CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of February 26th
In the Creel: Winter steelhead fishing remains in a slump but a few are being caught in the rivers with the Alsea and Salmon being the current top producers. Trout angling in the reservoirs is excellent with lots of new rainbows being planted. Crabbing is still slow. If you’re looking for bait or pickling stock, Yaquina Bay has a nice herring run underway right now. Bay clamming continues quite good, but tides haven’t been low enough for razors. The offshore bite is strong with tolerable weather and limits of rockfish finding their way into coolers. Looking ahead, the 2015 halibut seasons are ready for review (see Halibut below). And remember, the best fishing is always on days ending in ‘y’.
Salmon River: Winter steelhead fishing is slow to fair. River conditions are low and clear. Anglers should focus on the deeper holding water. The river is open to harvest of wild winter steelhead through March 31st. Anglers are advised to read the new regulations as there are harvest restrictions and new deadlines in effect. The deadline for steelhead fishing is at the confluence with Prairie Creek which enters the Salmon River west of the Van Duzer rest area at the same point where Sulpher Creek comes in.
Siletz River/Bay: Steelhead fishing is slow. River conditions are low and clear. Bank fishing in the upper gorge area or floating the lower reaches will produce the best results until the next good rain event. Typical steelhead tactics apply such as side drifting, bobbers and jig/bait, or casting spoons or spinners.
Yaquina River/Bay: The winter steelhead fishery is slow in the Big Elk. River conditions are low and clear. The fishery is typically very slow for the rest of the season. Anglers are advised to watch for private property. Typical steelhead fishing tactics apply but the Big Elk is bedrock dominated and does have a lot of snags. Meanwhile, herring are currently running in Yaquina Bay so grab your jig and pick up what you need; the bag limit is 25 pounds.
Alsea River/Bay: The winter steelhead fishery is slow to fair. River conditions are low and clear. Look to fish the deeper holding water and use smaller more subtle presentations. Casting lures, bobbers and jig/bait or drifting beads along the bottom can be effective techniques.
Central Coast Reservoirs: The rainbow trout stocking program is underway with the Central Coast reservoirs already well-stocked. They’ll be stocked multiple times until early June. Be sure to check out the 2015 stocking schedule here.
Saltwater angling and shellfish harvesting…
Ocean Fishing, Bay Crabbing and Clamming:
* BOTTOM FISH Last weekend brought great weather, and fishing for rockfish was good, while lingcod was only so-so. Be aware of the new regulations for blue, copper, quillback and China rockfish. Check out the ODFW sport groundfish webpage here.
* SALMON Closed. The 2015 Ocean Salmon Industry Group meeting (OSIG) is today, Thursday, February 26th, at the Hallmark Resort in Newport. This pre-season planning meeting will provide an early look at the 2015 salmon forecasts, and develop Oregon preferred recreational and commercial ocean salmon fishing concepts to take forward through the Pacific Fishery Management Council regulation-setting process. For more information, see the ODFW Ocean Salmon webpage, here.
* HALIBUT Closed. The staff-recommended 2015 season dates are now available here.
* CRAB During the winter months, crabbing for Dungeness in the bays can be really slow, and it continues to be so. It may pick up before long, though, if heavy rains hold off and salinity increases in the bays. Learn to crab better by going here.
* 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 remain open for razors. The next minus tide series begins March 18th, but the lowest is only -0.7’. Click 2015 Tide Tables for the entire year’s tables.
* MUSSELS Mussels are open along the entire coast. They’re fairly simple to harvest even in moderately low tides (see Tide Tables above).
* BAY CLAMS Central Coast 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. Low tides as high as +1.0’ to +2.0’ can still allow clamming opportunities, especially for purple varnish clams that can sometimes be found when the tide is as high as +4.0’. See ODFW’s bay clam webpage for more information on where and how to dig, clam identification, etc., here.
Commercial Fishing: There’s still some crabbing going on but a lot of boats are prepping for salmon troll season. Meanwhile, a heavy run of largish herring is currently in Yaquina Bay; some of these ‘little’ fish are approaching 12” in length. There is a herring fishery, but values are way down and, as yet, there are no commercial participants.
Fore-Cast: If you don’t mind occasionally wearing a jacket, river, reservoir and bay fishermen have a fair weather-week ahead with a little light rain, some sunshine and cooler temperatures. Offshore anglers are in decent shape, too, with winds expected to rarely exceed 15 knots, except offshore past 10 miles where 20-25 knots is possible. Seas should stay 4-7 feet. No storms are in the current long term outlook. Always check the latest Marine Forecast and Bar Reports before you venture offshore.
Notice to Mariners… In an effort for mariners to more easily identify bridges throughout the 13th Coast Guard District, including the Central Coast, information is being added to Light List Volume VI for bridges located in waterways covered by the Light List. For more information regarding the new USCG Bridge program go here.
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