CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of May 7th
In the Creel: The hot bite continues offshore where rockfish limits before lunch have been the rule; of course, that’s only on days the ocean says it’s okay. On and off fair-weather gales have kept anglers tied-up in port half the time. River fishermen are lickin’ their chops for the taste of cutthroat trout, but the season opener is still a couple weeks away. Rainbow trout are a good bet in the reservoirs these days with the ODFW stocking program in full spring swing. Bay and beach clammers are prepping for the first really good minus tides since last year starting next week. And, crabbers seem to be doing much better recently. This week’s Fishing Rule: You should have been here yesterday, we were knockin’ ‘em dead.
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 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 is closed to all fishing and will reopen with the cutthroat trout season on May 23rd.
Central Coast Reservoirs and Lakes: The next rainbow trout stocking for Big Creek and Olalla Reservoirs will be May 18th-22nd. Check out the 2015 stocking schedule here.
Saltwater angling and shellfish harvesting…
Ocean Fishing, Bay Crabbing and Clamming:
* BOTTOM FISH Rockfish catches were good to great last week, with anglers reporting schools feeding at the surface. Ocean anglers had moderate success with lingcod. Fishermen out of Newport continue to report abundant squid, both visible in the water and in the stomachs of their rockfish; rockfish are also reportedly feeding on Velella velella, also known as By-The-Wind-Sailor jellyfish, which are easily recognizable by their bright blue bodies and transparent sails. 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 for all salmon except Coho is open along the Central Coast through October 31st. A few Kings are being netted, but catches are nothing to write home about. The Coho season, for fin-clipped silvers, will 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 and all salmon is two fish per day, and minimum sizes for Chinook are 24 inches or larger, and steelhead 20 inches or larger.
* HALIBUT Closed. The Central Coast Spring All Depth season opens next week, 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 crabbing is good and bay crabbing continues to improve, with crabbers having respectable catch rates on the Central Coast last week. 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 current minus tide series ends this Sunday, May 10th, with the lowest a -0.9’ today, May 7th. The next series begins on May 15th and runs through the 23rd. This set will be excellent for razors with lows approaching -2.0’ on the 18th and 19th; plus they’ll all be morning tides well after sunrise. So, sharpen your shovels, diggers, and get ready. Click 2015 Tide Tables for the entire year’s tables.
* MUSSELS Mussels are open along the entire coast.
* BAY CLAMS Yaquina Bay should be good for gapers, cockles and butter clams during the next couple of days, but then harvesting should become simply outstanding with the great minus tide series beginning next week. See ODFW’s bay clam webpage for more information on where and how to dig, clam identification, etc., here.
Commercial Fishing: Coastwide, it was mostly a ‘scratch’ week in the salmon quest. It seems the schools are widely scattered and therefore elusive at this time. Meanwhile, black-codders are enjoying a good showing and sales in the US are growing for this omega-3 rich fish, so this fishery could become more lucrative as time goes on.
Fore-Cast: A mixed bag of weather is in store for all anglers over the next week. Stretches of sunshine and northwest winds will be alternating with clouds and showers. Offshore will be breezy and choppy on the sunny days especially in the late afternoons and early evenings when the nor’westers build up. Always check the latest Marine Forecast and Bar Reports before you venture offshore.
Notice 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