CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of November 12th
In the Creel: The main focus continues to be inshore with Chinook salmon in the rivers and Dungeness crab in the bays being your best bets this week. While this can be a good time of year for catching rockfish offshore, the ocean has been rough and mostly uncooperative as autumn storms arrive about every other day. And, with both salmon and halibut closed now, there are few reasons to risk it. Decent bay clamming tides are underway, but occurring after dark; razor clams remain off-limits border-to-border due to toxins. Snotty weather is on tap for the next several days, so you can use this pause to hone your lies about the past season. This week’s Fish Tale: 10 percent of the water apparently holds 90 percent of the fish.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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, albeit rough conditions are keeping anglers ashore most of the time. 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.
* HALIBUT Fishing for halibut is now closed.
* 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 current round of minus tides for clamming is now through Sunday, November 15th, with the lowest only -0.5′ on the 13th; you’ll need a lantern because 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: No news from the trenches this week due to more bad sea conditions. What one sees looking out from shore to seaward can seem okay, but often swells get higher and the wind blows harder as a vessel gets farther from land. Crabbers locally are looking forward to a December 1st opener, price-strikes and winter storms aside. Hopefully, we’ll see the first tasty Dungies by the Christmas holidays. These early-season crabs typically are the biggest, best and cheapest of the year. Fishermen and the fish-eating public have their fingers crossed for a safe and productive opener.
Fore-Cast: It looks pretty stormy for the next week. River and bay fishermen will need good raingear, and anglers who’d like to get offshore will probably be stuck in port instead as high seas and fairly strong winds are predicted for several days. 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