CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of October 1st
In the Creel: Hot times in the Alsea as salmon fishing continues quite strong. It’s also picking up somewhat in the other rivers and estuaries. Offshore, the non-selective Coho season ended yesterday, but ODFW is allowing another all-depth halibut opener tomorrow and Saturday. Bottom fishing opens to all-depths beginning today, too. For clammers, very little joy as razors are still closed coastwide due to toxins, and bay clams have tides on their side to escape the shovels of local diggers. Meanwhile, crabbing is very good these days in the ocean and the bays. This week’s Fish Tale: Give a man a fish and feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you’ll never see him again.
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 have coaxed fish closer to the head of tide this week. 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 tide water section typically produces the best results early in the season. Summer steelhead fishing is slow to fair in the upper river above Moonshine Park. 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 good to excellent results. Anglers are having the best action from the lower bay up the head of tide. The wild Coho fishery runs through October 15th 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 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. 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 now open for bottom fishing at all-depths through the end of the year. Rockfish angling was a little slow last week, but lingcod landings were up. 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 last week, anglers retained 0.5 salmon apiece on average, with Coho outnumbering Chinook. Local waters are now closed for the non-selective Coho season. Two salmon a day are still allowed, but no Cohos may be taken.
* HALIBUT In the Central Coast Subarea (Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt), the all-depth halibut fishery will be open tomorrow and Saturday, October 2nd and 3rd. Whether or not additional days will be open depends on how much quota remains after Saturday. NOTE: Although waters at all depths will be open for bottom fishing beginning today, the following all-depth halibut rule remains in effect: “During days open for all-depth halibut fishing, no groundfish may be taken and retained, possessed or landed (except sablefish, Pacific cod and flatfish species) if halibut are on board the vessel.” The reason for this rule is to minimize impacts on yelloweye rockfish that would likely occur if there were additional fishing for lingcod and rockfish by all-depth halibut anglers. The nearshore halibut fishery is open daily through October 31st or (revised) quota attainment.
* TUNA Albacore angling is basically finished, though a few fish are still being caught off the Central Coast. Even if the tuna move relatively close in, we’re getting to the season where bad weather can come up quickly. Erring on the side of caution, most fishermen don’t want to get caught offshore.
* CRAB Ocean and bay crabbing remains strong with averages around 9 Dungies per pot-puller. And, with most of the crabs 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. The current minus tide series ends tomorrow well after dark. The next round runs October 25th through the 31st, with the lowest at -1.7′ on the 28th, but all of these minus tides will be in the evening after sunset or later. 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 end is near… for the salmon, shrimp and tuna fleets, anyhow. Black codders, ling codders and hagfishers are still making a run at it, weather permitting. One troller passed on the long run to the South Heceta Banks after getting the report of poor catches. He’s going to look at the 40 fathom (250 foot or so) zone from Heceta Head to Cape Perpetua. Then he plans to check out the 110 foot ‘beach’ tack passing the Ten Mile and Yachats river mouths, as low water levels keep those Kings out in the salt. Most boats are readying for crabbing while their crews get in a little recreational river fishing and hunting! By the way, the Alsea bobber guys did very well this week just below Cozy. Story has it that the grade was quite impressive, too. Eggs and a live ghost shrimp seem to be the winning combo.
Fore-Cast: Looks like typical fall weather for the week ahead with mixed skies and slightly cooler temperatures. River and bay fishermen don’t have much to worry about as winds remain relatively light and not much if any rain is predicted. Offshore, fairly benign conditions are expected over the next couple of days before northerlies return at 10-20 knots for a while. Swells should be staying in the 4-6 foot range through the week. Always check the latest Marine Forecast and Bar Reports before you venture offshore.
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