot day, nearly everybody limits. On a cold day, catches are spotty but no skunks. There are still a few nice lingcod coming in, at the rate of one per every two fishermen.
The ocean outside of the 30-fathom curve is closed to bottom fishing until September 30th.
Ocean salmon fishing is fair to good. The hot spot this last week was Newport with an average catch of 1.5 fish per angler; Depoe Bay’s rate wasn’t far behind at 1.2 salmon per fisherman. Coho was the predominate catch, but some Chinook are in the mix, too. Remember, there are a lot of wild Coho out there, so don’t get too excited until your silver is checked for a clipped adipose fin and in the cooler. The Chinook bite has been strongest out around the Rockpile.
The sport halibut nearshore season (inside the 40-fathom line) opened July 1st and runs seven days a week until the quota is taken or October 31st. Catch rates were slow on opening day, but are picking up. The summer halibut all-depth season between Cape Falcon and Humbug Mountain, including Central Coast waters, is closed until the first opener August 1st and 2nd. All-depth halibut fishing then continues every other Friday and Saturday until the quota is attained. The small percentage of quota left over from the spring season will roll over into other halibut seasons.
The entire Oregon Coast is open for razor clamming. The next series of minus tides begins on Wednesday, July 9th. There’ll be some serious lows in this stretch, down to -2.6 feet, so many razor clam beds will be exposed for the first time in quite a while. July Tide Tables here.
Recreational mussel harvesting remains closed along the entire Oregon coast due to elevated levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning. All other recreational shellfish harvesting is open. 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 good and is improving. More Dungies are moving into the bays and estuaries. Best pot pulls have been an hour before to an hour after high tide. 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.
Commercial Fishing: The fleet remains busy and successful with salmon, crab, shrimp, groundfish and some boats now gearing-up for tuna trips. Salmon catches have slowed down south of our area which usually means they’ll start increasing in local waters.
Fore-Cast: No major changes are expected from today through the holiday weekend. Bay, lake and estuary fishermen can anticipate dry weather, some sunshine and fairly light winds today through Sunday. On the ocean for the next few days, northerly winds 5-15 knots with occasional gusts to 20 in the afternoons and evenings. The swell is projected to stay at 3-5 feet with wind waves up to 3 feet during the windiest periods. Outlook is for a stronger summer pattern to develop next week with N to NW winds 20-25 knots gusting 30 and combined choppy seas of 5 feet. Always check the latest Bar Reports before you set a course offshore. NOTE: The Port of Newport’s South Beach Marina fuel dock has been reopened and is in full operation for diesel and gasoline products.
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