CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of April 23rd
In the Creel: Trout, lots of ‘em, will be available at the Olalla Fishing Derby this Saturday; see Central Coast Lakes below. Not much action in the rivers this week and offshore angling has been a struggle due to the weather and rough seas. When fishermen do get across the bar, though, bottom fishing has been excellent. The 2015 salmon and halibut seasons have now been set, so check out our Saltwater Angling section for details. Razor and bay clamming were okay to good the past few days with the minus tide series, but that ends tomorrow. Crabbers are still crabby due to low catch rates, but we should see an uptick before long. Fishing Rule #2: The worse your line is tangled, the better the fishing is all around you.
Salmon River: The river is closed to fishing until May 23rd, when it opens for cutthroat trout.
Siletz River/Bay: Steelhead fishing is slow. This time of year tends to be a transition period from winter steelhead ending and summer steelhead just beginning. Typical steelhead tactics apply such as side drifting, bobbers and jig/bait, or casting spoons or spinners.
Yaquina River/Bay: The river is closed to all fishing until May 23rd with the cutthroat trout season opener.
Alsea River/Bay: The winter steelhead fishery is very slow this time of year. The river will be closed to all fishing starting May 1st and will reopen with the cutthroat trout season beginning May 23rd.
Central Coast Reservoirs and Lakes: The annual Olalla Fishing Derby will be held this Saturday, April 25th, rain or shine. Gates open at 8:30am. All parking will be at Toledo High School and there will be shuttles running every 20 minutes. So get ready to have a lot of family fishin’ fun. The rainbow trout stocking program is in full swing and most local water bodies have been stocked recently or will be again soon. Most areas will 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 Anglers are continuing to land rockfish limits off Newport and Depoe Bay when weather allows them to get out. Some Central Coast fishermen reported better lingcod catches last week, but others were disappointed. You might try squid lures since many fish landed had stomachs full of squid. Several handouts – including ‘What Can I Keep, and How Many?’ plus species identification tips – are available on the ODFW sport groundfish webpage here.
* SALMON Ocean recreational fishing is open for Chinook and all other salmon except Coho from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt., including the Central Coast. Meanwhile, the 2015 Coho seasons have been set by ODFW. For fin-clipped silvers, it’ll be June 27th through either August 9th or when the quota of 55,000 fish is met. The non-selective Coho season will run September 4th through either September 30th or when the quota of 12,500 fish is met. The bag limit for all seasons is two salmon per day.
* HALIBUT Closed. The Spring All Depth season opens May 14th-16th and then Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, May 28th-30th, June 11th-13th and June 25th-27th. The Central Coast Nearshore season opens July 1st. The Summer season opens August 7th-8th and then every other Friday and Saturday until the quota is met.
* CRAB Ocean and bay Dungeness crabbing remains slow on the Central Coast with catch rates running at best about two keepers per pot. You’ll have a better chance of landing some crab by learning better techniques; go here for help.
* RAZOR CLAMS Razor clams remain closed from the Oregon/California border north to the south jetty of the Siuslaw River in Florence due to elevated levels of domoic acid. The closure includes razor clams on all beaches, rocks, jetties, and at the entrance to bays in this section of the Oregon Coast. Opportunities to collect razor clams are still available along Central Coast beaches north of Florence. The next minus tide series begins Sunday, May 3rd, with the lowest a -0.9’ on the 6th and 7th; the series ends on Sunday, May 10th. Click 2015 Tide Tables for the entire year’s tables. NOTE: Make sure you stay legal with razors. ODFW staff has observed diggers retaining more than a daily limit when the harvesting is good. You’re reminded to keep accurate count of the clams you’ve retained and that you are required to keep the first 15 clams dug regardless of size or condition.
* MUSSELS Mussels are open along the entire coast.
* BAY CLAMS Yaquina Bay has been good for gapers, cockles and butter clams during this week’s low tide series. Recent stock assessments have revealed abundant populations and that current harvest levels are sustainable. See ODFW’s bay clam webpage for more information on where and how to dig, clam identification, etc., here.
Commercial Fishing: With the rough seas and windy conditions, few in the fleet have ventured out to fish. The upwelling may likely kick things into gear when it calms down enough to make a trip. Bandon has ‘popped’ a bit, so some of the California trollers will head back homeward for the openers soon to come in those waters. It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out. Shrimpers seem to be hauling up decent-sized loads these days when they can get out between weather bashings.
Fore-Cast: River and bay fishermen will find cooler and damper conditions over the next week with occasional showers and rain but also some nice sunbreaks. Offshore, it’s been pretty rough with sunshine gales and frequent weather disturbances creating no joy for ocean fishermen. This weekend still looks dicey, but things may finally settle down next week. In the near term, winds are expected to bounce back and forth between northerlies, westerlies and southerlies, anywhere from 10-25 knots, with seas running 6-9 feet. A large swell train arriving with 12 footers is projected for tomorrow, Friday. Always check the latest Marine Forecast and Bar Reports before you venture offshore.
Notice to Mariners… The Stonewall Bank Observation Buoy (Station 46050, Light List #641) has been reset by NOAA and its data are once again available 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