Both commercial and recreational crabbing are now open along the entire Oregon coast — finally — and commercial crabbers no longer are required to have their crabs eviscerated prior to selling them. The bad news is that crabbing success has dropped off markedly over the last month.
As for an evaluation on upcoming ocean salmon seasons, the Medford Mail Tribune stated that preliminary stock assessments estimate that there are 229,400 Sacramento River fall Chinook in the ocean — slightly less than last year when fishing was restricted along the southern Oregon coast. As this is being written there is no final word on whether the ocean Chinook season will open on March 15th as usual. At the very least, the lack of northern California salmon off the southern Oregon coast will have a negative effect on ocean salmon fishing success. Salmon managers heading into the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s March 8-14 meeting say they think the council will be able to propose at least possible sport and commercial seasons with as little impact to Sacramento stocks as possible. The Pacific Fishery Management Council will set its final season recommendations when it meets April 5-11 in Portland. The federal Department of Commerce has the final say in setting ocean-fishing seasons.
No spring Chinook catches have been reported on the Umpqua yet, but since they started catching springers on the Rogue three weeks ago, there are certainly a few in the Umpqua River waiting to be caught.
Lingcod fishing off Winchester Bay’s South Jetty has been good and red hot near Tenmile Reef which is reachable by boat anglers from Winchester Bay and Charleston and very popular during the six months it is open each year. During the calm conditions of last week, pipe jigs weighing around 2 pounds “ruled the day”.
Visiting bottomfish anglers from the northern Oregon tried some handmade pipe jigs filled with concrete and discovered the lingcod bite them, but they sank much slower than their “store bought” pipe jigs that were filled with lead — and when fishing water slightly over 300 feet deep, sink time is an important factor in fishing success.
By the way, the aforementioned Tenmile Reef along with all other Oregon marine waters deeper than 30 fathoms will close to conventional bottomfishing from April 1st through September.
This week is a big week for trout plants along the Oregon coast. The ODFW trout planting schedule has changed “sizewise” as now the planting sizes are legal, trophy and broodstock.
Florence-area lakes that were planted this week include Alder Lake (500 legals and 461 trophies); Buck Lake (850 legals and 136 trophies); Carter Lake (750 trophies); Cleawox Lake (2,250 trophies); Dune Lake (850 legals and 136 trophies); Georgia Lake (North) (450 legals and 75 trophies); Lost Lake (400 trophies); Mercer Lake (1,500 trophies); Munsel Lake (2,400 trophies); Siltcoos Lagoon (981 trophies); (Siltcoos Lake (1,000 trophies).
Closer to home, Lake Marie is getting 2,000 legal trout and Loon Lake is getting 1,500. Other Douglas County waters planted this week include Cooper Creek Reservoir (1,500 legals); Galesville Reservoir (1,666 trophies); Plat “I” Reservoir (1,000 legals).
Newport-area waters planted this week include: Big Creek Reservoir 1 (Lower) (1,000 legals); Big Creek Reservoir 2 (Upper) (1,800 legals and 2,000 trophies) and Olalla Reservoir (2,000 legals and 1,450 trophies).
A very large trout plant of 4,850 legal rainbows was made in Garrison Lake near Port Orford.
Simply knowing the numbers of trout stocked doesn’t come close to telling the whole story. The waters receiving the trout plants vary greatly in size. The surface areas of the waters stocked this week range from 1-acre North Georgia to Siltcoos Lake’s 3,100-plus acres. If you want to do the math involving dividing the surface area of a lake into the size of the trout plant, here is a list of the approximate lake sizes.
Alder Lake (3 acres); Buck Lake (3 acres); Carter Lake (28 acres); Cleawox Lake (82 acres); Dune Lake (3 acres); Lost Lake (6 acres); Mercer Lake (341 acres); Munsel Lake (110 acres); North Georgia Lake (1 acre): Siltcoos Lagoon (2 acres); Siltcoos Lake (3,116 acres); Lake Marie (6 acres); Loon Lake (280 acres); Cooper Creek Reservoir (160 acres); Galesville Reservoir (600 acres); Plat “I” Reservoir (140 acres); Big Creek Reservoir (Lower) (20 acres); Big Creek Reservoir (Upper) (30 acres) and Olalla Reservoir (110 acres).
And a few spots deserve additional finetuning when it comes to figuring trout stocking density because something as simple as water depth, more exactly shallw water may, keep the recently stocked trout from inhabiting or even entering certain sections of some lakes. A good example of such a lake would be Cleawox in which the main lake of about 50 acres is separated from its north arm by extremely shallow water.
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.