CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of October 16th
In the Creel: It’s all about the weather. Rough ocean conditions are keeping the majority of fishermen inside the jetty jaws with little effort offshore during the past week. Even most of the charter fleet has been tied up at the dock. In the bays, crabbing, clamming and salmon fishing are all showing respectable results these days, even if you have to slip-on your Xtratufs and foul-weather gear. Chinook, Coho and cutthroat trout are finding their way into landing nets in our local estuaries and rivers. It looks like the weather will continue to be a big player over the week ahead with storm fronts arriving every day or two.
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. This week’s rain should help move a lot of fish upriver and ripen the bite. 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 fair with anglers having success in the lower to middle sections of tidewater, trolling spinners or herring. Bobber fishing has also been producing well in upper tidewater. With the rain this week, fish should be on the move and more active in upper tidewater and into the lower reaches of the Siletz. The wild Coho fishery continues to be good with anglers netting some nice ones around the mouth up to middle tidewater. Trolling herring or casting spinners during the incoming tide are the best tactics to consider. Steelhead fishing is slow to fair in the upper river above Moonshine Park. The cutthroat trout fishery is only fair with some sea-run cutthroat being taken throughout the mainstem.
Yaquina River/Bay: Fall Chinook fishing has been slow to fair recently around the oyster farm up to the Canyon Quarry boat ramp. Trolling herring, large spinners or bobber fishing on the incoming tide have all been working, especially around slack tide. This week’s rain should help to boost the bite in the middle to upper sections of tidewater. The wild Coho salmon fishery is fair to good with anglers having the best luck in the lower river from Sawyers Landing up to the airport boat ramp. Trolling herring or spinners faster and higher in the water column than you would for Chinook is working quite well. 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/Bay: The fall Chinook fishery has slowed down recently but rain events this week should improve the catch rate in both tidewater and the lower reaches of the Alsea. A variety of tactics have been working such as trolling herring in the lower portion of the bay or near Drift Creek, and bobber fishing in the upper section of tidewater. As fish start actively moving out of tidewater, fishing with a bobber and bait or swinging spinners can be effective. The wild Coho salmon fishery is producing well from the jaws up to around Drift Creek. Either casting spinners in the upper bay or trolling herring near the ocean are working well. Once the fish start moving out of tidewater, casting spinners or using a bobber with either bait or a jig can give you decent results. 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 should pick up soon as water temperatures drop. However, there are no current restocking dates listed by ODFW for the Big Creek Reservoirs.
Saltwater angling and shellfish harvesting…
Ocean Fishing, Bay Crabbing and Clamming:
* BOTTOM FISH The ocean outside the 30-fathom curve is open to bottom fishing, but rough weather has kept most sport boats in port over the past week.
* TUNA There was little effort for tuna during the last week and catches were relatively low. Of those who did make it out, anglers out of Newport saw the highest catch rate at nearly 4 fish per rod. Albacore should still be available through most of October if/when ocean conditions permit.
* 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; or, better yet, just stay inside the bays.
* 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 29% of the quota remains for this fishery.
* RAZOR CLAMS Razor clamming is 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. Due to a large number of small razor clams in the sand, diggers should be highly selective about which dimples they pursue. Harvesters are reminded they must retain the first 15 clams regardless of size or condition. The next series 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 in the evenings for the remainder of the year, but even a +1.0’ or +2.0’ low can allow bay clamming opportunities, especially for purple varnish clams that are often found when the tide is as high as +4.0’. 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 The recreational ocean crabbing season closes today, October 16th, but will reopen on December 1st. Bay crabbing remains open year-round; the best months for bay crabbing on the Central Coast are August through November.
Commercial Fishing: The only report we received this week was of two days trolling ‘down the beach’ for four darkish Chinook a day. With the current weather picture keeping most of the fleet in port, it may well be over. We might not see much action until crabbing season opens in December.
Fore-Cast: River fishermen should take along wet-weather gear as rain is predicted on most days over the next week. If you’re working the bays, windy and choppy conditions will be a factor at times. Offshore, good luck. Small Craft Advisories for seas and winds are in effect through Friday morning. A Gale Warning will be hoisted for Friday afternoon through the evening. S winds Thursday 15-20 knots gusting to 25, sloppy seas 10-12 feet. The southerly breeze rises to 25-35 knots Friday along with combined seas 13 feet building to 17 feet in the afternoon. Outlook is for a break on Saturday as seas subside to 10 feet and the SW wind falls to 10-15 knots. Another storm arrives late Sunday and into Monday with southerlies 15-25 knots and seas rebuilding to 13 feet. Weather fronts are expected every 24-36 hours over the next week. Always check the latest Bar Reports before you set a course offshore.
Notices to Mariners…
* A public meeting to discuss plans to close the US Coast Guard Air Facility in Newport will take place next Monday, October 20th, 5:30pm-7:30pm, at Oregon Coast Community College in Newport. Please plan to attend this important meeting.
* Yaquina Head Light (LLNR 650) will be temporarily disestablished from October 14th to December 23rd to conduct preservation, maintenance and the painting of Yaquina Head Lighthouse. Upon completion of the work, Yaquina Head Light will be restored to full operation.
* On October 21st, the US Coast Guard (USCG) will conduct AIS test messaging from all USCG NAIS base stations for up to 15 minutes on the hour, from 4:00am-3:15pm PDT. These messages can be identified by their MMSI numbers, 003669139 or 00366613, and by the words ‘USCG TEST’ within their contents.
* Operation Safe Crab is a coordinated effort to protect fishermen in the Oregon and Washington Dungeness Crab Fishery. Many unsafe conditions can be detected and corrected at the dock prior to a vessel getting underway. Fishing vessel safety examiners will be conducting voluntary safety checks and dockside examinations in Newport October 28th-31st and November 24th-26th.
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!