CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of April 30th
In the Creel: Mornings might be the best shot at getting over the bar during the next week for the still-hot rockfish bite, mooching for some rather elusive salmon, or getting in on much-improved ocean crabbing. But gusty afternoon and evening northerlies may put the kibosh on late-day offshore fishing, so keep an eye on the weather. Trout angling should be great in the Big Creek Reservoirs with thousands of fresh rainbows being planted this week. The rivers are ho-hum or closed right now, so there’s not much happening. Clammers get another series of good minus tides starting this Sunday, so you can bank on bountiful bucketing of bay and beach bivalves. Fishing Rule #3: Fishing will do a lot for people, but it won’t make them truthful.
Salmon River: The river is closed to fishing until May 23rd, when it opens for cutthroat trout. A project to construct a new fish passage culvert and restore the natural tidal flows of Fraser Creek, north of Lincoln City, will begin May 4th. This project will assist the US Forest Service in its efforts to restore the Salmon River estuary. When this segment of the Oregon Coast Highway was realigned in the 1950s, the raised elevation of the roadway created, in essence, a dam that blocked the historic tidal flow of Fraser Creek. This project will restore the tidal flow and the natural estuary wetlands, benefitting endangered Coho salmon and other species in this important coastal river system.
Siletz River/Bay: Steelhead fishing is slow. This time of year tends to be a transition period from winter steelhead to summer steelhead. 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 river will be closed to all fishing starting tomorrow, May 1st, and will reopen with the cutthroat trout season on May 23rd.
Central Coast Reservoirs and Lakes: Big Creek Reservoir #1 is being restocked this week with 1,000 each of legal and larger rainbows. Big Creek Reservoir #2 is getting 2,000 legals and 1,800 largers. 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 out of Newport and Depoe Bay are continuing to land rockfish limits when weather allows. A Central Coast charter vessel reported plentiful juvenile crabs (megalope) at the surface, and very active ‘boils’ of feeding black and blue rockfish. Larger black rockfish were found near the bottom by anglers who lowered their gear through the surface-feeding schools. The lingcod bite has been up and down, but persistent fishermen are still catching a fair number. If you’re not already using hootchies, you might try ‘em since many lings landed recently 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, now through October 31st. 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 Dungeness crabbing is picking up, with crabbers having decent catch rates off the Central Coast last week. Bay crabbing remains a tad slow. 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.
* MUSSELS Mussels are open along the entire coast.
* BAY CLAMS Yaquina Bay should be really good for gapers, cockles and butter clams during the next minus tide series, beginning Sunday. See ODFW’s bay clam webpage for more information on where and how to dig, clam identification, etc., here.
Commercial Fishing: Lots of fresh shrimp in the grocery stores and fish markets as that season ramps-up. Meanwhile, things are changing fast in the salmon hunt. The Bandon High Spot once again ‘popped’ and the boats toughing it out had a day or two of excellent fishing with a good showing of big boys. Most local boats are back already; like river fishing, by the time you hear about the excitement it’s all over. Locally, it’s slow bells with a maybe on some Kings near the brown water edge in the mid-20 fathoms and out a ways.
Fore-Cast: Looks like a dry week ahead for all fishermen with mostly sunny days (until next Tuesday or Wednesday, anyway). The only caveat will be the fair weather wind pattern of afternoon and evening northerlies gusting 20 knots or better. The rivers and bays will be somewhat sheltered but ocean anglers can expect the full force of the late-day breezes and choppy seas. Always check the latest Marine Forecast and 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