CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of July 31st
In the Creel: The peak time of year for harvesting fish and shellfish is right now. Most seasons are open and the critters are active. All-depth halibut fishing is open again tomorrow and Saturday. Good reports are coming in for salmon, both Chinook and Coho. Crabbing has been very good and is improving daily. Bay fishermen have been doing well on greenling, sea-run cutthroat trout and an occasional Chinook. Steelhead, cutthroat and a few salmon are being taken in the rivers. If you don’t have fish on the table for dinner this week, you’re just not paying attention.
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 but catches are few and far between.
Siletz River: Steelhead fishing is slow to fair. The best chance to hook into a summer steelhead is in the early mornings from Moonshine Park up to the deadline. Meanwhile, the cutthroat trout fishery is fair to good with sea-run cutthroat being found through tidewater and into the mid to lower section of the river. Using small presentations such as spinners, jigs under a bobber, or fly fishing can produce good results. We received a report this week of two locals who fished lower tidewater on the Siletz last Friday. By 7:00am one of them had landed a pair of nice Chinooks and was home by 10:00am, no doubt followed by his buddy asking a lot of questions about the proper tackle to use.
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. Sea-run cutthroat trout are coming in now, too, and success is picking up. These hearty fish can be found in tidewater up into the lower reaches of the river.
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. Sea-run cutthroat trout begin showing up this time of year and should be most abundant in the lower river.
Central Coast Lakes: The warm summer days are heating up water temperatures in many low-elevation lakes and reservoirs so rainbows are much less energetic. So, while the trout are pouting, target bass, bluegill, crappie and other warmwater fish that can be much more active this time of year.
Saltwater fishing and shellfish harvesting…
Bays and Ocean: Rockfish catches are still good. Most fishermen are catching 4 or 5 per trip. The rate for lingcod has slumped a bit to one ling for every two to three fishermen.
The ocean outside of the 30-fathom curve is closed to bottom fishing until September 30th.
Tuna are still out there; last week Charleston saw higher levels of effort and catch than other ports with anglers bringing in 5-6 fish per fisherman, followed by Astoria and then Newport. A small number of Winchester Bay tuna anglers had good success with more than 5 fish each. Strong northwest winds are limiting fishing opportunity and may be moving fish farther offshore. Most years, tuna move to within 20 miles of the coast, but by August they tend to become harder to catch.
Ocean salmon fishing has been steady. Overall, Depoe Bay and Newport sport fishermen returned with an average of more than one Coho per angler last week, but many of the charter boats limited. The silvers are averaging 9-10 pounds. There are blackmouths in the mix, too, with a ratio of about one Chinook to ten Coho.
The sport halibut nearshore season (inside the 40-fathom line) is open seven days a week until the quota is taken or October 31st. Catch rates out of Newport this past week are level at about one ‘but per ten anglers. There’s a summer Pacific halibut all-depth opener for the Central Coast (between Cape Falcon and Humbug Mountain) tomorrow and Saturday, August 1st and 2nd. This fishery then continues every other Friday and Saturday until the quota is reached. During the last all-depth opener, most anglers limited out on halibut. In recent years, the summer all-depth fishery quota has gone quickly. However, the weather for this weekend’s opener may not be ideal (see Fore-Cast below), which could put a damper on effort and possibly allow a second open weekend. ODFW staff will evaluate halibut catch numbers on August 7th and a decision on a second opener will be made shortly thereafter.
Central Coast beaches are open for razor clamming. The best opportunities are around Newport at Agate Beach, North Jetty and South Beach. The next series of minus tides begins on Thursday, August 7th. These will be very good clamming tides with lows of minus 2 feet. August 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 is good to strong. Alsea Bay has been particularly productive but a lot of females have been showing up in the mix recently, so you’ll have to take your time sorting ‘em out. Yaquina Bay has hit its summer stride now with up to limits being pulled. Shellfish biologists say crabbing overall is much better this year than last. 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 has been mainly out fishing with short stops in port to deliver loads of Chinook, tuna, hake, black cod and shrimp. The processing plants continue running in high gear. And, several boats are selling salmon and tuna directly to the public at the Bayfront port docks in Newport.
Fore-Cast: Our summer weather pattern continues over the next several days, meaning mostly sunny and pleasant conditions for river anglers, while bay and ocean fishermen will have to contend with occasional fog and late-day strong winds. Afternoons and evenings will feature the more robust nor’westers leading to choppy bays, and advisory level winds offshore, 15-25 knots, with steep windwaves 4-6 feet. 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