CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of July 30th
In the Creel: When ocean conditions allow, tuna fishing is great, while Coho angling seems to have fallen off. Rockfish continue to be the hot bite offshore as most anglers are returning to the dock with a tote-full. Nearshore halibut fishing is slow but steady, and lingcod apparently aren’t very hungry these days. Crabbing has been excellent and bay clamming should be quite good during this weekend’s minus tides. Unfortunately, razors clammers are going to miss these tides because they’re still locked out by a coastwide toxin closure. The rivers are running shallow and warm so steelies and cutthroat are tricky to hook, but there are still some nice rainbows left in the reservoirs if you’re hankerin’ for a trout supper. This week’s Fish Tale: Give a man a fish and he has a meal; teach a man to fish… and you’ll never see him again.
Northwest Oregon Streams: Until further notice, all waterbodies defined as ‘streams’ in the 2015 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations will be closed to angling for trout, salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon from 2:00pm to one hour before sunrise, daily. All Northwest Zone tidewater areas (tidewater is defined as ‘stream or estuary waters affected by the daily ebb and flow of tides’) will remain open for angling for these species during normal hours under 2015 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations. Angling for warmwater gamefish and other fish, as defined in the regulations, remains open under normal rules.
Salmon River: Cutthroat trout fishing is slow to fair with the early morning bite being the most productive. Using small lures like spinners, spoons or various flies can be productive.
Siletz River/Bay: Summer steelhead fishing is fair in the upper river. Low flows and unusually warm river temperatures are making new fish race up into the cooler holding waters of the gorge area. New fish will continually be moving into the river through the summer with peak numbers typically this month. 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 also open to harvest and can be found throughout the main stem river and many large tributaries.
Yaquina River/Bay: Cutthroat trout fishing is slow to fair. The best opportunities are coming in the early mornings when river temperatures are the coolest. River levels are very low and warm for this time of year. 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 fishery is fair in the mainstem and in some of the large tributaries. With the low and warm river conditions, the best chance of hooking one will be in the early morning when water temperatures are the coolest. 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 still have rainbows available even though the stocking program is over for the summer. The water’s warm, so work the deeper holes and shady spots. Fishing for the various warm water fish species is fair to good during the summer months. There are numerous lakes in the Florence area that can provide good opportunities for boat and bank access.
Saltwater angling and shellfish harvesting…
Ocean Fishing, Bay Crabbing and Clamming:
* BOTTOM FISH The ocean is open for bottom fishing inside the 30-fathom regulatory line through September 30th. Cabezon is open with a one-fish sub-bag limit. Rockfish catches have been excellent with most anglers nailing quick limits. Lingcod are still a smidge elusive but some are being landed. Several handouts – including ‘What Can I Keep, and How Many?’ plus species identification tips – are available on the ODFW sport groundfish webpage here.
* SALMON Adipose fin-clipped Coho salmon season is open in ocean waters along the entire Oregon Coast. Catch rates last week were good in Astoria, Garibaldi, Depoe Bay and Pacific City. Fish per angler in ports from Newport south had slowed from the prior week, and were only fair. The strongest catches continue to be off the Columbia River. Ocean recreational fishing is also open for Chinook salmon along the entire Oregon Coast. 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 Fishing for halibut in the Central Coast Subarea is allowed inside the 40-fathom line seven days a week until the quota is reached or October 31st. The summer all-depth halibut fishery opens again on August 7th with a quota of approximately 45,000 pounds. Good-sized ‘buts, 32-40”, have been coming in slowly but steadily.
* TUNA Recreational albacore catches have been good. Winds are expected to continue to limit access to the tuna grounds this week, but some reports had albacore available as close as 10-15 miles offshore. Catch rates are about 6 fish per angler. Tuna are typically where sea surface temperatures (SST) are warmer than 58F and in areas where chlorophyll concentrations are close to 0.25 milligrams per cubic meter. Both of these conditions can change very quickly due to weather and upwelling.
* CRAB Ocean crabbing has been quite good again with many boats pulling limits. Bay crabbing has also been getting better, though catches can be hit or miss depending on the day and the place. The large algal bloom that closed crabbing in Southern Washington has not impacted Oregon. Tests show no harmful levels of domoic acid in Oregon crab. ODFW is putting on two Crabbing Workshops in Newport on August 8th and 9th. These one-day family-friendly workshops will cover everything you need to know to get your catch from the ocean to the dinner plate. Registration fee includes the use of all equipment, instruction/materials and lunch. For additional information and to register, click here.
* RAZOR CLAMS All razor clam harvesting remains closed along the entire Oregon Coast from the Columbia River to the California border due to elevated levels of domoic acid. This closure includes all beaches and bays.
* MUSSELS The recreational collection of mussels is open from the Columbia River to Cape Arago (south of Coos Bay) but closed from there to the California border due to high levels of domoic acid.
* BAY CLAMS Harvesting of bay clams is open along the entire Oregon Coast (if not affected by toxin closures – call 800-448-2474 for the latest updated information). The current minus tide series for digging gapers, cockles, and butter clams began Tuesday and runs through August 4th; the lowest will be -1.9’ this Saturday, August 1st. 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.
Commercial Fishing: Seems like most all local fisheries are finding a bounty lately. Tuna are at or near the usual hot-spots and a large area of Heceta Banks and to the north several miles. These waters have apparently ‘set up’ as a zone for abundant baitfish. Several of our Central Coast trollers had good catches last week of Albacore tuna and Chinook salmon. So, home canners will find lots of fish to be had at the docks this week!
Fore-Cast: It’ll be tee-shirts and shorts for river and bay fishermen for the week ahead with lots of sunshine and summer temperatures. Afternoon sea breezes may chop-up the bays, so heads up for that. Offshore, somewhat lumpy conditions are expected now through the weekend. Although blue skies are predicted, nor’westers 15-25 knots will be blowing during most afternoons/evenings, churning up steep windwaves 4-6 feet. 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