CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of August 13th
In the Creel: Your choices will be somewhat limited during the week ahead by seasonal and health closures, climatic conditions and ocean weather. All-depth halibut fishing is closed right now and so is all Central Coast Coho salmon angling. Stiff summer sea breezes are predicted to return by Saturday so the ocean is gonna be kickin’ up again. If you can get offshore, tuna have moved in a little closer again and the bite has been quite good. Rockfish continue jumping in the boat with limits around, and some nice big lings have been caught, too. Crabbing is great, however lots of soft-shells make sorting a hassle. Razor clamming remains closed along the entire Oregon Coast, and mussels are still a no-no on the Central Coast (these closures are due to shellfish toxins). Meanwhile, the warm and low rivers are keeping steelies and cutthroat evasive. This week’s Fish Tale: The first liar at the dock doesn’t have a chance.
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: Rainbow trout fishing is likely to be slow due to warm conditions. Concentrate on early morning hours when fish are likely to be the most active, and work the deeper holes. 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 were hot again last week (for those not out farther jigging for halibut) and the lingcod bite has been decent with larger fish now 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 All Coho fishing offshore is now closed until the start of the non-selective (hatchery and wild) season on September 4th which will run through either September 30th or when the quota of 12,500 fish is reached. Ocean recreational fishing for Chinook and all other salmon species except Coho is still open along the entire Oregon Coast. The bag limit for all seasons and all salmon on the Central Coast 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 closed along the Central Coast until the next possible opener Friday, August 21st, and Saturday, August 22nd, if there’s enough quota remaining. An announcement will be made tomorrow, August 14th, concerning any additional opening days. 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 picked up again as the tuna come in a bit closer, 30-40 miles. Ocean weather has also been respectable allowing more effort. Sizes have ranged up to 35 pounds with catch rates averaging four per rod. 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, but there are still a lot of soft-shells in the mix. Bay crabbing has also been good this week, though with ample numbers of nearly meatless molting Dungies in the pots.
* 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 current minus tide series runs through this Sunday, August 16th, with the lowest, -0.7′, today, 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: Some boats charged down to what used to be the King ‘spot’ only to find a very slow scratch. Other vessels bolted west to the albacore grounds. It was good fishing and perfect weather for a quick paycheck, as the market for iced tuna will be hot for the next few weeks.
Fore-Cast: There’ll be a mixed bag of conditions for river and bay fishermen today and tomorrow with mostly light and variable winds and a chance of showers. However, the sun is predicted to return by the weekend with summer weather to follow. Offshore anglers get a couple days of light breeze and lower seas, but a seasonal pattern of stiff afternoon/evening nor’westers gusting 15-25 knots is projected to begin on Saturday and last into next week with choppy seas 5-6 feet through the period. 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