Although ocean crabbing is closed, crabbing is still quite good in the lower tidewater areas of virtually every decent-sized river along the entire Oregon coast. As the amount of fresh water increases in these rivers, the crabs will move closer to the ocean. However it takes more fresh water to force the crabs in the rivers to return to the ocean than it does to keep ocean crabs from entering the rivers in the first place. Decent crabbing could last into late November depending upon the amount of rain we get.
Ocean salmon fishing will close one hour after sunset on Tuesday, Oct. 31st. Salmon fishing in the rivers is still open, but the catch is increasingly cohos and the majority of them are wild, unclipped, unkeepable fish.
There still seems to be a lot of confusion over what constitutes a jack salmon. Simply put, a jack salmon is a sub adult salmon that needs to be at least 15 inches in length, but less than 20-inches in length if a coho and less than 24-inches if a Chinook. The daily limit of jack salmon is five and coho jacks must be finclipped. Jack salmon do not have to be marked on an angler’s combined angling (salmon) tag.
The dam on the Siltcoos River is open and coho salmon are showing up. Like Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes, which have yet to receive salmon this fall, the daily salmon limit on Siltcoos is one adult and one jack salmon per day — and they do not have to be finclipped..
Trout fishing is still fairly good in the Coos County lakes that were recently planted as well as some of the larger local lakes. Tenmile is giving up fair trout fishing and the salmon anglers on Siltcoos Lake always seem to incidentally catch fair numbers of good-sized trout.
The upper end of the south arm on Eel Lake has fair numbers of decent-sized rainbows with a few smaller cutthroat trout. Bradley Lake will get the Oregon coast’s last trout plant this year —this week. Some of these fall trout plants provide extended periods of decent fishing as poor weather can reduce fishing pressure and trout harvest. Recently planted Coos County lakes include Bradley, Butterfield, Upper Empire and Saunders as well as Powers Pond.
The crappie have started moving into Streeters Canal on the east side of Silver Lake in southwest Washington. While it will be a few weeks before there are reports of 300+ crappie catches, the average size is up with fair numbers of legal crappie measuring 9 or more inches in length. The Silver Lake crappie fishery is best known for huge numbers of 5- to 8-inch crappies that must be released, but are still fun to catch. The daily limit is 10 crappies of at least 9 inches in length per persn.
The sad news for jetty anglers is that bottomfishing is still closed inside of 40 fathoms and will remain so until 2018 when a new quota takes effect.
Last week the ODFW held a two-hour conference call with the Sport Advisory Council to discuss rockfish limits for 2018. According to their 2018 forecasts, we will exceed quota on Black Rockfish, Cabezon, Yelloweye and the Minor Nearshore Rockfish Complex (Coppers, quillbacks, China’s, etc.). To avoid another end-of-the year shutdown, a bag limit reduction is probably necessary.
The main problem is increased fishing pressure, especially in poor salmon and tuna years.
Most likely the bag limit for rockfish will be four or five fish for 2018. The lingcod limit will remain at two fish per day.
In a series of public meetings beginning on October 25th throughout the state of Washington, the WDFW will explore alternative structures for guide licensing, with the objectives of: (1) Improving the fishing experience and ensuring equitable opportunity for both guided and non-guided river anglers; (2) Managing fishing pressure to protect wild steelhead and other species; and (3) Ensuring that recreational fish guiding remains a sustainable economic contributor to rural economies.
Since these will be public meetings with input encouraged, misbehaving guides might want to pay close attention. At the scheduled meetings, WDFW will discuss current management and take suggestions for potential regulatory changes for the fishing guide industry. I would be somewhat surprised if Oregon doesn’t hold similar meetings or possibly adopt some of Washington’s revised guide management options in the future.
Pete Heley works parttime at the Stockade Market & Tackle, across from ‘A’ Dock, in Winchester Bay where he is more than happy to swap fishing info with anyone.