CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of October 2nd
In the Creel: Fall Chinook fishing in the bays and rivers is front and center this week. Lots of fish around and more are arriving daily. Wild Coho are also catching on, so to speak, with much increased success rates over the past week. Offshore, we should start seeing better bottom fishing since the ocean is open for deep water angling again. Crabbing has slowed for some reason, and clammers are facing only evening/night minus tides during the next series. Of course, this time of year, weather can always be the spoiler. But for a few days now, it’ll be more like Summer than Autumn. The Fall door could slam shut at any time, so reel ‘em in or dig ‘em while the harvesting and the weather are hot.
Salmon River: Fall Chinook fishing is fair to good with anglers having the best results in the lower bay trolling or bobber fishing middle to upper tidewater. Some fish have now moved above the hatchery since the recent rain events. Cutthroat trout fishing is fair throughout the mainstem with sea-run cutthroat found in the lower portion of the river.
Siletz River: Fall Chinook fishing is producing well with anglers having the best results in the lower to middle sections of tidewater trolling spinners or herring. Bobber fishing has also been producing good results in the upper tidewater area. The wild Coho fishery has been good with anglers catching fish around the mouth up to middle tidewater. Trolling herring or small spinners during the incoming tide seems to work best. Steelhead fishing picked up a little following the rain and cooler water temperatures. The best chance to hook into a summer steelhead is fishing above Moonshine Park up to the deadline. Fire season is still in effect and anglers are advised to call 541-336-3819 for the most current land closure information when fishing above Moonshine. The cutthroat trout fishery is only fair with sea-run cutthroat being found throughout the mainstem.
Yaquina River: Fall Chinook fishing has been variable with anglers having some good days in areas around the oyster farm as well as up high above the Canyon Quarry boat ramp. Trolling herring, large spinners or bobber fishing on the incoming tide have all been working, especially around slack tide. The wild Coho salmon fishery has started to kick in with silvers being taken from around Sawyers Landing up to the airport boat ramp. Trolling herring or spinners faster than you would for Chinook seems to work the best. Cutthroat trout fishing is fair with sea-run cutthroat found in upper tidewater and in the lower portions of the Yaquina and Big Elk above the head of tide.
Alsea River: Fall Chinook fishing is good right now with anglers scoring from the mouth of the river all the way up through tidewater. Recent rains have also pushed some fish above tidewater. Trolling herring or lures in the lower portion of the bay and near Drift Creek, or bobber fishing in the middle to upper section of tidewater is producing well. Fishing the incoming tide or around high and low slack tends to produce the best results. The wild Coho salmon fishery is producing excellent catches. Anglers fishing in the bay are doing the best casting spinners or trolling herring. Sea-run cutthroat trout can be found in the lower to middle sections of the mainstem. Resident cutthroat are spread out through the basin.
Central Coast Lakes: Rainbow trout fishing is still slow and will be until the water cools down. For now, fish early in the morning or near cool water zones until temperatures cool off as autumn progresses.
Saltwater fishing and shellfish harvesting…
Bays and Ocean:
* BOTTOM FISH Jigging for bottom fish has been spotty, perhaps due to colder ocean water temperatures. Fishermen have had to work to fill their bag limits, though some charter outings have returned with full boats. More lingcod are showing up in the catches, especially since the ocean outside of the 30-fathom curve opened to bottom fishing on October 1st. The marine fish daily bag limit is seven fish, including one cabezon. The cabezon quota had not been reached as of September 30th, therefore, cabezon remains open. Remember, there are separate daily limits for lingcod (2) and flatfish other than Pacific halibut (25). Yelloweye rockfish and canary rockfish may not be retained.
* TUNA Albacore fishing during the past week was restricted by ocean conditions. The 2014 season has been very productive with the third highest overall recreational landings on record. Albacore should still be available through most of October, if ocean conditions permit.
* SALMON South of Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain the ocean remains open for Chinook salmon through the end of October. But catches have been very spotty. You’re likely to have the best success in ocean waters by fishing near river mouths and targeting the returning fish.
* 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 35% 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 next minus tides begin October 7th, but the series starts out near sunset and winds-up well after dark. October Tide Tables.
* BAY CLAMS The best low tides are now in the evenings, but even a +1.0 or +2.0 foot low can still allow bay clamming opportunities, especially for purple varnish clams that are often found when the tide is as high as +4.0 feet. Sport clammers should be able to collect 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 Dungeness crabbing has slowed in some estuaries, compared to recent weeks, even though the best months are usually August through November. Crabbing is fun, but sometimes the cost, weight, and waiting can be a lot of work. Next time, you might try a lightweight (and affordable) folding crab trap (e.g., Crab Max or Crab Hawk). Most commonly attached to a sturdy fishing rod or light line, these traps are perfect for dock or shore crabbing. Just zip-tie a chicken leg for bait, cast your line, and wait for a tug. With these traps, crabbers often check them every 5 minutes! Popular places to use lightweight folding traps are the mouth of Siletz and Alsea Bays, and from public fishing piers, like those at Yaquina Bay. Meanwhile, the recreational ocean crabbing season is open for about another two weeks, closing on October 15th. Lately, more crab have been taken in shallower water near the beach.
Commercial Fishing: A few boats were out over last weekend and a couple of out-of-town guys found salmon at the ‘high spot’ between the Rockpile and Heceta Banks. Sometimes folks that don’t live around here have fewer distractions and maybe try a little harder. Some boats picked up limits of mostly smaller sizes, which isn’t too bad since the price goes up a bunch in October as other states close their commercial seasons. Pacific shrimp is still coming in, and boats fishing slime eel also had some decent hauls this past week when weather allowed.
Fore-Cast: Bay and river fishermen will think it’s June during the week ahead as sunshine, light winds and Summer-like temperatures make angling enjoyable. For those headed offshore, look for a Summer weather pattern for the next several days with sunshine and northerlies 10-15 knots gusting to 20 in the afternoons and evenings. Choppy 3-4 foot seas are expected Thursday and Friday, but lumpy 6 footers with 4-5 foot windwaves Saturday through Monday; seas settle down again Tuesday and Wednesday. Always check the latest Bar Reports before you set a course offshore.
Notice to Mariners… Yaquina Bay Channel Buoy 11 has been relighted. The dredge Karen is scheduled to be working the Depoe Bay Boat Harbor until October 6th. Karen monitors VHF Channels 8 & 16.
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