CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of September 17th
In the Creel: There will be at least one more summer all-depth halibut opener; it’s this Friday and Saturday, September 18th and 19th! Wild Coho angling remains slow offshore but opened in the rivers on Tuesday. Chinook haven’t been anything to write home about all summer, but catches picked up a little during the past week. Bottom fishing has kicked in again with many boats landing limits, while the Fat Lady is singing for albacore as tuna move even farther offshore and off the bite. Crabbing is excellent with pot-pullers regularly bringing up a half dozen or so Dungies per person. The razor clam closure continues border to border, and tides are marginal for bay clamming. With the addition of native silvers this week, the rivers are offering a good range of options including summer steelhead and cutthroat trout. This week’s Fish Tale: There’s no such thing as too much fishing gear.
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: The fall Chinook fishery has been producing some fair results in the lower bay up to the Chinook Bend area. Trolling or bobber fishing through the high slack seem to be the most productive. Cooler temperatures and some rain will coax fish closer to the head of tide this week and move more fish into the system. The wild Coho fishery is on now through November 30th with a daily bag limit of 1 adult Coho and a seasonal limit of 2 adult Coho (in aggregate with other areas with the same bag limit). The lower bay and tidewater section typically produces the best results early in the season. 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 found in the middle to lower river this time of year.
Yaquina River/Bay: Anglers are catching fall Chinook from the lower bay up to the Canyon Quarry boat launch area. Trolling herring or spinners during the incoming tide through the high slack is a good option. The wild Coho fishery is open now through November 30th with a daily bag limit of 1 adult Coho and a seasonal limit of 2 adult Coho (in aggregate with other areas with the same bag limit). The lower bay up to the airport boat ramp typically produces the best results early in the season. Cutthroat trout fishing is slow to fair from upper tidewater to the lower reaches on the mainstem. 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 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 runs through October 15th With a daily bag limit of 1 adult Coho and seasonal limit of 2 adult Coho (in aggregate with other areas with the same bag limit). The lower bay typically produces the best results early in the season. 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: 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 angling was better last week with lotsa limits, a handful of very nice lingcod were landed, too, and some Pacific mackerel showed up in a few catches. Several handouts – including ‘What Can I Keep, and How Many?’ plus species identification tips – are available on the ODFW sport groundfish webpage here.
* SALMON Along the Central Coast, Chinook fishing picked up a little last week; fish were few but large with many over 30 inches; Coho are still pretty slow offshore. From Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt., including our local 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.
* HALIBUT In the Central Coast Subarea (Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt), the summer all-depth halibut fishery will be open again on September 18th and 19th, this Friday and Saturday. Whether or not additional days will be open depends on how much quota remains after September 19th. Meanwhile, the nearshore halibut fishery is open along the Central Coast 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 all over but the shoutin’ as ocean conditions change to a Fall pattern and these fish move away from the area. 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 is good to excellent right now with averages around a half dozen Dungies per pot-puller. And, with most of the crabs already done molting, you’ll find abundant hard-shell keepers.
* 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 begin until late this month (on the 25th) 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: Maybe it’s the coming equinox. Whatever the reason, things have slowed down locally for most of the fleet. Across the board, shrimp, whiting and salmon catches have tanked. Some trollers have scratched up a few Kings along the beach in 20 or so fathoms and a few others ventured out the 28 miles to try and get the monthly 600-pound quota of those big deep-water lingcod. Change is the only constant, in fishing anyhow. So the prudent fisherman readies for the crabbing to come. Or goes elk hunting!
Fore-Cast: After this week’s weather system, river and bay anglers should be back to mixed sunny and cloudy days, slight chances of rain at times and fairly light breezes. Offshore, winds should revert to northwest for the next several days, but not as strong as is typical in summer, just 10-15 knots maybe gusting 20. Swells are expected to stay in the 5 foot range. Always check the latest Marine Forecast and Bar Reports before you venture offshore.
Notice 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