CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of October 9th
In the Creel: The bays and rivers are still the hot spots now, though it varies somewhat by location. Chinook, Coho and cutthroat are all available in good numbers. Offshore waters are apparently brimming with some very large lings; lots have hit the filet table this past week. There hasn’t been much effort for albacore, mainly because of ocean conditions. Bottom fishing isn’t as strong as it was earlier in the season, but respectable catches are still coming in. Bay clammers and crabbers are having some very good days, but the tides aren’t cooperating with razor diggers along the beaches. Storms with heavy rain next week may boost river levels and get the fish moving again. Fall fishing at its finest could be right around the corner.
Salmon River: Fall Chinook fishing is fair 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. Cutthroat trout fishing is fair through the mainstem with sea-run cutthroat found in the lower portion of the river.
Siletz River/Bay: Fall Chinook fishing is slow to fair with anglers having the best results in lower to middle tidewater trolling spinners or herring. Bobber fishing has also been producing in the upper tidewater area. The wild Coho fishery is going great guns with anglers nailin’ some beauties around the mouth and on up to middle tidewater. Trolling herring or small spinners during the incoming tide is working best. Steelhead fishing picked up a little following recent rain and cooler river temperatures. The best chance to hook into a summer steelhead is fishing above Moonshine Park up to the deadline.
Yaquina River/Bay: Congratulations to 2014 U DA MAN Salmon Tournament winner Dustin Boatright who landed the biggest Chinook. The largest Coho was netted by Chad Freeborn. 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 been working, especially around slack tide. Wild Coho are fair to good these days with the best success in the lower river from Sawyer’s Landing up to the airport boat ramp. Trolling herring or spinners faster than you would for Chinook seems to work best. Cutthroat trout fishing is only 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/Bay: The fall Chinook fishery has slowed down but fish are still being caught from the mouth of the river all the way up through tidewater. Trolling herring or lures in the lower portion of the bay and near Drift Creek, or bobber fishing in middle to upper tidewater are good tactics. Fishing the incoming tide or around high and low slack tends to have the best bite. The wild Coho salmon fishery is producing well from the mouth up to around Drift Creek. Either casting spinners in the upper bay or trolling herring near the ocean are getting the job done nicely. Sea-run cutthroat trout can be found in the lower to middle section of the mainstem. Resident cutthroat are spread throughout the basin.
Central Coast Lakes: Rainbow trout fishing is still slow and will be until the water cools down some more. For now, fish early in the morning or near cool water zones until temperatures cool off as autumn progresses.
Saltwater angling and shellfish harvesting…
Ocean Fishing and Bay Clamming:
* BOTTOM FISH Jigging for bottom fish has been decent though not red hot. But, the lingcod bite continues to pick up in nearshore waters as well as offshore where some really big ones have been taken. The ocean outside of the 30-fathom curve is open to bottom fishing. Offshore catches have been moderate-to-good for yellowtail rockfish, with other rockfish species in the mix, such as widow and silvergray. The marine fish daily bag limit is seven fish, including one cabezon during the cabezon season from July 1 until the quota is reached. The quota has not yet been reached so cabezon remains open. There are separate daily limits for lingcod (two) and flatfish other than Pacific halibut (25). Remember: yelloweye rockfish and canary rockfish may not be retained.
* TUNA Albacore should still be available through most of October if ocean conditions permit, which it appears they won’t for a while.
* SALMON Central Coast ocean waters, from south of Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain, are open for Chinook salmon through the end of October. But catches continue very spotty. You’re likely to have the best success in the ocean by fishing near river mouths and targeting 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 34% 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 amnesic shellfish toxin (ASP) or domoic acid. All other Central Coast beaches are open for razors. Minus tides started on October 7th and end on the 12th, but the remainder of this series is in the evening well after dark. The next run of minus tides begins on October 23rd; they’re not very low (-0.8 the lowest) and all occur after sunset. 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 improved again in some estuaries, and sport crabbers are enjoying good catches and relatively calm boating conditions out on the bays. The best months for bay crabbing in Oregon are August through November. The recreational ocean crabbing season is open through October 15th, next Wednesday. Ocean crabbing was quite good last week off the Newport jetties.
Fore-Cast: River and bay fishermen will have a decent weekend, but you’ll need raingear next week as a series of wet weather systems arrives. On the ocean, NW winds 5 knots, seas 3 feet and areas of fog Thursday and Friday. Saturday, the breeze comes from the SW 5-10 knots gusting to 15 but seas remain around 3 feet. Outlook is for winds veering to NW late Saturday, 5-10 knots and the swell rising to 8 feet. Expect NE wind on Sunday, 5-10 knots, but swells rising quickly to 12 feet. A weather system arrives late Monday packing sou’westers 20-25 knots, a W swell of 12 feet and 6 foot windwaves. A series of storms is projected throughout next week. Always check the latest Bar Reports before you set a course offshore.
Notice to Mariners… Yaquina Bay Entrance Buoy 3 has been decommissioned for the season.
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