CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of May 28th
In the Creel: We’re really getting into the spring swing now with cutthroat trout season open on the rivers and another all-depth halibut opener today through Saturday. Salmon fishing is still slow offshore, but rockfish continue hotter’n’ a pistol and a few nice lings have been coming in as well. Crabbing in general continues to pick up but razor clamming is still closed along the entire Oregon Coast. Bay clamming is okay, though the tides aren’t very good until next week. And, rainbow trout fishing has been excellent in our local reservoirs. This week’s Fishing Rule: Catch and Release is a common conservation maneuver that occurs most often just as a legal keeper is about to be netted.
Salmon River: Cutthroat trout are now open to harvest. Typically good fishing can be had during the early part of the season. Using small lures like spinners, spoons or various flies can be productive.
Siletz River/Bay: Summer steelhead fishing is slowly starting to pick up. New fish will continually be moving into the river over the next few months with the peak numbers typically in July. River flows are much lower than normal for this time of year so think small and subtle presentations. Typical steelhead tactics apply such as bobbers and jig/bait, or casting spoons or spinners. Cutthroat trout are now also open to harvest and can be found throughout the mainstem river and many large tributaries.
Yaquina River/Bay: The cutthroat trout season opened on May 23rd and anglers can expect to have fair to good fishing. The mainstem Yaquina and Big Elk Creek are good places to try casting small spinners or spoons as well as bait fishing near the head of tide.
Alsea River/Bay: The cutthroat trout season is now open and anglers should have fair to good results in most of the larger tributaries and mainstem. Small spinners are typically productive as well as small spoons or fly fishing with nymphs or streamers.
Central Coast Reservoirs and Lakes: Rainbow trout were stocked in Big Creek and Olalla Reservoirs last week, and fishing has been very good. Check out the 2015 stocking schedule here. NOTE: In what may be the first of many drought-related activities this year, ODFW has rescheduled the planned release of trophy trout in five North Coast lakes. The stocking of 1,550 two-pound trout, originally set for September, was rescheduled to an earlier date as the result of low water flows at ODFW’s Nehalem Hatchery. The fish will be stocked in the same locations – Cape Meares, Town, Coffenbury, Lost and Sunset Lakes – only now they’ll be released at a smaller size, less than one pound each. These trout will be stocked just prior to Free Fishing Weekend, which will take place across Oregon on June 6th-7th. “We don’t usually see streams this low until late June or July,” said Robert Bradley, ODFW fish biologist. “We just haven’t had the rain that we need to maintain river flows.”
Saltwater angling and shellfish harvesting…
Ocean Fishing, Bay Crabbing and Clamming:
* BOTTOM FISH Rockfish and lingcod catches were good again last week, with many anglers catching limits. Fishermen out of Newport and Depoe Bay continue to report abundant squid, both visible in the water and in the stomachs of their rockfish, so hootchies have been working well. 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. Success remains marginal, but a few Chinook are being caught. 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 halibut season started slow during the first opener, with a total estimated catch of approximately 42,000 pounds, with 62% of the quota remaining. The fishery opens again today through Saturday, May 28th-30th, then again 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 sport crabbing is good and bay crabbing continues to improve, with crabbers having decent catch rates in the Central Coast bays last week. You’ll have a better chance of landing some crab by learning good techniques; go here for help.
* RAZOR CLAMS All razor clam harvesting is closed along the entire Oregon Coast 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 remains 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 Harvesting of bay clams is open from Tillamook Head to the California border (this does not include razor clams). See ODFW’s bay clam webpage for more information on where and how to dig, clam identification, etc., here. The next minus tide series begins on Monday, May 31st, and runs through Monday, June 8th, with the lowest being -1.6’ on the 4th and 5th; the whole series will occur in the mornings after daylight and before noon. Click 2015 Tide Tables for the entire year’s tables.
NOTE: Commercial shellfish products remain safe for consumers. Samples show no biotoxins at this time.
Commercial Fishing: Salmon trolling is still very slow, with the deeper water of 400 feet or so showing a few decent-sized Kings. The ‘big bite’ popped for a few days at the Astoria Canyon, off of the Columbia River. Just in time to tank the high price, and as always this time of year, the first of the tide of Alaska salmon is contributing to the market situation. And it seems that crabbing has had an uptick for some of the go-getters recently.
Fore-Cast: River and bay fishermen can expect a mixed sky and fairly light winds over the coming weekend with a chance of showers early next week. Offshore, it looks like fair conditions will prevail with mainly northerlies 5-15 knots, occasionally gusting 20, and swells/windwaves 3-5 feet. There are no storms on the horizon. Always check the latest Marine Forecast and Bar Reports before you venture offshore.
Notice to Mariners… The clearance gauge on the Yaquina Bay Bridge (LLNR 9627) at Mile 0.7 has been reported faded and illegible. The high water charted clearance is 129 feet. Mariners are advised to use caution when transiting under the bridge.
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