CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of September 10th
In the Creel: After all the hoopla, it turns out that the non-selective Coho season is dismally slow so far. Some wild silvers are being caught, but few limits have been coming into the dock. No all-depth halibut opener this week, though there may be one more on the 18th and 19th. The albacore bite is fairly close to shore with smaller and fewer tuna being caught now. Bottom fishing is off a bit, too, and fewer rockfish have been landed over the last week compared to the hot bite most of the summer. Crabbing continues to be quite good both in the bays and offshore. Bay clammers won’t have any minus tides until late this month, and razors are still off-limits, anyway, due to shellfish toxins. In the rivers, fall Chinook fishing is picking up and wild Coho will be legal beginning next Tuesday; cutthroat trout and summer steelhead are still available as well. This week’s Fish Tale: When the going gets tough, the tough go fishing.
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 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 mainly slower last week, though a few nice lingcod were caught. Several handouts – including ‘What Can I Keep, and How Many?’ plus species identification tips – are available on the ODFW sport groundfish webpage here.
* SALMON From Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt., including Central Coast waters, the ocean is open for the non-selective Coho season. What does that mean? Two salmon a day – any species – and there is no fin-clip restriction on retained Coho. Gear and minimum length restrictions still apply, and keep in mind that this is a quota fishery, subject to in-season adjustments. Quota permitting, the fishery will be open through September 30th. Angler success has been only fair, but nearshore areas and estuaries should improve as coastal fish begin returning to rivers.
* HALIBUT In the Central Coast Subarea (Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt), an announcement will be made shortly regarding the status of the all-depth halibut quota and whether or not additional days will be open. Meanwhile in the Central Coast Subarea, the nearshore halibut fishery is open seven days per week inside a line approximating the 40-fathom depth contour. Good-sized fish (32-40 inches) have been coming in slowly but steadily, and catches have included petrale sole, a delicately-flavored fish, averaging just over 3 pounds.
* TUNA Albacore is winding down with anglers catching some smallish fish about 25 miles off the Central Coast last week. 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 have slowed a bit but are still quite good with averages around a half dozen Dungies per person.
* 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: A few go-getters voyaged out and down to the outside deeps of the South Heceta Banks. At least one troller got their weekly limit of 60 Chinook that measured 28 inches, or more. Its a seven-hour run to those grounds on a good day! The boys really earn their due. Out front of Newport, catches of 5-10 mixed-sized Kings per day were landed. Albacore are still biting some, and home canners still have time to get that yummy tuna into those jars.
Fore-Cast: Expect fairly typical summer weather for the next several days, meaning river and bay fishermen will be enjoying mostly sunny skies after morning fog/low clouds. Afternoons/evenings could get a little breezy. Offshore anglers will face late-day nor’westers 15-25 knots and choppy seas 5-7 feet through the weekend ahead. Conditions may go south early next week. Always check the latest Marine Forecast and Bar Reports before you venture offshore.
Notice to Mariners… The US Coast Guard will add a Synthetic AIS (Automatic Identification System) identifier to the following safe water lighted buoys: Yaquina Bay Approach Lighted Whistle Buoy “Y” (LLNR 645 – 9575), and Depoe Bay Approach Lighted Whistle Buoy “DB” (LLNR 655 – 9780). The expected date of activation is September 30th. A Synthetic AIS message will not replace the physical buoy but will be broadcast from an AIS Base Station to coincide with the existing physical aid to navigation. Vessels with AIS capable systems will be able to see the symbols and other information on their displays.
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