CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of June 11th
In the Creel: The next halibut opener is today through Saturday, but it looks like the ocean is going to be on the fritz and most anglers may be unable to participate unless conditions improve (see Fore-Cast below). The same goes for salmon, rockfish and lingcod offshore this weekend. It might be a better option to spend some time in the bays crabbing, which has really picked up. Another round of great minus tides begins again this Saturday morning, so bay clammers should be happy. But there’s still no joy for razor diggers as a complete closure of the Oregon Coast continues for razor clams due to shellfish toxins. The mussel harvest closure has also been expanded. In the rivers, fishermen are starting to land some nice cutthroat trout, and rainbows are available in the reservoirs. This week’s Fish Tale: a knot is described as the insecure connection between your hook and line.
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 is open 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 for the season 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: Big Creek and Olalla Reservoirs were stocked again last week with thousands of rainbow trout. Legals, larger, pounders and trophy size were planted. That’ll be it for the season, though, as the stocking program has ended for the summer. Meanwhile, ODFW is set to unveil easier, simplified trout and warmwater fishing regulations. Click here for more information.
Saltwater angling and shellfish harvesting…
Ocean Fishing, Bay Crabbing and Clamming:
* BOTTOM FISH Rockfish and lingcod catches were good again last week when ocean conditions allowed. Rockfish were good-sized, and lings seemed to be back on the hot bite list. 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 rates so far this season have been very slow with the fish really deep, up to 400’. 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 reached. 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 current Central Coast Spring All Depth halibut season opener is today, June 11th, through Saturday, June 13th. If there’s quota left afterwards, there’ll be one more chance June 25th-27th. Halibut angling has been excellent this year with lotsa limits and large fish, some up to 70 pounds. 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 great and bay crabbing has been very good; one local charter boat pulled up 80 keeper Dungies on a single trip this past 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 The recreational harvest of mussels is now closed from the Columbia River to the north jetty of the Rogue River near Gold Beach due to elevated levels of Paralytic Shellfish Toxin. This mussel closure includes all Central Coast beaches, jetties, rocks and bays.
* BAY CLAMS Harvesting of bay clams is open from Tillamook Head to the California border (this does not include razor clams). The next minus tide series begins Saturday morning and continues through June 21st with the lowest, -1.8’, on both the 16th and 17th. These tides will provide terrific opportunities to dig gapers, cockles, and butter clams; Yaquina Bay is not affected by the shellfish safety closures, except for razor clams. Click 2015 Tide Tables for the entire year’s tables. See ODFW’s bay clam webpage for more information on where and how to dig, clam identification, etc., here.
* SHELLFISH SAFETY NOTES: Scallops are not affected by the current closures when only the adductor muscle is eaten. The consumption of whole recreationally-caught scallops is not recommended. Crabs are also not affected by the closures and remain safe to eat. However it is recommended you do not eat the ‘butter’ (or viscera). Commercial shellfish products remain safe for consumers. Samples show no biotoxins at this time.
Commercial Fishing: Effort in general for all species has been slow due to the stretch of windy weather and accompanying lumpy seas. Some in the fleet are already looking ahead to albacore season, but the jury’s still out on how it’ll shape up. In other warm water years, like this one, tuna have hit a too-warm current or ‘bubble’ of water and gone back out from the usual productive areas. The smaller boats can then lose out if they aren’t able to go 300-400 hundred miles offshore to catch up with the bigger schools. However, the recent persistent northwesterly winds will re-shuffle the deck by cooling the water due to upwelling. That could likely deal the fleet a much better hand.
Fore-Cast: River and bay fishermen can expect sunshine after morning low clouds and fog over the coming week; the bays will be choppy in the afternoons during the daily sea breezes. Offshore is gonna be breezy and rough for the next few days with afternoon/evening nor’westers 20-25 knots gusting 30 and steep windwaves 6-7 feet. There could be short windows of lighter winds nearshore in the mornings, but you’ll probably want to be back inside the jaws before noon. 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