The second ocean coho season opened last Saturday and this one was nonselective — meaning both clipped and unclipped coho salmon 16-inches long or longer were legal to keep. Since previously unkeepable unclipped cohos were dominating recent salmon catches the fishing should remain very good. Nineteen hundred coho were added to the original quota of 6,000 bringing the new quota to 7,900 coho salmon. The additional salmon will certainly help, but this season may still be a short one.
Coho salmon are starting to make up an increasing portion of the Umpqua River salmon catches and bank anglers at Winchester Bay are buying almost as many pink spinners preferred by cohos as the green and chartreuse spinners preferred by chinooks. A number of the Chinooks landed during the last two weeks have weighed more than 30 pounds.
Crabbing is still very good for boat crabbers in the ocean off Winchester Bay and in the lower Umpqua River. Boatless crabbers are still doing fair to good off the Old Coast Guard Pier and off “A” Dock and Dock 9. Complaints about crabs not being full have almost disappeared.
There are still good pinkfin catches being made from area beaches. The South Jetty continues to fish well with with most of the catch being greenling and striped surfperch — neither of which have any minimum size restrictions.
October 1st is an important date for a couple of fishing-related reasons. First, waters deeper than 30 fathoms (180 feet) along the Oregon coast become legal to fish for bottomfish. Having a readily accessible descending device on board when fishing for bottomfish in waters deeper than 30 fathoms is mandatory.
Second, Oct. 1st is also the date when anglers’ two-rod licenses become invalid on the three coastal lakes that have salmon fisheries. In other words, two-rod licenses are invalid when fishing Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes during October, November and December.
For anglers with a little bit of mathematics ability who tend to lack an accurate scale when they catch a big fish, I would like to suggest a method that will yield a fairly accurate weight as long as you can accurately measure the fish.
For instance, a healthy 14-inch rainbow trout will weigh 1 pound. If you wanted to know how much a similar-shaped 21-inch trout would weigh, you would take the cube of 21 and divide it by the cube of 14, which gives you 3.375 pounds or 3 pounds, 6 ounces. A similar-shaped 28-inch trout be twice as long, twice as deep and twice as thick as the 14-inch one pound trout. Since two cubed is eight, the 28-inch trout would be eight times as heavy as the 1- pound trout.
The key to using this technique is to have a good idea of the lengths of 1-pound fish of different fish species. What I have come up with is: bluegill (9.5 inches); crappie (11.5 inches); yellow perch (12.5 inches) and largemouth bass (12 inches). The cubes of these lengths will be the denominators when estimating the weights of larger fish.
One must keep in mind that this technique will underestimate the weights of really chunky fish, but will be quite accurate for most fish.
A friend and I hit Mingus Park Pond before dawn last week and the score was two bass on for the black buzzbait and zero hookups for the light-colored buzzbait. Black is definitely my favorite color for nighttime bassfishing.
I visited Eel Lake last weekend to check out rumors of much-improved crappie and bluegill fishing. I fished the walkway of the fishing dock and hooked a small black crappie or bluegill on nearly every cast. I was using microlight plastics on a 1/100 ounce jighead and my average fish measured about 5 inches in length. Several anglers on the deepest portion of the dock using larger crappie lures were doing well on 9- to 11-inch crappies. I had some unwanted excitement when a largemouth bass of 4 or 5 pounds took a liking to one of the small crappies I had hooked. I was certain that, even on very light tackle, I would be able to pull the hapless crappie from the bass’s mouth so I could release it, but I ended up with a broken line and the bass kept its meal.
Fishing pressure at Eel Lake may be the highest ever. The bluegills bite well during the daylight hours, but the crappies dominate the catch during low light. Other fish species present in the lake include rainbow and cutthroat trout, largemouth bass and brown bullheads.
Judging by the number of juvenile bluegills and crappies in Eel Lake, the panfishing over the next few years is going to get even better.
Pete Heley works part time at the Stockade Market & Tackle, across from ‘A’ Dock, in Winchester Bay where he is more than happy to swap fishing info with anyone.