CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of October 8th
In the Creel: Stormy conditions Friday and Saturday may keep most fishermen off the ocean as gales and hazardous seas are expected, and the beaches may be inundated by big surf over the weekend, too. So, most effort will be on the bays and rivers. In fact, the rivers are seeing increased water flows and cooler temperatures with the fish becoming more active; Fall Chinook and wild Coho are a good bet right now. Clamming tides aren’t in the tables until the end of the month, which is probably okay since there’s a new advisory out for arsenic in gapers; mussels have been closed from Yachats south; and razor clams are still off-limits coastwide. Crabbing remains decent in the bays as does salmon fishing. This week’s Fish Tale: Good things come to those who bait.
Salmon River: The fall Chinook fishery is producing well for both boat and bank anglers in tidewater. Trolling, casting lures or bobber fishing through the high slack tide tends to be the most productive. 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 fair to good results in the lower bay up to the Chinook Bend area. Chinook can be found through the head of tide but still in small numbers. Trolling or bobber fishing through the high slack seems to be the most productive. The wild Coho fishery continues through November 30th 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 up to Coyote Rock typically produces the best results early in the season. Summer steelhead fishing is fair to good 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 having fair to good results for 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 typically produces the best results. Small numbers of Chinook are also up near Elk City. The wild Coho fishery is open through November 30th 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 up to the airport boat ramp typically produces the best results for Coho. 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 to good results for both bank and boat anglers. Anglers are having the best action fishing from the lower bay up to the head of tide. Trolling, casting lures or bobber fishing are all producing depending on the section and conditions. Bank fishing near the Highway 101 bridge or up at the newly-opened Don Lindly Park (Milepost 7 on Highway 34) can be good for both Chinook and Coho. The wild Coho fishery is under way and will continue through October 15th. The daily bag limit is 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 open for bottom fishing at all-depths through the end of the year. Rockfish limits have been coming into the docks early all week and deep-water lingcod catch rates were up to one per rod. Blue rockfish are more predominant in some catches than are black rockfish, and Pacific mackerel continue to bite. Several handouts – including ‘What Can I Keep, and How Many?’ plus species identification tips – are available on the ODFW sport groundfish webpage here.
* SALMON Local waters are open for all salmon except Coho through October 31st. Offshore anglers have been working hard for elusive Chinook.
* HALIBUT In the Central Coast Subarea (Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt.), the nearshore halibut fishery is open daily inside a line approximating the 40-fathom depth contour. An announcement will be made later this week regarding the status of the nearshore and all-depth seasons in this subarea. The nearshore quota was supplemented with additional pounds, allowing the fishery to stay open even though the initial nearshore quota had been reached.
* TUNA Albacore angling seems to be done for the season as the tuna move farther away and we’re in the season where bad weather can and does come up quickly.
* CRAB Ocean and bay crabbing remains strong with averages of 6-10 Dungies per pot-puller. NOTE: Offshore crabbers have about a week to get their Dungeness before the seasonal ocean crab closure, October 16th to November 30th.
* 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 from the Columbia River to the Yachats River, but now closed from the Yachats River to the California border due to elevated levels of domoic acid. This includes all beaches and all bays.
* BAY CLAMS Harvesting of bay clams is open along the entire Oregon Coast. NOTE: the Oregon Health Authority issued an advisory this week for recreationally harvested softshell and gaper clams along the Oregon Coast due to arsenic contamination. Read the softshell/gaper advisory here. Clamming isn’t going to be all that good, anyway, due to marginal tides. The next round of minus tides runs October 25th through the 31st, with the lowest at -1.7′ on the 28th, but all 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: It’s Fall fall-back and set-up at the scrimmage line for the next go-round, winter crabbing. Some guys without crab permits are dockside gearing for black cod now, and the crabbers are busy with much rope splicing and buoy painting. Deep water lingcod are on the bite for those brave souls that make the 28 mile (one way) trip to the hot spot. By the way, sport trollers are doing really well for salmon lately in the Yaquina up around the airport.
Fore-Cast: Today looks halfway decent for river and bay fishermen with partial clearing and fairly light winds; meanwhile, southerlies are predicted to rise offshore to 10-15 knots gusting 20 and seas 4 feet. The weekend will be pretty sloppy with rain, gale-force winds and hazardous chaotic seas building into the teens. The situation will lighten up a bit next week though showers and sou’westers remain possible through Wednesday with swells holding up around 10 feet. 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