CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of August 6th
In the Creel: All-depth halibut fishing is open along the Central Coast tomorrow and Saturday! If this opener is anything like the last one, you’ll be back at the dock by noon with a limit. Coho (fin-clipped) and Chinook salmon fishing is also underway, but catch rates aren’t anything to write home about. The tuna have moved farther offshore, up to 50 miles, though your mileage may vary. If you just want a boatload of fillets, rockfishing is still a good bet. The rivers remain in a slump due to the warm temperatures and low flows; cutthroat and steelhead are slow to fair. Add mussels to the list of local shellfish toxin closures, along with razor clams. Bay clamming is open and some minus tides are coming early next week. This week’s Fish Tale: Work is for people who don’t know how to fish.
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. 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. Trout fishing is likely to be slow, however, due to warm conditions. Concentrate on early morning hours when fish are likely to be the most active. 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. Rockfish catches slowed a bit last week, possibly due to chillier water temperatures, but lots are still finding their way into totes and coolers. The lingcod bite has picked up again, too. 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 are averaging about one legal hatchery silver per rod with lots of native shakers still being hooked and released. 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; minimum sizes for Chinook are 24 inches or larger, and steelhead 20 inches or larger.
* HALIBUT The summer all-depth halibut fishery is open along the Central Coast tomorrow, August 7th, and Saturday, August 8th, and then every other Friday and Saturday until the quota of 45,394 pounds is reached. NOTE: The Stonewall Bank Yellow Rockfish Conservation Area (about 15 miles west of Newport) is closed to Pacific halibut fishing. Anglers on vessels possessing halibut are prohibited from fishing in the Stonewall Bank YRCA, even when targeting legal species. 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.
* TUNA Recreational albacore catches have slowed a bit and the tuna have moved farther offshore, now 40-50 miles. Sizes have ranged up to 35 pounds. 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 excellent with many boats pulling limits. Bay crabbing has also been quite good this week. ODFW is putting on two Crabbing Workshops in Newport this weekend, 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 harvest of mussels is closed along the Central Coast from Cape Meares to Heceta Head for paralytic shellfish toxin, and from Cape Arago to the California border for elevated levels of domoic acid. This closure includes all beaches, rocks, jetties and bays.
* 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 next minus tide series begins on Monday, August 10th and runs through Sunday, August 16th, with the lowest, -0.7′, on the 13th. 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: Inclement weather has kept the fleet in port quite a bit lately. Well, except, for the ‘bold.’ But, like they say, there are ‘no old, bold’ fishermen… This ‘blown-in’ weather situation is a given, and in trollerese it means a few days to catch up on home chores. August is usually a good month for fishing, so the local boats will be bringing in a bounty of seafood in the weeks to come!
Fore-Cast: It looks like decent weather ahead with the exception of a few showers possible Sunday and Monday. We should be back to sunshine again Tuesday and Wednesday. The afternoon/evening sea breeze is projected to be a little lighter over the next several days, so less chop on the bays and offshore. Ocean winds are predicted to be N to W 5-15 knots while swells remain around 4-5 feet with windwaves 1-3 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