CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of October 15th
In the Creel: We get at least one more all-depth halibut opener tomorrow and Saturday as there’s enough quota left. However, bottom fishing in general has fallen off and offshore salmon fishing is still nothing to write home about. Ocean crabbing closes for six weeks beginning tomorrow, but bay crabbing remains open and has been excellent. Bum tides and toxin closures are keeping clam shovels in the garage this week. The rivers are producing nice numbers of wild Coho plus some cutthroat trout and a few summer steelhead. While the Alsea has been hot for silvers, today’s the last day of the wild Coho season there. The Siletz and Yaquina are open for wild Coho through next month. This week’s fish tale: I’ve fished almost every day of my life; the rest has been wasted.
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 head of tide. 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 underway but closes tomorrow, October 16th. 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. 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 to bottom fishing at all depths. Rockfish and lingcod catches have become spotty. Blue rockfish are more predominant in some catches than are black rockfish. Anglers fishing over sandy bottoms are bringing in an occasional petrale sole and sand sole, tasty members of the flatfish order. 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 are still working hard for this season’s elusive Chinook.
* HALIBUT In the Central Coast Subarea (Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt.), the all-depth halibut fishery will be open this Friday and Saturday, October 16th and 17th. Whether or not additional days will be open depends on how much quota remains after Saturday. NOTE: Although waters at all depths are open for bottom fishing, the following 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 by quota attainment). If you will be fishing nearshore on October 16th and 17th, see NOTE above.
* CRAB Ocean and bay crabbing remains very good this week. NOTE: Offshore crabbers only have one more day 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 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, however, the Oregon Health Authority has an advisory in effect for recreationally harvested softshell and gaper clams along the Oregon Coast due to arsenic contamination. Read the softshell/gaper advisory here. Clamming is possible in the late afternoon/evening for a couple more days with purple varnish clams, as well as some cockles and gapers, found at the current higher low tides. The next round of serious minus tides doesn’t occur until October 25th through the 31st, with the lowest at -1.7′ on the 28th; unfortunately, all of these tides will be in the evening after dark. 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: Big swells and an iffy bar kept what few boats remain active in port lately. Part of the care and feeding of the many older, yet still worthy wooden vessels involves a few maintenance steps. Especially after a super dry year and before rot-promoting fresh rainwater can promote boat killing ‘dry rot’. Boat oils, paint and a good scrub-down in the fish-hold are a good idea. And what perfect weather conditions this time around for the fleet. Back in the day of mostly wooden fishboats, many of the folks would take them to places like Crietsers Moorage. Several miles upstream from Newport, it still is an advantageous place to winter. Local science held sway that the likely infestation of saltier, summer baywater worms and ‘gribbles’ (tiny wood tunneling bug-like critters) would parish. The rain swollen and much fresher upper estuary zone would see to that. Later, as the fleet reassembled for the start of the next season, the load of critters and plant growth falls off. Nature at work.
Fore-Cast: River and bay fishermen will have a mix of nice sunny days with light winds and cloudy days with light rain or showers and a bit breezy. Offshore anglers can expect mainly southerly winds 10-15 knots beginning late Friday and lasting into early next week; swells of 5-6 feet are projected to build to 8-10 feet over the weekend. 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