CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of November 5th
In the Creel: Okay, so we’re in the autumn lull. There’s not much happening in the ocean these days with salmon, halibut and crab all closed right now. Rockfish and lingcod are still plentiful between storms. In the bays and rivers, fall Chinook fishing has been decent, a few wild Coho are around in areas that are open for them, summer steelhead is about over and cutthroat trout fishing is closed. There aren’t any good clamming tides for quite a while; razors remain closed border-to-border, anyway. Crabbing has been good in the bays, but there’s an advisory out for Dungies harvested south of Coos Bay (see Crab below). This week’s Fish Tale: “The older I get, the bigger they were.”
Salmon River: The fall Chinook fishery is producing fair to good results for both boat and bank anglers. Recent rains have moved a lot of fish out of tidewater. Casting lures or bobber fishing tends to be the most productive this time of year. Cutthroat trout fishing closed on November 1st.
Siletz River/Bay: The fall Chinook fishery is producing fair to good catches with recent rains moving a lot of fish out of tidewater. The wild Coho fishery continues 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). Summer steelhead fishing is fair to good in the upper river above Moonshine Park. Cutthroat trout fishing closed on November 1st.
Yaquina River/Bay: Anglers are having fair to good success for fall Chinook trolling herring or spinners, typically during the incoming tide through high slack. Recent rains have moved a good portion of fish to the upper tidewater reaches and above. The wild Coho fishery continues 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). Cutthroat trout fishing closed on November 1st.
Alsea River/Bay: The fall Chinook fishery is producing fair to good results for both bank and boat anglers. Recent rains have helped to move a lot of Chinook into the good river-bank access sections. Casting lures or bobber fishing is producing depending on the section and conditions. The wild Coho fishery is closed for the season. Cutthroat trout fishing closed on November 1st.
Central Coast Reservoirs and Lakes: The Coho salmon fisheries in Siltcoos and Tahkenitch Lakes are just getting going. With some recent rain and big tide series fresh Coho should be migrating into the lakes. Look to fish near the lake outlets and by the major tributaries that enter the lakes. Casting or trolling spinners or various plugs can be effective. Fishing for the various warmwater fish species is fair to good. There are numerous lakes in the Florence area that can provide good opportunity and have both 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. Rough conditions kept anglers ashore last week. Otherwise, winter is typically a good time to catch lingcod and rockfish. Several handouts – including ‘What Can I Keep, and How Many?’ plus species identification tips – are available on the ODFW sport groundfish webpage here.
* SALMON Ocean salmon fishing is now closed and doesn’t reopen until March 15th, 2016.
* HALIBUT Fishing for halibut is now closed. Follow the process for establishing the 2016 halibut seasons here.
* CRAB Although the ocean is off-limits for Dungeness crabbing because of the annual seasonal closure, crabbing in the bays is very good right now and should remain that way well into December. Ocean crabbing is scheduled to open again on December 1st. ADVISORY: The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have issued an advisory for all recreationally caught crab taken between Cape Arago, south of Coos Bay, and the California border. All crabs recreationally harvested there should be eviscerated prior to eating due to high levels of domoic acid in the viscera, also referred to as ‘butter’ or guts. This includes crab harvested in the bays and estuaries, and in the open ocean, off docks, piers and jetties. Crab meat is not typically affected by this level of toxin. Crab harvested recreationally from Cape Arago north to the Columbia River do not fall under this advisory, although it is recommended that crab always be eviscerated prior to eating them. Evisceration includes removal and discarding of the internal organs and gills.
* 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 Recreational and commercial harvest of mussels is closed from the mouth of the Yachats River to the California border due to elevated levels of domoic acid; the closure applies to mussels on all beaches, rocks, jetties and bay entrances. Mussel harvesting remains open from Yachats to the Columbia River.
* 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 due to arsenic contamination. Read the softshell/gaper advisory here. The next round of minus tides for clamming is November 11th through 15th, with the lowest only -0.5′ on the 13th; and you’ll need a lantern because all of these low tides occur 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: Bad weather and a rough bar kept most fishermen safe in port this past week. The big push during a lull in the action is to get ready for the next season. The lull is actually a window of opportunity as the Fall gales and larger ocean swells can limit access to the fishing grounds. The crab opener December 1st is the biggest buzz for now.
Fore-Cast: General Autumn conditions can be expected for bay and river fishermen — rainy days alternating with partly sunny and dry days. Offshore, the swells are going to be bigger this time of year, mainly varying from 6 feet to 12 feet. The breeze is fairly light today and should be tomorrow, but another round of 25-35 knot sou’westers is expected on Saturday with swells building to 10-12 feet again on Sunday and Monday. 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