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Fishin’ with Chris

Chris Burns - Fishing

CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of November 13th

In the Creel: Most fishing in our area is winding down, though there are a couple of bright spots. Bottom fishing is really hot when the ocean let’s ya get out, which isn’t all that often in November. A batch of boats did head offshore in the sunshine on Saturday and Tuesday returning with good catches of those tasty denizens of the deep, including quite a few nice lingcod. This is also generally the best time of year for Dungeness crabbing, if your fingers don’t freeze while you’re pulling the pots. One of the hottest local salmon bites is about to end when the season closes early, this Sunday night (see Beaver Creek below). The tides are still restricting clammers to after-dark lower low water. And, the rest of our fisheries are only slow to fair, or the seasons have closed. Of course, any fisherman worth his or her salt can always bring home a mess of something – crawdads, anyone?

Beaver Creek: A large Coho salmon return, excellent fishing conditions and a group of ready anglers have combined to bring an early closure to the highly successful wild Coho fishery on Beaver Creek south of Newport. The season closes at midnight, this Sunday, November 16th (instead of the proposed November 30th cutoff).

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 slowing down with anglers having the best success fishing the river between Illahee Park and Morgan Park. Many Chinook have moved onto the spawning grounds or are in spawning condition. Fresh Coho are still moving in. 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 upper tidewater. Many fish have migrated upriver onto the spawning grounds. The wild Coho fishery is also slowing down as many fish have migrated upriver towards the spawning grounds. Bright fish can still be caught throughout tidewater.

Alsea River/Bay: The fall Chinook and wild Coho fisheries are starting to slow down as many fish have moved above the deadline to the spawning grounds. Anglers are having the best success above tidewater either from a drift boat or bank fishing.

Central Coast Lakes: You’ll have to head south a ways but the wild Coho salmon fishery in Siltcoos and Tahkenitch Lakes is still producing fair to good results. Recent rain events and the pulsing of 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 most of last week, even though the ocean remains open to bottom fishing at all depths. With (finally) good sea conditions on Saturday and Tuesday, fishermen out of Newport and Depoe Bay did quite well catching lingcod, yellowtail rockfish and blue rockfish. The sport cabezon season remains open because there is quota remaining and the season will likely stay open through December 31st.

* SALMON/HALIBUT/CRAB Closed offshore.

* 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. The next series of minus tides is November 21st-27th; unfortunately 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 Bay crabbing remains open year-round; and, in fact, the best months on the Central Coast are August through November! Ocean crabbing is closed.

Commercial Fishing: Rough conditions have kept most boats off the ocean again 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: River, lake and bay fishermen will face typical November weather with rain some days, showers others, and an occasional sunny and crisp outing. Offshore, you’ll have to keep an eye open for weather windows. Over the next several days, expect E to SE winds 10-15 knots gusting 20 and swells 6-7 feet. There are no serious storms looming in the extended outlook. Always check the latest Bar Reports before you venture 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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