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Fishin’ with Chris

Chris Burns - Fishing

CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of November 6th

In the Creel: The ocean has been closed, not just due to weather but because the offshore salmon, halibut and crab seasons have ended. Bottom fishing is still open and may fire-up again if/when the sea settles down. Meanwhile, bay crabbers will find some decent weather to get out, though clammers are looking at minus tides only occurring after dark for the rest of the year. So, the focus will be on the rivers and lakes where salmon are moving around a lot right now due to increased water levels. Sure, fishing in general is slow this time of year, but if you work at it, you can still put some salmon filets and/or fresh crab on the table.

Salmon River: Fall Chinook fishing is slow to fair. Anglers are having the best results from the head of tide up to the deadline. Many fish are in spawning condition this time of year, so quality may be an issue. Casting lures or floating bait under a bobber can be effective.

Siletz River/Bay: Fall Chinook and Coho fishing is fair with anglers having the best success working the river between Illahee Park and Morgan Park as conditions allow. Consistent rains have pushed a lot of fish upriver onto the spawning grounds. Summer steelhead fishing is slow in the upper river above Moonshine Park.

Yaquina River/Bay: Fall Chinook fishing is slow to fair with anglers having the best results in the middle to upper areas of tidewater. Recent rains have pushed many fish upriver and onto the spawning grounds but new bright fish should be around, too, over the next couple of weeks. The wild Coho salmon fishery has slowed down a bit as recent rains have pushed many fish upriver towards the spawning grounds. Bright fish can still be caught from Sawyers Landing up through tidewater. Trolling herring or spinners faster and higher in the water column than you would for Chinook have been productive.

Alsea River/Bay: The fall Chinook and wild Coho fisheries are producing fair to good results. Anglers are having the best success above tidewater either from a drift-boat or bank fishing. Recent rains have moved a lot of fish upriver towards the spawning grounds. Fishing above tidewater should be productive this week.

Central Coast Lakes: You’ll have to head south a ways but the wild Coho salmon fishery in Siltcoos and Tahkenitch Lakes is producing fair to good results. Recent rain events and the pulsing of the lake levels have brought a good number of Coho into the lakes. The peak fish return is typically around late October through mid-November. A good rain event is normally needed to move fish up into the lakes so watch the weather carefully. Anglers have success either trolling or casting lures such as spinners, spoons, hot shots, mag warts or some type of rattle/wiggle bass plug. Areas to focus on are near the lake outlets or the major tributaries to the lakes.

Saltwater angling and shellfish harvesting…

Ocean Fishing, Bay Crabbing and Clamming:

* BOTTOM FISH Rough conditions kept anglers in port again over the last week, even though the ocean is open to bottom fishing at all depths. A couple of the charter outfits may start booking trips again as calmer weather is forecast for this weekend. The sport cabezon season remains open because there is quota remaining and the season will likely stay open through December 31st.

* SALMON All ocean salmon sportfishing is now closed.

* HALIBUT The 2014 Pacific halibut seasons have all closed for the remainder of the year. The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) will set 2015 quotas for all areas in late January 2015. More information on the 2015 seasons will be available after that time.

* 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 remain open for razors. There are daily minus tides now through Monday, November 10th, but they all occur after dark. November Tide Tables.

* BAY CLAMS The best low tides are in the evenings or overnight 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 Recreational crabbing in the ocean is closed through November 30th. Bay crabbing remains open year-round, however. In fact, the best crabbing months are August through November in our Central Coast bays.

Commercial Fishing: Rough conditions have kept most boats off the ocean this past week. The fleet is gearing up for commercial crab season, which opens in December. 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, November 24th-26th.

Fore-Cast: Looks like a decent several days ahead for river and bay fishermen as mainly sunshine and light winds predominate, except for a little rain possible on Sunday. Offshore, the ocean may even settle down enough to get out. By tomorrow, Friday, and on through Monday, maybe even Tuesday, light northerly breezes are expected with seas falling to 4-8 feet. Not bad for November. The next round of serious weather could arrive by midweek, though predictions are currently at loggerheads. Always check the latest Bar Reports before you set a course offshore.

Notices to Mariners… None this week.

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

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