CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of September 3rd
In the Creel: The top story this week is the beginning of the non-selective (wild and hatchery) Coho season which opens offshore tomorrow, September 4th. With an increased quota, there are a lot of silvers available out there. Also, there was enough halibut quota left for another all-depth opener tomorrow and Saturday! Following the big storm last weekend, ocean fishermen are getting out again and bringing in lots of rockfish and lingcod. However, tuna fishing has slowed considerably. Crabbing remains very good right now, but clamming is for the birds with no minus tides again until late in the month. In other good news, afternoon fishing is now allowed in the rivers and streams as ODFW lifts its ban; details below. And, action has returned to the rivers as we’re starting to see some nice fall Chinook catches now. This week’s Fish Tale: A fisherman is a jerk on one end of the line waiting for a jerk on the other.
Northwest Oregon Streams: The warm water fishing bans have been lifted. Read all about it, here.
Salmon River: The fall Chinook fishery is off to a fair start by boat and bank anglers catching fish from the month of the bay through tidewater. Trolling or casting lures or baits during the incoming tide can be effective. Cutthroat trout fishing from upper tidewater through the lower river can be effective during the early mornings with sea-runs moving through this time of year.
Siletz River/Bay: Expect fair results for fall Chinook in the lower bay up to the Chinook Bend area. Trolling or bobber-fishing through the high slack seem to be the most productive. The wild Coho fishery does not begin until September 15th. Summer steelhead fishing is slow in the middle to lower river. The upper river above Moonshine Park is still closed to public entry because of high fire danger. Cutthroat trout can be found in most sections with sea-runs in the middle to lower river this time of year.
Yaquina River/Bay: Anglers are just beginning to see some fall Chinook action from the lower bay up to the airport boat launch. Trolling herring or spinners during the incoming tide is a good option. The wild Coho fishery does not open until September 15th. Cutthroat trout fishing is slow to fair from upper tidewater to the lower reaches of the mainstem. The Yaquina River 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 fall Chinook fishery is producing fair results so far this season. Anglers are having the best action from the lower bay up to Taylor’s Landing during the incoming tide. The wild Coho fishery does not start until September 15th. Cutthroat trout fishing is fair in the lower mainstem below the confluence with Five Rivers. With the low and warm river conditions the best opportunities 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 continue 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 good this week when ocean conditions allowed, and some good-sized lings have been 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 The non-selective (hatchery and wild) Coho season opens tomorrow, September 4th, and will run through either September 30th or when the newly-increased quota of 20,700 fish is reached (the quota now includes 8,200 fish rolled over from the fin-clipped season). Ocean recreational fishing for Chinook (which has been a bust this year) and other salmon species 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 opens again this Friday and Saturday, September 4th and 5th. Meanwhile, jigging for ‘but in the Central Coast Subarea is allowed inside the 40-fathom line seven days a week until the quota is reached or October 31st. By the way, the largest halibut landed so far this year have been in the nearshore fishery.
* TUNA Recreational albacore landings are really slowing down. The tuna are quite a ways out, about 50 miles, with ocean conditions pretty rough recently. Catch rates have dipped to about one fish 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 and bay crabbing are still quite good with many boats pulling limits. Fewer and fewer molting (soft-shell) Dungies are in the mix now so this is an excellent time to be droppin’ 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 open along the entire Oregon Coast.
* BAY CLAMS Harvesting of bay clams is open along the entire Oregon Coast. Gapers, butter clams and cockles are not affected by the razor clam safety closure. Unfortunately, the next set of minus tides does not occur until late this month and the lowest water will be either before sunrise or after sunset. 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: The week that wasn’t. The tuna fleet came into port because of the weatherman. Time to sell, rest up and get ready for what could be the last go-round of the summer season. Salmon were very allusive for the commercial trollers, as well as for local sport boats. Water temperatures have dropped a bit and hope is renewed for a a few more weeks of opportunity.
Fore-Cast: By the holiday weekend, it looks like fishermen will be enjoying partly to mostly sunny skies, patchy fog and Summer temperatures. There’ll be some afternoon/evening sea breezes chopping up the bays a little, and offshore anglers will face nor’westers probably topping out at 10-15 knots gusting 20 with mixed swells/windwaves 4-6 feet. Always check the latest Marine Forecast and Bar Reports before you venture offshore.
Notice to Mariners… The dredge m/v Yaquina will be working in Yaquina Bay at the entrance and in the harbor over the next week, completing work on or about September 9th. The dredge crew monitors VHF Channels 13 and 16.
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