CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of May 14th
In the Creel: SPECIAL NOTICE: The best minus tide series so far this year will be a bust as the Oregon Department of Agriculture has closed the entire Oregon Coast to the harvest of razor clams due to elevated levels of shellfish toxins (domoic acid). Offshore, salmon remain elusive but rockfish and lings are snappin’ at anything you drop down. Crabbing continues to pick up in the bays and the ocean. And, Eckman Lake near Waldport will be the hotspot for young fishermen to learn the ropes this Saturday with a special trout fishing event geared for the 17 and under crowd. This week’s Fishing Rule: When asked, “Where’d ya catch ‘im?” The correct response is always, “In the mouth.”
Salmon River: The river is closed to fishing until May 23rd, when it opens for cutthroat trout.
Siletz River/Bay: Steelhead fishing is slow but should continue to improve on a weekly basis. The winter steelhead run is over with only a few post-spawn fish remaining. The summer steelhead run is just getting started with initial signs indicating a decent early run compared to most years. 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: A youth fishing event and carnival will take place on Saturday, May 16th, at Eckman Lake near Waldport. The fun continues from 8:30am to 2:00pm for youth aged 17 and younger. Fishing gear and bait will be provided, and young fishermen will be allowed to keep up to two fish. Eckman Lake is located about 2.5 miles east of Waldport on Highway 34. 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 and lingcod catches were good last week when anglers could get out. 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 ‘sail.’ 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. 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 The Central Coast Spring All Depth season opens today, May 14th and runs through Saturday, May 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 Recreational harvest of razor clams is closed for the entire Oregon coastline from the Columbia River to the California border due to elevated levels of domoic acid. This includes all beaches and all bays.
* MUSSELS Recreational harvesting of mussels has been closed along the Central Coast from Cascade Head (north of Lincoln City) to the north jetty of the Rogue River (at Gold Beach) due to elevated levels of Paralytic Shellfish Toxin.
* BAY CLAMS Yaquina Bay should be outstanding for gapers, cockles and butter clams with the great minus tide series beginning this week. See ODFW’s bay clam webpage for more information on where and how to dig, clam identification, etc., here.
Fore-Cast: River and bay fishermen will spend the next week dancing around a patchwork of showers, sunshine and variable winds. Those headed offshore are in for a fairly decent stretch of light to moderate northerlies 5-15 knots, sometimes gusting 20, and seas running 5-7 feet. No storms on the horizon. 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