CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of September 11th
In the Creel: Slammin’ salmon and tons of tuna headline this week’s report. Ocean Coho fishing has been outstanding with many, maybe most, boats limiting by lunch. Way out there, albacore are running hard and at least one 40-pounder came in this past week. Nice fish. The weather’s been good for those venturing to the bays to pull some decent pots of Dungies, and clam diggers just had two days in a row with both a morning and an evening minus tide. Go figure. Fall Chinook angling is picking up in the bays and rivers, with sea-run cutthroat trout also a good bet for a darned feisty fight and a tasty treat. Let’s go fishin’!
Salmon River: Cutthroat trout fishing is fair to good from tidewater through the mainstem with sea-run cutthroat found in the lower portion of the river. Some fall Chinook are starting to move in on the high tides with the best success coming from the lower bay up to the Highway 101 bridge.
Siletz River: Fall Chinook angling is producing some big fish now with the best shot in the lower to middle sections of tidewater during the incoming tide through high slack. Steelhead fishing has been slow during the low flow and warm river conditions. The best chance to hook into a summer steelhead is in the early mornings from Moonshine Park up to the deadline. The cutthroat trout fishery is fair with sea-run cutthroat being found throughout tidewater and into the mid to lower section of the river.
Yaquina River: Some fall Chinook are starting to come into the lower bay and up to around the oyster farm. Cutthroat trout fishing is fair with the sea-run component starting to improve, especially in mid to upper tidewater.
Alsea River: Fall Chinook are entering the river with anglers having success now from the mouth of the bay up to around the Drift Creek area, which usually produces the hottest bite early in the season. Fishing the incoming tide tends to give the best results. Sea-run cutthroat trout can be found in tidewater and in the lower to middle section of the mainstem. Resident cutthroat trout are spread throughout the basin.
Central Coast Lakes: Rainbow fishing tends to be slow during the summer months as warm water temperatures can put trout off the bite. Fish early in the morning or near cool water zones until water temperatures start to cool off in the fall.
Saltwater fishing and shellfish harvesting…
Bays and Ocean:
* BOTTOM FISH Bottom fish are staying on the bite with moderate to good results coastwide. Many charters are limiting. The ocean outside of the 30-fathom curve is closed to bottom fishing until September 30th.
* TUNA Overall tuna fishing continues to be good. There were reports this last week of albacore within 20-30 miles offshore of Newport and Depoe Bay. Catch rates were great when weather permitted anglers to access the fishing grounds. Albacore are typically in areas where sea surface temperatures are warmer than 58 degrees.
* SALMON Coho are hot, and have been since the non-selective ocean season opened on Labor Day weekend. While average catches so far are over a salmon per angler, many boats are limiting out before noon. Ocean Chinook fishing was only fair along most of the coast this past week, but a few are in the mix. To correctly identify your salmon, brush-up here.
* HALIBUT The Central Coast Subarea (Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain) nearshore Pacific halibut season, inside the 40-fathom line, is open seven days a week until the quota is taken or October 31st. The most recent report shows that about 41% of the quota remains for this fishery.
* RAZOR CLAMS Razor clamming is still closed from the Oregon/California border to Heceta Head due to elevated levels of domoic acid. All other Central Coast beaches are open for razors. The current series of minus tides runs until Saturday, September 13th; after that, minus tides will only occur in the evenings until next year. September Tide Tables here.
* BAY CLAMS We’re in the final early morning series of minus tides for 2014; it ends on Saturday. Then, all minus tides will shift to the evenings (see Tide Tables above). But, low tides as high as +1.0’ to +2.0’ can still allow bay clamming opportunities, especially for purple varnish clams that can sometimes be found when the tide is as high as +4.0 feet. During minus tides, sport clammers should be able to dig daily limits of cockles, gaper clams and butter clams from the popular sites in Siletz, Yaquina and Alsea Bays. For shellfish regs and identification, go here.
* CRAB Bay crabbing is very good right now. Alsea and Yaquina Bays have been producing quite well. Best pot drops have been an hour before to an hour after high tide. Crabbing is also decent in the ocean off the Central Coast. The recreational ocean crabbing season is open through October 15th.
Commercial Fishing: Not as much effort recently due to the fog, burn-out, and maybe hunting season. Many of the go-getters had impressive catches for the season, though. Last week, a couple of lucky guys got their 65 Chinook, but it has since gotten spotty.
Fore-Cast: River fishermen can still cast and troll in shirtsleeves for the next several days, while bay anglers and diggers should be prepared for gusty winds and choppy conditions. On the ocean, a Small Craft Advisory for winds is in effect Thursday and Thursday night. NE winds 20-25 knots gusting to 30 are expected with steep windwaves to 7 feet. On Friday, the breeze backs to northerly 15-20 knots and seas subside to 4 feet. Outlook is for N winds 5-15 knots with seas 2-3 feet on Saturday and Sunday. Light southerlies are projected for Monday. Always check the latest Bar Reports before you set a course offshore.
Notices to Mariners…
*Oregon State University has removed its ‘OSU Research Lighted Buoy A’ at approximate position 44-38-28.08N, 124-18-12.06W. The buoy was yellow with a yellow light flashing every 4 seconds (Fl Y 4s).
* The US Coast Guard August 2014 Navigation Rules and Regulations Handbook has replaced the USCG Commandant Instruction Navigation Rules, International-Inland. Besides containing updated material, it has additional pertinent navigation regulations. The handbook is freely available at the USCG’s Navigation Center, here.
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